Tag Archives: Quaker Education

International Women’s Month – Inspiring Change – Lucretia Mott 4 of 10

Nine Partners (Quaker) Meeting House and Boarding School.
Nine Partners (Quaker) Meeting House and Boarding School.

In 1804 the Coffin family moved to Boston. Soon after, Lucretia and her sister began attending Nine Partners Friends Boarding School in the rolling hills north of New York City. Quaker academies were the first to attempt co-education. “As a result Quaker girls as a group were among the first to receive any sort of higher education in the United States. Their pioneering in such professions as medicine was well as in the field of equal rights may have been a result.” (22)

At Nine Partners, Lucretia’s bright mind thrived. Her teenage eyes were opened to the horrors of slavery, the idea of boycotting slave products such as cotton cloth and cane sugar and the teachings of Quaker abolitionist, Elias Hicks. In time, she became a teacher there herself; but not before she challenged the injustice of a young James Mott receiving twice the salary of a much older, experienced teacher by the name of Deborah Rogers. “Until (that) moment Lucretia had not realized the existence of inequality purely on the basis of sex.” (26) She wrote of this time, “The injustice of this distinction was so apparent that I early resolved to claim for myself all that an impartial Creator had bestowed.” (26) She was to spend her whole life, from that point on, doing exactly that.

The “young James Mott” was to become Lucretia’s beau. In many ways they were opposites. “He was tall and blond, she was short and dark. He was taciturn and serious; she was talkative and merry. He was rather gloomy at times; she was full of hope. Some people found him cold; she was generally perceived as warm and friendly. He was cautious; she was impetuous and sometimes gullible. She found his silence restful and his strength a rock against which she could anchor. He delighted in her ability to put into words the thoughts he could not express, and her vivacity warmed him and made him feel alive.” (27) They married when Lucretia was 18. Seven years later, with James’s complete support, Lucretia became a travelling Quaker minister. The couple were complete partners in every aspect of the activist lives they embraced. They also raised a family of six children. 

Quotes are from Margaret Hope Bacon’s Valiant Friend – The Life of Lucretia Mott