Mary Livermore

When Mary Livermore (1820-1905) was hired as a tutor for a Virginia family, she witnessed firsthand the terror of slavery—memories that would never leave her.

After getting married Livermore moved to Chicago where she volunteered with the Chicago branch of the U.S. Sanitary Commission, an organization that provided medical supplies and care packages for Union soldiers during the Civil War. Livermore became the chief organizer of the Great Northwest Sanitary Fair of October 1863, a week-long fund-raising event which raised over $80,000 (a huge amount at the time) to fund the organization’s work. Among the items sold was a deep tiller (donated by John Deere), a barrel of salt (donated by the Chicago and Milwaukee Salt Company) , battle-torn flags and the original Emancipation Proclamation (donated by Abraham Lincoln).

After the war, Livermore pivoted and became a women’s rights activist. She organized a woman’s rights convention in Chicago and founded her own women’s rights newspaper, The Agitator. As a lecturer, Livermore traveled around America and Europe giving 150 lectures a year on women’s rights and education, temperance, religion and history. “What Shall We Do With Our Daughters?” was Livermore’s most notable lecture and one that she delivered often.

Why this stop? The Great Northwestern Sanitary Fair was held a half block east of the Washington/Wabash station.