With writing that burned brightly with passionate knowledge, transcendentalist Sarah Margaret Fuller Osoli (1810-1850) was born in Cambridgeport, Massachusetts and tutored by her father, a respected congressman.
"Very early, I knew that the only object in life was to grow," she observed wisely and was the first woman allowed to use the Harvard Library.
A teacher who held discussions she called "conversations" with such New England intellectuals as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Louisa May Alcott, Fuller was also a foreign correspondent and founding editor of the journal The Dial (1840–1842), perhaps America's first independent journal of literature, religion, and philosophy.
Her poetry, reviews, and criticisms caught the eye of publisher Horace Greeley who hired Fuller as a critic for the New York Tribune in 1844. He once said she was "the most remarkable, and in some respects, the greatest woman America has yet known."
"I accept the universe!" she celebrated. Writer Susan Cheever described the bold Fuller as "a Dorothy Parker woman in a Jane Austen world."
A pioneering advocate for women's rights, her groundbreaking work, Women in the Nineteenth Century (1845), looked at world history from a woman's point of view and influenced such leaders Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony.
Fuller inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter and heroines of both Henry James and James Russell Lowell. "Male and female represent the two sides of the great radical dualism," Fuller said. "They are perpetually passing into one another. Fluid hardens to solid, solid rushes to fluid. There is no wholly masculine man, no purely feminine woman."
Burn brightly, boldly... and share your light!