Raising Money through Fairs

Before crowdsourcing and kickstarters, before bake sales, before raffles came the fund-raising bazaars and fairs of the 1900s. According to Eric Foner in Gateway to Freedom, they were a "natural outgrowth of the accelerating market revolution" in the 1820s and 1830s." More or less middle-class had extra items to sell to each other, rather than just what was needed to subsist.

He further says (pg. 183), "the abolitionist movement perfected and institutionalized the practice. Fund-raising fairs became a staple of the movement and the primary focus of female antislavery activity."

As noted in the Finding Aid for the papers of the Rochester Ladies Anti-Slavery Society (originals housed in the Clements Library, University of Michigan):

By March, 1852, the Society had grown to nineteen members, when they held the first of their Festivals, or bazaars. In these events, held annually for over a decade, the women of the Society raised money through the sale of items made locally or contributed by other anti-slavery societies as far away as Britain, and through gate receipts for lectures by Frederick Douglass, Gerrit Smith, or other activists held in the Corinthian Hall. The first Festival was advertised in newspapers as far away as New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., and by all accounts, it was a rousing success, netting over $250....By the late 1850s, the annual receipts of the Society surpassed $1,500.

Julia was involved with many of these fairs,  as an organizer, booth-table staffer, and/or customer. By the 1860s, she was a little tired of them ("fair fatigue"?) as they were not as lucrative as in the past.

For example, in February 1864, she wrote about a fair held by the Sanitary Commission at the corner of Seventh and Pennsylvania in Washington:

I sold a 50 cent pin-cushion to a half drunk German Zouave, a waste of time & very tedious for me. 

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