Susan B. Anthony
1820 - 1906
ANTHONY, Susan Brownell, reformer, born in South Adams, Massachusetts, 15 Feb., 1820. Daniel Anthony, her father, a cotton manufacturer, was a liberal Quaker, who educated his daughters with the idea of self-support, and employed skillful teachers in his own house. After completing her education at a Friends' boarding-school in Philadelphia, she taught in New York state from 1835 to 1850. Her father removed in 1826 to Washington County, New York, and in 1846 settled at Rochester.
Miss Anthony first spoke in public in 1847, and from that time took part in the temperance movement, organizing societies and lecturing. In 1851 she called a temperance convention in Albany, after being refused admission to a previous convention on account of her sex. In 1852 the Woman's New York State Temperance Society was organized. Through her exertions, and those of Mrs. E. C. Stanton, women came to be admitted to educational and other conventions with the right to speak, vote, and serve on committees. About 1857 she became prominent among the agitators for the abolition of slavery. In 1858 she made a report, in a teachers' convention at Troy, in favor of the co-education of the sexes. Her energies have been chiefly directed to securing equal civil rights for women. In 1854-'55 she held conventions in each county of New York in the cause of female suffrage, and since then she has addressed annual appeals and petitions to the legislature. She was active in securing the passage of the act of the New York legislature of 1860, giving to married women the possession of their earnings, the guardianship of their children, etc.
During the war she devoted herself to the women's loyal league, which petitioned congress in favor of the 13th amendment. In 1860 she started a petition in favor of leaving out the word " male" in the 14th amend-merit, and worked with the national woman suffrage association to induce congress to secure to her sex the right of voting. In 1867 she went to Kansas with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucy Stone, and there obtained 9,000 votes in favor of woman suffrage.
Petition From Susan B. Anthony to the United States Congress
The US National Archives and Records Administration
The US National Archives and Records Administration
In 1868, with the cooperation of Mrs. Stanton and Parker Pillsbury, and with the assistance of George F. Train, she began, in New York city, the publication of a weekly paper called "The Revolutionist," devoted to the emancipation of women. In 1872 Miss Anthony cast ballots at the state and congressional election in Rochester, in order to test the application of the 14th and 15th amendments of the U. S. constitution. She was indicted for illegal voting, and was fined by Justice Hunt, but, in accordance with her defiant declaration, never paid the penalty. Between 1870 and 1880 she lectured in all the northern and several of the southern states more than one hundred times a year. In 1881 she wrote, with the assistance of her co-editors, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Matilda Joslyn Gage, "The History of Woman Suffrage," in two volumes. This was latter expanded to four volumes by Anthony et al and published in New York, 1884–1887.
|Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony|
Susan B. Anthony, in 1890, orchestrated the merger of the NWSA with American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA) thus creating the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). The NSWA's merger of the Lucy's Stone's moderate AWSA marginalized the more radical elements within the women's movement, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Susan B. Anthony in an attempt to unite all the leaders campaigned hard for Stanton to be voted in as the first NAWSA president.
For More Information go to
America's Four United Republics
America's Four United Republics
After retiring in 1900, Anthony remained in Rochester but remained very active in correspondence for women's rights. In another i letter dated April 11, 1900 Susan B. Anthony, aged 80, writes a young feminist preparing for a speech on National American Woman Suffrage Association letterhead:
I have put you up a most valuable lot of ammunition--1st the Congressional Hearing speeches of 1894--containing a most careful & exhaustive compilation of testimony of Woman Suffrage in Wyoming-- Second--the House Hearing of 1898--that contains a valuable statement on School Suffrage and on Universal[?] suffrage--& one on & from each of the free states--Wyoming, Colorado, Utah & Idaho...Then--3d--the Senate hearing of 1900--with unanswerable statements--from most reliable women--then the House report of 1900--has valuable papers on Economic reasons for Woman Suffrage. Enquire at your various city Libraries for History of Woman Suffrage & Life & Work of S.B.A....Hope you will have a splendid debate--& that you will send me a report thereof....
A series of family letters that recently sold in at Christies Auction house revealed a feminist leader who expressed some strong opinions about marriage and notions of manliness. Here, in a April 2, 1900 letter, Anthony has several words of advice on proper male behavior :
There are but few things necessary for you to reach the height of your avocation, and those are the strictest integrity, patience and perseverance, and continuance in what I hope are now your fully established habits of eschewing the so-called pet vices of men." 23 May 1900: She mentions attending the Republican national convention in 1900 and hopes Burt is "living up to your highest ideal of true manliness.
In a June 26, 1900 she writes her nieces:
I do hope everything will work together for the happiness of Anna O. & Leon A. Everything will hinge on their capacity to conform one to the other, or at least to be happy in seeing the other not conform, but acting out his or her own individual idea.
But the subsequent marriage and the name change of her nieces upsets her and she writes on July 11, 1900:
So the nieces of Susan B. Anthony blot their own and their family names out of existence at one fell swoop of the pen. Well, if her nieces have no love for their identity, no reverence for a name they have been known by for 26 years, how can we expect the daughters & nieces of other people to care or do other than bury themselves under the name of the man they love!
Several of the letters also mention Anthony lecturing at Chautauqua and other places, while others mention fellow feminists Carrie Chapman Catt and Anna H. Shaw. She takes a jibe at lawyers and thinks about mortality on January 11, 1905, when she summons her nephew to a family meeting on estate-planning:
Your Mother wants to fix her property so that the lawyers wont get the major part of it when she dies. She doesn't calculate to die, but then nobody does, so everybody should be prepared for it.
14 Months later, on March 13, 1905, Susan B. Anthony died of heart disease and pneumonia in her house at 17 Madison Street on March 13, 1906. She was buried at Mount Hope Cemetery. The New York Times Obituary reads:
ROCHESTER, March 13, -- Miss Susan B. Anthony died at 12:40 o'clock this morning. The end came peacefully. Miss Anthony had been unconscious practically all of the time for more than twenty-four hours, and her death had been almost momentarily expected since last night. Only her wonderful constitution kept her alive.
Dr. M. S. Ricker, her attending physician, said Miss Anthony died of heart disease and pneumonia of both lungs. She had had serious valvular heart trouble for the last six or seven years. Her lungs were practically clear and the pneumonia had yielded to treatment, but the weakness of her heart prevented her recovery.
Miss Anthony was taken ill while on her way home from the National Suffrage Convention in Baltimore. She stopped in New York, where a banquet was to be given Feb. 20 in honor of her eighty-sixth birthday, but she had an attack of neuralgia on Feb. 18 and hastened home. Pneumonia developed after her arrival here, and on March 5 both her lungs became affected. She rallied, but had a relapse three days ago, and the end after that never was in doubt.
Miss Anthony herself had believed that she would recover. Early in her illness she told her friends that she expected to live to be as old as her father, who was over 90 when he died. But on Wednesday she said to her sister:
"Write to Anna Shaw immediately, and tell her I desire that every cent I leave when I pass out of this life shall be given to the fund which Miss Thomas and Miss Garrett are raising for the cause. I have given my life and all I am to it, and now I want my last act to be to give it all I have, to the last cent. Tell Anna Shaw to see that this is done."
Miss Shaw said:
"On Sunday, about two hours before she became unconscious, I talked with Miss Anthony, and she said: 'To think I have had more than sixty years of hard struggle for a little liberty, and then to die without it seems so cruel."
Susan Brownell Anthony was a pioneer leader of the cause of woman suffrage, and her energy was tireless in working for what she considered to be the best interests of womankind. At home and abroad she had innumerable friends, not only among those who sympathized with her views, but among those who held opinions radically opposed to her. In recent years her age made it impossible for her to continue active participation in all the movements for the enfranchisement of women with which she had been connected, but she was at the time of her death the Honorary President of the National Woman Suffrage Association, the society which she and Elizabeth Cady Stanton organized in 1869.
Miss Anthony possessed a figure of medium size, a firm but rather pleasing face, clear hazel eyes, and dark hair which she always wore combed smoothly over the ears and bound in a coil at the back. She paid much attention to dress and advised those associated in the movement for women suffrage to be punctilious in all matters pertaining to the toilet. For a little over a year in the early fifties she wore a bloomer costume, consisting of a short skirt and a pair of Turkish trousers gathered at the ankles. So great an outcry arose against the innovation both from the pulpit and the press that she was subjected to many indignities, and forced to abandon it.
|Pioneering women in the abolitionist and women’s rights movements of the 19th century. |
Lucretia Mott, Grace Greenwood, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Anna Dickinson,
Mary Livermore, Susan B. Anthony, and Lydia Maria Child.
Miss Anthony was born at South Adams, Mass., on Feb. 15, 1820. Daniel Anthony, her father, a liberal Quaker, was a cotton manufacturer. Susan Anthony was first instructed by teachers at home. She was sent afterward to finish her education at a Friends' boarding school in Philadelphia. She continued to attend this school until, at the age of fifteen, she was occasionally called on to help in the teaching. At seventeen she received a dollar a week with board by teaching in a private family, and the next summer a district school engaged her for $1.50 a week and "boarded her round." She continued to teach until 1852, when she found her taste for this profession entirely gone, a school in Rochester being her last charge.
Miss Anthony had become impressed with the idea that women were suffering great wrongs, and when she abandoned school teaching, having saved only about $300, she determined to enter the lecture field. People of to-day can scarcely understand the strong prejudices Miss Anthony had to live down. In 1851 she called a temperance convention in Albany, admittance to a previous convention having been refused to her because it was not the custom to admit women. The Women's New York State Temperance Society was organized the following year. Through Miss Anthony's exertions and those of Elizabeth Cady Stanton women soon came to be admitted to educational and other conventions, with the right to speak, vote, and act upon committees.
Miss Anthony's active participation in the movement for woman suffrage started in the fifties. As early as 1854 she arranged conventions throughout the State and annually bombarded the Legislature with messages and appeals. She was active in obtaining the passage of the act of the New York Legislature in 1860 giving to married women the possession of their earnings and the guardianship of their children. During the war she was devoted to the Women's Loyal League, which petitioned Congress in favor of the thirteenth amendment. She was also directly interested in the fourteenth amendment, sending a petition in favor of leaving out the word "male."
In company with Mrs. Stanton and Lucy Stone, Miss Anthony went to Kansas in 1867, and there obtained 9,000 votes in favor of woman suffrage. The following year, with the co-operation of Mrs. Stanton, Parker Pillsbury, and George Francis Train, she began the publication in this city of a weekly paper called The Revolutionist, devoted to the emancipation of women.
In order to test the application of the fourteenth and fifteenth amendments she cast ballots in the State and Congressional election in Rochester in 1872. She was indicted and ordered to pay a fine, but the order was never enforced.
Miss Anthony succeeded Mrs. Stanton as President of the National Woman Suffrage Association in 1892, Mrs. Stanton having resigned because of old age. This office she held until February, 1899, her farewell address being delivered at a meeting of the association in Washington. For a number of years she averaged 100 lectures a year. She engaged in eight different State campaigns for a Constitutional amendment enfranchising women, and hearings before committees of practically every Congress since 1869 were granted to her.
She was the joint author with Mrs. Stanton, Mrs. Ida Husted Harper, and Mrs. Matilda Joslyn Gage of "The History of Woman Suffrage." She also was a frequent contributor to magazines.
Edited Appleton's American Biography Copyright© 2000 by VirtualologyTM