Susan B. Anthony

Portrait of Susan B. Anthony, ca. 1890-1900. Courtesy of Susan B. Anthony Papers, 1815-1961, Schlesinger LibraryPortrait of Susan B. Anthony, ca. 1890-1900. Courtesy of Susan B. Anthony Papers, 1815-1961, Schlesinger Library

Best known as an iconic women’s rights activist who played a pivotal role in the campaign for women’s suffrage, Susan B. Anthony (1820‒1906) was also involved in a number of other 19th century social reform movements, including temperance, abolition, and labor rights. She served as publisher of the Revolution, the weekly newspaper of the National Woman Suffrage Association, whose motto stated: "The true republic—men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less." Unlike most publications of the time, the Revolution covered subjects such as sex education, rape, domestic violence, divorce, prostitution, reproductive rights, and the rights of working men and women.

When Anthony was arrested in 1872 for voting in the presidential election, along with three of her sisters and other women, the case garnered national attention. Repeatedly ignoring the judge's order to stop talking and sit down, she protested what she called "this high-handed outrage upon my citizen's rights . . . you have trampled under foot every vital principle of our government. My natural rights, my civil rights, my political rights, my judicial rights, are all alike ignored.” The judge directed the jury to deliver a guilty verdict and fined her $100, a sum she refused to pay. Although Anthony did not live to see the passage and ratification of the 19th amendment, at the end of her life she said "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!"

Eight collections (one large and seven small) document the life and work of the remarkable Susan B. Anthony and her circle of suffragists including Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Carrie Chapman Catt, and Anna Howard Shaw among others.

The Schlesinger Library Online Collection: Susan B. Anthony portal is now available: