Practical Dreamer:Gerrit Smith & the Crusade of Social Reform


Practical Dreamer: Gerrit Smith and the Crusade for Social Reform
by Norman K. Dann PhD 

Gerrit Smith may have been the least-known national leader of the American 19th century. A multi-billionaire by today’s standards, he chose to live in a small, rural hamlet in Central New York state. His reach was long: he was a champion for women’s rights, temperance, and most notably, the fight to end slavery and racial discrimination. The long list of visitors to his home in tiny Peterboro, New York included Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, John Brown, Susan B. Anthony, William Lloyd Garrison, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Sojourner Truth.

In this landmark biography that is destined to become a favorite of researchers and historians, Norman Dann paints a vibrant portrait of Smith based on thousands of letters, poems, and speeches Smith gave to and received from those he worked with—and against—in his lifelong crusade for freedom and equality.

Paperback: 574 pages
Publisher: Log Cabin Books (2008)

?A community heritage gift shop, located within the Visitors Center on the Gerrit Smith Estate, National Historic Landmark, in Peterboro NY. The Mercantile is staffed and operated under the management of the Smithfield Community Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of historic Peterboro.


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