Helen Maria Williams — abolitionist and political radical

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Williams, Helen Maria
Letter to Ruth Barlow
22 August 1798
Abolitionist and feminist Helen Maria Williams was an important participant in the revolutionary discourse of the late eighteenth century, alongside Mary Wollstonecraft and Thomas Paine. In 1790, Williams joined a group of British radicals residing in Paris and hosted a salon that attracted leading revolutionaries. Like Paine, Williams provided aid for fellow republican radicals. In August 1798, she wrote to her American expatriate friend Ruth Barlow. Williams hoped that Ruth’s husband, the diplomat Joel Barlow, would assist James Wollstonecraft (Mary’s brother), who was then in prison in Paris as a suspected spy. The letter notes Paine’s ineffective efforts on James’ behalf.
Helen Maria Williams Letters
Williams, Helen Maria, Letter to Ruth Barlow, 22 August 1798, Lisa Unger Baskin Collection, Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University. Accessed March 04, 2021, https://exhibits.library.duke.edu/exhibits/show/baskin/item/4071


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