The Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony


William Lloyd and Helen Benson Garrison

William Lloyd Garrison (1805-1879), the most influential American abolitionist, defined the standard for opponents of slavery as immediate emancipation of slaves and recognition that the sin of slavery was its violation of the human rights of its victims. He publicized his views in the Liberator, the Boston paper which he founded in 1831 and edited until it ceased publication in 1865. In 1833 he helped to found the American Anti-Slavery Society and was president of the society from 1843 until 1865. His opposition to political action and his commitment to women's right to be antislavery activists precipitated a series of divisions within the antislavery movement during the 1840s. Garrison's radicalism led him to advocate disunion from the South in 1844 and to burn the U.S. Constitution in 1854. But during the Civil War, after Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation, Garrison called for support of the war and the Lincoln administration. Garrison married Helen Eliza Benson (1811-1876) in 1834. An abolitionist herself, she belonged to the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society in the late 1830s. In 1850, she signed the call to the national woman's rights convention. The Garrisons had five children. Helen Frances, known as Fanny, was their only daughter and a lifelong friend of SBA and woman suffrage. She married journalist Henry Villard in 1866. The Garrison sons were George Thompson (1836-1904), William Lloyd, Jr. (1838-1909), Wendell Phillips (1840-1907), and Francis Jackson (1848-1916).
(Dictionary of American Biography; Garrison, Letters, passim; Kraditor, Means and Ends in American Abolitionism; Notable American Women, s.v. "Villard, Fanny Garrison.")