It is truly a tragedy that the name Laura Smith Haviland is not as recognizable as the names of some of her contemporaries, such as Harriet Tubman, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Sojourner Truth. Instead of chapters on her achievements, Haviland’s story is relegated to footnotes in history texts, if it is included at all, yet rarely do we see an example of a person who was able to accomplish so much for the betterment of society despite the obstacles placed in her path.
Haviland was born in Canada in 1808 to the Reverend Daniel Smith and Sene Blancher and was raised as a Quaker. At the age of 16, she married fellow Quaker Charles Haviland. It was after her marriage that Haviland joined the Logan Female Anti-Slavery Society and, the more she became involved in the issue of slavery, the more she realized that the issue was causing a division in the Quaker church, and the Havilands ultimately left the church.