Caroline Wells Healey Dall, 1822 - 1912

Caroline Wells Healey Dall was a lecturer, author, reformer, historian, and second-generation Transcendentalist--in her own words in 1897, "I am a Transcendentalist of the old New England sort."  As a teenager she was strongly attracted to the idealism of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, and Margaret Fuller, who became a role model for her later endeavors in the arena of women's rights.  At age 19 she became a convert to the "radical" views of Theodore Parker and from then on vigorously defended the Transcendentalists, actively argued the "woman question," and staunchly opposed slavery.  Dall enthusiastically supported Amos Bronson Alcott, writing in her journal in January 1851 that the city of Boston should pay Alcott simply to live there.  Although she participated in his famous Conversations in the 1850s and even recorded invaluable abstracts of them, she came to disapprove of Alcott after his death.  Dall's history of the movement, Transcendentalism in New England (1897), as a portrait of the movement from the standpoint of one of its members, complements Octavius Brooks Frothingham's 1876 history of the same name.  The book remedies Frothingham's disregard of Frederic Henry Hedge, emphasizes female and feminist aspects of the movement, and proposes a philosophical link between the Transcendentalists and an earlier American intuitionist, Anne Hutchinson.