Poe's Fiancee: Sarah Helen Whitman
Sarah Whitman has had a place in Rhode Island history mostly because of her brief, tempestuous engagement to Edgar Allan Poe (which took place in Providence), but she deserves to be remembered for her own accomplishments. She was a noted 19th-century poet and critic and a mentor to young writers at Brown. She was also a Transcendentalist, a spiritualist, and an advocate of women's rights, as well as the most influential defender of the notorious Poe after his untimely death. This presentation is illustrated with a slide show (Power Point) with pictures of Whitman and Poe as well as numerous other individuals who played a part in their dramatic story.
Rhode Island's Other Woman Reformer: Frances Harriet Whipple Green McDougall
Many Rhode Islanders are familiar with the name of Elizabeth BuffumChace, ardent abolitionist and women's rights advocate, but few haveheard of her intriguing contemporary Frances Whipple. During themid-19th Century campaign to end slavery, Whipple was one of the mostprolific abolitionist writers in the state. She also wrote the Memoirsof Elleanor Eldridge, which helped a free black woman to regain theproperty she had been cheated out of. An early proponent of women'srights, Whipple divorced her first husband. She also worked for therights and dignity of mill workers and the extension of suffrage inRhode Island.
Sarah C. O'Dowd, a retired professor of psychology, is an enthusiastic proponent of lifelong learning. After earning her Ph.D. at Brown University, she taught for over 30 years and published on a variety of subjects. She celebrated her retirement by publishing the first biography of a 19th-century Rhode Island reformer, Frances Whipple.