Sweet Auburn: The Magazine of the Friends of Mount Auburn Lives of the Past Informing the Future - Page 11

sweet auburn | 2019 volume ii George (1809–1867) and Mary Stearns (1821–1901) The Stearns were a powerful couple in the abolitionist movement and members of the “Secret Six,” who provided financial support to John Brown for his raid on Harpers Ferry. When their identities were suspected, the Six fled to Canada to escape arrest. Mary’s support for Brown was so strong that she actually woke George in the middle of the night and suggested they sell their Medford estate to fund Brown’s cause. (They found other methods to support John Brown, and their estate eventually became a significant part of Tuft University’s campus in Medford.) George was instrumental in the recruitment of black troops for New England’s 54th Regiment, and he ultimately recruited more than 13,000 African American soldiers in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Tennessee. After the war, he helped found the Freedmen’s Bureau. Mary and George hired Joshua Bowen Smith to cater a banquet in their home in 1863 to reveal a commissioned bust of John Brown. (George and Mary also appear in my moonlight abolitionist play.) Harriot Kezia Hunt (1805–1875) Born in Boston, Harriot Hunt was one of the first women physicians in the United States. Though she was did not hold a diploma from a medical school (many doctors did not back then), she began practicing medicine in 1835, ALLUNIFORMS, LLC Atlantic Exterminating, Inc. Cambridge Savings Charitable Foundation Cuisine Chez Vous Keefe Funeral Home Halvorson Design Partnership, Inc. with a focus on women’s health. She had a strong interest in the whole patient, believing that mental and physical health are strongly linked. She applied to attend lectures at Harvard Medical School in 1847 and was rejected. She applied again in 1850; this time she was accepted but was forced to withdraw after protests by the male students. Hunt remained committed to the practice of medicine for the rest of her life. In 1860, she celebrated twenty-five years as a healer with an anniversary party for 1,500 of her friends and colleagues, where they presented her with a silver ring, commemorating her “marriage to medicine.” Hunt was deeply involved with the start of the women’s rights movement in the 1850s and gave numerous lectures and attended important conventions for that cause. Her grave is marked by a statue to the Greek goddess of health, Hygeia, which she commissioned from Edmonia Lewis, one of the American women sculptors working in Rome (with Harriet Hosmer) and the first significant African American woman sculptor. I love that Hunt wrote an annual protest letter to the state and the newspapers when she paid her taxes, explaining that it was clearly “taxation without representation,” because she had earned the money herself but was not allowed to vote. Harriot Kezia Hunt appeared in two of The America Plays that were produced in September. More Than Words Bookstore Morgan & Morgan, PC R.P. Marzilli & Co., Inc Rachel Lucas PR Vicki Lee’s Bakeshop 9