Woman's Rights in Worcester

The woman’s rights movement began at Seneca Falls in 1848. That meeting spurred interest in forming a national movement.

In May of 1850, women from the Seneca Falls meeting who were attending an anti-slavery convention in Boston got together to plan a National Woman’s Rights Convention. Nine met, with seven of them chosen to do the work. They selected Worcester as the location. Paulina Wright Davis wrote the call to the convention, presided over it, created the first permanent woman’s rights organizations, and founded the first woman’s rights newspaper.

The convention, held on October 23 & 24, 1850, attracted approximately 1,000 people. Of this number 268 “declared themselves” which meant they could vote. Of that number, 84 were from Worcester.

In 1851, the second National Woman’s Rights Convention was also held in Worcester. Historians believe it probably had more to do with geography than the political climate of the city. But at the same time, Worcester was, as Reverend Higginson had said, a seething centre of all the reforms, a sympathetic place to hold a convention on such a radical topic as equal rights for women.

Source: Worcester in the Reform Era exhibit at Worcester Historical Museum, 2000