Susan B. Anthony: Celebrating "A Heroic Life"

Celebrating "A Heroic Life"


"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.

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

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.

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 at 1904 banquet in Berlin, Germany.

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."

Gold stickpins owned by Susan B. Anthony.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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