Susan B. Anthony was born on February 15, 1820. This year-long blog celebrates not only her 200th birthday,
but also her work, life, and the progress toward universal woman's suffrage as well as the 100th anniversary
of the year-long effort to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment.

During this year I will be adding stories from my imagined kitchen conversations with Susan B. Anthony and recipes from her era.
I am beginning this week because on June 4, 1919, women were one step closer to getting the vote when the United States Congress
passed the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Just over a year later, on August 18, 1920, Tennessee was the 36th state to ratify,
thus achieving passage by the required three-fourths of the nation's then 48 states states.
By 1984 all of the states that had been in the union at the time had finally ratified the amendment.

As essays are added, I'll mark them as "POSTED" on this Overview page and provide a link through for the stories and recipes of this year of celebration.

RECIPE for Susan B. Anthony's favorite kind of Old Fashioned Sponge Cake is at the bottom of this post. Scroll down to find the easy-to-make recipe.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Susan's Birthdays Celebrate Progress

Posts February 2020

Countdown to Susan B. Anthony's 200th Birthday Celebration 

January 20:  
Today's quote from her diary -- January 19, 1894
"In Toledo to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Woman's Suffrage Association of the city, formed by Mrs. Stanton & self....Splendid and large reception at Church of Our Fathers' parlor and packed church in evening. 25 years Report of Work Done was splendid."

January 21: 
From two letters to Isabella Beecher Hooker-- born 1822 and died 1907. She was a woman's rights activist and public speaker. Sister of Harriet Beecher Stowe and Catherine Beecher 
January 20, 1874 
"You will see by the enclosed resolution that we have already set the wheels in motion of a grand gathering of the women at Philadelphia July 4, 1876 to protest against the outrage of our exclusion from equality of rights.

January 21, 1871 
following a speech in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
After my two hours' talk--they still clung to their seats--until I said--'Mr. President won't you please tell these good people to go--I really have said my last word'  I feel a new inspiration--spoke as if the very gods were whistling through me. We surely are going to vote for the next president [of the United States].

January 22:
From Susan B. Anthony's testimony before the Judiciary Committee of the New York Assembly
"Woman will never be secure in the possession of her property until she can protect it by the vote."

January 23:

In 1872 Susan B. Anthony was snowbound on a train from California to the East Coast.  Her traveling companions California Senator Aaron Sargent and his family were on board with a goodly picnic basket of food. Read more here and get the recipe.

January 24:
January 24, 1880.
In testimony before the House Judiciary Committee.  "When we have asked members of Congress to ordain that women workers should be paid equal wages with men, they have told us that to pass such a law,and enforce it, would be to drive all women out of the departments, because the only excuse the government now has for employing them is that it is a mater of economy to the government."

January 25:
In a letter January 1897  to Elizabeth Cady Stanton "The time is past—when the mass of the suffrage women will be compromised by any one person’s peculiarities!! We number over 10,000 women--&each one has opinions & rights &c—and we can only hold them together to work for the ballot—by letting alone—their whims & prejudices on other subjects."

January 26:
1897 speech before the National-American Woman Suffrage Association held in Des Moines, Iowa.  "Every woman, equally with every man, therefore, should be affiliated with some political party. Politics is the art of getting things done which ought to be done. Practical politics, which is applied politics, can only be accomplished by political parties, and if women wish to help sustain good government, they must work with and through parties. 

January 27:
Susan B. Anthony framed her economic arguments for suffrage in the speech she gave most frequently "Women Want Bread not Ballots." She drew upon the arguments made by British leader John Bright in response to the worker's bread riots in England. She spoke with intellect and fire and without a manuscript. Newspapers of the day reported the content.  Read excerpts here with a period bread recipe.  Read more here and get recipe.

January 28:

Elizabeth Cady Stanton speaking at a large reunion of suffragists and Anthony family members at the old homestead in Adams, Massachusetts in the summer of 1897. “It is a curious coincidence that upon the anniversary of the birthday of Galileo, there was born Susan B. Anthony. She also perceived a great truth and the world did not agree with her. It reviled her for the belief that she had propounded, but in this century she never renounced that belief, but thundered back to the pulpit and to the newspapers that the world does move and the time will come when women shall be free; the time will come when they shall have every right, every privilege, every liberty which any man enjoys…We, today, are making the first pilgrimage to the birthplace of Susan B. Anthony, but I prophesy that in another quarter of a century there will be many pilgrimages hither, and no child will be so illiterate as not to know that in this county it was this greatest of American women was born.”

And Miss Anthony spoke as well. “The pride of my life is to say that I was born in the old Bay State. I love the glories of her scenery, but I would love it more and better if I could say that the men of this state had voted that women should be their peers at the ballot box. That is the thing for you to do.”

January 29
Temperance was Susan B. Anthony’s first public cause. She was a life-long teetotaler. From a letter to William Van Benthuysen March 4, 1901 “There is only one Mrs. Nation and she flourishes her hatchet to good effect. Like John Brown and his nineteen men, who frightened the South more than all the preaching of the anti-slavery men, so Mrs. Nation with her hatchet has done more to make the liquor traffic tremble than all the laws and preaching put together. I do not believe that the hatchet is the weapon of civilization but the ballot is, and I, therefore, ask for ballots.”

January 30

Training Day Gingerbread was a favorite treat in the temperance Anthony household. Read about Susan's dedication to the temperance movement and her father's successful mill in Battenville, NY and get the recipe here.

The house which was built in the 1830s has fallen into disrepair, but recently funding has been granted to restore it.

The Anthony Battenville home in earlier days

January 31:

In an1890 letter to Isabella Beecher Hooker  "Now is the time to have a fixed & solemn declaration—that shall make all women—who are for woman’s political emancipation stand shoulder to shoulder in this one Association."

February 1:

Mounting a campaign on February 1, 1885  SBA wrote each of the 76 senators asking if “I might count on you to be among the senators who would for our 16th amendment bill.”

During the late 1870s and into the 1890s Susan B. Anthony led lobbying efforts for the Constitutional Woman's Suffrage Amendment. One newspaper reported decreed that the city could tell spring was on the way when, like a robin, "Miss Anthony showed up in her red shawl." Suffrage activists long had tired winning the vote state-by-state with successes in the West--Wyoming (Territory 1869, state 1890), Utah (territory 1870, state 1896), Washington (territory 1883 state not until 1910), Montana (territory 1887, state not until 1914), and Idaho (1896). But as the 19th century was nearing its end, leadership shifted their attention to a constitutional amendment.

Anthony, Stanton and others tried to get woman's voting rights into the 14th and 15th amendments passed to grant citizenship to former slaves and other citizens of color. Or at the very least to have the word "male" removed from the 14th Amendment. As Stanton said at the time, "Once the word 'male' is in the constitution it will take a century to get it out." It only took 52 years.

Susan B. Anthony continued the struggle until her death in 1906. Although women tried voting and brought law suits on the premise that the 15th Amendment did grant women the right to vote, Anthony and other activists sought clarity with the passage of the 16th Amendment. Its language was essentially the same as the 19th Amendment that would be ratified on August 10, 1920. "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of sex."

13th Amendment -- ratified December 6, 1865 outlawed slavery and involuntary servitude.

14th Amendment ratified July 9, 1868  grants citizenship "to all persons born or naturalized in the United States and forbids states from denying "life, liberty, or property without due process of law? or to "deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."  It also provided that all male citizens over twenty-one years old, should be able to vote.

15th Amendment ratified February 3, 1870 states voting rights "shall not be denied or abridged by the United States of by any State on account of race, color, or precious condition of servitude.

February 2:

February 2, 1900 -- A letter to Representative John Franklin Shaforth Democrat of Colorado.  "If you have not already done so—will you introduce into the House a 16th amendment bill—as Senator Warren has done in the Senate?  We are to have our hearing before the Judiciary committee on the 13th—and should have a bill in their hands before that date."   

Susan B Anthony was not the first woman to address the House Judiciary Committee.  Victoria Woodhull, who had grown up in poverty and became independently wealthy, perhaps due to being the first woman stockbroker,  addressed the Committee on January 11, 1871. Susan B. Anthony was there as she presented her argument was that the 14th and 15th amendments already gave women the right to vote.

You can see her, no doubt in her red shawl, sitting behind Woodhull in the above illustration from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper. 

Victoria Woodhul received this hearing thanks to the support from Rep. Benjamin Butler of Massachusetts. Iowa Rep Judge William Loughridge was the only other committee member to support the position to enact a law granting her the right to vote under the rights granted by those Constitutional amendments. 

Susan would write to her friend Isabella Beecher Hooker a week later: "It is splendid--the ripeness--the fullness of this grand hour-- we have secured universal discussion--and that is beyond measure."

Woodhull would go on to be the first woman to run for president when she was nominated by the Equal Rights Party in 1872.   Susan B. Anthony used the 14th and 15th amendment argument to defend her actions when she voted in the 1872 election. She did not vote for Woodhull.  You can read more about that here. 

As the years passed, that rational was defeated in the courts. Anthony and others shifted their attention to lobbying both in state legislatures and in Congress. 

Read more about Woodhull at these links.

February 3:
Elizabeth Cady Stanton with her
daughter Harriot.

Balancing the responsibilities of home and children with campaigns for improving women’s lives was a constant topic in Susan B. Anthony’s letters. Although she never married, Susan frequently cared for her sisters Guelma and Hannah through their final illnesses as well as for their mother who lived with Susan and her sister Mary.

The synergy between Susan and Elizabeth Cady Stanton legendary. For days, even weeks, at a time Susan would arrive and take over the children—there were seven of them—allowing Stanton to compose position papers, news articles, and speeches for that Susan would give.

Here is a conversation I had with Susan about this relationship.

February 4:
 In a February 5, 1890 letter to Eliza Wright Osborne Susan declared her determination to make the woman suffrage movement appealing to all faiths: I have worked 40 years to make the Woman’s Suffrage platform broad enough for Atheists & Agnostics to stand upon--& now if need be I will fight the next 40 to keep it Catholic enough to permit the verriest Orthodox religionist to speak or pray & count her beads upon.

February 5:

February 13, 1902  Address to the first International Woman Suffrage Conference  The politicians dread the women’s vote, but we are to overcome the politicians by getting the people with us.

Held in Washington, DC, from February 12-18 and under the leadership of Carrie Chapman Catt, the conference welcomed representatives from England, Australia, Canada, Russia, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Turkey, Chile, and the United States.  The purpose of the meeting was to begin steps to form an international union of national suffrage societies. They agreed to hold a second organizational meeting in Berlin in 1904. Susan B. Anthony was named char of that temporary organizing committee.

February 6:

The Fort William Henry Resort
where Anthony spoke with
Judge Ormond. 

Since the 1840s Susan B. Anthony had been an anti-slavery activist. Former slave, newspaper publisher, and orator Frederick  Douglass was a frequent guest in her parent’s Rochester home for abolition meetings.  She helped slaves passing though New York on the Underground Railroad to Canada.

In 1859 that dedication collided with the suffrage movement. Tactics for voting success changed over the years. The nation was growing westward with newly admitted states writing their constitutions. Older states were considering changes to theirs. Anthony and others decided the best way to bring voting rights to women was to enact changes in the states.  

In August 1859, after their annual woman’s rights convention leaders headed out to speak to audiences with influential state leaders. Anthony went to the New York state resort area and met a powerful Alabama judge and former legislator.  
Read more with a recipe here.

February 11

Lucy Hayes

In an 1879 letter to First Lady Lucy Webb Hayes. "May I not address you and ask you to help your dear husband the President—to remember not to forget to sign the bill to admit women Lawyers to the Supreme Court. I cannot tell you how my heart leaped for joy yesterday morning as I read the report of the splendid Senate vote of 40 to 20 for the bill."

The Hayeses were firm believers in temperance. After their first state dinner where the traditional six-course array of wines was served, President Rutherford B. Hayes  and his wife Lucy asserted their preference. Alcohol was never again served in the Hayes’ White House, earning Mrs. Hayes the nickname of “Lemonade Lucy.” While Susan B. Anthony and other temperance leaders praised Lucy Hayes and her husband for their temperance stand, the Hayeses were, at times, castigated by even more rigorous non-alcoholic advocates for participating in events where liquor was served, even though they didn’t drink.  

As to woman's suffrage, Lucy may have been a non-active believer in votes for women, but the president didn't take a public stand. He did sign the "Act to Relieve CertainLegal Disabilities of Women" which cleared the way for female attorneys to argue cases in any U.S. federal court.  In 1880 Belva Lockwood became the first woman to argue a case before the Supreme Court.  In Kaiser v. Stickney she argued in appeal for the rights of Caroline Kaiser that she should not be bound a contract that encumbered her own property. She lost that appeal. 

February 12

February 12, 1900. Susan's remarks to the National-American Woman  Association  

"One reason why so little has been done by Congress is because none of us have remained here to watch our employees up at the Capitol."

February 13 

February 14, 1902 
Address to the first international woman suffrage conference  
"The politicians dread the women’s vote, but we are to overcome the politicians by getting the people with us."

February 14

Diary Entry: February 14, 1898 
"One of the most gratifying things to me is to meet friends who I have not seen for thirty or forty years, and have them say ‘you don’t look a day older!” When I was young I looked very old, and so I cannot change. I feel very young tonight, because I am not a pioneer. I was not at that first meeting in Seneca Falls, nor at the one held in Rochester two weeks later….I did not come to the work until 1852."

February 15

Susan B. Anthony at 54

Poems in honor of Susan B, Anthony on her 50th and 80th birthdays.

To Miss Susan B. Anthony on her Fiftieth Birthday
Phoebe Cary
We touch our caps, and place tonight
The victor’s wreath upon her,
The woman who outranks us all
In courage and in honor.

While others in domestic broils
Have proved by word and carriage,
That one of the United States
Is not the state of marriage.

She, caring not for loss of men,
Nor for the world’s confusion,
Has carried on a civil war,
And made a “Revolution.”

True, other women have been brave,
When banded or hus-banded,
But she had bravely fought her way
Alone and single-handed.

And think of her unselfish strength
Her generous disposition,
Who never made a lasting prop
Out of a proposition.

She might have chosen an honored name.
And none have scored or hissed it
Have writing Mrs. Jones or Smith,
But, strange to say, she Missed it.

For fifty years to come may she
Grow riche and ripe and mellow,
Be quoted even above “par,”
Or any other fellow!

And speak the truth from pole to pole,
And keep her light a-burning,
Before she cuts her stick to go
The way there’s no returning.

Because her motto grand hath been
The right of every human,
And first and last, and right or wrong
She takes the side of woman.

“A perfect woman, nobly planned,”
To aid, and not amuse one,
Take her for all in all we ne’er
Shall see the match for Susan!

Susan’s response:  If this were an assembled mob which declared that woman should not vote and speak, my tongue would be aroused and I should know what to say. But I have before me a number of elegant and educated women who know how to speak and reason upon these things, women who may write, and sing, and utter in public those sentiments and ideas of which truth they are inwardly convinced. …well with the tide thus rising in favor of equal rights of women I feel that I can only stand dumb before you. Yet, still I ask you to work heartily for the case.

Susan B. Anthony 1899

Poem by Elizabeth Cady Stanton  1900
Celebrating Susan on her 80th birthday

My honored friend, I’ll ne’er forget,
That day in June, when we first met—
Oh! Would I the skill to paint,
My vision of that Quaker saint!
Robed in pale blue and sliver-grey,
No silly fashions did she essay—
Her brow so smooth and fair
‘Neath coils of soft brown hair,
Her voice was like the lark, so clear;
So rich,  and pleasant to the ear
The “Prentice hand” on man oft tried,
Now made in her, the Nation’s pride.


We met, and loved, no more to part—
Hand clasped in hand, heart bonded to heart—
We’ve traveled West, years together,
Day and night, in stormy weather—
Climbing the rugged suffrage hill,
Bravely facing every ill—
Resting, speaking, anywhere,
Oft-times in the open air—
From sleighs, ox-carts, and coaches—
All for the emancipation ,
Of the women of this Nation!


Now, we’ve had enough of travel,
And in turn laid down the gavel—
In the time-honored retreat,
Gladly we will take a seat—
In triumph, having reached four-score,
We’ll give our thoughts to art and lore—
To younger hands resign the reins,
With all the honors and the gains—
United down life’s hill we’ll glide,
Whate’er the coming years betide—
Parted only when first in time

Eternal joys are thine or mine.

In Memoriam and a Recipe

PREVIEW Looking back through your biography, I see that your birthdays became an opportunity for celebration and calls to action.

The practice began with my fiftieth birthday in 1870, when my friends arranged a party.  I was astounded. So many people came and said so many lovely things that I hardly knew what to say.  I made a few remarks. “If this were an assembled mob opposing the rights of woman I should know what to say. I never made a speech except to rouse people to action. My work is that of subsoil plowing….I ask you tonight as your best testimony to my services on this the twentieth anniversary of my public work to join me in making a demand on Congress for a Sixteenth Amendment giving women the right to vote.” 

Over the years, significant birthdays continued to be times for celebration, dedication, and reflection. At the last party, for my eighty-sixth birthday, I received a kind note from President Theodore Roosevelt. But still, after thirty-seven years, there was work to be done. As I said, “I hope the men will do something beside send congratulations. President Roosevelt’s letter is very good, but I want him to force Congress to pass an amendment to the Constitution granting women their rights.” I would rather have him say one word to Congress on this question than give all the praise in the world to me personally.”

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