Mary Ashton Rice was born in Boston on 19th December, 1820. A deeply religious person, Mary read the entire Bible every year until she was twenty-three. In 1839 she found work as a tutor on a Virginia plantation. During the next three years she observed the way that slaves on the plantation were treated and this turned her into a strong opponent of slavery.
In 1842 Livermore took charge of a private school in Duxbury, Massachusetts. She worked at the school for three years before marrying Daniel Livermore, a Universalist minister, in May, 1845. For the next three years the couple worked amongst factory workers providing education and health care.
In 1857 the family moved to Chicago and Mary worked as associate editor of the religious publication, the New Covenant. She also published a collection of essays entitled Pen Pictures. A strong supporter of the Republican Party, Livermore campaigned for Abraham Lincoln in the 1860 presidential election.
Livermore did relief work during the American Civil War and after a tour of military hospitals, she joined the U.S. Sanitary Commission in Chicago. Working with her friend, Jane Hoge, she organized a Sanitary Fair which raised more than $70,000. Later she was appointed as an agent of securing money and supplies. Livermore worked closely with Mary Ann Bickerdyke who was chief of nursing under the command of General Ulysses S. Grant and General William T. Sherman during the Atlanta Campaign.
An active supporter of women's rights, Livermore organized the Chicago Woman Suffrage Convention in 1868. She was also editor of the feminist journal, The Agitator (1868-70).
Slavery in the United States (£1.29)
Along with Lucy Stone and Julia Ward Howe, Livermore co-edited The Women's Journal (1870-72). A founder member of the American Woman Suffrage Association, Livermore was president of the organization between 1875 and 1878. Livermore was also one of the leaders of the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU).
Livermore wrote several books including My Story of the War: A Woman's Narrative of Four Years Personal Experience (1887) and The Story of My Life: The Sunshine and Shadow of Seventy Years (1897). Livermore was also joint editor with Francis E. Willard of a collection of biographies, A Woman of the Century (1893).
Mary Livermore died in Melrose, Massachusetts, on 23rd May, 1905.