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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Penelope Barker

b. 1728, Edenton, North Carolina; d. 1796, Edenton, North Carolina

Penelope Barker, an upper-class woman of the antebellum South—Edenton, North Carolina—organized a boycott of British goods to protest the crown’s Tea Act of 1773. On October 25, 1774, Barker and some fifty townswomen staged a tea party and ceremonially signed a petition in which they resolved “not to conform to ye pernicious Custom of Drinking Tea [or to] promote ye wear of any manufacture from England” until the Tea Act was repealed (Waldrup, Colonial Women, 118). The event was caricatured in the Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser of January 16, 1775, otherwise it would have passed into obscurity.

Waldrup. Carole Chandler. More Colonial Women: 25 Pioneers of Early America. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 2004.