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Fob seal, with motto "Am I not a woman and a sister?"

Additional Title(s):

Am I not a woman and a sister?

England, circa 1835.
Physical Description:
1 fob seal : gilding over copper or copper alloy, amethyst-colored glass ; face 15 x 8 mm, depth 22 mm
Rare Books and Manuscripts
Flat D 4
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Related Content:
View catalog record for a fob seal bearing the design of the anti-slavery medallion
Three-Dimensional Artifacts
The image and motto is engraved in intaglio.
Fob ring, depicting a kneeling African woman in shackles and motto that reads (in reverse): "Am I not a woman and a sister?" The image was widely adopted in the abolitionist movement. Its first known usage dates to 1826, when it appeared on the cover of the First report of the Ladies' Society for the Relief of Negro Slaves (Birmingham, England) -- an organization founded by Lucy Townsend. In the United States, the image was popularized by Elizabeth Margaret Chandler, who used it in the "Female Repository" page of The Genius of Universal Emancipation. The image was also used to head the ladies department of the William Lloyd Garrison's The Liberator. The image and motto appear together on the title page of The West India question (New Haven, 1833).
The design parallels the image popularly known as the anti-slavery medallion, which depicted an enslaved man in shackles. This earlier image was designed by William Hackwood, for Josiah Wedgwood, and was adopted as the seal for the London Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade in 1787.
Letters closed with sealing wax impressed with the present fob seal would have indicated the sender's support for the abolition of slavery.
Subject Terms:
Antislavery movements -- Great Britain.
Black people in art.
Chandler, Elizabeth Margaret, 1807-1834.
Female Society, for Birmingham, West-Bromwich, Wednesbury, Walsall, and Their Respective Neighbourhoods, for the Relief of British Negro Slaves.
Hackwood, William, 1757-1839.
Josiah Wedgwood & Sons.
Slave trade -- Great Britain.
Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade.
Fobs (objects)
Seals (artifacts)
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