Family background of famous reformer

Do you love family sagas, larger-than-life heroes who really lived, and glimpses of the Victorian era? Then is a good fit for you! Here you will get the family background of the great reformer in the context of her century. Through these pages, I invite you to escape, through a unique mix of stories and people, to the Victorian era from about 1820-1920.

I’ve created a virtual Anthony Library for you with categories instead of call numbers. (On desktops, look for categories to the right of the blog page. On mobile, they’re at the bottom of the blogroll.) With a blog post twice a month, you’ll always find something new to enjoy.

In its eight years of existence, has acquired some prestigious followers! Even so, I’d love for you to subscribe so you never miss a post, and also to offer some much-needed social media support. When you do, you’ll receive the special gift of a subscribers-only illustrated timeline of Pivotal Events in Anthony History.

Think about how the American Civil War (1861-1865) powerfully interrupted the Victorian era with the urgent need to address slavery. The war seemed to cultivate characters who used their military rank to impose their political views with violence. Daniel Read Anthony (Susan’s brother) was one such man, and he figures prominently on my blog.

In the midst of this turbulent period, the Anthonys lived, worked, and loved. Based in Rochester, NY, Susan traveled all over the U.S. and frequently used sunny Kansas as her staging ground for her women’s rights campaigns.

Photos or images representing Susan B. Anthony and siblings

Why Kansas?

Kansas was an attractive destination for her because Daniel and his wife Annie lived in one of the Sunflower State’s boomtowns, aka Leavenworth. Sometimes Susan’s speeches there attracted large, appreciative crowds. Other times Daniel had to display his gun onstage to ensure her right to be heard.

Daniel emigrated from Rochester, New York to Kansas four years before the Civil War. In the span of a few years, he fanned the embers of racial unrest into flames. He was notorious as an abolitionist guerilla and a newspaper editor whose policies blazed their way across the Wild West. After establishing such a reputation, he brought to Leavenworth his bride Annie Osborn. This paradoxical woman embodied the refined Victorian culture while living in a no-holds-barred Wild West town.

What do the Anthonys and their era have to do with us now?

This family lived in stormy times much like our own. Their early years were overshadowed by the collapse of the national economy that bankrupted Daniel Anthony Sr., Susan’s father. Racial tensions erupted with terrifying consequences into war. The family lived in fear of tuberculosis, cholera and typhoid. In fact, they buried several loved ones who succumbed to infectious diseases. And the women were constantly pushing the boundaries of what they could do and be.

The Anthonys and their fellow reformers had some serious and longstanding disagreements. And though the family itself presented a united front, behind-the-scenes sources occasionally revealed that they had their differences like the rest of us.

Join me to explore Susan B. Anthony and her family. This family saga, spanning events from 1820 to 1930, is replete with tales of great idealism, stubborn perseverance, and outspokenness that led to violence. It’s life writ large through one family. It’s

Welcome all visionaries

Author Jeanne Gehret

On a personal note, I draw a lot of inspiration from the Anthonys and their friends. I wish I’d had them around when I encountered some of my hardest challenges. They pursued their ideals doggedly. And with their quest to reform society, they kept experimenting to find the most successful way to reach the most people.

Learning about their world shows me how much they were up against. As for the episodes when they really missed the mark, I can learn from their mistakes and try to do better.

All of us face challenges. It’s tempting to give in to cynicism or simply numb ourselves out with our favorite distraction of choice. (Anyone care to join me for a night of chocolate while watching Miss Scarlet and the Duke?) But when I get up off the couch again, I choose to keep company with people who inspire me—those who went before, and those living now.

book cover The Truth About Daniel by Jeanne Gehret

Historical fiction in the Dauntless Trilogy

I’m halfway through writing my historical fiction trilogy about the Anthonys in Kansas. Working on it has been great fun. I hope you’ll go to Amazon and get your own copy of Book One, The Truth about Daniel.

Watch the blog for news about Book Two. We’re getting close to publication, and you may be surprised to find us in a location you’ve never been before.

As you can imagine, writing such novels involves a lot of research. And that’s mainly what you’ll find at–the factual underpinnings that get slightly fictionalized to become the trilogy.

The heart of this website is the blog. There I post twice a month on several topics pertaining to the Anthonys. These include their push for racial and gender equality; people who influenced them; and family members and events. You’ll also find the culture that shaped them, from sobering elements of the Civil War years to engaging and sometimes frivolous factoids about the Victorian era. After all, the Anthonys were real Victorians!

What’s different about this blog?

My approach to Anthony history is unique because my main focus is on their family background, not their public personas. Unlike museums and historic homes devoted to them (which I deeply appreciate), I’m not promoting buildings here. I’ve spent quite a bit of time in all the major locations I’m writing about. As you read further, I’ll share many places, books, and articles with you.

Before reading on…

Are you ready to receive the Anthonys’ inside story direct to your inbox? You’ll get twice-monthly blogposts PLUS my gift for subscribers only. It’s an illustrated timeline of Pivotal Events in Anthony History that will help you keep it all straight and get an idea of what to expect from my trilogy.

I promise I won’t sell your name (and I won’t stuff your inbox). Subscribe now and you’ll never have to search for this unique treasure trove again.

3 Responses

  1. Thanks for joining, Helise. You’re in luck, because on Nov 11 I’m featuring Guelma. She will also be mentioned briefly on Oct 30 in her connection of voting with Susan. Alas, I have no photos of her. The Susan B. Anthony House Museum might; I haven’t checked lately. I assume you’ve checked….?
    In a couple days you’ll receive a welcome letter that will contain some links to help begin to navigate your way around the Anthony family. I hope you enjoy the site!

  2. I am seeking photos of Gulema Penn Anthony McLean and her husband Aaron M McLean as well as their children. Do you have any leads?

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