Boston Public Library’s Collections of Distinction highlight many people who made significant contributions to American society, including some revolutionary women:
- Francis Clalin is featured in the American Civil War 20th Massachusetts Regiment Collection, a woman who disguised herself as a man named Jack Williams and fought in the Civil War. Boston Public Library holds two photographs of Francis Clalin, including one in which she is dressed as a male soldier, and one in which she wears female attire. These are by far the most requested items in the Rare Books department.
- Former Beacon Hill resident Sarah Wyman Whitman, a talented artist and book designer, was the first woman to become the chief designer for a major American publisher – Boston’s own Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. In addition to her groundbreaking book design work, she was an accomplished stained glass artist and painter, with examples of her stained glass work displayed at Harvard University and Trinity Church in Boston. Visit Boston Public Library’s Flickr photostream, which contains more than 350 examples of Whitman’s exquisite bookbindings. Learn more by visiting the Fine and Historic Book Bindings Collection.
- The Anti-slavery Collection contains 40,000 pieces of correspondence, newspapers, pamphlets, and books spanning a 35-year period, and features letters and correspondence from the abolitionist Weston sisters: Anne, Caroline, Deborah, Lucia, Mary, and Maria Weston Chapman. The Weston sisters and eight other women from the Boston Female Anti-slavery Society organized the first anti-slavery fair in 1834 and were a significant force in the fight against slavery.