Abby Morton Diaz


Sources: Cro, Ann B., “From Transcendentalism to Progressivism: The Making of an American Reformer, Abby Morton Diaz (1821-1904)” (2006) and Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 2187, @

Abby Morton Diaz was born in Plymouth, Massachusetts, the daughter of Ichabod Morton, a shipbuilderwith a taste for reform. Abby attended a high school for girls in Plymouth and participated in a juvenile antislavery society with his encouragement. She deeply admired the early abolitionists, “especially the women,” who organized the meetings and raised money to pay for them.

Abby came to Brook Farm with her father in 1842. Ichabod built a large house for himself and his brother at Brook Farm but only stayed two weeks. However, Abby stayed until the dissolution of the community in 1847. She initially assisted Georgiana Bruce Kirby with the youngest students in the school, but when Kirby left Brook Farm in 1844, Abby replaced her as director of the Infant School. She married Manuel Diaz, an Hispanic student from Manila who attended the Brook Farm school, in 1845. The marriage did not last, but they had three children whom Abby raised.

Throughout her career, Diaz attempted to put into practice the ideals she had learned at Brook Farm. She supported women’s suffrage and industrial reform. Her philosophy is reflected in the reform initiatives she supported: the Women’s Educational and Industrial Union and the Nationalist Party.

Learn more about the Women of Brook Farm.