Harriet Forten Purvis, circa 1874.
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Head shot of Harriet Forten Purvis, the wife of Philadelphia abolitionist Robert Purvis.

Credit: Public Domain

A daughter of one of Philadelphia's wealthiest African-American businessmen and civic leaders, Harriet Davy Forten worked side by side with her husband in the abolition movement and Underground Railroad after her marriage to Robert Purvis in 1832. A close friend of Lucretia Mott and founding member of the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society in 1833, she was a leader of the city's Female Vigilant Society, and harbored runaway slaves at her home, first on 9th and Lombard Street in Philadelphia and then in Byberry.  At their home the Purvises also entertained many leading abolitionists including John Greenleaf Whittier, who wrote a poem dedicated to Harriet and her sisters.

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