Abby's Contemporaries

The men and women who worked with Abby Kelley Foster held her in great esteem, for her moral courage, her intelligence, her talents, and her willingness to serve in the cause of abolitionism.

“Abby Kelley earned for us all the right of free speech.” -Lucy Stone

“The movement for equal rights of women began directly and emphatically with her.” -Lucy Stone

“How can we ever value you enough?” -Wendell Phillips

“[Abby is] most persevering, most self-sacrificing, most energetic, most meritorious.” -William Lloyd Garrison

“The moral Joan of Arc of the world.” -William Lloyd Garrison

“Sweet, devoted, eloquent, heart-on-fire Abby Kelley” -Wendell Phillips

[Alice continued to admire her, finding her] “ladylike, simple & unaffected, nothing masculine about her, except that she walks on to the ground which men have occupied alone.” -Alice Welch Cowles

[It was Abby] “who was perhaps the most successful of any of us...Her youth and simple Quaker beauty, combined with her wonderful earnestness, her large knowledge and great logical power bore down all opposition, wherever she spoke, though she was pelted with foul eggs and no less foul words from the noisy mobs which attended us.” -Frederick Douglass

“...astonished to behold a plain, simple girl, plain in her dress, simple in her manner, no affectation, no noisy declamation, standing before an audience, and in strains of simple eloquence, and in language as chaste and pure as I ever heard, depict that American abomination, slavery, in all its horrors.” -Correspondent for the Albany Tocsin of Liberty

“...a fair young woman, with a form and features of just proportions, rising up before a large auditory with as much nonchalant self-possession as the best practiced professor of law or divinity. Then the truths she uttered- what were they? Nothing less than a sermon from that great democratic text, to wit-‘that all men are born free and equal.’ She soon made you feel that she was the true priestess of equal rights.” -The Seneca Observer

“...after she had uttered two sentences, all sense of the difference between the sexes so far as the propriety of a female speaking in public was concerned, entirely vanished. Her argument was clever, her remarks to the point, her illustrations happy, and her address was impressive and powerful.” -New York Express

“...a woman who has traveled all over the North, laboring for a woman’s cause. She bore the burden and heat of the day. She was an outcast from society. Other women hated her; men insulted her. Every vulgar editor threw a stone at her, which he picked up from the mire of the street. The noble woman bore it with no complaint; only now and then, in private, the great heart of Abby Kelley would fill her eyes with tears at the thought of this injustice; but she never allowed her tears to blind her eyes, or quench the light which was shedding its radiance down her steep and rugged path.” -Reverend Theodore Parker