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An Extraordinary Celebration for an Extraordinary Woman!

The Margaret Fuller Bicentennial has been an incredible opportunity to celebrate and learn about an extraordinary woman and continue her global vision of equality and human rights. The major events of the Bicentennial are now over, but the resources developed during the Bicentennial will remain available through this website at least through the end of 2011.

The goal of the Bicentennial has been to raise awareness of Margaret Fuller, so that her story may inspire people of all ages to follow her lead and think independently, express their thoughts clearly, defend their convictions with courage, learn through dialogue and the free exchange of opinions, believe in the equality of all people, and be open to change. Then her legacy will be assured.

Margaret Fuller (1810-1850)

Author, editor, journalist, literary critic, educator, Transcendentalist, and women’s rights advocate....

Today we consider Margaret Fuller one of the guiding lights of the first-wave of feminism. She helped  educate the women of her day by leading a series of Conversations in which women were empowered to read, think and discuss important issues of the day. She empowered generations to follow through her ground-breaking writings, especially her landmark book Woman in the Nineteenth Century.

Among her accomplishments:

  • First American to write a book about equality for women
  • First editor of The Dial, foremost Transcendentalist journal, appointed by Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • First woman to enter Harvard Library to pursue research
  • First woman journalist on Horace Greeley’s New York Daily Tribune
  • First woman literary critic who also set literary standards
  • First woman foreign correspondent and war correspondent to serve under combat conditions

Many Thanks to the Bicentennial Committee

The Margaret Fuller Bicentennial Committee was a grassroots group of Unitarian Universalists , scholars, and representatives from historical sites, commissions, and organizations.  Together they planned tours, exhibits, trips, programs and performances intended to celebrate the life and legacy of Margaret Fuller during the bicentennial year of her birth, and beyond.

Funding was provided by the Fund for Unitarian Universalism, Mass Humanities, the Unitarian Universalist Historical Society, and individual donations. Unitarian Universalist Women & Religion served as the fiscal agent and is continuing to host the website. To learn more about this organization, please visit

This Web site will be updated periodically as new events and resources are developed. If you are planning a Margaret Fuller related event, we would love to list it here. Please e-mail us the details and we'll post it on the events calendar. We also welcome the suggestion and submission of possible resources to be added to the site. Donations continue to be accepted to maintain the website and resources.

Questions about the site? Contact the Webweaver.


Margaret Fuller: A New American LifeMegan Marshall’s much-awaited biography of Margaret Fuller is here!

Advance reviewers have already praised Margaret Fuller: A New American Life as “a magnificent biography,” “spectacularly detailed” and written with a “unique intimacy.”  Emerson’s biographer Robert D. Richardson writes, “this is the book Margaret Fuller would have wanted.”

Marshall tells the story of Fuller’s rise to prominence among the Transcendentalists, her vexed relationship with Ralph Waldo Emerson, the flowering of her feminism in New England and her departure for New York to write for Horace Greeley’s Tribune “at home and abroad,” leading to her love affair with Giovanni Ossoli—all with fresh insight and uncommon pathos. Synthesizing the scholarship of recent decades and drawing on her own research finds—a new record of Fuller’s famous Conversations for women, an Emerson letter describing Thoreau’s findings at the site of the fatal shipwreck, an engraving of Rome belonging to Fuller that survived the wreck—Marshall brings our great American heroine to new and vivid life.  If you loved The Peabody Sisters, Marshall’s first award-winning biography, you will love Margaret Fuller.

Heroes have filled the zodiac of beneficent labors, and then given up their mortal part to the fire without a murmur. Sages and lawgivers have bent their whole nature to the search for truth, and thought themselves happy if they could buy, with the sacrifice of all temporal ease and pleasure, one seed for the future Eden. Poets and priests have strung the lyre with heart-strings, poured out their best blood upon the altar which, reare'd anew from age to age, shall at last sustain the flame which rises to highest heaven. What shall we say of those who, if not so directly, or so consciously, in connection with the central truth, yet, led and fashioned by a divine instinct, serve no less to develop and interpret the open secret of love passing into life, the divine energy creating for the purpose of happiness; of the artist, whose hand, drawn by a preexistent harmony to a certain medium, moulds it to expressions of life more highly and completely organized than are seen elsewhere, and, by carrying out the intention of nature, reveals her meaning to those who are not yet sufficiently matured to divine it; of the philosopher, who listens steadily for causes, and, from those obvious, infers those yet unknown; of the historian, who, in faith that all events must have their reason and their aim, records them, and lays up archives from which the youth of prophets may be fed. The man of science dissects the statement, verifies the facts, and demonstrates connection even where he cannot its purpose.
-- Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845)