Burritt, Elihu

Burritt, Elihu, 1810–79, American reformer, b. New Britain, Conn. A blacksmith, he studied mathematics, languages, and geography and became known as the learned blacksmith. Profoundly idealistic, he supported many reform causes—antislavery, temperance, and self-education—and he pleaded for them when he edited (1844–51) the weekly Christian Citizen at Worcester, Mass. Most of all, however, he worked to promote world peace, organizing world peace congresses. Burritt argued for cheaper international postal rates and greater intellectual exchange among nations. Among his much-read books were Sparks from the Anvil (1846) and Ten Minute Talks (1873).

See M. Curti, ed., The Learned Blacksmith (his letters and journals, 1937, repr. 1973); biography by P. Tolis (1968).

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