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Lot 349: Rare Early Social Reformer Autograph
29 October 2016
Wells, ME, USA
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Description: Deborah Fisher Wharton (1795 – 1888) American Quaker minister, suffragist, social reformer and proponent of women's rights, and the mother of industrialist Joseph Wharton. She was one of a small group of dedicated Quakers who founded Swarthmore College. She was a contemporary and friend of Lucretia Mott and had many of Mott's sympathies but did not actively pursue the women's rights cause, rather she was a proponent of liberal Quaker spirituality. Her son, Joseph Wharton (1826-1909) was the American industrialist who founded the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, co-founded the Bethlehem Steel company, and was one of the founders of Swarthmore College. Deborah Fisher grew up in downtown Philadelphia at 110 S. Front Street. The neighborhood was busy and wealthy, and she remembered seeing famous neighbors including George Washington stroll along the street. The family enjoyed the countryside and often visited their country estate called "The Cliffs" several miles north of Philadelphia on the Schuylkill River. Deborah and William Wharton [husband] and were involved in Quaker Meeting affairs including many committees. Deborah was recognized by their Meeting at Ninth and Spruce Streets as a minister. She was involved in many causes, including helping the Indians of upper New York state, the anti-slavery movement, and education of children. She defended Indians' rights in Washington DC, and visited their reservations. Deborah and William successfully petitioned the city of Philadelphia to provide free education for blacks. William became one of the first directors of the Public Schools of Philadelphia and served in that capacity for twenty years. Offered here is a book once owned by Deborah Fisher. She has signed her name in ink on the flyleaf, 1815. The book is POEMS by William Cowper, 1808, vol. 1 only, printed at Amherst, N.H., 250 pages, 6-1/2 x 4-1/4 in. Covers are in very poor condition with much leather lossw, covers detached; first few pages detachted but all present. Obviously this little treasure deserves to be rebound in fine leather.
Condition Report: Covers are in very poor condition with much leather loss, covers detached; first few pages detached but all present. Obviously this little treasure deserves to be rebound in fine leather.