Chapter 4: American Transcendentalism

Caroline Healey Dall

Paul P. Reuben
October 17, 2016

Page Links: | Primary Works | Selected Bibliography | MLA Style Citation of this Web Page |

Site Links: |  Chap 4: Index  | Alphabetical List | Table Of Contents | Home Page |

Source: Mass. Historical Society

Source: Rediscovered Voices

A native of Boston and daughter of a prominent merchant, Caroline Healey Dall (1822-1912) became involved in many movements vital to the history of New England and the nation. As a young woman, she was invited into the social circles of New England Transcendentalism, where she associated with Ralph Waldo Emerson and Margaret Fuller, among others. Later, she took part in the Garrisonian women's movement, lecturing, writing, and co-editing a newspaper for the cause. This work culminated in her pioneering and seminal publication, The College, the Market, and the Court; Or, Woman's Relation to Education, Labor, and Law (1867). Dall was also one of the founders and a long-time officer of the American Social Science Association, where she worked for improvements in prison conditions, the treatment of the insane, public health, and education. After 1878 Dall lived in Washington, D.C., where she associated with congressmen, Supreme Court justices, members of the scientific community, and their families, and was an intimate friend of First Lady Frances Folsum Cleveland. Late in her life Dall took on the role of historian of the Transcendentalist movement, publishing Margaret and Her Friends, an account of Margaret Fuller's "conversations," and Transcendentalism in New England.

For approximately 75 years Dall kept a daily journal of her feelings and her observations of the world of intellectual ferment in which she participated. This journal, perhaps the fullest record of a woman's life in 19th-century America, is a part of the large Caroline Dall Papers collection at the Massachusetts Historical Society. To read about the Society's manuscript collections, please visit the Collections web pages.

A microfilm edition includes the entire collection of Caroline Dall Papers. Source: The Mass. Historical Society

Primary Works

The College, the Market, and the Court; or Woman's Relations to Education, Labor, and Law, 1857; Historical Pictures Retouched, 1860; Woman's Right to Labor, 1860; Dr. Marie Zakrewska (biography), 1860 Egypt's Place in History, 1868; Patty Gray's Journey to the Cotton Islands (a three-volume children's book), 1869-1870; The Romance of the Association; or, Our Last Glimpse of Charlotte Temple and Eliza Wharton, 1875; My First Holiday; or, Letters Home from Colorado, Utah, and California, 1881; What We Really Know About Shakespeare, 1886; Sordello - a History and a Poem, 1886; Dr. Anandafai Joshee (biography), 1888 Barbara Fritchie - a Study, 1892; Transcendentalism in New England, 1987; Alongside (a memoir of her childhood), 1900; Nazareth, 1903; Fog Bells, 1905.

Founder, American Social Science Association, 1865; Director, 1865-1880; Vice-President 1880-1905.

Selected Bibliography

Albert, Judith S. Minerva's Circle: Margaret Fuller's Women. Novato, CA: Paper Mill, 2010.

Deese, Helen R. "Caroline Healey Dall." in Mott, Wesley T. ed. The American Renaissance in New England. Detroit: Thomson Gale, 2001.

Mott, Wesley T. and Robert E. Burkholder. eds. Emersonian Circles. Rochester, NY: U of Rochester P, 1997.

MLA Style Citation of this Web Page:

Reuben, Paul P. "Chapter 4: Caroline Healey Dall." PAL: Perspectives in American Literature- A Research and Reference Guide. WWW URL: (provide page date or date of your login).

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