First Wave Feminists- Parker Pillsbury

Parker Pillsbury (1809-1898) worked as a farmer and wagoner before becoming a theology scholar and Congregational minister. By 1840, Pillsbury had also become an outspoken abolitionist and was excommunicated from his church for denouncing its complicity with slavery. Undeterred, Pillsbury began preaching for the ecumenical Free Religious Association. He later edited Herald of Freedom and served the American Anti-Slavery Society. Pillsbury’s belief in peaceful nonresistance precluded support for the Civil War, but he nonetheless praised the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation; in 1865, he echoed its principles in helping draft the American Equal Rights Association’s feminist constitution. Pillsbury served as vice president of the New Hampshire Woman Suffrage Association and co-editor of The Revolution. His extensive writings on women’s and minorities’ rights inspired his nephew Albert E. Pillsbury’s work for early incarnations of the NAACP.

[Explaining The Revolution’s advertisement ban:] “Quack Medicine vendors, however rich, proud, and pretentious, Fœticides and Infanticides, should be classed together and regarded with shuddering horror by the whole human race …  Let us learn to read authors between the lines, and to judge of the newspapers largely by their advertisements. Thus we shall get an autobiography of all the authors, and learn the true quality and character of our newspaper press.”

– From The Revolution, March 26, 1868