Author Jeanne Gehret hails from Rochester, NY, the home of 19th century reformers Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass. After serving as a docent at Susan’s home in Rochester, she wrote Susan B. Anthony and Justice For All. The foremost authority on the Kansas branch of Susan B.’s family, she tells their story in her historical novel, The Truth About Daniel.
A different look at history
Gehret believes that you often get a better understanding of history from accounts of obscure women than from stories about men. Yet these accounts are often overlooked. She cites the obituary of Anna Anthony (Susan’s sister-in-law), which devoted only a quarter of its ink to Anna herself. Even though Anna was a leading suffragist and philanthropist, most of her life’s account describes her husband’s activities.
Visiting sites where her characters spent a lot of time is one of Jeanne Gehret’s favorite research methods. Her travels have taken her to the birthplaces and homes of all the Anthony family members, including several trips to Kansas and Massachusetts. She has also visited the homes of many Anthony contemporaries. These include John Brown, Harriet Tubman, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, William Lloyd Garrison, and others.
Born in Kansas City, Gehret always intersperses research trips with visits to cousins.
Recently retired from 25 years portraying Susan B. in costume, Gehret is now a besotted grandmother. When she’s not writing, you can often find her chasing around on playgrounds, restoring overgrown gardens, or shopping estate sales. A graduate of the University of Toronto and St. Bernard’s Seminary, she is married to her soulmate Jon.
Same goal, different focus
Gehret writes about life’s difficulties to offer hope. She began her author journey in 1989 with a feature story on learning disabilities. When readers immediately connected in a heartfelt way, she realized that she had touched a chord in families’ lives. Four children’s books on divergent learners followed.
Now, though she still has the same goal in writing, her focus has changed to one fascinating historical family. Her books on the Anthonys portray determined, compassionate individuals who succeeded in helping others despite setbacks and losses.