120 Hudson St. | Elizur Wright House​

120 Hudson St. | Elizur Wright House​


​Elizur Wright (1804-1885), once called one of the "most prominent abolitionists" (Goodheart, p.428) in America, lived in this house while a professor of mathematics and natural philosophy at Western Reserve College. Upon arriving at the College, Wright originally supported colonization, but changed his mind in 1831 after reading the first issue of William Lloyd Garrison's (1805-1879) The Liberator, a nationally-published abolitionist newspaper. ​


​From August to November 1832, Wright wrote a weekly column in Hudson's local newspaper, The Observer and Telegraph in support of abolition. His columns attracted great attention and led to heated exchanges with local supporters of colonization, particularly the college trustees. In December of that year, Warren Isham, the editor of The Observer and Telegraph and ardent colonizationist, closed the column as it "was doing more hurt than good" (The Observer and Telegraph). Wright accused the editor of being threatened by cancelled reader subscriptions. ​


​In 1833, Wright published a pamphlet entitled, The Sin of Slavery and Its Remedy, which according to historian Frederick C. Waite "became one of the leading textbooks of the abolitionists for many years.” Wright eventually resigned from Western Reserve College in 1833, but just before, he mocked colonization supporters in a commencement colloquy. ​


Wright eventually went on to became the secretary of the Anti-Slavery Society of America and editor of several antislavery publications. Interestingly, Wright is also known for his work in life insurance. He published several books on the subject, served as the commissioner of insurance in Massachusetts, and often has been called the "father of life insurance" for his significant contribution to the field, particularly actuarial tables.


"This effort to hush controversy is most grievous; it is so exactly of a piece with the great machinations of Satan to keep the population of this world from ever seeing the light. You may dispute for ever on trifles; you may attack with as much gall and bitterness as you please what every body disbelieves; but the moment you call in question opinions on a great practical subject, which has been taken on trust, your mouth must be shut; no matter how full it may be of facts, and arguments fresh from the word of God!--But truth will out." 


Elizur Wright in The Liberator, v.3, no. 1 (January 5, 1833), in response to Warren Isham closing Wright's column in The Observer and Telegraph