Documents 1 & 2: James A. Thome to
Reverend George Whipple, 17 March 1864 and
T.H. Hawks to the American Missionary
Association, 7 April 18641

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In 1864, Lucy Stanton Day attempted to secure a job with the American Missionary Association, but faced opposition due to the fact that she was separated from her husband and raising her daughter independently, a situation considered socially improper at the time. Stanton Day was a strong-willed and intelligent abolitionist who cared deeply about the betterment of her race's situation. Thus, her primary desire in working with the AMA was to work at a missionary school for freed people in the South. The first letter, from James A. Thome, a former professor at Oberlin College, certified her credentials as an educated and religious woman, while the second, from T.H. Hawks, her pastor, focused primarily on her religious "good standing." Stanton Day was ultimately denied the position with the AMA despite these glowing references, and instead did similar work through a different organization.

Document 1: James A. Thome to Reverend George Whipple, 17 March 1864

Cleveland, March 17, 1864

My Dear Bro Whipple,2
Some days ago the wife of Mr Day3 - the young colored man who graduated at Oberlin - called to inquire how she could get into the field as a teacher of the Freed People of the South. I take it that she is not now living with her husband, though I did not ask her if she were. She has one child, some years old. She is a woman of fine abilities - a graduate of the female dept, Ob.4 (Miss Stanton by name) pious - (a member of one of our Presby. Churches) and very highly commended by her pastor - Rev. Mr. Hodge. I think she would be good service.

If you will write me whether you have place for such a helper I will communicate with her. An early letter would be desirable.

Truly Yours,
J. A. Thome5

Document 2: T.H. Hawks to the American Missionary Association, 7 April 1864

Cleveland, O.
April 7, 1864

This certifies that Mrs Lucy S. Day is a member of the 2nd Pres. Church in this city, in good and regular standing; and as such she is commended to the confidence of Christians in the other places where the presidence of God may cast her for.

T. H. Hawks6


Mrs. Day desires to be employed as a teacher in some of the Schools now established for the education of the colored race.

From my knowledge of her course of study, & of her intellectual attainments, I give my confidence in her fitness for the duties which such a situation will inspire and it is my sincere desire, that she may be permitted to aid in the work of instructing & elevating her own people, so many of whom now demand her help.

J. H. Hawks

[1] Transcribed by Dan Quigley

[2] Reverend George Whipple (1805-1876), an Oberlin College alumnus, was then secretary of the American Missionary Association.

[3] Lucy Stanton's estranged husband and former Oberlin classmate, William Howard Day (1825-1900), was an activist, writer, and abolitionist.

[4] At the time, Oberlin was one of the only institutions of higher education admitting blacks or women. Although accepted at Oberlin, women were educated in a separate program, the Female (or Ladies) Department.

[5] James A. Thome (1831-1873), was born in Kentucky, and was converted to abolitionism at the Lane Theological Seminary. He received a theology degree from Oberlin in 1836, and became a professor Rhetoric and Belles Letters at Oberlin College, 1838-1848. In 1848, he was appointed the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn, Ohio. Thome voiced his strong support for abolition and worked as an agent of the American Missionary Association in England and Scotland. (

[6] Theron H. Hawks (1821-1908), was born in Massachusetts, graduated from Williams College in 1844, and from the Union Theological Seminary in 1852. He was pastor of Cleveland's Second Presbyterian Church from 1861 to 1868, then moving to pastor a church in Marietta, Ohio.