Introduction to E.D. Hudson

E.D. Hudson, 1858, New York City.

E.D. Hudson Sr. with son E.D. Hudson Jr. and grandson Darwin Shaw Hudson, 1879, New York City.

Erasmus Darwin Hudson devoted his life to social reform and ending America's system of racial bondage. He traveled regularly on lecture tours throughout the north, confronting danger to denounce injustice. As a member of the Connecticut and American Anti-slavery Societies, Hudson maintained personal relationships with leading figures of the abolitionist movement including Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips, Lucy Stone, and Lydia Maria Child. Hudson's personal papers offer insight into the struggle to end slavery as well as divisions within the antislavery movement.

This exhibit uses E.D. Hudson as an avenue into understanding antislavery in the Connecticut River Valley. Hudson's activity reveals that during the 1830's and 40's the abolitionist movement gained most of its support from the rural countryside rather than the urban enclaves of New York or Boston. The exhibit also uses Hudson to explore the ways in which antislavery intersected with other social movements such as Temperance, Non-Resistance, and Women's Rights. Slavery touched all aspects of American society, and its rival reached equally far into the various strands of nineteenth century social reform. The knowledge abolitionists gained from other social movements informed their strategies and shaped their alliances.

The exhibit highlights archival materials from the Hudson Family Collection and selected pamphlets from the Anti-Slavery Collection at the University of Massachusetts DuBois Library's Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA)