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Digital Bookshelf: Letters and Diaries

Abigail Goodwin to William Still, August 1, 1855

Original Citation
Abigail Goodwin to William Still, August 1, 1855, reprinted in William Still, The Underground Railroad (Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1872), 620-621.


Abigail Goodwin was a Quaker woman living in New Jersey who helped hide and support fugitive slaves. In this letter from August 1, 1855, Goodwin writes to William Still, head of the Philadelphia Vigilance Committee, offering to organize a "committee of women" who might pay particular attention to the needs of female runaways. She also asks about his plans to celebrate August 1st, a reference to Emancipation Day which marked the abolition of slavery in the British Empire, August 1, 1834.


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"SALEM, 8th mo., 1st.

"Would it not be well to get up a committee of women, to provide clothes for fugitive females- a dozen women sewing a day, or even half a day of each week, might keep a supply always ready, they might, I should think, get the merchants or some of them, to give cheap materials- mention it to thy wife, and see if she cannot get up a society. I will do what I can here for it. I enclose five dollars for the use of fugitives. It was a good while that I heard nothing of your rail road concerns; I expected thee had gone to Canada, or has the journey not been made, or is it yet to be accomplished, or given up? I was in hopes thee would go and see with thy own eyes, how things go on in that region of fugitives, and if it's a goodly land to live in.

"This is the first of August, and I suppose you are celebrating it in Philadelphia, or some of you are, though I believe you are not quite as zealous as the Bostonians are in doing it. When will our first of August come? oh, that it might be soon, very soon! It's high time the 'reign of oppression was over'"

Citation for this page

"Abigail Goodwin to William Still, August 1, 1855," Underground Railroad Digital Classroom, Dickinson College, 2008,


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