About Paulina Kellogg Wright Davis
Paulina Kellogg Wright Davis (August 7, 1813 – August 24, 1876) was an American abolitionist, suffragist, and educator.
Paulina Kellogg was born in Bloomfield, New York, to Captain Ebenezer Kellogg and Polly Saxton. The family moved to the frontier near Niagara Falls in 1817. Both her parents died, and in 1820 she went to live with her orthodox Presbyterian aunt in Le Roy, New York. She joined the church, although she found it hostile to outspoken women. She wanted to become a missionary but was unable to as the church did not allow single women to become missionaries.
She was courted by suitor Francis Wright, a merchant from a prosperous family from Utica, New York; they married in 1833. They had similar values and both resigned from their church to protest its pro-slavery stance and served on the executive committee of the Central New York Anti-Slavery Society. They also supported women's rights reforms, associating with feminists Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Ernestine Rose. During this period Paulina Kellogg studied women's health. Francis Wright died in 1845; the couple had no children.
Following her husband's death she moved to New York to study medicine. In 1846 she gave lectures on anatomy and physiology to women only. She imported a medical mannequin and toured the eastern United States teaching women and urging them to become physicians. In 1849 she married Thomas Davis, an Irish-American Democrat from Providence, Rhode Island; they adopted two daughters. In 1850 she started to focus her energies on women's rights. She stopped lecturing and helped to arrange and head the 1850 National Women's Rights Convention in Worcester, Massachusetts, delivering the keynote address. In 1853 she began editing the women's newspaper The Una, which she edited till 1855 when she handed it over to Caroline Wells Healey Dall.
In 1870 she arranged the twentieth anniversary of the Women's Suffrage Movement meeting, and published the proceeds as The History of the National Woman's Rights Movement.
The work of Paulina Kellogg Wright Davis as a women's rights advocate, social reformer, educator, and author extended over forty years from the late 1830s to her death in 1876. Born in Ontario County, she was orphaned at age seven and then raised in LeRoy, NY by an aunt.
Mrs. Wright began her work for women's rights, anti-slavery and temperance causes when she was only twenty and newly married to Francis Wright, a wealthy merchant from Utica, NY. In the late 1830s, she met Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Ernestine Rose, with whom she joined in a petition to the New York legislature that eventually led to the passage of the Married Women's Property Act in 1848 that gave married women control of their own personal property and real estate.
Following the death of Francis Wright in 1845, Paulina Wright was left an independent and wealthy woman. She invested her time in studying the anatomy and physiology of women and then conducted a lecture series on female physiology and anatomy, unprecedented in her time, which is said to have encouraged some of her listeners to join the first generation of women physicians. In 1849 she married Thomas Davis, a Rhode Island Congressman and went with him to Washington.
In 1850, she was an organizer and then served as president of the First National Women's Rights Convention in Worcester, MA, which drew participants from nine states. She repeated this the next year at the Second National Women's Rights Convention, again in Worcester. From 1853 to 1855, she edited and published a distinctively women's rights newspaper Una, which expressed broad views of individual freedom. Post-Civil War, she helped found the New England Woman Suffrage Association. In 1871, she published A History of the National Woman's Rights Movement. When a split occurred in the women's rights movement, she supported the National Woman Suffrage Association with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. At her funeral Mrs. Stanton and Ms. Anthony eulogized Davis and urged others to follow her lifelong example of service to women