CHARACTER REENACTOR portrays MARGARET FULLER
Character reenactor Jessa Piaia will present a dramatic portrayal of Margaret Fuller (1810-1850) in “Meet Margaret Fuller in West Roxbury on the Spring Equinox” at the West Roxbury Public Library located at 1961 Centre Street on Saturday, March 20, 2010 at 1:00 pm. The day’s program is set on March 20, 1845, when Miss Fuller is back in town from Manhattan. She reminisces about her growing up days in Cambridgeport and Boston; her literary achievements, and adventures with the Transcendentalist group including Brook Farm residents; as well as her present employment as first female literary critic for the New York Daily Tribune. A recognized leader of local Conversations, Margaret will engage the audience with characteristic verve and candor, relating episodes about her circle of friends, philosophy, and travel pursuits. Cosponsored by the West Roxbury Historical Society, the portrayal runs approximately 30 minutes in length, with an informal Q&A to follow. For more information about this program, contact Bob Murphy at 617-327-6331.
Piaia uses drama to reveal the accomplishments, struggles, and contributions of women to American history. Clad in period attire, she is acclaimed for “recreating history in the fullest sense,” and for using “solid research and compelling writing” in her artistry. She performs at educational institutions, museums, libraries, social and cultural organizations throughout New England. An eleven-site Massachusetts tour of Susan B. Anthony in Spring 1994 was supported by a grant from the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities; and a mini-grant was awarded in Fall 1997 for the program, “From Suffragist to Citizen: A Conversation with Susan B. Anthony and Eleanor Roosevelt” for three sites across the state, with Piaia (as Anthony) and Elena Dodd (as Roosevelt).
Ms. Piaia studied performance at London’s Oval House Theatre, and graduated from the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She works at Harvard University. Research for this program was conducted through conversations and at local archives. The program was presented at the 199th birthday of Margaret Fuller’s Bicentennial Celebration committee; at Cambridge Discovery Days at Longfellow House Garden; and at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education.
For more information, contact Jessa Piaia at (617) 388-8795 or visit her website at, http://www.womeninhistoryprograms.com.
Harvard University Library, Open Collections Program
Women Working, 1800-1930.
Woman in the nineteenth century: and kindred papers relating to the sphere, condition and duties, of woman. Margaret Fuller Ossoli; edited by her brother, Arthur B. Fuller, with an introduction by Horace Greeley.
Boston : J. P. Jewett ; Cleveland, Ohio : Jewett Proctor & Worthington ; New York : Sheldon, Lamport, 1855. 428p.
Margaret Fuller Ossoli. Thomas Wentworth Higginson.
Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1884. 323p.
Margaret Fuller (Marchesa Ossoli). by Julia Ward Howe.
Boston: Roberts Bros., 1890. 298p.
Margaret Fuller: a psychological biography. by Katharine Anthony.
New York: Harcourt, Brace and Howe, 1920. 223p.
Women who have ennobled life. by Lilian Whiting.
Philadelphia: The Union Press, 1915. 260 p
Biographies: Browning, Elizabeth Barrett, 1806-1861; Livermore, Mary Ashton Rice, 1820-1905; Alcott, Louisa May, 1832-1888 Fuller, Margaret, 1810-1850; Lyon, Mary, 1797-1849; Stowe, Harriet Beecher, 1811-1896; Willard, Frances Elizabeth, 1839-1898; Hosmer, Harriet Goodhue , 1830-1908; Howe, Julia Ward, 1819-1910.
Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee
c/o Stamp Development
U. S. Postal Service
1735 North Lynn St., Suite 5013
Arlington, VA 22209-6432
March 26, 2009
Members of the Committee:
Despite the late notice, we hope you will consider an honorary stamp on behalf of MARGARET FULLER (1810-1850) to celebrate the bicentennial anniversary of her birth in 2010.
Despite a lack of formal education, Fuller became one of the leading minds of her generation. A founding member of the Transcendentalism movement, she was the first editor of their literary voice, The Dial. Her career as a journalist later brought her to New York, where she became the first woman to be a full-time book critic anywhere in the world. Her connection to Horace Greely’s New York Tribune next brought her to warn-torn Italy, where she became the first American woman to be an overseas correspondent as well as the first to serve during wartime. While overseas, she joined in the cause of Italian revolution.
By this time Fuller had already published Woman in the Nineteenth Century – a book considered by many to be the first major work of feminism in the United States. In it, she asked Americans to redefine gender roles by opening more doors for women. In particular, Fuller promoted access to higher education and political rights as well as employment opportunities. To further her message, she took it upon herself to help women who had been denied access to proper formal education by presenting a series of “Conversations” for women to discuss college-level topics.
Her interest in reform, however, was not wholly focused on women. She was also an ardent abolitionist, referring to the “cancer of slavery.” She also sought reform in prisons and called attention to those who were poverty-stricken. She drew attention to the Native Americans who had so recently been displaced and consider these people an important part of the nation’s heritage. In writing a book on Native Americans, she used the library at Harvard University for research – the first woman allowed to do so.
In the nineteenth century, Fuller was admired by the likes of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, George Eliot and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Awed by her assertiveness, Edgar Allan Poe came to believe that there were three types of people in the world: “Men, women, and Margaret Fuller.” After her tragic death by shipwreck in 1850, Fuller’s later admirers included Susan B. Anthony, who considered her the “precursor of the Women’s Rights agitation” and that she “possessed more influence upon the thoughts of America, than any woman previous to her time.”
For a woman of the nineteenth century, Margaret Fuller was clearly ahead of her time. Using both her voice and her pen, she attempted to redefine the roles of women and earn respect and equality for all Americans. Now, 200 years after the birth of Margaret Fuller, her messages still stand. We, the undersigned, represent only a small faction of people who believe her memory should be honored by the tribute of a federal postage stamp. Thank you for your consideration.
With sincerity and gratitude,
Representatives of the Margaret Fuller Bicentennial Committee
On May 23, I’ll follow my annual routine for that day: I’ll wait for the gates to open at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Mass., park in a Visitor spot, then head toward the hill about a quarter-mile on. I’ll take a right on Pyrola Path, pass by McGeorge Bundy’s simple headstone, and climb a small rise to the left. There, I’ll enter the Fuller family lot.
Yes, geodesic-dome inventor Bucky Fuller lies there, his gravestone etched with his most famous invention. He shares a marker with his wife, Anne Hewlett, most appropriate as they died within hours of each other a quarter-century ago. Seeing their headstone alone is worth the visit. But on this day, I’ll pay homage to a different family member, Bucky’s great-aunt, on her 199th birthday.
- Conversations with Goethe in the Last Years of His Life (translated by MF into English)
- "The Great Lawsuit: Man vs. Men Woman vs. Women," published in the Dial magazine
- Summer on the Lakes, in 1843
- Woman in the Ninteenth Century and Kindred Papers Relating to the Sphere, Condition and Duties, of Woman.