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William H. Burleigh


William Henry Burleigh was a co-teacher, with his sister Mary, as well as Prudence Crandall and her sister Almira, at the Canterbury Female Academy for Black Women from 1833-1834. There he was subject to prosecution under the Black Law passed by Connecticut, the aim of which was to eradicate higher education for Black women. He also worked as co-editor with his brother Charles C. Burleigh for The Unionist (1833-34). He published poems and remained active in the anti-slavery struggle, but parted ways with the Garrisonian wing of Abolition over the question of political engagement. He became an ardent supporter of the Free Soil and, later, Republican parties.

William Burleigh continued his early editorial work across the antebellum years. He left Connecticut after the Canterbury school closed, editing The Wreath, a literary journal in Schenectady, NY, in late 1834-35. He later moved to Pittsburgh, editing the Christian Witness and Temperance Banner there (1837). He then returned to Connecticut to edit the Christian Banner and The Charter Oak at Hartford in the mid-1840s. His activism in the Temperance Movement culminated in his serving as an agent of the New York State Temperance Society from 1849-1855. 


"William H. Burleigh, Abolitionist born in Woodstock, son of Rinaldo Burleigh. From photo owned by Miss Agnes Burleigh Allen, Plainfield, grandniece.” in Clarence Winthrop Bowen, The History of Woodstock Connecticut. Norwood, Massachusetts: The Plimpton Press, 1926, p. 377



The Unionist

Assistant Editor of The Unionist newspaper, Brooklyn CT. Wrote some editorials for the paper.


Republican Campaign Songster for 1860

William Burleigh edited this compilation of campaign tunes for Lincoln's victorious election. This is all text, no musical scores. In addition to a few poems by Burleigh himself, there is a contribution from J.G. Whittier. There is a permanent link to this collection on line here.


Connecticut Freeman

Reform newspaper based in Hartford.


Christian Witness and Temperance Banner

Reform newspaper based in Pittsburgh.

Republican Campaign Songser for 1860


Our  Country; Its Dangers and Its Destiny: A Desultory Poem

Dedication to Albert Hinckley, another co-worker from Canterbury; online copy from Harvard a gift to James Russell Lowell. Permalink to Harvard copy via Hathi Trust here.

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