Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: The Dinner Party: Heritage Floor: Hannah Crocker

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Judy Chicago (American, b. 1939). The Dinner Party (Heritage Floor; detail), 1974–79. Porcelain with rainbow and gold luster, 48 x 48 x 48 ft. (14.6 x 14.6 x 14.6 m). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation, 2002.10. © Judy Chicago. Photograph by Jook Leung Photography

Hannah Crocker
b. 1752, Boston; d. 1829, Boston

Essayist Hannah Crocker, one of the first advocates of women's rights in America, was born into the illustrious Mather family of Boston, heir to its long history of Puritan activism. She married Harvard graduate Joseph Crocker in 1779 and did not pursue writing until her ten children were grown. She composed poetry and wrote various essays on political and social issues, including A Series of Letters on Freemasonry (1815), a bold defense of the Society of Free Masons against charges of carousing in Boston pubs. Her most important contribution is the 1818 book Observations on the Real Rights of Women. Her argument that education was crucial to the advancement of women was joined by a courageous defense of Mary Wollstonecraft, who, in straitlaced Boston, was viewed as a libertine.

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