Anna Garlin Spencer Quotes

Anna Garlin Spencer (1851–1931) was an American educator, feminist, and Unitarian minister. Born in Attleboro, MA, she married the Rev. William H. Spencer in 1878. She was a leader in the women's suffrage and peace movements. In 1891 she became the first woman ordained as a minister in the state of Rhode Island. In Providence she was commissioned to develop the Religious Society of Bell Street Chapel which was to be devoted to the religious outlook of James Eddy. She compiled Eddy’s views into a Bond of Union to which members of the new society would subscribe. She was later associated with the New York Society for Ethical Culture (1903–1909) and the New York School of Philanthropy (1903–1913). In 1909, she signed onto the call to found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Over a long period she was a popular lecturer and wrote on social problems, especially concerning women and family relations. Her writings include Woman's Share in Social Culture (1913) and The Family and Its Members (1922)

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Anna Garlin Spencer


Can a woman become a genius of the first class? Nobody can know unless women in general shall have equal opportunity with men in education, in vocational choice, and in social welcome of their best intellectual work for a number of generations.

Anna Garlin Spencer


To the highest leadership among women it is given to hold steadily in one hand the sacred vessels that hold the ancient sanctities of life, and in the other a flaming torch to light the way for oncoming generations.

Anna Garlin Spencer


The earth is ready, the time is ripe, for the authoritative expression of the feminine as well as the masculine interpretation of that common social consensus which is slowly writing justice in the State and fraternity in the social order.

Anna Garlin Spencer


The failure of women to produce genius of the first rank in most of the supreme forms of human effort has been used to block the way of all women of talent and ambition for intellectual achievement.

Anna Garlin Spencer


Anyone can see that to write Uncle Tom's Cabin on the knee in the kitchen, with constant calls to cooking and other details of housework to punctuate the paragraphs, was a more difficult achievement than to write it at leisure in a quiet room.

Anna Garlin Spencer


Of all the wastes of human ignorance perhaps the most extravagant and costly to human growth has been the waste of the distinctive powers of womanhood after the child-bearing age.

Anna Garlin Spencer


The experience of the race shows that we get our most important education not through books but through our work. We are developed by our daily task, or else demoralized by it, as by nothing else.

Anna Garlin Spencer


The essence of democracy is its assurance that every human being should so respect himself and should be so respected in his own personality that he should have opportunity equal to that of every other human being to show what he was meant to become.

Anna Garlin Spencer


And when her biographer says of an Italian woman poet, 'during some years her Muse was intermitted,' we do not wonder at the fact when he casually mentions her ten children.

Anna Garlin Spencer


Slowly ... the truth is dawning upon women, and still more slowly upon men, that woman is no stepchild of nature, no Cinderella of fate to be dowered only by fairies and the Prince; but that for her and in her, as truly as for and in man, life has wrought its great experiences, its master attainments, its supreme human revelations of the stuff of which worlds are made.

Anna Garlin Spencer


At the outstart of discussions of women's intellectual attainments, it is well to remember how few are the men of the first rank.

Anna Garlin Spencer


Have Faith! Have faith in the Eternal Goodness. Believe that the core of the Universe is sound and sweet.

Anna Garlin Spencer


Wherever the State touches the personal life of the infant, the child, the youth, or the aged, helpless, defective in mind, body or moral nature, there the State enters "woman's peculiar sphere," her sphere of motherly succor and training, her sphere of sympathetic and self-sacrificing ministration to individual lives.

Anna Garlin Spencer


It is an old error of man to forget to put quotation marks where he borrows from a woman's brain

Anna Garlin Spencer


“The friendship between a man and a woman which does not lead to marriage or desire for marriage may be a life long experience of the greatest value to themselves and to all their circle of acquaintance and of activity; but for this type of friendship both a rare man and a rare woman are needed. Perhaps it should be added that either the man or the woman thus deeply bound in lifelong friendship who seeks marriage must find a still rarer man or woman to wed, to make such a three cornered comradeship a permanent success.”

Anna Garlin Spencer