A Celebration of Women Writers

"Synopsis of Lecture on Margaret Fuller." by Mrs. Celia Parker Woolley (1848-1918).
Publication: Eagle, Mary Kavanaugh Oldham, ed. The Congress of Women: Held in the Woman's Building, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, U. S. A., 1893. Chicago, Ill: Monarch Book Company, 1894. p. 763.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

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SYNOPSIS OF LECTURE ON MARGARET FULLER.

By MRS. CELIA PARKER WOOLLEY.

MRS. CELIA PARKER WOOLLEY.
Margaret Fuller belonged to the most brilliant era in the intellectual growth of America, whose highwater mark was reached in Emerson, and whose lesser waves are counted in the names of Alcott, Thoreau, Ripley, Theodore Parker and others of almost equal fame–with one woman among the rest, the acknowledged peer of the best, a thinker and scholar, and a woman of passionate moral conviction besides.

Margaret Fuller was the typical woman of her age, because she embodied, so far in advance of their more general recognition and demand, those qualities of mental courage, industry and devotion which alone can bring about that new state and ideal of womanhood so much talked of in the present day. Margaret Fuller was, in culture, in character, in influence and in the permanent quality of her work what the women of a later age are eagerly contending in their clubs and conventions women might, could and should be. What we in the last half of the nineteenth century are declaring women ought to do and ought to be allowed to do, Margaret Fuller, back there in the first half of the century, did; and that at a time when the obstacles to woman's progress were tenfold as numerous and difficult as now.

Margaret Fuller was the typical woman, not only of her age, but of her country. Through toil and talent she became the possessor of a rich and varied culture that linked her with the older civilizations of the past, but she always remained true to those principles of individual worth and freedom on which our republic is based. She was thoroughly American, an enthusiastic believer in our national standards and ideas. She loved and believed in her kind. She lived before the day when the advocates of higher culture tried to demonstrate themselves such by decrying all that pertains to their own age or country in favor of the time-worn systems of the past. Culture was to her a means of clearer understanding of the practical problems of life; she wished to know more in order to be more. Pettiness of all kinds was far removed from her. Her faults were those of a rich and ardent nature; they were her virtues run to excess.

It was Margaret Fuller's fortune to live at a time when the highest exponents of the intellectual life were also the known champions of the most unpopular reforms. She was one of the reformers not in any perfunctory sense; her name was identified with no particular movement or cause, but her sympathies for all forms of human suffering and wrong were active and deep. She was always a strong friend of her own sex and employed her talents in practical efforts for the improvement of the condition of women. The lesson of this woman's life lies in the thoroughness of her work. She was fully equipped for every task she undertook. She will also always be gratefully remembered for the nobility of her aim, her unworldliness and constancy to high principle, a moral activity which found outlet in many directions Her attainments and her character will remain an inspiring example to the world for all time to come.


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Mrs. Celia Parker Woolley is a native of Toledo, Ohio. She was born June 17, 1848. Her parents were Mr. and Mrs. M. H. Parker, of Coldwater, Mich. She was educated at Coldwater, Mich., and Painesville, Ohio (Lake Erie Seminary). She married J. H. Woolley, Esq., in 1868. Her principal literary works are three novels: "Love and Theology," "A Girl Graduate." and "Roger Hunt." Mrs. Woolley was formerly a writer, and is now a minister. In religious faith she is a Unitarian, and a minister of the society at Geneva, Ill. Her postoffice address is Chicago, Ill.

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Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

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Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom