Women and Social Causes

Photograph of Prudence Crandall

Prudence Crandall

Prudence Crandall (1803-1890)

Prudence Crandall was a teacher in the 19th century who worked to further women's suffrage and to provide equal educational opportunities for women from different races and backgrounds.  In 1833, Connecticut passed the Black Law that prohibited any Connecticut school from admitting African American students from outside the state. Crandall paid no heed to the Black Law and was arrested in 1833. She was tried and convicted, but in July 1834 the conviction was reversed. The continued attacks on the school forced Crandall to close it down in 1834. In 1886, the Connecticut General Assembly voted to award her a small life pension to compensate for the mistreatment she and her school received. 

Photograph of Lillian Wald

Lillian Wald

Lillian Wald (1867-1940)

 In the course of her medical training, Lillian Wald became intimately aware of the deplorable health conditions on Manhattan's Lower East Side and she made it her mission to bring public health services to impoverished neighborhoods. In 1895 she founded the Nurses Settlement at 265 Henry Street. She was also involved in the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

At Henry Street, Wald pioneered the field of public health nursing, working in the neighborhood and treating patients regardless of their ability to pay. Over time, Wald broadened her activities at Henry Street, seeking to attack the root causes of poor health. Similar to Jane Addams' Hull House in Chicago, the Henry Street Settlement hosted social and cultural events, advocated for educational opportunities and expanded green space in the neighborhood, and instituted programs to mitigate against poverty and disease.

Photograph of Mary Morrison

Mary Morrison

Mary Morrison (1879-1971)

In 1899 Mary Morrison graduated from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, where she studied biology and chemistry. She went on to work with Jane Addams at Hull House and with Carrie Chapman Catt on the campaign for woman suffrage. She was also heavily involved in the Chicago Women’s Suffrage Association.  Morrison helped found the League of Women Voters in Connecticut and served for 34 years on the Connecticut College Board of Trustees. She gave many political and commencement speeches.  An elementary school in Groton, Connecticut is named for her, as well as the Mary Foulke Morrisson House at Connecticut College.