Cousins of Reform: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Gerrit Smith
Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Gerrit Smith were first cousins born 18 years apart, but they shared a devotion to social reform that placed them together in a very small group of strong-willed people who helped to shape the second half of the 19th century.
Cady Stanton was a frequent visitor to Smith’s Peterboro, NY home (she met her future husband there), and she had long talks with her elder cousin about the nature of reform and the social and political implications of gender, race, and religion. Each was a student of the other, and their not-infrequent disagreements led them to refine their causes—and define themselves.
In this meticulously researched book, author Norman Dann sheds light on the complex, inspired relationship that drove these two cousins to great achievement— Stanton in women’s rights and Smith in the cause of abolition.
“...An insightful examination of the complex relationship between two radical reformist giants of the 19th century. This remarkably insightful biography offers a new perspective on how the interplay of family dynamics, intellectual authority and gendered expectations transformed two remarkable individuals who would lead the charge to end slavery and challenge American democracy to live up to its unfulfilled promises. Norm Dann, noteworthy Gerrit Smith biographer, has given us another gem.”
Kate Clifford Larson, Ph.D.Consulting Historian and Curator, Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park and Visitor Center
Author, Bound For the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero
Department of History | Simmons College, Boston, MA
“A lively account of two strong and nationally significant reformers who happened to be cousins. Gerrit Smith and Elizabeth Cady Stanton offer us a model for civil discussion on issues of equality and justice, especially relating to the rights of women. Their wit and wisdom still generate sparks, challenging us all to continue their debate.”
Judith Wellman, Ph.D.
Director, Historical New York Research Associates
Professor Emerita, SUNY Oswego