Reform Begins at Home
Abolitionists Met Here
We consider that we are not moving out of our proper sphere as females when we assume a public stand in favor of our oppressed sisters.
Abolitionists Slept Here
Long before the Civil War, the issue of slavery had set neighbor against neighbor. For decades before the first shot was fired, skirmishes in that war were fought with words-including some right here within these walls.
Jonathan Walker, a sea captain and famous antislavery lecturer, was a guest in the Caldwells' house. In 1844, he was caught transporting slaves to freedom in the Bahamas. Walker was jailed and his right hand branded with the letters "S.S." for slave stealer.
I well remember [Jonathan] Walker with the hand branded S.S. [Slave Stealer], for his efforts in freeing slaves; and [Charles] Torrey, who died a martyr to the cause in a southern prison, spending nights at [my father's] hospitable Ipswich home.
-Margaret Caldwell Whipple's reminiscences, 1902
Frederick Douglass was a prominent African American abolitionist who was born into slavery and escaped. In the 1840s, he lived in nearby Lynn, Massachusetts, and lectured throughout the North.
Thursday the Miss Grimkes ... lectured....Not that I by any means approve of ladies coming this publick & forward for I do not, but I thought what I heard was likely to do much good.
–Mary S. Kimball, Ipswich, 1837, on prominent abolitionists Sarah and Angelina Grimke
Abolitionists Raised Here
Mother! when around your child
You clasp your arms in love,
And when with grateful joy you raise
Your eyes to God above,— Think of the negro mother, when Her child is tom away,
Sold for a little slave-oh then
For that poor mother pray!
Antislavery slogans were often printed, stenciled, or stitched on products to carry the abolitionist message into the home and make it a part of everyday life-in the kitchen, the parlor , even in the cradle. These homemade goods were part of an international campaign against slavery.