Learning Activities

Who is Margaret Fuller?

Resources for use by Schools, Libraries, and Community Groups

by Linda Stern and Elizabeth Kovacs

Related fields: social studies, history, biography, philosophy, Transcendentalism, Concord, New England/Boston area history, interdisciplinary

Teacher/Facilitator resources

Included here are biographies of Margaret Fuller, books about her that include selections from her writings, and books about 19th century American life. Additional materials listed under Student resources.

Capper, Charles. Margaret Fuller: An American Life, Vol. 1: The Private Years. NY: Oxford U. Pr., 1992.

Capper, Charles. Margaret Fuller: An American Life, Vol. 2: The Public Years. NY: Oxford U. Pr., 2007.

Cott, Nancy. Bonds of Womanhood: Women’s Sphere in New England, 1780-1835. New Haven: Yale Univ. Pr., 2007.

Deiss, Joseph Jay. Roman Years of Margaret Fuller: A Biography. NY: Crowell, 1969.

Hudspeth, Robert, ed. My Heart is a Large Kingdom: Selected Letters of Margaret Fuller. Cornell Univ. Press, 2001.

James, Laurie. Why Margaret Fuller Ossoli is Forgotten. NY: Golden Heritage Pr. Inc., 1988.

Lavender, Catherine J. “The Cult of Domesticity and True Womanhood.” The College of Staten Island/CUNY.

http://www.library.csi.cuny.edu/dept/history/lavender/386/truewoman.html

Marshall, Megan. Peabody Sisters: Three Women Who Ignited American Romanticism. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 2005.

Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli. Edited by Ralph Waldo Emerson, James Freeman Clarke, and William Henry Channing. Original publication: Boston:  Philippis,  Sampson, 1852. Recent publication: Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Library, 2005.

Miller, Perry. American Transcendentalists, Their Prose and Poetry. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981.

Murray, Meg McGavran. Margaret Fuller: Wandering Pilgrim. Athens: Univ. of Georgia Pr., 2008.

Pessen, Edward. Jacksonian America. Chicago: Univ. of Illinois Pr., 1985.

Fuller, Margaret. Edited by Larry J. Reynolds and Susan Belasco Smith. These Sad but Glorious Days: Dispatches from Europe 1846-1850. New Haven: Yale Univ. Pr., 1991.

Student resources (Appropriate for high school students and adults)

Biographies of Margaret Fuller

Blanchard, Paula. Margaret Fuller: From Transcendentalism to Revolution. Addison-Wesley, 1987.

von Mehren, Joan. Minerva and the Muse: A Life of Margaret Fuller. Amherst: Univ. of Mass Pr., 1994.

Books and Articles about Margaret Fuller, some with selections from her writings

Andrews, Barry, ed. The Spirit Leads: Margaret Fuller in Her Own Words. Boston: Skinner House Books, 2010.

Chevigny, Bell Gale. “Ahead of Her Time.” Boston Globe, 7/17/2000. Retrieved 5/18/2011.

Deiss, Joseph Jay. "Rediscovery of Margaret Fuller." Christian Science Monitor, p. 15, 1/21/1974. Retrieved 5/18/2011.

Kornfield, Eve. Margaret Fuller: A Brief Biography with Documents. Boston: Bedford Books, 1997.

Rankin, Jenny. “A Writer, Thinker, and Trailblazer.” Boston Globe, 5/242010.

Steele, Jeffrey, ed. The Essential Margaret Fuller. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Pr., 1992.

Books by Margaret Fuller

These are the four books published during Fuller’s lifetime. Note original publication information and selected recent editions. For some of these books there are many additional editions and some are contained in anthologies. See links to online versions of Fuller texts at www.margaretfuller.org.

Conversations with Goethe in the Last Years of His Life. Translated from the German of Eckermann. Original publication: Boston: Hilliard, Gray, 1839.

Papers on Literature and Art. Original publication: New York: Wiley & Putnam, 1846. Reprinted by AMS Press.

Summer on the Lakes, in 1843. Original publication: Boston: Charles C. Little & James Brown; New York: Charles S. Francis, 1844. Recent edition: With an Introduction by Susan Belasco Smith. Urbana: U. of Ill. Pr., 1991.

Woman in the Nineteenth Century. Original publication: New York: Greeley & McElrath, 1945. Recent publication: Norton Critical Editions, 1997.

Biographical Dictionaries

James, Edward T., James, Janet Wilson; & Boyer, Paul, eds. Notable American Women, 1607-1950: A Biographical Dictionary. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University, 1971.

Dictionary of Unitarian Universalist Biography

http://www25.uua.org/uuhs/duub/articles/margaretfuller.html

A major entry on Margaret Fuller is included with many links to people she interacted with.

Biographical Resources online about Margaret Fuller

Dictionary of Unitarian Universalist Biography entry on Margaret Fuller: http://www25-temp.uua.org/uuhs/duub/articles/margaretfuller.html

Biographical sketch of Margaret Fuller on Virginia Commonwealth University website: http://www.vcu.edu/engweb/transcendentalism/authors/fuller

Chronology of Margaret Fuller’s Life: http://margaretfuller.org

Text and images from the traveling display “Why Margaret Fuller Matters”: http://www.margaretfuller.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=89&Itemid=144

Websites

American Transcendentalism Web

http://www.vcu.edu/engweb/transcendentalism/authors/fuller

Comprehensive site that includes biographical information, readings, full text of Fuller’s works (including Women in the Nineteenth Century), criticism and links to other Fuller sites.

Boston Women’s Heritage Trail

http://bwht.org

Some local Boston sites are included that are connected to Margaret Fuller’s life.

Dictionary of Unitarian Universalist Biography

http://www25.uua.org/uuhs/duub/articles/margaretfuller.html

A major entry on Margaret Fuller is included with many links to people she interacted with.

“I Hear America Singing”

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/ihas/fuller.html

Brief written profile of Margaret Fuller, the poet and writer.

Library of Congress / American Memory

http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/index.html

The holdings of the Library of Congress on Margaret Fuller are vast.  Included are many full text periodical articles from the 19th century.

Margaret Fuller Bicentennial website

http://www.margaretfuller.org

There are links to biographies and to online versions of her writings, as well as other resources, including  traveling display.

Margaret Fuller Society

http://mendota.english.wisc.edu/~jasteele

This is a very fine academic website on Margaret Fuller, her life, dissertations on her work, research links, and bibliographies, compiled by Jeffery Steele

Mass Moments

http://www.massmoments.org/index.cfm

Margaret Fuller is included in 5 articles

Transcendentalist Spirituality

http://www.transcendentalistspirituality.com

Included is the introduction to author Barry Andrews’ book, The Spirit Leads.  Also included are his sermons and photographs.

YouTube Videos

Look up “Margaret Fuller Bicentennial.”  There are more than 30 videos.  We recommend starting with the following:

Memorial Service: parts 2, 4, 5, 6

Why Margaret Fuller Matters: parts 1, 2, 5

Margaret Fuller in Groton: part 1

A Conversation: Fuller and Poe: parts 3, 4, 5

Look up “Margaret Fuller” and “Laurie James” together: “Who said that?”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jnu1yb50Gwo

Multi-media resources

DVDs

“New England Transcendentalists.”  Films for the Humanities & Sciences, 2004; 27 min.   While it can be ordered from Films from the Humanities, it may be available through your public library.

“Emerson, Thoreau, and the Transcendentalist Movement.” Ashton Nichols, 30 min. The Teaching Co. The Great Courses [college level]. It may be available through your public library.

Play

Sheldon, Sayre and Agnes Butcher. Margaret Fuller’s Universe. This play is available online at www.margaretfuller.org.

Sheet Music

“New Worlds Manifest,” by Ed Thompson and Laura Lucille Halfvarson; the lyrics were adapted from the writings of Margaret Fuller.

“New World Manifest” melody. (PDF)

http://www.uua.org/documents/mfb/fuller_hymn_new_world_melody.pdf

“New Worlds Manifest” piano and vocal (PDF)

http://www.uua.org/documents/mfb/fuller_hymn_new_world_piano_vocal.pdf

Timeline

Chronology of Margaret Fuller’s life on the Bicentennial website www.margaretfuller.org

Trail Guide

Margaret Fuller’s New England: Where She Lived, Worked, and Visited. Boston: Margaret Fuller Bicentennial Committee, 2010. Available for purchase at http://uuwr.org/new-store/books/221-margaret-fullers-new-england

Traveling Display

“Why Margaret Fuller Matters” is a series of text-and-image panels designed to answer the fundamental question of why this great nineteenth-century figure remains important two centuries after her birth. Ten colorful 24-inch x 18-inch foam core panels include: an introductory panel; brief sketches of her key colleagues; a chronological telling of her life and her views on women’s rights, education (especially female), class, slavery, American Indian rights, religion, Transcendentalism, her world view as a trans-nationalist, and her vision of a just world. Available from the Margaret Fuller Bicentennial Committee for a small fee for shipping and handling fee. Information at www.margaretfuller.org.

Other resources in New England:

See detailed information and additional sites in Margaret Fuller’s New England: Where She Lived, Worked, and Visited. [Trail guide, listed above]

Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House

Ralph Waldo Emerson House

Orchard House

Old Manse

Walden Pond and Thoreau’s Cabin

Mt. Auburn Cemetery

Old Sturbridge Village

Boston Public Library Rare Books and Manuscript Department