Mechanics Hall Portraits: Abby Kelley Foster

 Abby Kelley Foster (1811-1887) spent her childhood in the countryside around Worcester, and later lived in Millbury. Born near Amherst, Massachusetts, she was a crusader for the abolition of slavery and for women's suffrage. Foster was one of the first women to deliver speeches before sexually mixed audiences. She married a radical abolitionist, Stephen S. Foster. After the birth of their daughter, they bought and settled on a farm in Worcester, from where they continued their activities on behalf of slaves and women, and where she eventually died. Her home, still standing on Mower Street in Worcester, was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1973.

About the Artist: Charlotte Wharton painted the portrait of Abby Kelley Foster. Born in Independence, Kansas, Ms. Wharton received her Bachelor's degree in Fine Arts from Clark University and studied at the National Academy of Design in New York City. Her work is well known throughout New England. Ms. Wharton studied with Everett Raymond Kinstler and Aaron Shikler. Her paintings hang in private and corporate collections throughout the United States and Europe including Yale University and Worcester City Hall. Her many awards include the Copley Society of Boston's Margaret Fitzhugh Browne Award for Excellence in Portraiture in 1994. She was named a Copley Master (1992) and was awarded the Grumbacher Gold Medal Award in 1991. Her works appear in several books on oil painting and pastels by Rockport Publishers. Ms. Wharton's studio is in Worcester, Massachusetts. She teaches throughout New England and the Midwest.