Garrison Family Papers
The Garrison Family Papers include five generations of the Garrison family, four generations of the Wright family and five generations of the Stephenson family. There are detailed biographical sketches in standard reference works as well as biographies of members of the Garrison and Wright families. These include Dictionary of American Biography (DAB), Notable American Women (NAW). William Lloyd Garrison, 1805-1879; The story of his life told by his children, All On Fire, William Lloyd Garrison and the Abolition of Slavery by Henry Mayer, Growing Up Abolitionist, The Story of the Garrison Children by Harriet Alonso, and James and Lucretia Mott: Life and Letters by Anna Davis Hallowell. Please consult also the Family Trees in the Sophia Smith Collection (note: the Garrison Family Tree is also online: http://www.smith.edu/libraries/libs/ssc/atg/garrison.html#tree).
The Garrison Family
Generation 1: Abijah Garrison and Frances ("Fanny") Lloyd Garrison
The Garrison Family Papers begin with Abijah Garrison (1773 - ?) and Frances ("Fanny") Lloyd Garrison (1776-1823). Abijah was born in an isolated farming community in New Brunswick, Canada. By the 1790s he had become a seaman based in St. John. He married Frances Lloyd in 1798 and they settled on the Jemseg River in New Brunswick. They moved to St. John in 1801. They had two daughters (Mary Ann and Caroline Eliza) and a son (James Holley). Mary Ann died in infancy and in 1805 the family moved to Newburyport, Massachusetts. In December of that year a fourth child, William Lloyd, was born, followed by Elizabeth Knowlton in 1808. A man of intemperate habits, Abijah abandoned his wife and family shortly after Elizabeth's birth. He was never heard from again.
Generation 2: William Lloyd Garrison and Helen Benson Garrison
Frances Lloyd Garrison, abandoned with small children to care for, placed her son William Lloyd (1805-1879) (see DAB) in the care of Deacon Ezekiel Bartlett. He received little schooling, and was apprenticed in 1818 to Ephraim Allen of the Newburyport Herald. In 1826 he became editor of the Free Press. When the press failed he became a journeyman printer and in 1828 he joined with Nathaniel White in editing the temperance newspaper National Philanthropist. Influenced by Benjamin Lundy, a Quaker, he became interested in the abolition movement, a cause he championed for the next thirty years. He founded the abolitionist newspaper, The Liberator, in 1831 which he published until 1865. In 1834 he married Helen Benson, daughter of a retired merchant and member of an abolitionist family. They had seven children: George Thompson (1836-1904) , William Lloyd (1838-1909), Wendell Phillips (1840-1907), Charles Follen (1842-1849), Helen Frances ("Fanny") (1844-1928) , Elizabeth Pease (1846-1848), and Francis Jackson (1848-1916). Although there are papers generated by all of the surviving children, those of William Lloyd are most complete.
Generation 3: Children of William Lloyd Garrison and Helen Benson Garrison
There are seven descendents in Generation 3 of the Garrison family. All of the children of William Lloyd and Helen Benson Garrison, with the exception of George, followed in their father's reform footsteps. Wendell, via his editorship at The Nation, was involved in abolition, freedman's relief, and racial and sexual equality. Fanny, following the death of her husband, Henry Villard, became involved in the suffrage movement and pacifism. Francis in addition to his position as editor at Houghton Mifflin, championed racial and sexual equality. A detailed description of all of the children in Generation 3 can be found in Harriet Alonso's Growing Up Abolitionist, the Story of the Garrison Children. The primary persons in this generation represented in the Papers are William Lloyd Garrison and Ellen Wright Garrison.
William Lloyd Garrison left school at the age of eighteen to begin a business career. In 1855 he became associated with abolitionist James Buffum and lived with the Buffum family for seven years where he became involved in various reform movements. He held clerical and banking positions and in 1864 he went into the wool business. In addition, he established one of the earliest electric light stations in Brockton, Massachusetts, and also dealt in bonds, retiring from business in 1902. He was, however, a reformer at heart and up until his death in 1909 was involved in abolition, women's rights and suffrage, immigration reform, Armenian and Russian relief, Irish home rule, anti-imperialism, pacifism, temperance, and free trade. He was also an avid single taxer and president of the Massachusetts Single Tax league. In 1864 he married Ellen Wright, daughter of Martha Coffin and David Wright (See Wright Family).
Ellen Wright was born in 1842 and grew up in a Quaker abolitionist community. She was educated at abolitionist Theodore Weld's Eagleswood School in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, Sharon Female Seminary in Darby, Pennsylvania, and Mrs. Sedgwick's Young Ladies School in Lenox, Massachusetts. Influenced by her mother's activism, a life long friendship with Susan B. Anthony, and the reform movements of her husband, Ellen was an active life member in the National American Woman Suffrage Association.
Generation 4: Children of William Lloyd Garrison and Ellen Wright Garrison
There are eighteen descendents in Generation 4 of the Garrison family. William Lloyd and Ellen had five children: Agnes (1866-1950), Charles (1868-1951), Frank Wright (1871-1961), William Lloyd (1874-1964), and Eleanor (1880-1974). Although there is material on all of the children as well as other family members, William, Eleanor and Agnes are the most well represented in these papers.
William graduated from Harvard in 1897 and attended Harvard Law School. He became an investment banker and in 1908 became a partner in the firm of Perry, Coffin & Burr. When that partnership was dissolved, he became president of a new firm of Coffin & Burr. According to family members, in hard times he was known to have reimbursed clients from his own pocket if they lost money from his investments. He retired in 1933. A reformer at heart his causes included anti-vaccination, anti-imperialism, free trade, pacifism and racial and sexual equality. In 1901 he married Edith Alice Stephenson (see also Stephenson Family).
Edith was born in 1878, the third of seven children of Benjamin Turner and Luda Grant Stephenson. She was trained as a concert pianist. In addition to raising their six children, she was active in the suffrage movement and was president of the Newton Equal Suffrage League.
Eleanor graduated from Smith College in 1904 and received a Master of Arts degree from Radcliffe in 1906. When she graduated, the suffrage movement was at its peak and she worked avidly for the vote until 1919. In 1912 she became an organizer for Carrie Chapman Catt who headed the New York State campaign for women's suffrage headquartered in New York City. When the campaign ended she became interested in photography which she worked at for 10 years. In the 1940s she moved to California to care for her sister Agnes, remaining there with her brother Frank after Agnes' death.
Generation 5: The children of William Lloyd Garrison and Edith Stephenson Garrison
There are twenty-nine descendents in Generation 5 of the Garrison family. The papers primarily concern the children of William Lloyd and Edith Stephenson: William Lloyd (1902-1988 ) Claire ("Tita") (1903-1985), David Lloyd (1906- 2001), John Bright (1909-1988) Faith (1910- 1981) and Edith Lloyd ("Yoy") (1913-1993). The largest portion of the papers concern David.
David Lloyd Garrison graduated from Harvard in 1928 with a degree in fine arts. He taught for several years and then joined J.H. Emerson Co., manufacturers of breathing equipment. He was an avid birder, and just prior to World War II he was curator of birds at New England Museum of Natural History and the editor of the Bulletin of New England Bird Life. He published a number of papers on birds. He relinquished his conscientious objector status and served as a non-combatant medical technician during World War II. He married Alice ("Pat) O'Reilly (his superior officer) in 1945. After the war he resumed his work for the J. H. Emerson Company. He was also an amateur artist and was active in peace activism, land conservation and civic and church affairs.
The papers do not go beyond Generation 5 of the Garrison family, but there are 60 Garrison descendents in Generation 6.
The Wright family
There are four generations of the Wright family represent in the Garrison family papers. Material in these papers primarily represent Martha Coffin Wright, Lucretia Coffin Mott, Marianna Pelham Mott, and Eliza Wright Osborne.
Martha Coffin Wright (see NAW) was the eighth child of Thomas Coffin and Anna Folger Coffin. She was born in 1806 and in 1824, after three years of boarding school, she married army captain Peter Pelham. They had a daughter Marianna. Pelham died in 1826. In 1829 Martha married lawyer David Wright with whom she had six children: Eliza (1830), Matthew Tallman (1832), Ellen (1840), William Pelham (1842), Frank (1844), and Charles (1848). In 1848 she joined with her sister Lucretia Coffin Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Jane Hunt, and Mary Ann McClintock in planning the first woman's right convention at Seneca Falls, New York. She continued to be active throughout her life in the cause for women's rights and suffrage. She was elected to the presidency of the National Woman Suffrage Association in 1874.
Lucretia Coffin Mott (see NAW) was the second child of Thomas Coffin and Anna Folger Coffin. Born in 1793 on Nantucket, Massachusetts, in a Quaker household, she was educated in a Friends boarding school near Poughkeepsie, New York, where she later taught. In 1811 she married James Mott, a fellow teacher, who shared her causes and feminist leanings. She was an avid abolitionist and pacifist, and along with her sister Martha Coffin Wright, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Jane Hunt, and Mary Ann McClintock, planned the first woman's right convention at Seneca Falls, New York. She was president of the American Equal Rights Association from 1866 until the organization split into the National American Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association in 1869. The Motts had five children: Anna, Maria, Thomas, Elizabeth, and Martha. Thomas Mott married Marianna Pelham, the eldest daughter of Martha Coffin Wright.
Marianna Pelham was the daughter of Martha Coffin Wright by her first husband, Peter Pelham. In 1845 she married her cousin, Thomas Mott, son of Lucretia Coffin Mott and James Mott. They had three children: Isabel (1846), Emily (1848) and Maria (1853).
Eliza was the eldest of six children of Martha Coffin and David Wright. In 1851 she married David Munson Osborne. They had four children, Florence (1856), Emily (1853), Thomas Mott (1859) and Helen (1884).
There are five generations of the Stephenson family represented in the Garrison Family Papers. The first generation includes Bryant Parrot (1784-1841) and Abigail Gilbert Balkam (1784-1857) Stephenson. There is further documentation of the subsequent generations up to the nieces and nephews of Edith Stephenson Garrison. Edith's papers are included with the Garrison Family, and the Stephensons are primarily represented by Benjamin Turner and Lucinda (Luda) Grant Stephenson, the parents of Edith Alice Stephenson.