Frances Wright.

In the 1820's, Frances Wright -- a follower of the Utopian philosopher Robert Owen -- visited America and wrote a long series of letters home to Glasgow. These formed the well-received travel memoir Views of Society and Manners in America (1821; Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press, 1963) ed. Paul R. Baker. Written from a libertarian and secular point-of-view, this book used American society to critique oppressive conditions in Europe. Returning to America, Wright championed the anti-slavery cause and that of the Utopian communities, serving as co-editor of the New Harmony Gazette, which subsequently became Free Enquirer (N.Y., 1829).

In 1828, Wright created a sensation by becoming the first woman to make a lecture tour of America. She demanded legal rights for married women, liberal divorce laws and birth control. A recent source of biographical data is Frances Wright: Rebel in America (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1984) by Celia Morris. Some of Wright's speeches are reprinted in Course of Popular Lectures (1829; expanded edition 1836). Wright's letters are scattered in various collections, but files of the Free Enquirer (for the period of her editorship) are at Rutgers Univ. and Cornell.

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