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Margaret Fuller (1810-1850), the first woman reporter for the New York Tribune newspaper, wrote Woman in the Nineteenth Century in the fall of 1844 at the Van Vliet House, which once stood on this site.
According to Biography.com Margaret Fuller was a feminist, writer, literary critic, born May 23, 1810, in Cambridgeport, Massachusetts. Her father, Timothy Fuller, was a prominent Massachusetts lawyer-politician who, disappointed that his child was not a boy, educated her rigorously in the classical curriculum of the day. Notably the first woman permitted to use the library at Harvard College, some say that her intellectual precociousness also earned her the reputation as “best-read person in New England”!
Margaret Fuller joined Ralph Waldo Emerson and others to found the Dial, a journal devoted to transcendentalist views in 1840. She became a contributor from the first issue and its editor. Her first book, based on a trip through the Midwest, Summer on the Lakes (1844), led to an invitation by Horace Greeley to be literary critic at the New York Tribune that same year. In 1845, she went on to publish her feminist classic, Woman in the Nineteenth Century. In addition to writing a solid body of critical reviews and essays, she became active in various social reform movements. In 1846, she went to Europe as a foreign correspondent for the Tribune, and in England and France she was regarded as a serious intellectual and met many prominent people.
Traveling to Italy in 1847, Margaret Fuller met Giovanni Angelo, the Marchese d’Ossoli, ten years her younger and of liberal principles. They became lovers, had a son in 1848, and married the next year. Involved in the Roman Revolution of 1848, Fuller and her husband fled to Florence in 1849. Although they sailed for the United States their ship ran aground in a storm off Fire Island, New York. Sadly, their bodies were never recovered. Although it “washed into sea during a 1913 storm”, interestingly New York History Blog recalled an earlier historical marker at Point O’ Woods, Fire Island commemorating the drowning of Fuller and her family aboard the Elizabeth on July 19, 1850.
According to New York History Blog, Margaret Fuller spent seven weeks in Fishkill Landing (now part of Beacon) in fall 1844 revising her Transcendental Dial article “The Great Lawsuit” into the first American feminist book, Woman in the Nineteenth Century. The William G. Pomeroy State Historical Marker, one of four sites in New York State recognizing Fuller’s accomplishments from 1844 to 1850, awarded to the City of Beacon in 2016, was installed at the original site of the Van Vliet boarding house where Margaret Fuller wrote her book. In 2019, it was the location of the Beacon Chamber of Commerce’s Visitors Center.