A House Becomes a Home: The Women of the Amesbury Whittier Home
John Greenleaf Whittier grew up on an East Haverhill, MA farm nine miles from Amesbury. Following the death of his father and uncle, Whittier and his mother, sister and aunt moved to Amesbury, closer to the nearest Quaker Meeting House. So began 80 years of occupancy of his house on Friend Street.
These women lovingly cared for him and managed the house, allowing him to pursue his writing, editing and abolition efforts. They were a loving and moral presence that shaped his life.
Following Whittier’s death,his niece, Elizabeth (Lizzie) Whittier Pickard, wishing to preserve the home, furniture and legacy of her uncle, co-founded with Elizabeth Binney Smith the Elizabeth Whittier Club. When the group decided not to pursue purchasing the home, Lizzie abandoned the Club and she and Smith founded the Whittier Home Association. This women-only organization has been the steward of the home since its 1898 founding.
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