© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.


Maria W. Chapman (1806-1885) was a prominent American abolitionist and a close associate of William Lloyd Garrison. She was a Ladies' High School principal in Boston before she married merchant Henry Grafton Chapman, who introduced her to several abolitionist activists. Maria then helped organize the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society along with twelve other women in 1832, and served as treasurer of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society. She also assisted Garrison in editing his antislavery paper, The Liberator.

Chapman organized fairs throughout New England to help raise funds for the antislavery cause. Along with Angelina Grimké and others, Chapman spoke at the Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women in Philadelphia in May 1838. Like Grimké, she defied the hostile mob that surrounded the building and persisted in making her speech anyway. The next day, the mob burned down the building. In 1839, Chapman published the pamphlet, Right and Wrong in Massachusetts, in which she argued that differences in opinion about women's rights were at the center of the widening divisions among abolitionists.

back to top