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Purvis, Robertlocked

(04 August 1810–15 April 1898)
  • Joseph A. Boromé


Purvis, Robert (04 August 1810–15 April 1898), abolitionist and reformer, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of William Purvis, a naturalized British cotton broker, and Harriet Judah, the free mulatto daughter of a German Jewish flour merchant and an emancipated slave of Moorish extraction. In 1819 the family settled in Philadelphia, and at William’s death (1826) Harriet and her three sons came into a substantial fortune. After private schooling, Robert attended Pittsfield and Amherst academies in Massachusetts, decamping from the latter in 1829 following a 4 July prank. At age seventeen, inspired by his father’s opposition to slavery, he had spoken at an antislavery convention. But in 1830, meeting the abolitionist ...

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