Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) – Three-cent stamp issued in 1936, on the 30th anniversary of her death; re-issued in 1955

Born in February of 1820, in Adams, Massachusetts, Anthony was raised in a Quaker family where women were considered relatively equal to men. After supporting herself as a teacher, Anthony became involved in the temperance and anti-slavery movements. Because she was a woman, however, she was refused permission to speak at both a teachers’ convention and at a temperance convention, and this prompted her to focus on women’s rights.

Anthony was energetic, self-disciplined, and had a genius for political organization.  After meeting Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 1851, they dominated the movement for the remainder of the century.  With Stanton, Anthony founded the National Woman Suffrage Association and pushed for an amendment to the US Constitution that would assure the vote to women in every state.  Though ardently anti-slavery, they so fervently believed in the importance of suffrage, that she and Stanton opposed the 14th and 15th amendments that enfranchised black men because they did not include women.

She published The Revolution, a radical paper, from 1868 to 1870) and after its bankruptcy, lectured for six years to pay off its debt.  Anthony was arrested in Rochester, New York – which was her longtime hometown -- for voting in 1872; she was convicted but refused to pay the fine. At the 1876 Centennial that celebrated the nation’s first one hundred years, she delivered a "Declaration of Women’s Rights" modeled on the Declaration of Independence.  With Stanton and Matilda Joslyn Gage, she published the first three volumes of the eventual six-volume History of Woman Suffrage (1881-1885). 

In 1888, she organized the first international meeting of feminists, and in 1890, led the merged National American Woman Suffrage Association.  It combined her National Association with the American Association headed by Lucy Stone, Julia Ward Howe, and others. The merged organization eventually grew to two million members.

Anthony became known as she undertook arduous state tours to organize campaigns for the vote.  Her first major effort was in Kansas in 1867, and she made repeated trips as far as Oregon and California.  She reached into the Deep South, presiding over conventions in New Orleans and Atlanta.  Called “The Napoleon of the woman’s rights movement,” she moved to Washington every winter to lobby Congress.  Anthony also was active in international efforts for women; even Queen Victoria asked to meet her.

Although she gave up the presidency in 1900, Anthony was at the movement’s annual convention in Baltimore when she sickened in February 1906; she died back home in Rochester, fourteen years before women won full voting rights.



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