Author and editor Christina Larocco PH.D. of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania will speak about the remarkable life of Bucks County Quaker educator and feminist, Martha Schofield (1839-1916) on Sunday, January 27 at 9:45 a.m. at the Newtown Friends Meetinghouse.
The title of her talk will be Martha Schofield: Radical Educator, Feminist, and Friend. Larocco is currently writing a biography of the nineteenth-century abolitionist and feminist.
Martha Schofield (1839–1916) is perhaps best known for founding a school for freed slaves in South Carolina during Reconstruction, but she spent the first two and a half decades of her life growing up in a Quaker family in Bucks and Delaware Counties, initially as a member of Wrightstown Quaker Meeting and later a member of Darby Friends Meeting.
In a Newtown Patch article in 2011, Diane Prokop says, “Martha (Schofield) grew up at Pine Grove farm on Swamp Road, in what is now Tyler State Park. It was in her parents’ home there that the young Martha’s sense of passion and purpose was cultivated. Her Quaker parents were abolitionists, women’s rights supporters and were involved in temperance and education reforms. Frequent guests at their dinner table included Friends preacher Edward Hicks, and abolitionists James and Lucretia Mott. She also called Susan B. Anthony her friend and mentor….”
Christina Larocco says, “By the time Martha Schofield she was in her early twenties, she knew her calling lay elsewhere. ‘I had wished for a Better Life,’ she recalled decades later of her desire to be of service. This talk asks how her early experiences in a tight-knit family of reformers, during the Civil War, and in friendships with both men and women prepared her to choose an unconventional life. It also explores some of the particular challenges of writing biographies of women, whose archives are almost always incomplete.”
Christina Larocco received her PhD from the Department of History at the University of Maryland, College Park, and is editor of the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. She researches, writes, and speaks about the history of social movements in the United States.