American Antiquarian SocietyWorcester Historical Society, AASLH Member Since 1984

The American Antiquarian Society (AAS) and the Worcester Historical Museum (WHM), Worcester, MA,  have worked together to digitize their collections of Abby Kelley Foster (1811-1887) papers. Foster, who lived in Worcester with her husband Stephen S. Foster and daughter Alla, played a pivotal role in shaping both the anti-slavery and women’s rights movements of the nineteenth century. In 2011, she was inducted into the National Abolition Hall of Fame and the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

This combined online archive provides a detailed look at the anti-slavery movement and also illuminates the role of women in politics and reform movements, as well as that of reformers generally. The collection details the work of both Abby and Stephen and their relationship to and influence upon major figures of the period. It includes correspondences to and from such well-known and influential nineteenth-century personalities as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, William Lloyd Garrison, Angelina and Sarah Grimke, Gerrit Smith, Jane Elizabeth Hitchcock Jones, Parker Pillsbury, Wendell Phillips, Lucy Stone and others.

In addition to letters, the collection also includes envelopes, postal cards, membership certificates, and tax records.
The online collections can be accessed through the AAS website. A finding aid ( provides links to the combined collection as well as separate links to the materials held at AAS and WHM. The online collection contains 2,597 images of over 600 items. The original documents continue to be housed at the American Antiquarian Society and the Worcester Historical Museum where they can be accessed by researchers who wish to study them. Reproduction permissions and fees can also be negotiated through each holding institution.

A series of public programs entitled Abby Goes Digital! promotes this online archive and celebrates Foster’s remarkable accomplishments. Abby Goes Digital! is a collaboration between the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester Historical Museum, Mechanics Hall and Worcester Women’s History Project and is supported in part by the Greater Worcester Community Foundation.

For more information, contact:

James David Moran
508-471-2131 (office)