An Antislavery Convention and Fair

Newspaper Article

Background Notes

Abolitionist societies in New England held yearly conventions to plan activities, recruit members and raise money to support antislavery publications and the work of traveling lecturers. By 1840 many women in the movement were raising funds by organizing Antislavery Fairs at the same time as the conventions. They offered a range of goods for sale, some donated and others made by women in anti−slavery sewing circles across the state. Here are notices that appeared in The Liberator for a convention held in Worcester, Massachusetts in October 1840.

Transcription of Primary Source

Notices from The Liberator, an abolitionist newspaper published weekly in Boston.

To Be Held at Worcester,
On Tuesday & Wednesday, Oct. 6th & 7th, 1840.
To the Men and Women of Massachusetts; friendly to Immediate and Universal Emancipation.
Dear Friends:

The pleasing duty in inviting you, one and all, to meet in Convention, at Worcester, on TUESDAY and WEDNESDAY, Oct. 6th and 7th, has been imposed upon us by the Board of Managers of the Massachusetts Anti−Slavery Society.

The object of the meeting is, to hear reports from delegates to the World’s Convention*, and to deliberate and act upon great questions connected with the present interest and future welfare, of the cause of human rights, upon a right decision of which the integrity of that cause is suspended. Our relations to Church and State, (both of which are arrayed against us,) are such, at the present time, as to demand of the friends of suffering humanity the sacrifice and self−denial necessary to convince our enemies that we regard inalienable human rights paramount to the interest of party and sect. We call upon you to come up to this meeting, with a strong conviction that our cause has arrived at a crisis, when such a Convention is imperiously demanded. Let this be the greatest anti−slavery gathering ever witnessed in this Commonwealth. Let the old and the young,—the rich and the poor,—the farmer and the day laborer,—the mechanic and the manufacturer,—the merchant and the capitalist,—the lawyer and the physician,—the clergyman and the politician,—feel this to be a cause which involves great interests to their country and themselves. In a word, let them feel that it is emphatically their cause. Let the decisions of this Convention be such as shall inspire the friends of freedom with new hopes,—encourage and strengthen the doubtful and wavering,—and convince the friends of slavery that no aid is to be expected from abolitionists. Let a voice go forth from Massachusetts, on this subject, which shall agitate the whole country. We beseech you then, by the interest you have for the integrity of our enterprise,—by your love for our common country,—by your desire for the purification of the church from this great abomination,—and by the ties which bind you to your enslaved countrymen,—to come up to this Convention by hundreds, from every county in the State. There should be no delay in the appointment of delegates. Let meetings be called in every town for that purpose forthwith, but let no abolitionist remain at home because he is not appointed a delegate. Let there be a general rally by all the anti−slavery friends from Nantucket and Cape Cod to the hills of Berkshire.

No efforts will be spared by the committee to secure the attendance of able and distinguished advocates from abroad, which in addition to the delegates to the World’s Convention, cannot fail to render the meeting one of uncommon interest.

Yours for freedom,
Committee of Arrangements.
Boston, Sept. 10, 1840.


Will be held in Worcester, October 7th and 8th, at the time of the meeting of the State Convention. Individuals and Societies are earnestly requested to send in donations of articles and money to Mrs. JOHN MILTON EARLE, Worcester, Mass.

July, 1840.


  • World’s Convention − World’s Anti−Slavery Convention, held in London, England, in June 1840

Curator Notes

Exact Title: 
The Liberator
Probable Date: 
Sept. 25
Old Sturbridge Village