Yours for Humanity -Abby: Timeline

YearUnited States National Events Abby Kelley Foster Events

January 15 born in Pelham, Massachusetts, seventh daughter of Wing Kelley and fifth daughter of Diana Daniels Kelley

In spring family moves to farm in north Worcester, Massachusetts


James Madison reelected president

War of 1812

1816 James Monroe elected president  

James Monroe reelected president

Missouri Compromise: a plan to keep number of slave and free states equal

1824 John Quincy Adams elected president  
1826 Fanny Wright of Great Britain speaks in New York City on woman’s rights, birth control, divorce and abolition Attends New England Friends Boarding School in Providence, Rhode Island with classmate Prudence Crandall
1828 Andrew Jackson elected president  
1831 The Liberator published by William Lloyd Garrison  

Andrew Jackson reelected president

Nullification Crisis Over Tariffs: South Carolina claims a state's right to ignore a federal law which harms the state

Hears abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison in Worcester Town Hall

Martin Van Buren elected president

Angelina and Sarah Grimke claim their right to speak in public against slavery

Begins teaching at Quaker school in Lynn, Massachusetts

Commits herself to antislavery, peace and women's equality on death of her father


Panic of 1837: nation plunges into economic depression

Congregational Pastoral Letter reacts to Angelina Grimke's summer lecture tour

Joins Lynn Female Anti-Slavery Society and is chosen Corresponding Secretary

Attends first all-female Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women in New York City at urging of Grimke sisters

American Anti-Slavery Society (AASS) substitutes using word "persons" instead of "men"

1838 Women join and serve on committees in New England Anti-Slavery Society

May 13 gives first speech at Second Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Resigns teaching position to become anti-slavery agent and lives with mother in Millbury, Massachusetts then begins lecturing in Connecticut

September 28 organizes Peace Convention and founds New England Non-Resistance Society


William Henry Harrison elected president

Female delegates denied participation at World Anti-Slavery Convention

John Tyler becomes president

May 12 nominated to Business Committee at Annual American Anti-Slavery Convention in New York City

First woman in leadership position causes split in national movement and term "Abby Kelleyism" is used for women who step out of their place in society

Lectures in Rhode Island and New York


Comes out of Uxbridge Meeting of Friends in March

Hosts Frederick Douglass in Millbury at quarterly meeting of MA Anti-Slavery Society

1843   Lectures in Massachusetts and New Hampshire
1844 James K. Polk elected president Lectures in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and within 50 yards of slaveholding Maryland
1845   December 21 marries Stephen Symonds Foster in New Brighton, Pennsylvania
1846 1846-1848 Mexican War: Mexico cedes land to US Encourages Lucy Stone to speak out while lecturing in Ohio and Seneca Falls, NY
1847 First U.S. postage stamps in use

Purchases farm on Mower Street in Tatnuck area of Worcester

May 19 “Alla” Paulina Wright Foster is born at home

Lectures in Worcester during August and September


Zachary Taylor elected president

First Woman's Rights Convention: Women issue The Declaration of Sentiments in Seneca Falls, New York

Helps Sarah H. Earle start the Worcester Anti-Slavery Bazaar
1849   Resumes lecturing in New York and Ohio

Millard Fillmore becomes president

Compromise of 1850 passes with a strong Fugitive Slave Act

October 23-24 attends First National Woman's Rights Convention in Worcester
1851   Gives “Bloody feet" speech at Second National Woman’s Rights Convention in Worcester
1852 Franklin Pierce elected president Gives classic non-resistant position when US marshals came to enforce Fugitive Slave Law in Rochester, New York. "I am prepared to throw my body in the way of the kidnappers and risk my life if need be….”
1853   Lectures across Michigan
1854 KANSAS NEBRASKA ACT divides western settlers over slavery issue Lectures in Wolcottville, Indiana
1856 James Buchanan elected president Thinks Garrison has gone soft to accept 'chaff for wheat' by supporting political elections
1857 DRED SCOTT DECISION: Supreme Court rules slaves are property and not citizens

Alla becomes seriously ill with back problem, probably scoliosis, a disease of curvature of the spine.

Becomes General Agent for the AASS so she can stay with Alla

1859 JOHN BROWN RAIDS HARPER'S FERRY: a violent anti-slavery action Infighting in AASS trying to find fusion between moral agitation or electoral politics
1860 Abraham Lincoln elected president  
1861 CIVIL WAR : North and South are split over sectional differences  
1863 EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION makes ending of slavery a war aim  
1864 Abraham Lincoln reelected president Gathers 400,000 signatures in support of 13th Amendment

Andrew Johnson becomes president

13th AMENDMENT RATIFIED: abolishes slavery in U.S.

Alla starts at Vassar College
1867   American Equal Rights Association debates universal suffrage

Ulysses S. Grant elected president

14th AMENDMENT RATIFIED: rights of citizenship extended to include blacks for the first time.

35 pound ovarian tumor removed
1869 15th AMENDMENT RATIFIED: extends voting rights to all citizens regardless of race, but not gender American Anti-Slavery Society disbands
1872 Ulysses S. Grant reelected president Alla graduates, elected to Phi Beta Kappa and goes on to Cornell University in first year it is open to women
1873 Massachusetts women gain franchise in school committee elections Refuses to pay $70 tax bill until Abby is allowed to vote at town meetings
1874   Holds "No Taxation without Representation!" convention at Mechanics Hall


Rutherford B. Hayes elected president

RECONSTRUCTION ENDS: military occupation of south ends

Alla earns a master of Arts and teaches in Cincinnati, Ohio

Alla moves to Roxbury, Massachusetts to be closer to her parents

1881   September 8 Stephen dies
1887   January 14 Abby dies and Alla continues her parents' legacy
1895   Alla buys Diamond Ledge in Center Sandwich, NH
1920 19th AMENDMENT: Women gain the right to vote August 26  
1923   April 21 Alla dies