Below are the text and selected images from a 1995 exhibition in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Rochester Library. The exhibition commemorated the seventy-fifth anniversary of the passage of the nineteenth amendment, which gave women the vote in 1920.
Mary M. Huth, Assistant Head of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections until her retirement in 2010, curated the exhibition. Unless otherwise noted, all the materials are from the Department's collections. Permission to publish the images must be obtained from the Department.
THE WOMEN'S RIGHTS MOVEMENT IN UPSTATE NEW YORK
A full report of the woman's rights agitation in the State of New York, would in a measure be the history of the movement. In this State, the preliminary battles in the anti-slavery, temperance, educational, and religious societies were fought; the first Governmental aid given to higher education of woman, and her voice first heard in teachers' associations. Here the first Woman's Rights Convention was held, the first demand made for suffrage, the first society formed for this purpose, and the first legislative efforts made to secure the civil and political rights of women; commanding the attention of leading members of the bar....Here too the pulpit made the first demand for the political rights of woman. Here was the first temperance society formed by women, the first medical college opened to them, and woman first ordained for the ministry.
History of Woman Suffrage, volume 1, page 472.
Contemporary copy of a letter from James and Lucretia Mott to their children written from London on June 14, 1840:
Report of the Woman's Rights Convention Held at Seneca Falls, N.Y., July 19th and 20th, 1848. Rochester, 1848.
Among the Rochesterians who attended the Seneca Falls Convention were Mary H. Hallowell (left) and Sarah Hallowell Willis (right). They were elected secretaries of the Woman's Rights Convention held a month later in Rochester. The photographs were taken in 1911.
Amy Post also attended the Seneca Falls Convention. On October 15, 1848, her brother- in-law John Willis wrote her from Long Island:
Abigail Bush was elected President of the Rochester convention and she conducted the meetings. This was a true departure from tradition, and Bush became the first woman to preside over a public meeting attended by both men and women. In this 1898 letter to Susan B. Anthony, Bush writes that her action"ended the feeling with women that they must have a man to preside at their meetings."
You will bear me witness that the state of society is very different from what it was fifty years ago when I presided at the woman's Rights Convention.
I had not been able to meet in council at all with the friends, on account of sickness in my family untill I met them in the hall as the congregation were gathering & then fell into the hands of those who urged me to take part with the supporters of a woman serving as the president of the meeting. They had James Mott, a fine-looking man, to preside at Seneca Falls, but his head fell at the hands of my old friends Amy Post, Rhoda DeGarmo and Sarah Fish, who at once commenced laboring with me to prove the hour had come when a woman could preside and led me into the church. Amy proposed my name as president. It was accepted at once, and from that hour I seemed endowed as from on high to serve through two day's meetings and three sessions per day. On my taking the chair Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton left the platform and took seats in the audience, but this did not move me from performing all of my duties; and at the close of the first session Lucretia Mott came forward, folded me tenderly in her arms and thanked me for presiding. The Unitarian Church was open for us. I do not suppose another church in the city would have been. When I found that my labors were finished, my strength seemed to leave me and I cried like a baby. But that ended the feeling with women that they must have a man to preside at their meetings.
From that day to this, in all the walks of like, I have been faithful in asserting that there should be no taxation without representation. It has seemed a long day in coming, but I think it draws nearer and that woman will be acknowledged as an equal with man. Heaven grant the day may come soon!
With kind love to all the workers.
The Syracuse Convention
The Proceedings of the Woman's Rights Convention Held at Syracuse. Syracuse, 1852.
The third national woman's rights convention was held in Syracuse on September 8 to 10, 1852. This was the first convention attended by Susan B. Anthony.
Matilda Joslyn Gage. "Speech of Mrs. M. E. J. Gage at the Woman's Rights Convention held at Syracuse, Sept. 1852." In: Commensurate With Her Capacities and Obligations, Are Woman' s Rights. A Series of Tracts. Syracuse, 1853.
Matilda Joslyn Gage (1826-1898) was born in Cicero, New York and lived in Fayetteville, New York after her marriage in 1845. Gage, who became a prominent organizer and writer for the cause, first attended a woman's rights convention when it was held in Syracuse in 1852. Here she delivered a speech which strongly criticized woman's subservience and advocated educational and legal equality for women.
Paulina Wright Davis (1813-1876) was born in Bloomfield, New York and lived in Niagara Falls, LeRoy, and Utica before moving to Providence, Rhode Island, after her second marriage in 1849. Davis was active in petitioning the New York State Legislature during the 1830s for a married woman's property law. An early participant in the woman's rights movement, she helped organize several conventions. In 1853, Davis began publishing the woman's rights newspaper,The Una. Shown is volume 1, number 1, February 1, 1853.From the collections of the Susan B. Anthony House.
Letter from Paulina Wright Davis to William Henry Seward, August 22, 1852.
In this letter, printed in the March, 1855 issue of the Una, Antoinette Brown describes the hardships and prejudices she encountered as a parish minister.
In this letter of September 3, 1851 to Amy Post, Antoinette Brown writes that she has "concluded to devote my time for this winter principally to the cause of Woman-- am preparing a long course of lectures to be ready for any emergency."
Amy (1802-1889) and Isaac (1798-1872) 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 the question of woman's rights and attended the Seneca Falls and Rochester conventions in 1848. Shown here and throughout the exhibition are letters to Amy Post from several leaders of the movement.
Letter from Amy Post to Isaac Post written in July, 1867 from a meeting of the American Equal Rights Association.
William Henry Channing (1810-1884) was the minister of the Unitarian Society in Rochester between 1852 and 1854. An advocate of women's rights, Channing attended the 1852 Syracuse Convention. In this issue of the Una (February, 1854), he placed a notice requesting men and women to sign two petitions, one for the just and equal rights of women in regard to wages and children and another in support of woman suffrage. The petitions came out of a convention held at Corinthian Hall in Rochester the previous November.From the collection of the Susan B. Anthony House.
Lucy Colman (1817-1906), an ardent abolitionist and advocate of women's rights, was a close friend of Amy Post. Shown is her Reminiscences (Buffalo: Green, 1891).Proceedings of the Yearly Meeting of the Friends of Human Progress Held at Waterloo, Seneca Co., N.Y. (Rochester: 1859).
At their June 3-5, 1859 meeting the Friends of Human Progress passed resolutions condemning slavery and calling on women "to cultivate in themselves a firmer self- reliance, and a bolder practical assertion of their rights to engage in any and every useful vocation to which they are demonstratively adapted." Amy Post served as secretary of the meeting, and Lucy Colman was on the business committee.
Dexter Chamberlin Bloomer. Life and Writings of Amelia Bloomer. Boston, 1895.
Amelia Bloomer (1818-1894) was born in Homer, Cortland County. As a young woman she taught school in Clyde and Waterloo, and after her marriage in 1840 to Dexter C. Bloomer she moved to Seneca Falls. Here in 1849 she began to publish The Lily. Initially the newspaper was devoted to the cause of temperance, but soon articles on woman's rights and dress reform began to appear. In 1852 Bloomer launched her career as a lecturer, when she spoke before the Daughters of Temperance in Rochester. In 1855 she and her husband moved to Iowa, where Bloomer continued to work for the rights of women.
Copies of The Lily from the collection of the Susan B. Anthony House.
Letter from Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Amy Post:
Allow me to introduce to you Mrs. Bloomer of Seneca Falls. Editor of the Lily, a paper devoted to temperance & literature, with a sensible infusion of woman's rights, - Mrs. Bloomer wishes to get subscribers to her paper. Will you aid her what you can. We women's rights women ought to do all in our power to sustain every effort in the part of women; to open for herself a higher and evener road to fortune & fame, than the old beaten ones of the needle, teaching & marriage as a necessity. That women are beginning to edit papers is a promising sign of the times. Do what you can for the Lily. I should think we might get some subscribers in Junius. What do you think? - whatever you do for the Lily I shall esteem a personal favor as I feel interested in its success ...
The Lily, volume 8, no. 6 (June, 1851).
In the April 1851 issue of The Lily Amelia Bloomer advocated that women abandon their unhealthy tight stays, impractical long skirts, and restricitive petticoats for a new mode of dress consisting of a loose tunic and short skirt worn over Turkish-style pantaloons. Because the first notice of the new style appeared in her newspaper, Bloomer's name became attached to the costume, although it was first worn by Gerrit Smith's daughter Elizabeth Smith Miller.
This issue of The Lily includes an editorial on "Short Dresses" and a letter from a subscriber who reviews the healthful and social benefits to be derived from dress reform and asks for instructions on how to make the "new (and I am sure delightful) Turkish dress."
From the collection of the Susan B. Anthony House
Sheet music for the Bloomer Waltz (NY, 1851), composed by William Dressler. The hand-colored lithograph of a bloomer costume is glamorized, and doesn't look too much more comfortable than a conventional dress of the period.Godey's Lady's Book, volume 47, November 1853.
This plate shows the cumbersome, heavy, and impractical garments that were in fashion when the bloomer costume was introduced as an alternative style.
In this printed letter to Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Gerrit Smith declared that the women's rights movement would never succeed as long as women insisted on wearing fashionable rather than practical dresses. Women, said Smith, must escape "the kingdom of fancy and fashion and foolery" for the kingdom of reason and righteousness."
Gerrit Smith. "To the Reform Dress Association." May 18, 1857
In this circular Gerrit Smith has harsh words for advocates of women's rights who did not support the dress reform movement: "the woman, whose soul is capable of casting from her person the absurd and degrading dress, in which fashion has bound it, can aid that cause. No other woman can."
Letter from Paulina Wright Davis to Emma R. Coe, August 17, 1851.
Davis writes that she does not intend to attend the upcoming Bloomer Festival in New York. "Though the reform in dress is important it is but a fragment of the great work."
She refers to women like Elizabeth Oaks Smith, whose beauty will "give grace and elegance to our movement." Susan B. Anthony, unimpressed by Smith's elegance, prevented her from presiding over the 1852 Syracuse convention because Smith was wearing a fancy, low-cut, white dress.
Elizabeth Smith Miller is credited with designing and first wearing what became known as the "bloomer costume." In this 1905 photograph she poses with Susan B. Anthony (top right), her daughter Ann Fitzhugh Miller (botton left) and Mary S. Anthony.Harper's New Monthly Magazine, volume 3, 1852.
This satirical look at dress reform first appeared in the English publication, Punch. Dress reformers were subject to so much ridicule that they were finally forced to return to their conventional dress. The bloomer, they soon realized, was receiving much more attention than the women's rights arguments made by its wearers.
Emma Willard. A System of Universal History in Perspective. Hartford, CT, 1835.
Emma Willard (1787-1870) founded the Troy Female Seminary in 1821. Here young women had the opportunity to take courses in classical and scientific studies on the same academic level as those being taught in male colleges. Elizabeth Cady Stanton was a student at Troy Female Seminary, graduating in 1832.
This copy of Emma Willard's textbook was used at the Seward Seminary, a school for girls operated in Rochester by Sarah T. Seward, another graduate of Troy Female Seminary.
In this March 11, 1852 letter, Emma Willard asks William Henry Seward to endorse education for women since "it would excite the gratitude of many female hearts, who gloom in secret with the thought that men despise our intellect and unjustly withhold from us the means which they have dealt to the other sex"
In 1837, Emily E. and Marietta Ingham founded the LeRoy Female Seminary in LeRoy, New York. In 1852, the seminary affiliated with the Genesee Synod of the Presbyterian Church and changed its name to the Ingham Collegiate Institute. In 1857, the school changed its name again to Ingham University. Although Ingham claimed to be "the first to introduce a college curriculum for the education of young ladies," its academic standards were not as rigorous as those at such institutions as Elmira College, founded in 1855.
In 1852, two years after the founding of the University of Rochester, an attempt was made to establish a local college for women. Subscriptions of some $15,000 were pledged and a Board of Trustees was selected with Azariah Boody as President, Jacob Gould as Treasurer, and Lewis Henry Morgan as Secretary. After an auspicious beginning, the enterprise floundered, apparently due to financial difficulties. These minutes of the Board of Trustees of the Barleywood Female University, as recorded by Lewis Henry Morgan, end abruptly in 1853.
Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910) was the first woman to receive a medical degree. Determined to study medicine, she applied to all the major medical schools before being accepted at Geneva College in 1847. Blackwell (misspelled "Blackwill") is the fifth medical student listed in this 1847-48 catalog of the College
Lydia Folger Fowler and Sarah Dolley were the second and third women to receive a degree in medicine. They both graduated from Rochester's Central Medical College (Fowler in 1850, Dolley in 1851). Shown is a description of the College from the 1851- 52 Directory of the City of Rochester and a statement from the College endorsing female medical students that appeared in the May, 1850 issue of the Lily.
Genesee College in Lima, New York, was founded in 1850 as a co-educational institution. Its most famous graduate was Belva Lockwood (class of 1857), who in 1879 became the first woman lawyer admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States.
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 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.
Minutes of the Board of Trustees for September 8, 1900, the day Susan B. Anthony, Helen Montgomery, Fannie Bigelow presented the last of the $50,000 in pledges for co- education.
Vera Cadsey Twitchell wrote this letter sixty years after she entered the University of Rochester as a freshman in the fall of 1900. In it she recalls the excitement she felt when women were admitted to the University, and the hostile reception she and the other women students received from many of the men students.
In his 1901 report to the Trustees, President Rush Rhees expressed his preference for "co- ordinate education," where men and women attend the same college, take most of their classes and laboratory work together, but in certain courses, where more delicate subjects may be discussed, such as literature, physiology, and hygiene, there be separate sections to "allow for full and frank consideration to all phases of the matter under discussion."
The first issue of the Croceus (1910), the yearbook of the College for Women, was dedicated to the memory of Susan B. Anthony "as a token of the love, appreciation and gratitude of the women of the University of Rochester."
Susan B. Anthony was born in Adams, Massachusetts. At the age of six she moved with her family to Battenville, New York, where her father ran a cotton mill. The mill was not a financial success, and the Anthonys relocated in 1845 to a farm outside Rochester. In 1846 Anthony left Rochester to teach school in Canajoharie, New York ; she returned in 1849 to manage the family farm. Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, and Wendell Phillips were frequent guests in the Anthony home, and her interest naturally turned to the reform movements of the day. She began her public career in the temperance and abolitionist movements. As a teacher, she learned that men and women were not given equal pay for equal work; as a reformer she learned that women were not allowed to hold leadership positions, or even speak in public. Beginning in 1852, when she attended her first woman's rights convention in Syracuse, Anthony dedicated her life to securing political, civil, and economic equality for women.
On June 17, 1852 the New York State Temperance Society met in Syracuse 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 Lily. It is one of her earliest addresses.
In the winter of 1853 Susan B. Anthony inaugurated a petition campaign to help secure for married women the right to retain their own wages and have 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?"and asks his assistance in drawing up forms of petitions to present to the Legislature.
Susan B. Anthony writes on September 18, 1854 to the feminist author and Suffragist Elizabeth Oakes Smith about her book Bertha and Lily:
ELIZABETH CADY STANTON (1818-1902)
Elizabeth Cady Stanton was born in Johnstown, New York. Her father Daniel Cady was a lawyer who later became a judge on the New York Supreme Court. Stanton graduated from Troy Female Seminary in 1832. Through her cousin Gerrit Smith she became involved in the temperance and anti-slavery movements; in 1840 she married the abolitionist Henry B. Stanton. Stanton and Lucretia Mott organized the first woman's rights convention, which met in July, 1848 in Seneca Falls, where Stanton lived with her husband and seven children. Stanton was a liberal thinker who challenged women to overcome any barrier of state or church that limited their sphere.
Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton met in 1851. They remained friends and collaborators in the women's rights movement for the next fifty years. Stanton was the theoretician of the cause, Anthony its organizer. Stanton wrote of their relationship:
Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Eighty Years and More. (N.Y.: 1898).
Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Address to the Legislature of New- York. Albany, 1854.
Enclosed is a form of Petition as drawn by Mrs. Stanton - Does it meet your approbation? Would it not be well to in-sert after under signed in the last paragraph the words Men & Women Petition. Please make such suggestions as you think best.
Enclosed also is the Call for our Saratoga W.R. Convention - if convenient for you, will you call the attention of your Editors to the notice - they will without doubt publish it gratuitously - all of our Editors have done so. I hope to see you & Mrs. Bingham at our Saratoga meeting.
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 gathered hundreds of thousands of petitions calling for a Constitutional amendment abolishing slavery.
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. In this letter of June 5, 1860 to Susan B. Anthony he writes:
The American Equal Rights Association was formed in 1866 as a coalition between woman's rights and anti-slavery organizations. Its purpose was the agitate for suffrage for former slaves and women. It soon became apparent that many abolitionists felt that the demand for woman's suffrage would harm the chances for black suffrage, and they considered this the "Negro's hour," not woman's. In 1869, Stanton and Anthony founded the National American Woman Suffrage Association to work solely the enfranchisement of women.
Susan B. Anthony to Amy Post, December 2, 1866 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." With this letter 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 working women were offered free tickets.
In 1867, Kansas held a referendum on black and woman suffrage. Stanton and Anthony went there to campaign for woman suffrage. When their old allies in the Republican Party would not support them, they accepted the help of George Francis Train, a flamboyant Democrat with very eccentric ideas. 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.
Susan B. Anthony to the Working Women's Association of Rochester, September 15, 1868 When the National Labor Congress met on September 21, 1868, in New York City, Anthony attended as a delegate of the Workingman's Association. In this letter to the Rochester chapter, she urges them to send delegates to the Congress.
The Revolution first appeared in January, 1868 with Susan B. Anthony as publisher, 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. George Francis Train promised to finance the papers but he was jailed in Ireland for his political views. Without his backing , The Revolution went into debt, and in 1870 Anthony was forced to give up the paper.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, on naming the Revolution:
On January 8, 1868, Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote to Thurlow Weed, editor of another New York City newspaper, the Commercial Advertiser. She asked him to "please notice with favor our new Paper." Stanton reminded Weed that she and Anthony had done much to change the "odious laws" of New York State, and deserved "a little courtesy from the men of this state."
On November 1, 1872, Susan B. Anthony, her three sisters, and fifteen 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 illegal voting. She was tried in Canandaigua the following June. A hostile judge refused to allow her to testify, dismissed the jury, found her guilty, and fined her $100. Although she refused to pay the fine, the judge did not imprison Anthony, thus preventing her from appealing the case to a higher court.
My Dear young Friend
Yes you shall have the Autograph of the first woman who legally registered and voted in the state of New York under the 14th Amendment, which lifts the [freedom] franchise of the citizen above the power of the states to deny, as did the 13th freedom of the person.
All persons are citizens--and no state shall deny or abridge the citizen rights--
Gerrit Smith. Gerrit Smith to Susan B. Anthony. 1873.
Gerrit Smith. Woman Suffrage Above Human Law; Letter from Gerrit Smith. 1873
In these two printed letters, Gerrit Smith assures Susan B. Anthony that he supports her decision to vote under the Fourteenth Amendment.
National Woman Suffrage Association. Declaration of Rights of the Women of the United States. 1876.
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.
Susan B. Anthony in 1877.
Letter written by Susan B. Anthony from Ireland, September 3, 1883, to her niece Louisa Mosher. During her nine-month trip to the British Isles and Europe, Anthony met with many feminists and laid plans for the 1888 meeting of the International Council of Women.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Susan B. Anthony, March 10, 1887:
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda Joslyn Gage. History of Woman Suffrage. Rochester, 1887. 3 volumes.
Gold stick pins and fruit knife owned by Susan B. Anthony.
Bronze Susan B. Anthony medallion sold to raise funds for the National American Woman Suffrage Association. "Failure is Impossible--Susan B. Anthony" on reverse side.
Plaster-of-Paris Susan B. Anthony plaque commissioned by her sister Mary S. Anthony.
Susan B. Anthony. "The Status of Woman, Past, Present, and Future." The Arena (May, 1897). Inscribed by Susan B. Anthony.
Susan B. Anthony to Rachel Foster Avery, May 19, 1897: "Have you read my article in the May Arena--on 'Woman's Status past, present, & future'....The Friends--even in Oakland Cal.-- write how much good it has done them--Have you read it?"
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Manuscript of a speech written by Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 1898 for presentation at the fiftieth anniversary of the first woman's rights convention. In the speech, Stanton called for economic cooperation as the only means to bring about "equal rights for all." The speech reflects Stanton's belief that suffrage alone was too narrow, and all social, civil, religious, economic, and political institutions must be reformed to improve the condition of women.
From the collection of the Susan B. Anthony House
William Channing Gannett presided over the funeral of Susan B. Anthony. In this letter, written on March 16, 1906, three days after Anthony's death, he describes the event:The services yesterday were simple, heart felt & impressive--college girls acting as "Honorary Bearers" and other girls as Guard of Honor as she lay in State in the Church while the people for three hours streamed through to look upon her face. The congregation filled [Central Church]--one of the largest in the city--to the doors & windows, while others stood outside in falling snow for the hour or two the service lasted...It does not seem like death, does it, - to move people so...
Winning the Vote in New York State
The Rochester Political Equality Club was founded by Mary S. Anthony in 1885. Shown are the minutes taken during the first meeting of 1894, which was held at the Anthony House. One of the topics discussed was the campaign to send pro-suffrage petitions to the New York State Constitutional Convention, which was scheduled to meet later that year in Albany.
From the collection of the Susan B. Anthony House
The New York State Woman Suffrage Convention meeting in Buffalo in 1902. Anna Howard Shaw, the President of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, is the fourth from the left. Standing to her left is Ella Hawley Crossett of Warsaw, New York, who was elected President of the New York Woman Suffrage Association at this convention.
In 1915, a referendum was held in New York State on the suffrage issue. Despite rallies, parades, speeches, and broadsides, the amendment was defeated 18,297 to 13,340 in Rochester, and by a similar margin throughout the state.
Letter written on March 23, 1914 by Carrie Chapman Catt to Emma Biddlecom Sweet. As chair of the Empire State Campaign Committee, Catt led the effort to win the vote for women in New York State in 1915. Later that year she became the president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, and under her leadership the nineteenth amendment was passed in 1920.
Photograph of Mary Garrett Hay, Carrie Chapman Catt, and Emma B. Sweet. Sweet, a young woman from Rochester, often helped Susan B. Anthony with her secretarial work.Helen Kendrick Johnson. Woman and the Republic. New York, 1897.
Helen Kendrick Johnson's father, Asahel Clark Kendrick, was a member of the University of Rochester's first faculty. Johnson opposed woman suffrage because she believed that men and women belonged by nature in separate spheres. If women were engaged in politics, she argued, they would neglect their duty as moral leaders, and the Republic would soon collapse.
Rossiter Johnson. "The Blank-Cartridge Ballot." In Why Women Do Not Want the Ballot, a volume of bound pamphlets published by the New York Association Opposed to the Extension of the Suffrage to Women, ca 1897.
Helen Kendrick Johnson's husband, Rossiter Johnson, was also an anti-suffragist. An author and editor, Rossiter Johnson was born in Rochester and graduated from the University of Rochester in 1863. In this essay he asserts that a vote must be backed up with a gun and, because women do not bear arms, they should not vote.
Suffragist were a popular target of ridicule and satire. These postcards date from the mid 1910s.From the collection of Nancy Woodhull and Tennessee Watson.