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Amelia Holmes Advocates for Barbara Ann White

Amelia Holmes Advocates for Barbara Ann White Picture

“It is fitting that America should be a disturber of traditions—of deep-rooted prejudices. Only in this way can she do her legitimate work and transmit to posterity improved conditions.”
— Anna Gardner

Disturber of Tradition: A Portrait of Anna Gardner, by Barbara Ann White, is an engaging biography of a Nantucket woman’s lifelong commitment to justice and an equitable society. Born into a middle-class Quaker family, Gardner was an educator, writer, abolitionist, and suffragist, who was engaged in civil rights movements locally, regionally, and nationally throughout the nineteenth century. I learned so much reading this book—about the history of Nantucket, education, the fight for woman suffrage, abolition, the Civil War, and Reconstruction—that I can’t recommend it highly enough. Gardner’s story, as told in White’s accessible prose, shows that societal change is possible at the ground level when everyday people put their principles into action.