DALL, Mrs. Caroline Wells

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Caroline Dall Mount Auburn (1).jpg

Dublin Core


Caroline Wells Dall was born in Boston, Massachusetts on June 22, 1822. Her parents, Mark Healey and Caroline Foster, provided her with an exclusive education, consisting of private tutoring and private schooling, until she was 15 years old. From 1837 to 1842, she administered a nursery in the North End of Boston. In 1842, Caroline began teaching at Georgetown Female Seminary, where she met Unitarian minister Charles Dall, whom she would marry in 1844. 

Once married, Caroline was increasingly involved in women’s suffrage causes.  A gifted and prolific writer, reformer, and activist,  she became a staunch advocate for women’s rights. Caroline and Charles lived in Toronto in the early 1850s. By 1855, Charles Dall had traveled alone to India to work as a Unitarian missionary, returning only once to America before his death in 1886.

For many years, Caroline was actively involved in the Boston women’s rights movement. One of her many important books, The College, the Market, and the Court (1867), based on a series of lectures she gave in Boston in 1861-1862, is a collection of essays about women’s rights, education, economic advancement, and protection under the law.  

Her other publications include Historical Pictures Retouched: a Volume of Miscellanies (1859), in which she discusses lesser-known important women from history, Essays and Sketches (1849), and Women's Rights Under the Law: In Three Lectures, Delivered in Boston, January, 1861 (1862).

In 1865, Dall helped found the American Social Science Association. Along with suffragist Paulina Davis, Caroline Dall founded both the New England Women’s Rights Convention and Una, a journal devoted to advocating for women’s rights. Because of these activities, she is often associated with fellow activist, Transcendentalist, and journalist Margaret Fuller regarding their advocacy for the advancement of women.

Later in life, Caroline distanced herself from the women’s rights movement and published such eclectic and diverse works as Egypt (Egypt's Place in History 1868), the Civil War (Patty Gray's Journey, three volumes for children, 1869–70), and What We Really Know About Shakespeare (1885), The Life of Dr. Anandabai Joshee (1888), Margaret and Her Friends: Ten Conversations with Margaret Fuller (1895), and Transcendentalism in New England (1897). In her 70s, she continued lecturing and giving sermons at the Unitarian Church.

After several years of suffering from arthritis, Caroline died of pneumonia on December 17, 1912, at the age of 90.


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