Lucia Ames Mead

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Lucia Ames Mead

Lucia Ames Mead (May 5, 1856 – November 1, 1936) was an American pacifist, feminist, writer, and educator based in Boston, Massachusetts.

Early life[edit]

Lucia Jane Ames was born in Boscawen, New Hampshire, the daughter of Nathan Plummer Ames (1816-1880) and Elvira Coffin Ames (1819-1861). Her father was a Union Army veteran; her mother died when Lucia was a little girl. Her mother's brother, Charles Carleton Coffin, was a noted journalist who covered the American Civil War. After the war, the Nathan Ames moved his family to Chicago; Lucia moved back to New England in 1870, after her stepmother died, to live with her older brother Charles and attend school. (She changed her own middle name from Jane to True.)[1]


Lucia Ames started her working life as a piano teacher in Boston. In 1897 she was a speaker at the Lake Mohonk Conference on International Arbitration,[2] proclaiming her belief that "We are not first of all Americans, we are, first of all, human beings; we are, first of all, God’s children, and we have identical interests with all God's children all over the face of the earth.”[3] In 1904 she created an exhibit for the American Peace Society at the St. Louis World's Fair, which was turned into a widely-circulated pamphlet, "A Primer of the Peace Movement" (1905).[4] She made an award-winning float called "Law Replaces War" for the Columbus Day parade in Boston in 1913. She worked for the establishment of a "Peace Day" holiday to be marked in schools on May 18, writing curriculum materials and giving conference talks on her ideas.[5]

Lucia Ames Mead was national secretary of the Woman's Peace Party and a delegate at the founding of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom in 1919, in Zurich.[6] She was vice-president of the National Council for Prevention of War, and chaired the Peace and Arbitration program of the National Council of Women of the United States. She was a member of the National American Woman Suffrage Association and president of the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association. In 1912 she criticized English suffragettes' strategies as "vandalism" and counterproductive.[7] In 1926 she was barred from speaking at Agnes Scott College because of her promotion of internationalism (which was labeled "bolshevism").[8]

Books by Lucia Ames Mead include Great Thoughts for Little Thinkers (1888), Memoirs of a Millionaire (1889, a novel),[9] To Whom Much is Given (1898),[10] Milton's England (1903),[11] Patriotism and the New Internationalism (1906),[12] Patriotism and Peace: How to Teach them in Schools (1910),[13] Swords and Ploughshares (1912),[14] Economic Facts for Practical People (1914), What Young People Ought to Know about War and Peace (1916),[15] and Law or War (1928).[16] She also edited The Overthrow of the War System (1915), which contained essays by Jane Addams, Emily Greene Balch, Fannie Fern Andrews, and others.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Lucia Ames married Boston editor Edwin Doak Mead in 1898, when she was 41 and he was 48. Lucia Ames Mead died in 1936,[18] after injuries from a crushing crowd in the Boston subway.[5] She was 80 years old. Her papers are archived in the Swarthmore College Peace Collection,[19] with others at Harvard.[20]

A book-length biography of Mead was published in 1990.[21]

Mead's niece Mary Dennett (her sister Livonia's daughter) became an outspoken feminist and family planning advocate.[22]


  1. ^ Sandra Opdycke, "Lucia True Ames Mead" in American National Biography Online (2000).
  2. ^ Dorothy G. Rogers, America's First Women Philosophers: Transplanting Hegel, 1860-1925 (A&C Black 2009): 130-132. ISBN 9780826440259
  3. ^ Charles F. Howlett and Ian M. Harris, Books not Bombs: Teaching Peace Since the Dawn of the Republic (IAP 2010): 49. ISBN 9781617351563
  4. ^ Lucia Ames Mead, A Primer for the Peace Movement (American Peace Society 1915).
  5. ^ a b Charles F. Howlett, "Lucia True Ames Mead: Publicist for Peace Education in the United States" Encyclopedia of Peace Education (Teachers College, Columbia University 2008).
  6. ^ Dorothy G. Rogers, "Before 'Care': Marietta Kies, Lucia Ames Mead, and Feminist Political Theory" Hypatia 19(2)(Spring 2004): 105-117.
  7. ^ "English Suffragettes' Methods are Scored" Brooklyn Daily Eagle (March 20, 1912): 7. via Newspapers.comopen access publication – free to read
  8. ^ "Woman 'Red' Barred from Agnes Scott" Anniston Star (December 4, 1926): 1. via Newspapers.comopen access publication – free to read
  9. ^ Lucia True Ames, Memoirs of a Millionaire (Houghton Mifflin 1889).
  10. ^ Lucia True Ames Mead, To Whom Much is Given (T. Y. Crowell & Company 1899).
  11. ^ Lucia Ames Mead, Milton's England (Library of Alexandria 1908).
  12. ^ Lucia True Ames Mead, Patriotism and the New Internationalism (Ginn 1906).
  13. ^ Lucia Ames Mead, Patriotism and Peace: How to Teach Them in Schools (Kessinger 2010).
  14. ^ Lucia Ames Mead, Swords and Ploughshares (Read Books 2011).
  15. ^ Lucia True Ames Mead, What Young People Ought to Know about War and Peace (New England Publishing Company 1916).
  16. ^ Lucia True Ames Mead, Law or War (Doubleday Doran & Company 1928).
  17. ^ Online Books by Lucia True Ames Mead, The Online Books Page.
  18. ^ "Mrs. Lucia Ames Mead Taken by Death" Gazette and Daily (November 3, 1936): 6. via Newspapers.comopen access publication – free to read
  19. ^ Descriptive summary, Edwin D. Mead and Lucia Ames Mead Papers, 1876-1938, Swarthmore College Peace Collection.
  20. ^ Papers of Lucia True Ames Mead in the Woman's Rights Collection, 1870-1921: A Finding Aid, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (Harvard University 2005).
  21. ^ John M. Craig, Lucia Ames Mead: Studies in World Peace (Edwin Mellen Press 1990). ISBN 9780889460942
  22. ^ Papers of Mary Ware Dennett, 1874-1944: A Finding Aid, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (Harvard University 1989).

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