Born in 1782 in rural Rhode Island, Arnold Buffum was a Quaker, abolitionist, and temperance advocate. He and his wife Rebecca Gould Buffum had five daughters, including Rebecca Buffum Spring and Elizabeth Buffum Chace, who also became social reformers and anti-slavery activists. Buffum developed a successful importing business and hat manufacture. Upon meeting William Lloyd Garrison in the early 1830s, Buffum transformed his anti-slavery views from gradual to immediate abolition. With Garrison, Buffum established the New England Anti-Slavery Society in 1832 and subsequently became its first president. As president, Buffum devoted himself to the anti-slavery cause, travelling and lecturing on abolition, primarily to various Friends societies across the Northeast and in the Midwest. In 1840 he broke with Garrison in order to support “political abolitionism,” subsequently forming the Liberty Party. Buffum died in 1859.

Arnold Buffum (1782-1859)