Susan B. Anthony gave approximately 100 speeches a year, by her own account, crisscrossing the United States to do so. Her woman suffrage campaign even took her to Europe and earned her an audience with Queen Victoria. Underlying her familiarity with travel, however, she had a strong sense of home and family that brought frequent bouts of homesickness and a longing for her kin.
Hannah was the third child of Lucy and Daniel Read. (Imagine D.R. growing up with three older sisters!) There are suggestions that she also taught (like Guelma, Susan, and Mary) before her marriage to Eugene Mosher in 1845, for which Susan helped make a Feathered Star quilt. Susan’s diaries and biography demonstrate that the three oldest sisters remained close all their lives, for they all lived in two red brick houses on Madison Street in Rochester.
Hannah bore three sons and a daughter. By the time her sister Guelma died in 1873, Hannah was already showing signs of tuberculosis herself and, at the urging of Susan and D.R., spent time in Colorado for her health and then took up residence in Leavenworth with D.R.’s family. Eventually Hannah’s husband and children were called from Rochester, and she succumbed to her illness.
She was buried in Leavenworth, KS, the first of the clan to be interred there. Susan stayed in Leavenworth for six more weeks, eventually returning to Rochester with Hannah’s only daughter Louise, who would live with Susan and Mary until she graduated from the Rochester Free Academy. (Harper p. 477)
Lovers of Anthony memorabilia like to refer to Susan’s youngest sister, Mary, as the wind beneath the famous reformer’s wings. It’s easy to see why, since Mary remained single, cared for mother Lucy Anthony in her widowhood, kept the Madison Street home where numerous family members lodged (including Susan), and was a leader in the Women’s Political Equality Club. But who were the other two sisters, Guelma and Hannah?
Recently I watched In The Heart of the Sea, a visual feast for those interested in the whaling industry of the mid-nineteenth century. I found several noteworthy parallels with the book I’m writing about Daniel Read Anthony’s bride Anna Osborn, who grew up in Martha’s Vineyard, one of the great whaling communities of that era.
Imagine going on a speaking tour where each new city brings you bloodsucking critters that fall out of your clothing or audiences so unfriendly that they mob you onstage!
My new book on Susan B. Anthony’s brother Daniel will soon hit the shelves. I’m anticipating publication this summer or fall. If you love history and enjoy a good romance, watch for news of it on this blog. Continue reading
Did young Susan B. dutifully eat her vegetables, wonders Sonja Livingston, in Queen of the Fall. And when she got older, was she too preoccupied with higher things to attend to such mundane realities as food?
Hardly! For an up-close and personal view of Rochester’s very own heroine, come see my costumed portrayal of her this month:
Writers & Books, 740 University Avenue, Rochester
Saturday, March 19, 11 AM $3.50 adults, children free
Why did Sonja Livingston include Susan B. Anthony among the “girls and goddesses” in her memoir Queen of the Fall?
To find out, come to my performance of “Failure is Impossible,” presenting Susan B. Anthony herself in costume!
11 AM Saturday, March 19
740 University Avenue, Rochester
(585) 473-2590, x107.
$3.50 for adults, children free
Seventy people joined me for a presentation on the Anthony siblings at Webster Immanuel Lutheran Church today. What a program! Each week they meet for an exercise program followed by a speaker (this week, it was me) and then lunch–all for $2! I am impressed by this group’s creativity in serving the interests and needs of their community.
As I was preparing for the presentation, I came up with some interesting facts about the Anthony siblings. Susan had three sisters and two brothers. Here goes:
- Both brothers moved to Kansas to serve the abolitionist movement and the Army, despite their pacifist Quaker upbringing.
- All but two of the siblings married. Susan and her sister Mary, two linchpins of the woman suffrage movement, remained single.
- Two sisters died of consumption. Susan feared it would claim her life also, but it never did.
- Both brothers died of heart trouble; D.R. had a weak heart after his serious gunshot wound.
- All the sisters voted with Susan and got arrested.
- Susan was a teetotaler all her life; D.R. flaunted his enjoyment of alcohol and did not support prohibition.
- Susan was a member in good standing in the Quaker fellowship, but D.R. was almost dismissed after he killed a civilian in self-defense. (He was always getting into scrapes because of his hair-trigger temper.)
- D.R. supported Susan’s newspaper The Revolution with both advice and money. When injury and political campaigns prevented him from giving enough attention to his own newspaper (The Daily Times), Susan ran it for him.
Like all parents, the senior Daniel Anthony and his wife Lucy must have watched their children with bemusement and marveled sometimes at how such different fruits could have fallen from the same tree.