People & Events
A brilliant literary critic, tenacious reporter, and passionate social
revolutionary, Margaret Fuller broke new ground for women in every way
that she could.
Born in 1810 in Cambridgeport, Massachusetts, Fuller spent her childhood
in a grueling course of study prescribed by her father. She read English
at age two and Latin at six. By the time she reached her teens, she
could discuss classic literary and philosophical works with ease.
After a brief career as a teacher, Fuller relocated to Boston, where
from 1839-1844 she led "conversations" for women on intellectual topics.
In 1840 the Transcendentalist philosophers, many of whom were Fuller's
friends, founded a magazine, "The Dial," with Margaret as editor.
Horace Greeley, editor of the "New York Tribune" brought Fuller
onto his staff to write literary criticism in 1844, making her the first
woman in America to hold such a position. But Fuller wasn't content with
life as a reviewer and made it her business to dig through the city's
dark corners, producing stunning reformist exposés. In 1845 Greeley
published Fuller's landmark book, "Woman in the Nineteenth
Century," which argued for women's equality in all aspects of
Fuller traveled to Europe in 1846, becoming the first female
international correspondent, entertaining "Tribune" readers with
portraits of Thomas Carlyle, Frederic Chopin, and George Sand. Swept
into the Italian revolution, Fuller married Giovanni Angelo, a young
republican, and headed to the battlefront.
When the French crushed the Italian revolution in 1850, Fuller sailed
for America with her family on the Elizabeth, which sank off New
York in heavy seas. Among the dead were Margaret Fuller, her husband,
and her son. Neither Fuller's body nor her last manuscript, which
chronicled the revolution, were ever recovered.