THE MOST IMPORTANT WOMAN OF THE TRANSCENDENTIALIST MOVEMENT AND AUTHOR OF THE FIRST FEMINIST BOOK IN THE UNITED STATES
SENDS A LETTER OF INTRODUCTION
FULLER, SARAH MARGARET. (1810-1850). Journalist, women’s rights activist, considered the most important woman in the Transcendentalist movement; she was the first full-time American female book reviewer in journalism; her book: Woman in the Nineteenth Century is considered the first major feminist work in the United States. Exceedingly-rare and highly desirable Autograph Letter Signed “S. M. Fuller”, on fine tissue stationery, 1 1/3 pages, octavo. [No Date, No Place]. Fuller writes:
“to – M.M. Story – I take the liberty by this note to offer to your acquaintance, Mr. Hart, the ‘Kentucky Sculptor’, where genius will, I doubt not, inspire you with interest and to whom your regard might much avail in his short visit to Boston, S. M. Fuller.”
For those of you who don’t know her story: Born Sarah Margaret Fuller in Cambridge, Massachusetts, she was given a substantial early education by her father, Timothy Fuller. She later had more formal schooling and became a teacher. In 1839, she began overseeing what she called “conversations”: discussions among women meant to compensate for their lack of access to higher education. She became the first editor of the transcendentalist journal The Dial in 1840, before joining the staff of the New York Tribune under Horace Greeley in 1844. By the time she was in her 30s, Fuller had earned a reputation as the best-read person in New England, male or female, and became the first woman allowed to use the library at Harvard College. Her seminal work, Woman in the Nineteenth Century, was published in 1845. A year later, she was sent to Europe for the Tribune as its first female correspondent. She soon became involved with the revolutions in Italy and allied herself with Giuseppe Mazzini. She had a relationship with Giovanni Ossoli, with whom she had a child. All three members of the family died in a shipwreck off Fire Island, New York, as they were traveling to the United States in 1850. Fuller’s body was never recovered.
The “Mr. Hart” Fuller refers to is undoubtedly Joel Tanner Hart, (1810-1877), a Kentucky stone cutter who won the commission to create a life-size statue of the Henry Clay. He moved to Italy to supervise the carving, and settled in Florence, Italy, where he undoubtedly met the Fuller/Ossoli’s.
The above letter is one of only a handful of her letters we have had in over 40+ years! Anything from her pen is considered extremely-rare.