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Hannah Whitall Smith: The Feminist Connections of a Holiness Icon

have more stable and secure homes. Yet, as women because empowered in the Temperance Movement, they also realized the success involved in motivating armies of women for social change. It is almost directly from the Temperance Movement that the Suffrage Movement and other women-led attempts for social change began to emerge. This move can perhaps be best seen in the life and relationships of Hannah Whitall Smith (Feb. 7, 1832-May 1, 1911). Perhaps best known as the writer of the Holiness classic The Christian’s Secret to a Happy Life, this Quaker from Pennsylvania and her husband, Robert Pearsall Smith, were very much influenced by William E. Boardman and became leaders in the Holiness Movement in The United States and the Higher Life Movement in Great Britain. Hannah quickly outshone her husband in speaking and she carried on an extensive correspondence with many people, but especially women both within and outside of these movements. Hannah Whitall Smith built off of her sanctification experience to become involved in other movements that empowered women. In 1874 she helped found the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, and soon became good friends with its second president, Frances Willard. Willard had holiness roots going back to Oberlin College, and she was a devout Methodist her entire life. Hannah would serve a number of offices in the W.C.T.U., but was most known in her office as Secretary of Evangelism for the W.C.T.U. It was from her Temperance connections that Hannah Whitall Smith became involved in the Suffrage Movement. In 1888, the Women’s International Council was held in Washington D.C. with representatives from 53 women’s organizations in nine countries coming together to form what would become the International Council of Women. Both Frances Willard and Hannah Whitall Smith were present for this meeting which was organized by prominent women interested in helping women get the right to vote. The leaders included Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. In many ways it was a natural progression to move from Temperance work, where Hannah could see the political and moral power of women in action to seeing the injustice of not allowing women to vote for political leaders or against unjust laws. From her involvement with the Women’s Temperance and Suffrage Movements, Hannah began to connect with

Profile for First Fruits Press

Hannah Whitall Smith: The Feminist Connections of a Holiness Icon  

Robert A. Danielson

Hannah Whitall Smith: The Feminist Connections of a Holiness Icon  

Robert A. Danielson