Greenleaf, Jean Brooks

Date range:
Location: D.300
Size: 2 boxes

Jean Brooks Greenleaf was born on October 1, 1831 in Bernardston, Massachusetts, where she attended public schools before enrolling in the Melrose Seminary in West Brattleboro, Vermont. She was forced to leave school due to her mother's ailing health, and married Halbert S. Greenleaf in 1862. The couple moved to Rochester, New York in 1867 where Mr. Greenleaf worked as a lock manufacturer and served two terms in the US Congress.

Jean Brooks Greenleaf was active in the Rochester Community, chairing the committee that drafted the constitution of the Woman's Educational and Industrial Union (founded 1893) and the organizational meeting of the Women's Ethical Club in 1889. Greenleaf joined the Women's Political Club (formed in 1886) and became its second president in May of 1888. She was elected President of the New York State Woman Suffrage Association (NYSWSA) in 1890 at the state convention held in Rochester, a position she held until 1896.

Greenleaf was a delegate to the House Judiciary Committee hearing on suffrage on February 17, 1892. She worked on the Second New York Campaign for woman suffrage, which was run from the home of Susan B. Anthony on Madison Street in Rochester, between 1893 and 1894. She addressed the Suffrage Committee of New York State's Constitutional Convention on 24 May 1894, along with Susan B. Anthony. Greenleaf shared a personal friendship with Anthony, as evidenced by her presence at many small gatherings at the Anthony home.

The collection contains photographs of Greenleaf throughout her life, as well as a candid photograph of Greenleaf speaking with Susan B. Anthony taken by Vahan Abkarian. Two letters are included, along with a "Votes for Women" satin sash and a pin from the American Women's League.

The Collection was the property of Vahan Abkarian, who was Greenleaf's caretaker during the last years of her life. Purchased from Rob McElroy July 1, 2003 on FHA-Seward Fund.


Box 1

  1. 12 June 1894: Letter from Clara Neymann
  2. 12 July 1912: Letter from Greenleaf to the executor of her estate re: Vahan Abkarian
    • 1903-1904 Rochester Political Equality Club Pamphlet
    • Postcard depicting the former Greenleaf home in Charlotte, NY where Halbert died in 1906.
    • Petition for Woman Suffrage booklet used to collect signatures in each county of New York State in 1894. The pages containing the original signatures were removed from this booklet and sent to Albany along with all of the other signatures collected by volunteers in the state's other counties. All original booklets were returned to Greenleaf in Rochester, who was chairman of the committee.
  3. Photographs
    • Original 3 ¾ x 4 ¾ photograph of Greenleaf talking with Susan B. Anthony, taken by Vahan Abkarian.
    • 4 x 5 silver print photograph of Greenleaf and "Aunt" Abby Henry and "Aunt" Ester Henry and old Rover (dog). Greenleaf is seated on the far right reading.
    • Photograph of Halbert S. Greenleaf
    • 4 x 6 photograph of Jean Brooks Greenleaf in middle age
    • Small circa 1910 indoor photograph of Greenleaf
    • Daguerreotype of Jean Brooks Greenleaf as a young woman (separate package)

Other Items:
  • 22" gold-colored satin "Votes for Women" sash
  • 14K gold pin from the founder's chapter of the American Woman's League.

Box 2:

Large scrapbook kept by Jean Brooks Greenleaf composed of clippings about notable people.