Talk:Margaret Fuller

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Featured article Margaret Fuller is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
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Biography assessment rating comment[edit]

WikiProject Biography Assessment

Barely a B. Needs more references.

The article may be improved by following the WikiProject Biography 11 easy steps to producing at least a B article. -- Yamara 04:53, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

I'm questioning that "Chad" Fuller was her father. It was well known that she was the daughter of Timothy & Margaret (Crane) Fuller. [1] Janicebr 21:11, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

Brook Farm[edit]

Let's add material about her Brook Farm connections. I think she was a significant, famous visitor/participant there. I think she built a house there, that lasted about 100 years... 23:35, 18 January 2007 (UTC)


It said this in the article: She said once she "never met her intellectual equal," the correct quote is "I know all the people worth knowing in America, and I find no intellect comparable to my own." I'm going to remove the quotation marks for this reason (talk) 18:48, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

I think you're right. I've got this article on my informal to-do list so I'll get a source for the actual quote... eventually. Thanks for finding this. --Midnightdreary (talk) 19:53, 20 February 2008 (UTC)


Though Fuller has been gracefully accepted into the modern UU world, there isn't a lot of first hand evidence to support she identified herself as Unitarian throughout her life. As the main contributor to this article, I humbly request unbiased (i.e. non-UU) sources, in the usual Wiki reliable sources vein, which make this connection. Further, I recommend not suddenly splicing a new footnote after a footnote unless it fully corroborates the same information. The sentence which has twice now had a second footnote added says much more than "She was Unitarian." Please cite information separately. --Midnightdreary (talk) 03:25, 23 May 2010 (UTC)

Unfortunately, this same error in citation formatting was made again. I can't do much without being accused of breaking the three revert rule. Request made above. --Midnightdreary (talk) 03:27, 23 May 2010 (UTC)
I am well aware of the eagerness with which religious groups often claim as their own certain well-respected historical figures, even with scant evidence, and am sympathetic to the request for unbiased sources concerning Fuller's religious identity. However, I don't believe such sources as UU World or the UUHS website (both of which identify Fuller as Unitarian) should be dismissed out of hand, given the level of editorial oversight for these sources. Even if we suspect that they might cast a somewhat wider net in search of historical figures of Unitarian identity than would a historian who has no bias for or against that denomination, it seems pretty unlikely that they would fabricate such bare facts as her upbringing in a Unitarian family, or her membership in a Unitarian church (Federal Street Church). If these sources were extrapolating or making inferences about theological leanings based merely on some statements Fuller had made, that would be a different story.
Deiss identifies Fuller as Protestant in 1846. To what Protestant denomination did she belong at that time, if not Unitarianism? Has any source reported that Fuller switched to some Protestant denomination besides the Unitarianism of her upbringing? And do we have any evidence that she abandoned this Protestant denomination between 1846 and her death in 1850? Nick Graves (talk) 04:28, 23 May 2010 (UTC)
My skepticism outweighs my benefit of the doubt in this particular instance. That aside, where do we find her upbringing? Where do we see Timothy Fuller noted as a practicing Unitarian (outside Unitarian sources)? As Fuller was not a Bostonian, her attendance at the Federal Street Church could not have been regular. As a New Yorker, it was simply not possible. Fuller in particular created her own religious beliefs (in fact, one could/should argue that Transcendentalism was an independent religion all its own) and I see little in her first-hand accounts that suggest she was particularly fond of one organized religious group. It's certainly possible I've missed something, of course. "Protestant" might just be a catch-all term for Deiss, but I can't speculate what further specificity he intended. Either way, finding a source independent of the UU church can only help this article and our understanding of the subject. If Unitarianism was an important part of her life, it should be easy to find. --Midnightdreary (talk) 04:42, 23 May 2010 (UTC)
I think I found some decent information on this that addresses both the Unitarian identification and, coincidentally, my own confusion over it. I hope it doesn't look like POV-pushing; it literally is the first reference I found after a quick search. --Midnightdreary (talk) 16:05, 23 May 2010 (UTC)
Thank you for finding that. I am satisfied with the change you've made. Cheers. Nick Graves (talk) 00:56, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
I changed the wording to "actively" and sourced it to an article written by her son, Richard F. Fuller, in the 1875 book. He said, "she was actively engaged in religious effort" and "she was herself an earnest and devoted Unitarian." JoyceD (talk) 08:15, 23 July 2010 (UTC)
[undent] I think this was a poor choice so I restored the prior version. An 1875 source does not reflect modern scholarship. Further, a book by a family member (NOT her son, as her son died in infancy) is obviously not neutral. The bias would be to "clean" her image or make her seem more pious than she truly was. Let's stick with what we have. --Midnightdreary (talk) 13:43, 23 July 2010 (UTC)
I looked again and, technically, the source you used was the 1852 memoirs by J. F. Clarke, Emerson, and W. H. Channing. The article itself notes that unreliability of this extremely controversial book. Definitely not a usable source. --Midnightdreary (talk) 13:48, 23 July 2010 (UTC)

Featured article inconsistency[edit]

Why does the version of this article on the main page not state that she is American, unlike this one does? NorthernThunder (talk) 12:11, 23 May 2010 (UTC)

Easy answer: This version of the article is always changing. The main page is usually much more basic. It does mention she was in the United States, nonetheless. --Midnightdreary (talk) 15:43, 23 May 2010 (UTC)

No edit notice[edit]


Please insert {{TFA-editnotice}} in its editnotice; since it's now showing on the Main Page. Acps110 (talkcontribs) 12:31, 23 May 2010 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done. JohnCD (talk) 13:13, 23 May 2010 (UTC)
Thanks! Acps110 (talkcontribs) 13:17, 23 May 2010 (UTC)

Great piece[edit]

I thought this was an excellent biographical sketch and great choice as a Featured Article. The grade school I attended in Minneapolis in the '50s was named for Margaret Fuller, but they never told us anything about her. Probably she would have struck some in those days as too radical. (Sadly, the school was torn down around 1970.)

Sca (talk) 16:18, 23 May 2010 (UTC)


Does anyone know of any hard-and-fast rules for the terms for this philosophical movement? Specifically, is it capitalized and, if so, when? Is there a difference between adjectives "Transcendentalist" and "Transcendental"? Is one preferred? --Midnightdreary (talk) 22:18, 23 May 2010 (UTC)

Because the term refers to a proper noun, Transcendentalism/Transcendentalist/etc. should always be capitalized. I think of it as the same as romantic vs. Romantic; both could intentionally mean two different things. As for the adjectives, this may be a matter on what happens to be the subject of the sentence, right? I would call someone a Transcendentalist, whereas something might be Transcendental. Just my humble opinions, of course. :) María (habla conmigo) 00:52, 25 May 2010 (UTC)

Too much fretting about whether there was a "formal" (civil? religious?) marriage . . .[edit]

. . . in the section headed "Assignment in Europe." I don't think I'm familiar enough with the information to mess with it, but I think someone ought to pare it down. I understand that it may have been more of an issue in the mid-nineteenth century than it would be now, but the passage still seems a bit fixated. --Everything Else Is Taken (talk) 14:00, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

Wiki articles tend to present information in a way that reflects scholarship. A lot of scholars and biographers focus on this question. As such, the focus here is proportionate. Is there anything specific about it you think could be or should be pared down? --Midnightdreary (talk) 21:50, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
I count 10 references to the question of a formal marriage in the one paragraph. I might revise as follows (sorry -- I don't know how to do strikeouts, or I would use them, for the ease of comprehension of my proposed changes):
. . . Fuller and Ossoli moved in together in Florence, Italy. At least originally, Fuller balked at marrying, in part because of their different religions; she was Protestant and he was Roman Catholic. Emerson speculated that the couple was "married perhaps in Oct. Nov. or Dec" of 1847, though he did not explain his reasoning. Biographers have speculated that the couple married on April 4, 1848, to celebrate the anniversary of their first meeting. [Note from me: Having been acquainted for a year seems a weird and flimsy basis for speculating that a couple got married, and unless this is elucidated, I would delete the sentence.] By the time the couple moved to Florence, they were referred to as husband and wife, though it seems certain that at the time their child was born, they were not married. [Note from me: Why does it seem certain? Without an explanation, it's confusing, and I would take out the last part of that sentence.] By New Year's Day 1848, Fuller suspected that she was pregnant but kept it from Ossoli for several weeks. Their child, Angelo Eugene Philip Ossoli, was born in early September 1848; they nicknamed him Angelino. The couple was very secretive about their relationship but, after Angelino suffered an unnamed illness, they became closer. [Note from me: Why does being secretive about their relationship relate in a contradictory way ("but") to their becoming closer?] Fuller finally informed her mother about Ossoli and Angelino in August 1849. The letter explained that she had kept silent so as not to upset her, "but it has become necessary, on account of the child, for us to live publicly and permanently together." Her mother's response makes it clear that she was aware that a legal marriage had not taken place. [Note from me: If the mother was "aware," that tells me that the question of a marriage was resolved. If it was not resolved, the sentence should read, "makes it clear that she understood that a legal marriage had not taken place.] Even so, she was happy for her daughter, writing: "I send my first kiss with my fervent blessing to my grandson." Modern biographers are still unclear if Fuller and Ossoli ever married. [Note from me: This last sentence seems superfluous; even after my suggested deletions, it's clear from the preceding text.]
Thanks, Midnightdreary, for working with me on this. I look forward to seeing what you think. --Everything Else Is Taken (talk) 01:15, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
Sorry I haven't responded. As I've thought this over, I haven't really had much of a problem with the text as it stands. The Fuller/Ossoli marriage is very nebulous, confusing, and controversial. As such, it makes sense to expound on that nebulousness, confusion, and controversy. Further, any book on Fuller or the Transcendentalists in general will have the same sort of long-winded, circuitous discussion of the marriage, as is reflected here. The only change I think is categorically worth making is that strange "but" conjunction you mentioned. --Midnightdreary (talk) 13:43, 17 June 2010 (UTC)
The opening paragraph indicated that she was the first full time female book reviewer, my understanding is that Mary Wollstonecraft was in fact the first female book reviewer working for Joseph Johnston in London 1787, outside of this knowledge I have edited the reference to the first American female book reviewer:).--Ecofeminist2010 (talk) 19:03, 11 August 2010 (UTC)