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Robert McNamara

Newspaper Sunday: Margaret Fuller

By May 19, 2013

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When Margaret Fuller perished in a shipwreck at the age of 40 her growing influence on society was tragically halted. An early feminist and writer, she often expressed ideas which would not become widely accepted by society for decades.

Born in Massachusetts 203 years ago this week, on May 23, 1810, Fuller received a classical education generally only given to boys at the time. She eventually became associated with the New England Transcendentalists, editing their magazine, The Dial. Horace Greeley brought her to New York where she became the city's first female newspaper columnist.

After moving to Europe, and sending back dispatches about the revolutions of the late 1840s, she sought to return to America with her new husband and infant son. Their ship was plagued with bad luck, and ran aground in a storm off Long Island. Fuller and her family drowned.

In New England, the news devastated Ralph Waldo Emerson, who dispatched his young friend Henry David Thoreau to bring Fuller's body back to Massachusetts for burial. Thoreau spent time at the shipwreck site, but Fuller's body was never found.

This week in Newspaper Sunday we look back at the career and tragic death of Margaret Fuller.

Note: The links below lead to excerpts of newspaper articles at the Chronicling America site of the Library of Congress. To view the entire page of the newspaper, you can click the "persistent link" on the excerpt page.

More: Margaret Fuller biography

Illustration: Margaret Fuller/Library of Congress

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