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COLLECTION Identifier: A/M466

Letter from Abby W. May to Mrs. Wyman, undated


Thank you note of activist and suffragist Abby W. May.


  • Undated


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Abby W. May as well as copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


1 folder

The collection consists of a handwritten letter from Abby W. May to Mrs. Wyman thanking her for the gift of a mat.


Activist and suffragist Abigail Williams May (known as "Abby") was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1829, the daughter of Samuel and Mary May. Her father was a hardware merchant and woolen manufacturer. She was a first cousin of Abba May Alcott, Louisa May Alcott's mother. May was involved in relief work during the Civil War and then worked for the rights of freedmen, as well as for women's suffrage and health care for women. She was also very interested in dress reform and published a pamphlet on the topic in 1879. In 1873, May and Lucretia Crocker were elected to the Boston School Committee, thus becoming the committee's first women members. After a challenge based upon their sex, they were not permitted to take their seats. The following year the legislature passed an act opening membership to women and May and several other women were elected. She was re-elected to a three-year term in 1875 but did not win re-election in 1878. In 1879 she was appointed to the Massachusetts Board of Education and served until 1888, when ill health caused her to resign. She was a trustee of the Tuskegee Institute (later Tuskegee University) from 1882 to 1888. Other organizations with which she was involved include the Massachusetts Society for the University Education of Women; the Association for the Advancement of Women; the Women's Auxiliary Conference of the American Unitarian Association; the New England's Women's Auxiliary Association of the US Sanitary Commission (secretary and chair of executive committee, 1862-1866); and the New England Women's Club (founder, 1868, and president, 1877-1879). She died in Boston in November 1888.

Processing Information

Processed: January 2009

By: Anne Engelhart

Updated and additional description added: March 2021

By: Susan Earle with assistance from Erin LaBove

The Schlesinger Library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.  Finding aids may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by the Carl & Lily Pforzheimer Fund, Pforzheimer Fund for the Schlesinger Library, Sybil Shainwald Fund at the Schlesinger Library, and Class of 1955 Manuscript Processing Fund.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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