Frances "Fanny" Wright


Personal Vita

June, 2000

Compiled by Diny Rooke

"The first American woman to speak publicly against slavery and for the equality of women, Fanny Wright was a rebel who pursued equality for all. She lived according to her own ideals rather than society's dictates."


Frances Wright

[Fanny Wright, Frances Wright Darusmont, Mrs. Guillaume P. Darusmont]

Bio/Historical Notes

Born in Dundee, Scotland, Fanny Wright was a radical who would have fit well in the 1960’s and 1970’s. She denounced the societal bondages of color, gender, religion, politics and economic status almost 200 years before it was fashionable. She practiced free and temporary love, and believed marriage was bondage made worse when society forced people to stay together for the sake of children. It seems the more she lectured, and the more the people who came to listen would argue with her, the stronger her beliefs became. Fanny started the paths for many different causes, paving the way for others to follow and to fight for the same, and more, rights. She was married to Dr. Guillaume P. Darusmont in 1831 and was divorced in 1850. She lived in Scotland, England, France, Indiana, New York, Ohio, and Tennessee. Delivered popular lectures. Was a newspaper editor (New Harmony Gazette, Free Enquirer - edited in New York in 1828). Among Wright's themes were the liberalizing of divorce laws, birth control, free state-run secular education, the political organization of laborers, equal rights for women, and objectionable ecclesiastical influences in politics. Fanny also believed in interracial relationships and she tried to free and educate the slaves. National Women's Hall of Fame 1994 Inductees included Fanny Wright

Birth Date

September 6, 1795

Source of Birth Date

Eckhardt, C. M. (1984). Fanny Wright: Rebel in America. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Death Date

December 13, 1852, Cincinnati, Ohio. Statement on Tombstone: " I have wedded the cause of human improvement, staked on it my fortune, my reputation, my life "

Source of Death Date

National Women’s Hall of Fame. [On-line]. Available:


Self educated in Glasgow, Scotland; also heavily influenced by her Uncle James Milne, "a member of Scottish school of progressive philosophers…who encouraged Fanny to question the conventional ideas…lasting influence on her political development."

Associated Subjects

Abolition of Slavery

Birth Control



Free Education

Free Speech

Interracial unions




Women’s Rights

Workingmen’s Movement

Associated People

Frances "Fanny" Trollope

George Flower

James Madison

Marquis de Lafayette (From France/Also fought in Revolutionary War)

Orestes Brownson

Robert Dale Owen

Thomas Jefferson

William Maclure Themes

Associated Organizations

National Women's Hall of Fame


Wright, F. (1821). Letters. In Baker, P. A. (Ed.), Views of society and manners in America (a travel memoir). Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press (reprinted Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 1963).

Wright, F. (1822). Altorf (a play). London: Longman.

Wright, F. (ca. 1826-27). A Few Days in Athens (published serially). In R. D. Owen, (Ed.), The New Harmony Gazette. Indiana.

References to

Biographical studies: Frances Wright. Evansville, IN: University of Evansville. [On-line]. Available:

Brief Biographies from the Jackson/Van Buren Era. [On-line]. Available:

Eckhardt, C. M. (1984). Fanny Wright: Rebel in America. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1984 (published in 1992 by University of Illinois Press, Urbana).

Ehrenreich, B., & English, D. (1978). For her own good. New York: Anchor Books.

Fanny Wright. The Spartacus Internet Encyclopedia. [On-line]. Available

Frances Wright. (1994). The world almanac and book of facts (CD-ROM).  Funk and Wagnalls Corp.

Perkins, A. J. G., Wolfson, T. (1939). Frances Wright: Free enquirer. New York: Harper & Brothers.

Rind, Z. (1996). Frances Wright: Challenging societal views. Haverford, PA: Haverford College, The Women, Medicine & Biology Web Site. [On-line]. Available:

The women of the hall (National Women's Hall of Fame). [On-line]. Available:

Uglow, J. S. (Compiler). (1989). The continuum dictionary of women's biography (New Expanded Edition of the International Dictionary of Women's Biography.

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