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Frances Wright

Frances Wright
Usage Conditions Apply
Nagel & Weingaertner Lithography Company, active 1849 - 1857
Copy after
Johan Gorbitz, 1782 - 1853
Frances Wright, 6 Sep 1795 - 13 Dec 1852
c. 1852
Lithograph on paper
Sheet: 46.3 × 35.5 cm (18 1/4 × 14")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
Object number
Exhibition Label
Born Dundee, Scotland
As a young girl in Scotland, Frances Wright developed an intense admiration for the Declaration of Independence. The document inspired her lifelong commitment to social reform and prompted her to encourage the United States to live up to its democratic ideals. Her book Views of Society and Manners in America (1821) praised the positive effects of liberty and freedom while denouncing the injustice of slavery.
After becoming a United States citizen in 1825, Wright purchased several hundred acres in Tennessee and established Nashoba, a utopian community devoted to racial and gender equality, where enslaved men and women could receive education and training while working to earn their freedom. When the experiment failed after five years, Wright resettled the commune’s thirty residents in Haiti. Always one to defy convention, she later traveled around the country, delivering lectures that advocated for women’s rights, liberalized divorce laws, birth control, state-sponsored education, and the abolition of capital punishment.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery Collection
American Origins
On View
NPG, East Gallery 120