December 19 – Happy Birthday, Mary Rice Livermore

Posted on December 19, 2015

Many of the 19th-Century people I've read about worked on more than one of the great social movements of the day, and Mary Livermore is no exception. Born on this date in 1820 in Massachusetts, and raised and educated in New England, when she was 19 years old Livermore started a job as a tutor on a Virginia plantation. Guess what she saw, first hand, while on the job?

If you guessed “slavery,” you are right. Livermore left the job, quit Virginia, and became an abolitionist. She wrote anti-slavery articles, and she worked to elect Abraham Lincoln as president.

During the Civil War, she worked to promote knowledge of and achievement of sanitation services, and she organized aid societies and visited hospitals and generally did a lot of good.

After the war, Livermore worked to achieve women's suffrage (the right to vote). Unfortunately, she died before this goal was achieved, but women won the right to vote in part because of her efforts.

Another movement that Livermore worked hard on was the temperance movement. She and other like her wanted to make drinking alcohol illegal. This movement eventually succeeded—and then the experiment went horribly awry, and alcohol was made legal again. I think this is one topic Livermore was wrong about (and I don't drink even a smidge of alcohol, myself!).

In a list of who and what Mary Livermore was, I guess you could call her a teacher, a tutor, a writer and editor, a sanitary official, and an activist / social reformer.

As you go about your own life, just remember Mary Livermore's example, and participate in several different interesting jobs and worthy causes, if you can.

Also on this date:

Knocking Nights in Germany

Inventor Rudolph Hell's birthday

It's still time for Las Posadas!

Plan ahead:

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