Who is Margaret Fuller?

Sarah Margaret Fuller was born in our National Historic Landmark facility at 71 Cherry St. in Cambridge in 1810. She was an extraordinary author, editor, journalist, literary critic, educator, Transcendentalist, and women’s rights advocate.

Margaret_Fuller_Image1-212x300Today many consider Margaret Fuller one of the guiding lights of the first-wave of feminism. She helped educate the women of her day by leading a series of Conversations in which women were empowered to read, think and discuss important issues of the day. She inspired generations to come through her ground-breaking writings, especially her landmark book Woman in the Nineteenth Century.

Among her accomplishments:

  • First American to write a book about equality for women
  • First woman foreign correspondent and war correspondent to serve under combat conditions
  • First woman journalist on Horace Greeley’s New York Daily Tribune
  • First editor of The Dial, foremost Transcendentalist journal, appointed by Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • First woman literary critic who also set literary standards
  • First woman to enter Harvard Library to pursue research

In her relatively brief life, from her birth in 1810 to a Unitarian family in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to her death in a shipwreck in 1850, Margaret Fuller accomplished a staggering list of firsts and milestones.  Her visionary ideas—on the need for social and personal transformation, rationalism and mysticism, intellectual freedom and religious pluralism, and democracy and human rights outside our borders—continue to resonate in the 21st century.

Upon her untimely death, Ralph Waldo Emerson expressed that “Her conversations were the most entertaining in America…” and that “I have lost in her my audience.”  Margaret Fuller was a brilliant, passionate, unconventional woman in the highly conventional Boston of the early 19th century.

Birthplace of Margaret Fuller--now a National Historic Landmark

Birthplace of Margaret Fuller–now a National Historic Landmark