Abby Kimber

1804 - 1871

Abby Kimber, a European American abolitionist and woman’s right activist, was one of several daughters of Emmor Kimber and Susanna Jackson Kimber, who kept a school for girls in Kimberton, Chester County, which came to specialize in teacher training. Abby attended this school, and for many years taught there. When her parents became preoccupied with the reform movements, Abby became the guiding spirit of the school.

Abby Kimber was herself an abolitionist and joined Lucretia Mott, her cousin Sarah Pugh, and others in founding the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society in 1833. Later, when the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society became integrated, she served for many years on its board.

In 1840, she accompanied James and Lucretia Mott, Sarah Pugh, Mary Grew, and Elizabeth Neall on a trip to London to participate in the World’s Anti-Slavery Society. While they were on the high seas, the American Anti-Slavery Society split over the naming of a woman to a committee. The conservatives withdrew and formed a rival organization, the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society.

When the Mott party arrived in London, they found that the Convention would not seat the women delegates from Pennsylvania and from New England, who were affiliated with the American Anti-Slavery Society, and was threatening to recognize the new American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society as legitimate. Abby Kimber wrote a spirited protest to the Reverend John Scobie, secretary of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society.

“Thou knowest I am not a Delegate, I do not speak with authority in this matter, but if there is a conciliatory spirit in the Committee I should be glad indeed if it would display itself, not in the courtesy of gentlemen, but in the honest purpose of becoming men, who have unwittingly done deep wrong to a large proportion of the Abolitionists of the United States”.

Returning to the United States, Abby Kimber continued to work for the abolition of slavery, and joined Lucretia Mott and others in promoting the rights of women. After the Kimberton School closed she moved to Philadelphia and made her home with Sarah Pugh.

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