The story of Ann Carroll Fitzhugh Smith is the story of a family that had a profound, lasting impact on the American landscape of the 19th century and beyond. She was the matriarch of a legacy that touched the worlds of abolition, women’s rights, woman suffrage, commerce, education, religion and even agriculture.
More so than her husband, abolitionist Gerrit Smith; or her daughter, Elizabeth Smith Miller; she was not tied to one or two of these pursuits, but to all of them. And she created the environment in the Smith family that allowed all of these interests to thrive.
Her story is our story, and it is told here for the first time.
Through his research and subsequent biographies of Gerrit Smith and others of his family, Norman Dann has covered previously “unplowed ground” and brought to light the experiences and contributions of this extraordinary family. Here he introduces perhaps the most obscure of them all, Gerrit Smith’s wife, Ann Carroll Fitzhugh. Her quiet, loving influence over a sometimes challenging family is documented here for the first time. For those of us who desire to learn more about 19th-century women, Norm skillfully guides us through the important life of this devoted wife and mother.
- Donna Dorrance Burdick, Smithfield Town Historian
"Norm Dann has jumped head-on into the long-obscured life of Ann Fitzhugh Smith, wife of one of the wealthiest men of the 19th century. In Dann’s skillful hands, Ann shines as the centerpiece of the Smith family saga rather than just her famous husband’s helpmeet. Struggling to exist in a marriage to a powerful man who sometimes resisted giving her respect, and independence, Ann lived her life determined to define a private space separate from him while also sharing in the making of history with him. In the less-confined world of reform-minded women, Ann sought power and influence, living her beliefs and empowering those who were less fortunate, those who suffered discrimination, and those in desperate need of help. A fabulous history of a woman and her times!"
-Kate Clifford Larson, Ph.D.
Consulting Historian, Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State and National Park, and Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway and All American Road. Eastern Shore, Maryland. Author, Rosemary, The Hidden Kennedy Daughter; Bound For the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero; and The Assassin's Accomplice: Mary Surratt and the Plot to Kill Abraham Lincoln. Forthcoming: Walk With Me: A Biography of Fannie Lou Hamer