5.19.2015

Mary Easton Sibley

Pioneer in Education in Early Missouri

Mary Easton Sibley was an early American pioneer and educator. In 1830, she and her husband founded a girls' school in St. Charles, Missouri that would become the Lindenwood College for Women, the first women's college west of the Mississippi River. Today, Lindenwood University is a major coeducational institution that continues to honor Sibley and her dedication to education for women.

map of land included in the Louisiana Purchase
Image: Map of the Louisiana Purchase
Including exploration routes of the early 1800s

Early life
Mary Easton was born January 24, 1800 in Rome New York, the first of eleven children born to Rufus Easton and Alby Smith Easton. In 1804, President Thomas Jefferson appointed Rufus Easton territorial judge of the Louisiana Territory, and the family moved to St. Louis. Rufus Easton became a prominent St. Louis attorney and Missouri's second Attorney General.

5.13.2015

Underground Railroad in Pennsylvania

slaves escaping on the Underground Railroad

Pennsylvania Conductors Led Slaves to Freedom
Abolition of slavery was the great moral issue of the nineteenth century, especially after the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, which allowed owners to capture their slaves in free northern states and return them to the South. The Underground Railroad (UGRR) was a loose grouping of people who risked home and safety to help runaways escape bondage. The penalties for their actions were severe. If caught, a stationmaster on the UGRR could be jailed and fined $20,000, a huge sum at that time.

The Constitution of the United States had a fugitive slave clause that Congress implemented with the first Fugitive Slave Law in 1793, placing a fine on anyone rescuing, harboring, or hindering the arrest of a fugitive. This law was rendered ineffective by a decision of the United States Supreme Court in 1842 but Congress passed a stronger Fugitive Slave Law as part of the Compromise of 1850, in which federal authorities were required to hunt runaway slaves and return them to their masters.

5.06.2015

Emma Stebbins

first women sculptors from the United States

One of the First American Women Sculptors

Emma Stebbins was among the first notable American women sculptors and part of a group of who learned to work in marble in Rome in the mid-1800s. She produced her most famous works between 1859 and 1869, when she was in her forties and early fifties.

Early Years
Stebbins was born September 1, 1815 to a wealthy family in New York City, daughter of nine children of a bank president. Emma's family encouraged her to pursue her talents in art from an early age. Stebbins studied at several American studios and exhibited at the National Academy of Design and other shows.

Amateur Artist
By her twenties, she was a diligent and dedicated worker whose skill and perseverance were remarked upon by contemporaries. For many years Stebbins devoted herself to painting in oils and watercolors, working also in crayon and pastels, and later sculpture.

4.26.2015

Betsy Mix Cowles

Educator and women's rights activist Betsy Mix Cowles

Abolitionist and Educator from Ohio

Betsey Mix Cowles was an educator, and an early leader in the abolitionist and women's rights movement in the pre-Civil War era, advocating women's access to education, equal rights, and independence. She dedicated her life to fighting slavery and improving the status of women. Her circle of friends included like-minded individuals like Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison and Abby Kelley.

Early Years
Betsy Mix Cowles was born February 9, 1810 in Bristol, Connecticut, the eighth child of Giles Hooker Cowles and Sally White Cowles. In 1811, the Cowles family settled in the town of Austinburg in Ashtabula, the most northeastern county in Ohio, where her father was a minister and where Betsy began her teaching career.

4.20.2015

Sarah Miriam Peale

portrait artist who earned a living through her work

First Professional American Woman Artist

Sarah Miriam Peale is America's first truly professional female artist. She had a career of nearly sixty years during which she lived on her own and supported herself with her art. Considered the leading portrait painter in Baltimore and St. Louis during the 19th century, she successfully competed with male painters of that time

Image: Self-portrait of the artist, 1818
National Portrait Gallery
Washington, DC

Early Years
Sarah Miriam Peale, born May 19, 1800 in Philadelphia, was descended from the Peales, a great family of American painters. She was the youngest daughter born to famous early American artist James Peale and Mary Claypoole Peale. Her father trained her; she served as his studio assistant. Like her older sisters, Anna and Margaretta, Sarah learned to mix paints, prepare canvases, and delineate backgrounds.