@Feminists, Facts and Life
Susan B. Anthony born at
Susan B. Anthony never married, and was not known to have been in any serious romantic relationship.
She had a very close personal and professional relationship with fellow reformer Elizabeth Cady Stanton. She even lived in the Stanton household for some time and helped her married friend in taking care of the children. Even though the two women developed differences in ideologies in their later years, they continued to be close friends till the very end.
She remained very active in the women’s rights movement even when she was in her seventies. After having lived for years in hotels and with friends and relatives, she finally moved in with her sister in 1891.
Susan Brownell Anthony was born on February 15, 1820, to Daniel Anthony and Lucy Read in Adams, Massachusetts. Her father, a Quaker, was an abolitionist and a temperance advocate. Her parents instilled in her the values of justice and integrity at an early age.
As a young girl she became involved in the anti-slavery movement and collected anti-slavery petitions at the age of 17. Her father encouraged all his children to get a good education, but unfortunately due to a financial crisis Susan had to discontinue her studies in 1837.
To help her family financially, she took up a teaching job at a Quaker boarding school. By 1846, she had risen to the position of the headmistress of the female department of the Canajoharie Academy. Her family had always been active in social reform movements and now her own interest in social reform was also growing.
The Canajoharie Academy closed in 1849 and she took over the operation of the family farm in Rochester. She managed the farm for a couple of years, but it did not take her long to realize that she wanted to fully engage herself in reform work.
She met the prominent feminist Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 1851. Anthony and Stanton, who had been one of the organizers of the Seneca Falls Convention, became friends and collaborated with each other in their work in support of women’s suffrage.
At the state teacher’s convention in 1853 she called for women to be admitted to the profession and for better pay for women teachers. By 1859, she had spoken before several other teachers’ conventions arguing for coeducation and claiming that men and women were not intellectually different.
She was also active on the anti-slavery front during the 1850s and became an agent for the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1856. In this position she was responsible for arranging meetings, making speeches, and distributing leaflets. As an activist she was subjected to numerous challenges but she remained steadfast in her dedication towards abolitionism.
At this time Anthony was more involved in the abolitionist movement than she was in women’s suffrage. However as she became more aware about the cruelties faced by women in the male-dominated society, she decided to dedicate more of her efforts to the women’s rights movement.
In 1863, Anthony and Stanton organized the Women's Loyal National League to campaign for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would abolish slavery. The league provided an opportunity to the women’s rights activist to align the fight against slavery with the fight for women's rights. It had a membership of 5000 which greatly helped the women’s rights movement in gaining momentum.