Susan B. Anthony: Celebrating "A Heroic Life"

Celebrating "A Heroic Life"

Susan B. Anthony was born in Adams, Massachusetts on February 15, 1820. She was the second child and second oldest daughter of Daniel and Lucy Read Anthony. Both the Anthony and the Read families had lived in New England since the colonial period and Susan B. Anthony’s maternal grandfather fought in the Revolutionary War. Her siblings were Guelma, Hannah, Daniel Read, Mary, Eliza (died at age 2), and Jacob Merritt. In Adams and later in Battenville, NY, her father managed cotton mills. His mills prospered and he built the family a large new house, but in the economic panic of 1837 his business failed and he went bankrupt. As a result Susan and her sister Guelma left the Quaker academy they were attending in Philadelphia and in 1839 she began teaching at a Quaker boarding school in New Rochelle, NY.

In the early 1870s Francis and Virginia Minor formulated the "New Departure" strategy. It was based on the premise that the Fourteenth Amendment’s definition of U.S. citizenship included women and states were therefore barred from depriving them of the privileges of citizenship. They also argued that the Fifteenth Amendment’s reference to the "right of citizens of the United States to vote" included women. Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and other suffragists enthusiastically embraced the "New Departure" and hoped to validate this interpretation of the amendments through an act of Congress or through a favorable decision in federal courts.

Anthony, Stanton, Isabella Beecher Hooker and others requested the opportunity to make a direct appeal to the Senate for an act that would declare that the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments conferred upon women the right to vote. Their request was denied and they were referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee where they testified on January 12, 1872.

"Men have been faithful about noting every heroic act of their half of the race," observed Susan B. Anthony, "and now it should be the duty, as well as the pleasure, of women to make for future generations a record of the heroic deeds of the other half." To this end she, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Matilda Joslyn Gage began the project of writing the History of Woman Suffrage in 1876. After many interruptions, the first volume appeared in 1881 and the second in 1882. Anthony then purchased the rights from the publisher Fowler & Wells and the third volume was published under her imprint in 1886. With money she inherited from Eliza Jackson Eddy, Anthony was able to fulfill her wish to distribute the volumes free of charge and over the next several years she sent copies of the History of Woman Suffrage to 1,200 libraries in the United States and Europe, to hundreds of schools, and countless individuals. Shown is volume three of the set she presented to the University of Rochester Library in 1903.


After years of traveling, staying in hotels and being a guest in private homes, Susan B. Anthony decided in 1891--at the age of seventy-one--that it was time for her to have a home of her own. Since their mother’s death in 1880, her sister Mary had rented the lower part of the house at 17 Madison Street to boarders. Now, with Susan’s decision to go into housekeeping, the boarders were dispatched and the house was completely redone including the addition of a third floor workroom and the installation of bay windows and fireplaces in the back parlor and her second floor office.

LUCRETIA COFFIN MOTT (1793-1880): Quaker minister, abolitionist; organized with Elizabeth Cady Stanton the first woman’s rights convention in 1848; mentor to Susan B. Anthony when she joined the movement.

"The Anthony Home Calendar" for 1901 features photographs of the Anthony home taken by Frances Benjamin Johnston and quotations from Anthony’s letters and speeches.

Carrie Chapman Catt, who in 1900 succeeded Susan B. Anthony as president of the NAWSA, founded the International Woman Suffrage Association. The first meeting was held in Washington, DC in February 1902 with representatives from ten countries attending.

ELIZABETH CADY STANTON (1815-1902): Co-organizer of the first woman’s rights convention, orator, writer, abolitionist; friend and ally of Susan B. Anthony for fifty years; first woman to testify before the NYS Legislature (1854); president of the National Woman Suffrage Association; editor of woman’s rights newspaper The Revolution; co-author of first three volumes of the History of Woman Suffrage; author of The Woman’s Bible.

Despite Anthony’s intention to enjoy her new home, she continued to be away much of the time on suffrage business. In this letter to old friends Mary and Sarah Hallowell, Anthony asks them to pass on several suggestions about rugs and woodwork to sister Mary, who was at home dealing with the renovations.

In February 1883 Susan B. Anthony traveled to Europe and Great Britain in the company of Rachel Foster Avery. The two met at a suffrage convention in 1879 and soon established a special bond as co-workers and friends. Avery, who was almost forty years younger than Anthony, referred to her as "Aunt Susan" and Anthony regarded Avery as her "niece." When Avery decided to study abroad in 1883, she persuaded Anthony to make the trip with her. While Avery toured the continent, Anthony spent much of her time in Britain where she met with the feminist leaders of England, Ireland and Scotland. Avery kept Anthony informed of her European travels through a series of postcards some of which are shown here.

In this letter to her husband, Isabella Beecher Hooker reports that the Senate Judiciary Committee voted down their appeal by a margin of 86 to 95.

Daniel Anthony, a liberal Hicksite Quaker, believed in educating his daughters as well as his sons and opened a school in their Battenville home. He was an ardent abolitionist and from her earliest years Susan B. Anthony was greatly influenced by his views.

On November 1, 1872, Susan B. Anthony, her three sisters, and ten other Rochester women registered to vote after persuading the election inspectors that the Fourteenth Amendment gave them that right. Four days later they cast their ballots, and on November 18, Anthony was arrested for voting illegally.

On November 22, 1862 Frederick Douglass writes to his fellow abolitionist Theodore Tilton that "Our friend Miss Anthony is at home watching by the bedside of her father who has been quite ill--but now convalescent." Douglass’s optimistic prognosis proved wrong; Daniel Anthony died three days later.

On May 26, 1883 Susan B. Anthony sent a postcard from Paris, France to her sister Mary in Rochester about her plans: "I shall take a look at Scotland & Ireland & make for home in a very few weeks--unless somebody has power to make me see it [is] for the best for me to stop longer--which I do not believe they can."Apparently someone did persuade her to stay longer for she did not sail for home for another six months. During that time she met with Stanton, who was now spending much of her time abroad, and other British and European feminists to lay plans for what became the International Council of Women.

Her mother, Lucy Read Anthony, managed the large household of family members and mill workers. She shared her husband’s convictions and supported her daughter’s reform work.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton stayed with Susan B. Anthony for the month of September 1891. Anthony hoped that Stanton would share her home in Rochester. Stanton, who did not relish the idea of being daily harassed by Anthony to do suffrage work, declined the offer.

A 1903 keepsake commemorating Anna Howard Shaw’s birthday on February 14 and Susan B. Anthony’s on February 15.

Susan B. Anthony portrait, 1848.

LUCY STONE (1818-1893): Abolitionist speaker, pioneer in woman’s rights movement; split with Anthony and Stanton over philosophical, political and tactical differences and founded the rival American Woman Suffrage Association; with husband Henry Blackwell published The Woman’s Journal.

MARY STAFFORD ANTHONY (1827-1907): Susan B. Anthony’s sister; attended the 1848 Rochester woman’s rights convention; teacher and principal in Rochester schools; active in the Rochester Political Equality Club and NYS Suffrage Association.

Susan B. Anthony portrait, 1856.

Being prominent Rochester residents, Susan B. Anthony and her sister Mary are included in the 1904 Rochester Blue Book. Their entry indicates that guests could visit on Monday evenings. Since Susan was often away from home, it was probably Mary who most often entertained any Monday evening callers.

On May 1-2, 1892, the First Unitarian Church of Rochester celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. Though born a Quaker, Susan B. Anthony attended the Unitarian Church for many years. Unable to be at the celebration, she wrote this greeting to be read by her sister Mary.

On December 19, 1883 Susan B. Anthony writes her niece Louise Mosher about the power of mind over body. Perhaps this is the secret of Anthony’s continued vigor over the years.

During the Civil War the leaders of the woman's movement suspended agitation on behalf of their own rights in order to concentrate on the abolition of slavery. On May 14, 1863, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton called a meeting of the Women's National Loyal League. The League called for the immediate abolition of slavery: "...when a mother lays her son on the altar of her country, she ask an object equal of the sacrifice."

Anthony wrote a letter to Amy Post on the second leaf of the Call for a Meeting of the Loyal Women of the Nation.

Susan B. Anthony writes this January 6, 1873 letter to Isabella Beecher Hooker at the height of the scandal that involved an alleged affair between Hooker’s brother, the eminent clergyman Henry Ward Beecher and his parishioner Elizabeth Tilton, the wife of Theodore Tilton. Because of their association with all the parties--including Victoria Woodhull who first accused Beecher of adultery--Anthony and Stanton became embroiled in the scandal, but here Anthony writes of her determination not to be diverted from her life’s work of "breaking the political chain that binds all women in subjection to men." She sees little profit to being swept into the developing scandal. "We might as well ‘bay the moon’ as essay to establish an equal moral code for woman."

Anthony also reports that she will shortly appear before a judge to demand a writ of habeas corpus. "I hope, by this process to be able to reach the U.S. Supreme Court."

In 1845 the family purchased a 32-acre farm in Gates, New York, just outside of Rochester. Because married women could not own their own property, Lucy Anthony’s brother Joshua Read sequestered the money she had inherited from their parents and he used this money to purchase the farm. When the Married Women’s Property Act was passed in 1848 he transferred ownership of the farm to Lucy. To supplement the family income, Daniel Anthony also became an agent for the New York Life Insurance Company with an office in downtown Rochester.

1851-52 Rochester city directory listing Daniel Anthony as an insurance agent at 9 Arcade Hall.

On January 21, 1873 Henry Selden, Susan B. Anthony’s defense lawyer, appeared before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York in Albany to argue that Anthony should be discharged because she had a right to vote and because the government had not established criminal intent on her part. The judge did not release her and on January 24 she was indicted by a federal grand jury. Anthony was arraigned and Selden paid her bail.

On Friday, January 24 Susan B. Anthony sent a proof copy of Selden’s argument to Francis S. Rew, the publisher of the Rochester Evening Express requesting that he print it in his newspaper the following Monday.

The Women’s Loyal National League gathered 100,000 signatures on petitions of women and men who "earnestly pray that your honorable body will pass at the earliest practicable day an act emancipating all persons of African descent held to involuntary service or labor in the United States."

In this speech, published by the League, Senator Charles Sumner acknowledges the receipt of the petitions. Published with Sumner’s remarks is Susan B. Anthony’s exhortation to women to continue the petition work.

In January 1884, Frederick Douglass married his second wife Helen Pitts, a white woman who had worked for him while he was U. S. Marshal in Washington, DC. The marriage, which was denounced in both the white and black communities, elicited different responses from Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony and showed the growing disparity between the two women. Stanton retained the broad, liberal views of the early woman’s rights movement and was ready to denounce any social, political or religious ideology that she found offensive. The more pragmatic Anthony, who had spent decades building a suffrage organization, was concerned that endorsing controversial issues would cause harm by offending conservative suffragists and potential supporters. In this lengthy letter written between January 27 and 29, 1884 Anthony implores Stanton not to publicly endorse Douglass’s marriage.

Susan B. Anthony spent much of 1893 at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. One of the major events was the week-long World’s Congress of Representative Women attended by 528 delegates representing 126 organizations from 27 countries. The Exposition also hosted several Congresses on various topics and, as part of the Congress on Government, the National American Woman Suffrage Association held meetings between August 7 and12. The afternoon session on August 9 was devoted to a discussion of the upcoming suffrage campaigns in Kansas and New York State.

In 1904, at the age of eighty-four, Susan B. Anthony traveled to Germany to attend another meeting of the International Council of Women. In this June 17, 1904 letter to Mary Lewis Gannett, Anthony describes the banquet.

Susan B. Anthony portrait, 1874.

FREDERICK DOUGLASS (1817-1895): Self-emancipated slave; abolitionist orator and writer; publisher of The North Star; attended the Seneca Falls and Rochester woman’s rights conventions; disagreed with Anthony and Stanton over the fourteenth and fifteenth amendments; attended a woman’s rights meeting the day he died.

AMY KIRBY POST (1802-1889): Rochester Quaker, abolitionist, woman’s rights advocate, Spiritualist; with husband Isaac attended Seneca Falls and Rochester woman’s rights conventions; attempted to vote with Susan B. Anthony in 1872.

Susan B. Anthony portrait, 1877.

In 1895 Elizabeth Cady Stanton published the Woman's Bible. This critical commentary on the Bible was the culmination of Stanton's conviction that religious teachings were a root cause of the prejudice against women. Many suffragists, including Susan B. Anthony's most loyal followers Rachel Foster Avery and Anna Howard Shaw, believed that the Woman’s Bible was too radical and would injure the movement. At the 1896 NAWSA convention, they demanded that the organization repudiate the book. Anthony protested--"I shall be pained beyond expression if the delegates here are so narrow and illiberal as to adopt this resolution"--but she was outvoted.

The call to the 1884 annual convention of the National Woman Suffrage Association lists the places where women had the franchise including Wyoming, the first state to give women the vote.

Susan B. Anthony at 1904 banquet in Berlin, Germany.

After Daniel Anthony’s death, his widow sold the farm and moved into the city. The 1866-67 Rochester city directory lists Lucy Anthony as living at 7 Madison Street. The street was later renumbered and the Anthony House became, as it is today, 17 Madison Street.

An Account of the Proceedings of the Trial of Susan B. Anthony on the Charge of Illegal Voting at the Presidential Election in Nov., 1872. Rochester, NY: 1874.

As part of Anthony’s plan to enlighten the men of Rochester so that no jury could be found to convict her, she spoke throughout Monroe County on why she had the right to vote under the Fourteenth Amendment. Her efforts were foiled when the prosecuting attorney, Richard Crowley, successfully petitioned to have the case heard before the U.S. Circuit Court in Canandaigua, Ontario County. The trial began on June 17, 1873 with Supreme Court Justice Ward Hunt presiding. At the end of two days of testimony and arguments, Judge Hunt declared that the right to vote was not among the "privileges and immunities" protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. He further stated that Anthony knew that New York enfranchised only males and she, therefore, knowingly violated the law. Hunt concluded that there was no question for the jury to decide and he directed them to return a verdict of guilty. Selden insisted the jury had a right to decide the guilt or innocence of Anthony, but Hunt refused his request to poll the jury.

Before sentencing, Justice Hunt asked if Anthony had anything to say. Anthony certainly did, and her forceful indictment of the judicial system that arrested and convicted her are recorded in the proceedings of the trial that she had published. After her remarks, Hunt sentenced Anthony to a fine of $100 plus the cost of prosecution, both of which she refused to pay.

Susan B. Anthony’s niece Lucy E. Anthony donated this needle case to the University. According to Lucy, Susan B. Anthony made the needle case when she was fifteen years old.

Henry R. Selden

The 1866 Woman's Rights Convention was the first held since the beginning of the Civil War. The call to the Convention reflects Stanton and Anthony’s concern that the proposed fourteenth amendment would extend suffrage to black males only. In an enclosed note to Amy Post, Anthony writes: "I hope you will be at the convention. We shall need every woman & man who really believes now is the hour for woman to demand the ballot."

Anthony’s niece Lucy E. Anthony also donated this lusterware cup and saucer to the University. The cup and saucer are said to be from a set of china Anthony purchased for her mother while she was teaching school.

Program for Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s eightieth birthday celebration at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City on November 12, 1895. Reflecting the strained relationship that existed between the NAWSA and Stanton, the event was sponsored by The National Council of Women. Susan B. Anthony helped organize the celebration and gave a talk on "Suffrage." Others, including Clara Barton, Julia Ward Howe, and Harriet Hosmer, spoke on the progress of women in the professions, philanthropy and the arts.

Dress buttons owned by Susan B. Anthony.

Susan B. Anthony and Rachel Foster Avery, ca 1880.

ANTOINETTE BROWN BLACKWELL (1825-1921): First woman to be an ordained minister in the United States; worked with Susan B. Anthony in 1850s but after marriage to Samuel Blackwell became less involved in public work.

SOJOURNER TRUTH (1797-1883): African-American preacher, abolitionist; spoke eloquently on woman’s rights at several conventions.

Under the auspices of the Rochester Political Equality Club, a party to celebrate Susan B. Anthony’s eighty-fifth birthday was held in the home of William Channing and Mary Lewis Gannett. Recognition was also given to Mary Anthony who had served for many years as the president of the club. In response to all the tributes, Susan B. Anthony replied, "you may compliment women, pet them, worship them, but if you do not recognize their claim to justice, it is all as nothing."

Susan B. Anthony portrait, 1887

This fruit knife is engraved with Susan B. Anthony’s name. It is perhaps the one given to her as a Christmas gift in 1899 by her niece Lucy.

On January 20, 1887 Susan B. Anthony writes Rachel Foster Avery that she has viewed the sculpture of herself by Adelaide Johnson. She also sends suggested wording for the call to the upcoming International Council of Women.

The American Equal Rights Association was formed in 1866 as a coalition between woman's rights and anti-slavery organizations. Its purpose was to agitate for universal suffrage. It soon became apparent that many abolitionists felt that the demand for woman's suffrage would harm the chances for black male suffrage, and they considered this the "Negro's hour," not woman’s.

Susan B. Anthony traveled throughout the country on the lecture circuit to pay off the debts she incurred while publishing The Revolution. She finally paid off the last dollar in May 1876. Until 1880 she lectured under the agency of Henry Slayton.

In 1897 Ida Husted Harper began the research for Susan B. Anthony’s biography. To capture Anthony’s memories of her early years a stenographer took down these notes as Anthony reminisced. On page 8 she describes how excessive reading as a child caused her eyes to turn inward, a condition that explains her preference for being photographed in profile. On pages 13-16 she gives her recollections of moving to Rochester and the farm.

The first Woman’s Rights Convention met on July 19 and 20, 1848 in Seneca Falls, NY; two weeks later a reconvened session met in Rochester. Susan B. Anthony, who was then headmistress of the Female Department at the Canajoharie Academy, did not attend the conventions. Her parents and sister Mary, however, were present at the Rochester meeting and signed petitions in support of the resolutions.

In 1876 women were ignored in the preparations for the centenary celebration of the nation. In response the National Woman Suffrage Association opened Centennial Headquarters in Philadelphia to make their presence known and to make it clear that women were still "denied the exercise of their natural right of self-government."

A New York State Constitutional Convention was held in June 1867. During the last months of 1866 and the beginning of 1867, Anthony and Stanton organized a series of meetings throughout the state "to adopt measures to engraft the principle of universal suffrage upon the constitution of the state." In this letter to Amy Post Anthony enclosed a press release announcing the meeting to be held in Rochester on December 11, 1866. Speakers were to include Stanton, Lucy Stone, Charles Lenox Remond, and Frederick Douglass. Notice that workingwomen were offered free tickets.

Adelaide Johnson created portrait busts of Susan B. Anthony, Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. These were first displayed at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. She later incorporated the busts into a large sculpture entitled "The Woman Movement" that now stands in the rotunda of the United States Capitol. The Metropolitan Museum of Art acquired the Anthony bust in 1906 and it is now on loan to the Susan B. Anthony House.

In 1896 a referendum was put before the male voters of California to add an amendment to the State’s constitution that would give women the vote. As she did so often when such referendums were held in various states, Susan B. Anthony spent months leading the campaign in favor of the amendment. Once again she was disappointed when the referendum lost by a substantial majority.

Gold stickpins owned by Susan B. Anthony.

Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 1892.

PARKER PILLSBURY (1809-1898): Abolitionist, woman’s rights supporter, long-time friend and co-worker of Susan B. Anthony; edited with Stanton The Revolution.

ISABELLA BEECHER HOOKER (1822-1907): Suffragist; organized the National Woman Suffrage Association convention in 1871; testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1872.

In 1905 Susan B. Anthony, accompanied by her sister Mary, traveled to Portland, Oregon to attend the National American Woman Suffrage Association annual convention where this photograph was taken.

Susan B. Anthony portrait, 1896.

Susan B. Anthony writes Mary Lewis Gannett on August 15, 1898 soliciting a letter of endorsement for Ida Wells Barnett and her anti-lynching campaign. Writing during the Spanish-American War, Anthony points out the irony of the United States going to war to protest Spain’s mistreatment of their colonists while allowing American citizens to be lynched.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton writes Susan B. Anthony from England on March 10, 1887 giving her thoughts on what Anthony should do to prepare for the International Council of Women including what it should be called (she preferred International Federation), where it should be held (she preferred New York), and how long each speaker should speak (twenty minutes). She cautions Anthony to "not get up more machinery than you can manage. You err on the side of details & I on the opposite extreme. Let us try & strike the happy medium & leave something to peoples common sense."

The letter provides a preview of the controversy over Stanton’s religious opinions that would come to a head when she published the Woman’s Bible in 1895. Here Stanton writes that she plans to manage a religious session at the Council and will have as speakers those who share her liberal religious views such as Matilda Joslyn Gage, Helen Gardner, Clara Neymann, and her daughter Harriot Stanton Blatch. A "Religious Symposium" was held the last day of the Council, but it was Anthony, and not Stanton, who presided. Matilda Joslyn Gage was one of the participants and she spoke on the Divine Motherhood of God.

In 1849 Anthony became dissatisfied with teaching and returned to Rochester to help manage the farm. Frederick Douglass (who moved to Rochester in 1847 to begin publishing his newspaper The North Star), William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips, and other abolitionists and reformers often visited the farm and their fervent discussions of the events of the day soon turned her interest to reform work.

Susan B. Anthony writes Amy Post on February 14, 1867 about the upcoming vote in Kansas on two separate amendments: one that would extend suffrage to African-American males and one to all women.

For the Centennial Celebration in Philadelphia on July 4, 1876, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Matilda Joslyn Gage wrote a Declaration of Rights to be read at the official proceedings, but their request to present it was denied. Undaunted, Anthony and four other women decided to go ahead with their plan. When the Declaration of Independence had been read, Anthony and the other women rose from their seats and marched down the aisle to the speakers’ rostrum. Here Anthony presented the Declaration to Vice-President Thomas W. Ferry. The women then proceeded back down the aisle while scattering printed copies of the Declaration to the audience. Then, in front of Independence Hall, Susan B. Anthony read the Declaration to a receptive crowd.

In 1877 Susan B. Anthony traveled to Colorado where a suffrage referendum was to appear on the ballot. The previous year her sister Hannah Anthony Mosher had gone to Colorado in hopes that the climate would improve her tuberculosis. The trip did not help and Hannah died on May 11, 1877 at their brother Daniel’s home in Leavenworth, Kansas. Four years earlier another sister, Guelma Anthony McLean, also succumbed to tuberculosis.

In this October 4, 1877 letter to her brother-in-law Eugene Mosher, Anthony writes from Colorado that she has met many of the people who knew Hannah while she was there and of her regrets that speaking obligations prevented her from accompanying Hannah to Colorado. Anthony also writes that her mother, who would die in 1880, is not well.

Stanton and Anthony traveled throughout Kansas on behalf of the woman suffrage amendment. When their old allies in the abolitionist movement and the Republican Party offered no financial support, they accepted the help of George Francis Train, a wealthy, flamboyant, eccentric Democrat who many abolitionists and suffragists considered a "raving lunatic" for his racist views. After the referendum was defeated in Kansas, Train sponsored a lecture tour by Stanton, Anthony, and himself. This is a ticket for their appearance at Corinthian Hall in Rochester on December 2, 1867.

Initially Anthony was not in total sympathy with the woman’s rights movement, and she instead devoted her energies to temperance and the abolition of slavery. This changed when in 1851 she traveled to Seneca Falls to attend an abolitionist meeting and met Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who along with Lucretia Mott had organized the first woman’s rights convention. It was Stanton who convinced Anthony that women could not be effective reformers without the right to vote. It was the beginning of a friendship and a working relationship that was to last for over half a century.

Before her marriage in 1888, Rachel Foster Avery and her sister Julia Foster adopted a baby girl. The news greatly distressed Susan B. Anthony who feared that this new responsibility would distract Avery's attention from working for the woman suffrage movement. She expresses her concern in this letter to the baby.

Susan B. Anthony portrait, 1896.

The month before she died, Susan B. Anthony attended the 1906 NAWSA annual convention in Baltimore, Maryland. Already ill when she left Rochester, she was only present at a few sessions, but she did make an appearance at the celebration to honor her 86th birthday. She could not make a formal speech, but she thanked the officers of the national association and then recognized that, "There have been others also just as true and devoted to the cause--I wish I could name every one--but with such women consecrating their lives, failure is impossible." These final three words were the last she would speak in public and they became the rallying cry of those who carried on the suffrage work.

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN BUTLER (1818-1893): Civil War soldier; Republican Congressman from Massachusetts, 1867-1875 and 1877-1879; one of the most loyal supporters of women’s rights legislation in Congress.

AARON AUGUSTUS SARGENT (1827-1887): California Congressman (1861-63, 1869-73) and Senator (1873-1879); married to Ellen Clark Sargent, a suffragist; introduced in the Senate a Constitutional amendment for woman suffrage in 1878.

Susan B. Anthony died at 12:40 AM on Tuesday, March 13, 1906 of what her doctor described as "heart failure induced by pneumonia of both lungs." The funeral was held on March 15 in Central Presbyterian Church (now the Hochstein School of Music), because it was Rochester’s largest church.
Program for Susan B. Anthony’s funeral.

Susan B. Anthony and Emma Biddlecom Sweet, 1896.

Despite Anthony’s fears, Rachel Foster Avery remained a steadfast worker in the woman suffrage cause. She managed many of the details for the International Council of Women and was instrumental in bringing about the reconciliation between the National and the American suffrage associations. Merger discussions began in 1888 and several members of the American group, including Lucy Stone, participated in the International Council. As evident in this November 11, 1887 letter from Anthony to Avery, the negotiations did not always go smoothly and old animosities did not die easily.

When the merger finally occurred in 1890 Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Matilda Joslyn Gage and other members of the National were dismayed, for they feared that the newly reunited organization would adopt the more conservative social and religious agenda of the American association. Even though Stanton continued to serve as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association until 1892, she attended few of their meetings.

Ida Husted Harper, a suffragist and journalist from Indiana first met Anthony in 1896 during the unsuccessful California suffrage campaign. Harper had been in charge of press relations and Anthony, impressed with her efforts, asked Harper to become her official biographer. The work was done in the third floor attic of the Anthony House using as source material Anthony’s diaries, letters received for over fifty years, and accumulated newspaper clippings. The advertisement states "this is the only authentic biography of her that ever can be written, as the letters and documents will not be accessible to other historians." Harper could make this assertion because many of the letters were burned after the biography was published.

The first two volumes were published by Bowen-Merrill in late 1898; the third volume was published in 1908, two years after Anthony’s death.

George Francis Train provided the funds to fulfill one of Anthony’s long held dreams of a woman’s rights newspaper. The Revolution first appeared on January 8, 1868 with Susan B. Anthony as publisher and Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Parker Pillsbury as co-editors. The paper's articles and editorials reflected their radical views on issues affecting the political, social, sexual, economic, and educational status of women. Shortly after the first issue appeared George Francis Train left for Ireland where he was soon jailed for his support of the Fenian cause. Without Train’s financial backing, The Revolution went bankrupt, and in 1870 Anthony was forced to give up the paper.

In September 1852 a woman’s rights convention was held in Syracuse, NY. This was Susan B. Anthony’s first convention, but despite being a relative newcomer, she served on the nominating committee and as one of the secretaries. Others attending the convention were Lucretia and James Mott, Lucy Stone, Ernestine Rose, Gerrit Smith, Samuel J. May, Antoinette L. Brown, Amy Post, Matilda Joslyn Gage, Elizabeth Oakes Smith and Paulina Wright Davis. Anthony read a letter from Elizabeth Cady Stanton who was about to give birth to her fifth child and not able to attend.

"FLOCKING FOR FREEDOM (They Saved the Ancient Capital; They Besiege the Modern)"

After the unsuccessful attempt to have the federal courts decide that women had the right to vote under the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, the National Woman Suffrage Association returned to the strategy of petitioning Congress to pass a sixteenth amendment declaring that "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex." Senator Aaron A. Sargent introduced the bill on January 10, 1878. The following week this satirical drawing appeared in Puck. It shows Anthony, Stanton, Isabella Beecher Hooker, Anna Dickinson and other suffragists all flocking to Washington in support of the new bill. Although Lucy Stone is included, it is highly unlikely, as leader of the rival American Woman Suffrage Association, that she would have joined the flock.

In the winter of 1853 Susan B. Anthony inaugurated a petition campaign to secure for married women the right to retain their own wages and equal guardianship of their children. In 1854 she presented to the New York State Legislature petitions containing 10,000 signatures.

In this 1853 letter to George W. Jonson, a Buffalo attorney, Anthony asks "How may women in the State of New York be placed on the ground of Legal Equality with men?" She also asks his assistance in drawing up forms of petitions to present to the Legislature.

In May 1899 Susan B. Anthony sailed for London to attend a meeting of the International Council of Women. The July 7, 1899 issue of Rochester’s Post Express reports on the warm reception Anthony received when she spoke at Westminster Hall on "Women in Politics." The article includes a drawing of the audience waving their white handkerchiefs at Anthony in a "Chautauqua Salute."

The International Council of Women brought together 80 speakers and 49 delegates representing 53 women’s organizations from England, Ireland, France, Norway, India, Canada, and the United States. The National American Woman Association, the American Woman Suffrage Association, and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union participated as well as many other professional organizations, trade unions, benevolent societies, and arts groups. Susan B. Anthony presided over 8 of the 16 sessions.

In 1880 Susan B. Anthony and other suffragists once again appeared before a Senate Judiciary Committee to speak on behalf of a sixteenth amendment. Anthony forcefully presented the reasons why women, as American citizens, should look to the Federal government for enfranchisement and not depend on the legislatures or voters of individual states.

In New York City, Anthony organized a Working Women’s Association to encourage employed women to form unions to fight for higher wages and shorter hours. In this September 15, 1868 letter to the Rochester chapter of the Working Women's Association, Anthony urges them to send delegates to the upcoming Working Men’s National Labor Union Congress that was to meet in New York the following week. Anthony attended the Congress where her resolutions for an eight-hour day and equal pay for equal work were adopted, but not her resolution in support of woman suffrage.

Susan B. Anthony portrait, 1899.

Ethel J. Kates (Class of 1906) was one the University of Rochester women students who served as an honorary pallbearer at the funeral of Susan B. Anthony. Mary Anthony presented this plaster medallion to Kates as a remembrance of the occasion.

OLYMPIA BROWN (1835-1926): Universalist minister; canvassed in Kansas and New York with Anthony and Stanton on behalf of suffrage referendums in 1867; active in the suffrage movement in Wisconsin; opposed merger of the suffrage organizations in 1890.

MARY LIVERMORE (1820-1905): Abolitionist, author, editor, lecturer; active in the Sanitary Commission during the Civil War; suffrage organizer in Illinois and Massachusetts; suffrage and temperance speaker.

Before the funeral began the church doors were opened to give people the opportunity to pay their last respects. The newspaper estimated that between 10:00AM and 1:00PM some eight to ten thousand people passed by her casket and after the service hundreds more did so.

Susan B. Anthony with Jean Brooks Greenleaf, ca 1900.

On February 15, 1870 a large gathering of Susan B. Anthony’s friends and supporters met in New York City to celebrate her fiftieth birthday. The poem Phoebe Cary wrote for the occasion was published in Rochester as a keepsake.

Susan B. Anthony wears an International Council of Women pin in this photograph with Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

On February 15, 1900 a large reception was held at the Lafayette Opera House in Washington, DC in honor of Susan B. Anthony’s 80th birthday. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who was unable to attend, wrote this poem "to her life-long friend and co-worker" in which she reminisces about their many years together.

On June 17, 1852 the New York State Temperance Society met in Syracuse, NY for its annual convention. Susan B. Anthony, Gerrit Smith, and Amelia Bloomer were delegates appointed to the convention by the Woman’s State Temperance Society, which Anthony had founded the previous April. Because the convention refused to accept the credentials of the women delegates or allow them to speak, the women and their supporters adjourned to the Wesleyan Chapel where they held their own meeting. Anthony delivered a speech, which was published in the July 1852 issue of the woman’s rights newspaper, The Lily. It is one of her earliest addresses.

Susan B. Anthony wrote on September 18, 1854 to the feminist author and suffragist Elizabeth Oakes Smith about her book Bertha and Lily.

The University of Rochester was founded in 1850 as an all-male institution. In the 1880s, women began to petition the University to open its doors to female students. Finally in 1898 the Board of Trustees voted to allow women to enter the University if they defrayed expenses by raising $100,000 (approximately $2,000,000 in today's money). A committee of women led by Helen Barrett Montgomery raised $40,000 over the next two years. In June 1900 the Board agreed to admit women students that September if the women could secure another $10,000.

During the summer of 1900, the committee was able to raise another $2,000, but the day before the deadline they were still $8,000 short. At this crucial point, Susan B. Anthony took charge of collecting the remaining money. She solicited the first $2,000 from her sister Mary, the second from Sarah Willis, and the third from Rev. and Mrs. William Channing Gannett. Still short $2,000, Susan B. Anthony pledged her life insurance policy, thus guaranteeing the admission of women to the University of Rochester in the fall of 1900.

At a contentious annual convention of the American Equal Rights Association in May 1869, it became clear that this organization would not support women’s political rights. The day after the AERA meeting ended, Stanton, Anthony, Lucretia Mott, Ernestine Rose, Matilda Joslyn Gage, Martha C. Wright and women from nineteen states met to form the National Woman Suffrage Association; an organization dedicated to adding an amendment to the federal Constitution that would give women the vote. A year later the story of the NWSA's origins was published in the May 26, 1870 issue of The Revolution.

Lucy Stone, her husband Henry Blackwell, Julia Ward Howe and other New England Republicans were outraged by Anthony and Stanton’s opposition to the Fifteenth Amendment, their association with George Francis Train, and their interest in divorce and labor issues. In November 1869 they formed a rival organization, the American Woman Suffrage Association. Unlike the NWSA, they avoided controversial issues and put their efforts into winning state suffrage referendums. The split in the suffrage movement lasted for the next twenty years.

This 1901 painting by Sarah James Eddy is thought to be a study for a larger portrait which is in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution.

ANNA HOWARD SHAW (1847-1919): Methodist minister, medical doctor, orator; groomed by Susan B. Anthony for leadership role in suffrage work; traveled extensively with Anthony on many suffrage campaigns; president of NAWSA 1905-1914.

RACHEL FOSTER AVERY (1858-1919): First "niece" of Susan B. Anthony; traveled to Europe with Anthony in 1883; corresponding secretary of NAWSA; managed the 1888 International Council of Women; led fight against Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s Woman’s Bible.

Susan B. Anthony portrait, 1905.

Ella Salome Wilcoxen, class of 1901. She was the first woman to graduate from the University of Rochester.

Susan B. Anthony letter to Anson Bingham, June 20, 1855. Bingham, a lawyer from Nassau, NY, supported woman’s rights and wrote several articles for The Lily.

The Susan B. Anthony House presented an historical reenactment of the funeral at the Hochstein School on March 25, 2006. As they did at the original funeral, University of Rochester students took part in the service.

Amy and Isaac Post moved to Rochester from Long Island in 1836. They were active advocates of temperance, spiritualism, and abolition. They were close friends of Frederick Douglass and their home on Sophia Street was a station on the underground railroad. Amy Post was equally dedicated to the question of woman's rights and attended the Seneca Falls and Rochester conventions in 1848.

On October 1, 1855 Susan B. Anthony writes to Amy Post that she has lined up Wendell Phillips, Theodore Parker, William Lloyd Garrison, and Charles Lenox Remond as speakers for a series of anti-slavery lectures to be given in Rochester in November. The letter was written from the Worcester Hydropathic Institute, where Anthony was supposedly resting and recuperating from a back ailment.

Cameo, 1883.

William Channing Gannett participated at the funeral service for Susan B. Anthony. In this letter, written on March 16, 1906 he describes the event.

HARRIET TAYLOR UPTON (1853-1945): Republican political activist in Ohio, orator, editor of suffrage newspaper Progress; treasurer of NAWSA and ran its headquarters when it was located in Warren, OH.

EMMA BIDDLECOM SWEET (1862-1951): served intermittently as Susan B. Anthony’s secretary 1894-1905; traveled to California in 1896 with Anthony to help work on suffrage campaign; active in NYS Woman Suffrage Association and Rochester Political Equality Club.

Susan B. Anthony portrait, 1905.

Susan B. Anthony letter to Amy Post, December 24, 1856.

On March 8, 1858 Anthony attended an anti-slavery meeting in Albany, NY. Her remarks were published in the March 20, 1858 issue of the National Anti-Slavery Standard.

Anthony souvenir spoons were produced by M.B. Logan in 1891.

MARY GARRETT HAY (1857-1928): Suffragist, temperance reformer; worked closely with Carrie Chapman Catt on several suffrage campaigns including California in 1896.

CARRIE CHAPMAN CATT (1859-1947): Anthony successor as leader of the suffrage movement; led successful 1893 suffrage campaign in Colorado; president of NAWSA 1900-1904, 1915-1920; founder of International Woman Suffrage Alliance; developed strategy for winning the vote in 1920.

7 Susan B. Anthony-related postcards.

This 1860 Appeal to the Women of New York was written by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and signed by Lydia Mott, Ernestine L. Rose, Martha C. Wright and Susan B. Anthony. Stanton outlines the progress that woman’s rights agitation has brought about in New York State including legislation protecting married women’s property rights. Looking forward six years to 1866 when New York State planned to revise its Constitution, Stanton admonishes women to do their duty by securing signatures on petitions demanding "that the word "Male" be stricken from our State Constitution, and henceforth our Representatives may legislate for humanity, and not for privileged classes."

Stanton and Anthony often led the way on controversial issues. At the 1860 Woman's Rights Convention Stanton made several resolutions in favor of divorce under certain circumstances. The resolutions caused a furor. Even such staunch supporters as Wendell Phillips backed away from the divorce question as seen in this letter to Anthony of June 5, 1860.

Medallion made after Anthony's death in 1906; probably sold by the National American Woman Suffrage Association for fundraising purposes.

IDA HUSTED HARPER (1851-1931): Historian of woman suffrage movement, journalist, co-edited with Susan B. Anthony volume 4 of History of Woman Suffrage and edited volumes 5 and 6; wrote Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony; directed press relations for NAWSA.

HARRIOT STANTON BLATCH (1856-1940): Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s daughter, suffrage leader; founded Women’s Political Union to lobby for suffrage amendment to NYS Constitution; worked through Alice Paul’s Congressional Union for federal amendment.

Anthony Dollar Coin, 1979.

LUCY E. ANTHONY (1860-1944): Susan B. Anthony’s niece (daughter of Anthony’s brother Jacob Merritt Anthony); worked on several suffrage campaigns; served as Anna Howard Shaw’s secretary.

ALICE STONE BLACKWELL (1857-1950): Daughter of Lucy Stone and Henry Blackwell; edited with parents The Woman’s Journal; instrumental in the 1890 reconciliation of the two suffrage factions; served as recording secretary of the NAWSA.

CHARLOTTE PERKINS GILMAN (1860-1935): Author, lecturer on themes related to women and labor, intellectual of the women’s movement; wrote Women and Economics, a manifesto for women’s economic independence and Herlands, a feminist fantasy.

ERNESTINE POTWOSKI ROSE (1810-1892): Feminist, reformer, freethinker; born in Poland; immigrated to the U.S. in 1836; campaigned for NYS Married Women’s Property Act; traveled and spoke extensively on women’s rights, abolition, and temperance; founding member of the National Woman Suffrage Association.

MATILDA JOSLYN GAGE (1826-1898): Pioneer in women's rights movement; help found National American Woman Association; co-author with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton of the first three volumes of The History of Woman Suffrage; editor of the newspaper, The National Citizen and Ballot Box; broke with NAWSA and founded Woman’s National Liberal Union to promote her progressive religious views.

MARTHA COFFIN WRIGHT (1806-1875): Women’s rights leader, abolitionist, sister of Lucretia Mott; help plan the Seneca Falls Convention; served as officer at early woman’s rights conventions; founding member of National Woman Suffrage Association.

VIRGINIA MINOR (1824-1894): Civil War relief worker, Missouri suffrage leader; with her husband contended that women had the right to vote under the Fourteenth Amendment and took the case to the Supreme Court where it was defeated.

CLARA BEWICK COLBY (1846-1916): Suffrage organizer in Nebraska; publisher of the woman's rights newspaper Woman's Tribune, shared liberal religious opinions with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Matilda Joslyn Gage; worked for federal suffrage amendment through NAWSA and later Federal Suffrage Association.

LILLIE DEVEREUX BLAKE (1833-1913): orator, author, leader in the NYS suffrage movement; personal and tactical differences with Susan B. Anthony led to their falling out; left NAWSA to found National Legislative League.

ABIGAIL SCOTT DUNIWAY (1834-1915): Leader of suffrage movement in Oregon, author, journalist; traveled and spoke throughout western states on behalf of suffrage; published newspaper the New Northwest; became estranged from NAWSA, but continued to speak and write for suffrage.

MYRA COLBY BRADWELL (1931-1894): Lawyer, Civil War worker; publisher of Chicago Legal News; lobbied Illinois State Legislature for woman suffrage and married women’s property rights; denied admission to the Illinois bar in 1869, she took the case to the Supreme Court where it was defeated; finally admitted into practice in 1890.

PAULINA WRIGHT DAVIS (1813-1876): Abolitionist and women’s rights advocate; lectured on women’s health; organized the first National Woman’s Rights Convention that met in Wooster, MA in 1850; published the woman’s rights newspaper the Una; founding member of the National Woman Suffrage Association.

CLEMENCE SOPHIA LOZIER (1813-1888): one of the first women to receive a medical degree (Central Medical College in Rochester, 1853); lecturer on medical topics to women audiences; founder of the New York Medical College and Hospital for Women (1863); donated funds to The Revolution.

CLARINA HOWARD NICHOLS (1810-1885): Newspaper editor, lecturer; led campaign in Vermont for legislation to protect married women’s legal rights; attended early woman’s rights conventions; worked with Susan B. Anthony on the 1867 Kansas suffrage campaign.

JANE H. SPOFFORD (1828-ca 1905): Washington, DC suffragist; served as treasurer of the National Woman Suffrage Association; owned with her husband the Riggs Hotel and made its facilities available to the suffrage organization when it met in Washington.

The background on these pages was created from an image of a handkerchief that belonged to Susan B. Anthony.

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