Archives and Special Collections
P.O. Box 1773
Carlisle, PA 17013
Arthur and Lewis Tappan founded the America and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society in 1840. Splitting from the American Anti-Slavery over differences in beliefs, the Tappans thought that the fight over slavery should be kept within the political arena. The Tappan brothers became more radical after the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law in 1850.
Lewis Tappan was born March 23, 1788 in Massachusetts. Originally a clerk in Boston, Tappan joined his brother Arthur to work in the silk trade in New York. He diligently worked on social reforms from the evils of alcohol to abolition. Lewis Tappan originally favored the colonization for the freed slaves like with many other anti-slavery leaders eventually became an “immediatist.” With his brother, Garrison, and other immediatists, Lewis Tappan helped create the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1833. Tappan eventually assisted in founding the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society. Unlike many men of the time, Tappan advocated for intermarriage of the races. His abolitionist activities made him a frequent target of abuse. He frequently wrote for abolitionist papers including The Emancipator and provided a detailed account of the proceedings of the Amistad trails. In addition, Tappan worked to provide the captives with quality lawyers and education while in prison. Lewis Tappan died on June 21, 1873.