Frequently Asked Questions About Susan B. Anthony and Family
- Who was Susan B. Anthony?
- What did Susan B Anthony do?
- What are 3 things Susan B Anthony is known for?
- Why did Susan B. Anthony fight for women’s rights?
- What did Susan B Anthony do for slavery?
- Who were Susan B Anthony’s friends?
- Why did Susan B Anthony wear black?
- What was Susan B Anthony’s family like?
- How many siblings did Susan B Anthony have?
- What happened to Susan B. Anthony’s siblings?
- What did Susan B. Anthony’s brother Daniel do?
- Did Susan B Anthony get married and have kids?
- Where and how did Susan B. Anthony die?
- What were Susan B. Anthony’s last words?
- Where is Susan B Anthony’s grave?
- Did Susan B. Anthony ever get to vote?
- Is there a monument to Susan B. Anthony?
- Where were Susan B. Anthony’s siblings buried?
Who was Susan B. Anthony?
Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) was a 19th century social reformer. The daughter of Lucy Read and Daniel Anthony, she was born into a prosperous, hardworking family in North Adams, MA, and raised a Quaker. Before she completed her education to be a teacher, she had to leave school in 1838 when her father went bankrupt.1 Immediately, she began teaching in towns away from home and witnessed how girls and women experienced physical, emotional, and financial hardship that made them unequal to men.
For 50 years she campaigned for universal human rights—especially for African-Americans and women. She achieved fame as a public speaker, traveled widely, and organized many conventions. She kept close ties with her siblings and all three of her sisters joined her in casting an illegal vote in 1872. She alone was tried in court and fined $100. Her image is on the 1980 U.S. dollar.
What did Susan B. Anthony do?
Anthony began her reform work in the 1850s while teaching school. Her first cause was to limit the consumption of alcoholic beverages (temperance); however, she soon broadened her work to include the abolition of slavery and women’s rights. She is best known for casting a vote in the 1872 U.S. Presidential election that was deemed illegal on account of her being a woman.
With Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Anthony published a women’s rights newspaper called The Revolution; she also collaborated on The History of Woman Suffrage. Her network of women’s rights activists grew to include all of North America and many countries in Western Europe. Born in North Adams, MA, she lived her adult life in Rochester, NY.
What are three things that Susan B. Anthony is known for?
Anthony was active in reform work throughout the 19th century, furthering the cause of civil rights in many areas. Three things that she is most famous for are:
- Getting arrested and going to trial for voting in the 1872 presidential election
- Antislavery work that led to the passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments
- Co-publishing a newspaper entitled The Revolution and co-authoring The History of Woman Suffrage
Why did Susan B. Anthony fight for women’s rights?
As a child, Susan B. Anthony spent a couple of weeks working in her father’s factory and noted that one of the female workers did a better job than her male supervisor. When she asked her father about this, he remarked that it would never do to have a woman in authority over a man.
Later, as a teacher, she observed how the law failed to protect married women from physical abuse, financial hardship, and loss of custody over their own children. Working to help support her bankrupt family, Anthony resented that she made ¼ of a man’s salary for doing the same job. In addition, she worried that alcohol abuse often led to husbands beating their wives and sending their children out to work in dangerous conditions. All these experiences early in life convinced her to work for women’s rights.
What did Susan B. Anthony do for slavery?
Anthony belonged to a Quaker community that devoted itself to eliminating slavery. Along with many of their friends, the Anthony family provided safety and shelter to runaway slaves and helped them on their journey.
Beginning in the 1850s, Anthony began giving speeches against slavery. For several years she was the head of the New York Antislavery Association. During the American Civil War (1861-1865), she helped to form the Women’s National Loyal League that gathered 400,000 petitions against slavery and sent them to Congress. These groups pressured Congress and eventually resulted in the passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
Who were Susan B. Anthony’s friends?
Miss Anthony had a great number of male and female friends who were interested in civil rights for African-Americans and women. These included abolitionists such as William Lloyd Garrison, Sojourner Truth, and Ida Wells. Women’s rights advocates included Lucretia Mott, Lucy Stone, and Martha Coffin Wright. Neighbor Frederick Douglass and suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton were lifelong friends, and Anna Howard Shaw was her second-in-command late in life.
Why did Susan B. Anthony wear black?
Anthony wore black so that listeners would pay less attention to her clothing and more to her words. Early in her reform work, she wore the notoriously unpopular bloomer costume, which included a knee-length skirt over blousy trousers. This attracted such scorn and ridicule that she decided to wear black for most public appearances. However, she did wear colorful clothing in her private life.
What was Susan B. Anthony’s family like?
Miss Anthony was raised in the Quaker faith that believed that every human being embodied the light of God. Her father strongly disapproved of alcoholic beverages and resisted spending tax money on war. When her father’s cotton mill went bankrupt in her 18th year, she worked as a teacher to support the family. The Anthonys, like many of their friends, helped slaves make their way to freedom along the Underground Railroad.
How many siblings did Susan B. Anthony have?
All of Susan’s siblings—two brothers and three sisters—resisted slavery and supported women’s rights. Her brothers Daniel and Merritt fought with the Union Army in the Civil War. Her sisters Guelma, Hannah, and Mary joined her in casting an illegal vote in the 1872 presidential election.
Despite Susan’s many travels, she remained emotionally close to her family throughout her long life.
What happened to Susan B. Anthony’s siblings?
Two of her sisters—Hannah and Guelma—married and eventually moved to Rochester, NY. Her sister Mary never married; she became a teacher and eventually gained the distinction of being the first female principal of the Rochester School District to receive equal pay for equal work. Mary kept house for their mother Lucy after father Daniel died. Guelma and Hannah both died of consumption (tuberculosis). Mary outlived all her siblings.
Susan’s brothers both emigrated to Kansas to work against slavery. Merritt fought slaveholders with John Brown. Daniel joined a vigilante band that raided slave plantations and freed slaves, connecting them with the Underground Railroad. Both served in the Union Army during the Civil War. After the war, Daniel served as mayor on and off for many years and published a newspaper. Merritt repaired and sold sewing machines. Like their father, both brothers died of heart conditions.
What did Susan B. Anthony’s brother Daniel do?
A prominent citizen of Leavenworth, KS, Daniel Read (D.R.) Anthony (1824-1904) was a fervent abolitionist who violently freed many African-Americans from slavery. After Abraham Lincoln took office, D.R. joined 115 other Kansas men at the White House protecting Lincoln from abduction. He served as a lieutenant-colonel who led the Kansas 7th in the Civil War.
After the war, Anthony had many streams of income. For many years he sold insurance. He served as mayor of Leavenworth, KS, for many terms, and also as postmaster. Throughout the same years, he founded a newspaper dynasty that lasted three generations and was an early proponent of the early Republican party. He bred and sold livestock.
Throughout his life, D.R. Anthony supported African-Americans and women’s rights. He frequently paid travel expenses for his sister, Susan B. Anthony.
Did Susan B. Anthony get married and have kids?
No, Susan B. Anthony never married. She remained single all her life. She received two or three proposals of marriage but declined, saying that she didn’t want to spend the rest of her days as either a drudge or a doll. Like her father, she strongly disapproved of consuming alcoholic beverages and found that few men shared her views on that subject. As her reform work required more travel, she did not want to be tied down by the demands of marriage.
Where and how did Susan B. Anthony die?
Anthony died at the age of 86 at her home in Rochester, NY. Several years earlier, she suffered a stroke. Towards the end of her life, she also experienced painful neuralgia. Though pain and weakness curtailed her activities, she rallied to attend events in Baltimore and Washington, D.C., sponsored by the National Woman Suffrage Association. There, she caught a cold that led to pneumonia. This, along with heart failure, ended her life on March 13, 1906.
What were Susan B Anthony’s last words?
Her final public speech ended with the words “Failure is impossible.” She said them in Washington, D.C., at the 1906 National Woman Suffrage Association, a month before she died. Susan had served as president of this organization for many years, having founded it in 1869 with Elizabeth Cady Stanton. So much in pain was she that she was not expected to speak at this event. Not wanting to disappoint, however, she expressed her loyal support to the officers and then concluded, “There have been others also just as true and devoted to the cause . . . but with such women consecrating their lives . . . failure is impossible!”2
Where is Susan B. Anthony’s grave?
Susan B. Anthony’s grave is in the Anthony plot at Mount Hope Cemetery, Rochester, NY. Susan’s grave is next to her youngest sister Mary. The Anthony monument at that location lists all the children of her parents, Lucy and Daniel Anthony. However, not all were buried there.
A small marker in the family plot is a poignant reminder of the high incidence of infant mortality in the 19th century. There lies baby Maude, just 5 months old, who was the daughter of D.R. and his wife Annie. She died of “brain congestion,” probably while the Kansans were visiting Rochester.
Did Susan B. Anthony ever get to vote?
No, Susan B. Anthony never got to vote. Upon her deathbed she held up her finger and said, “I have been striving for over sixty years for a little bit of justice no bigger than that, and yet I must die without obtaining it.” 3 It was another fourteen years before the 19th Amendment passed, granting all American women the right to vote. Fittingly, it was called the Susan B. Anthony Amendment. Her nephew Daniel Read Anthony II, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives, voted for that amendment. In addition, in 1923 he co-introduced the Equal Rights Amendment (authored by Alice Paul) with Senator Charles Curtis. That amendment has never passed, despite repeated efforts.
Is there a monument to Susan B. Anthony?
There are several monuments to Susan B. Anthony:
In Rochester, NY (her hometown), there are statues of her and Frederick Douglass having tea in Susan B. Anthony Square Park. They were erected in 2001 by the Susan B. Anthony Neighborhood Association. Interestingly enough, Susan’s brother Daniel Read Anthony set aside money for a memorial to her, but Susan chose to use the money for other purposes. 4
Miss Anthony is part of another monument in Seneca Falls, NY, where she often visited the home of close friend Elizabeth Cady Stanton. When Anthony Met Stanton features Amelia Bloomer introducing the two great forces of the early women’s movement.
In Central Park, New York City, the Women’s Rights Pioneers monument was erected in August 2020, featuring Anthony, Stanton, and Sojourner Truth. All three women were from New York State.
The U.S. Capitol Building is home to the Portrait Monument featuring Stanton and Anthony with Lucretia Mott, one of the organizers of the first women’s rights convention in 1848, Seneca Falls, NY. Mott was a lifelong Quaker activist for women’s rights and the abolition.
Where were Susan B. Anthony’s siblings buried?
Three of Susan’s siblings were buried in Mount Muncie Cemetery in Leavenworth, KS, the longtime residence of Daniel Read (D.R.) Anthony. These are Jacob Merritt Anthony, Hannah Anthony Mosher, and D.R. Anthony. Each of these family members died in Kansas. Jacob Merritt died of heart failure at his residence in Ft. Scott, KS. Hannah died of consumption at D.R.’s home. D.R. also died at home of heart failure. Guelma and Mary, along with Susan herself, died in Rochester, where they are buried at Mt. Hope Cemetery.
- Gehret, Jeanne. Susan B. Anthony and Justice For All, pp. 7-8. Fairport, NY: Verbal Images Press, 2017 (second edition). This biography, by the writer of these frequently-asked questions, is an easy-read biography based on Ida Husted Harper, Alma Lutz, and others.
- Harper, Ida Husted. The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony, p. 1409. Salem, NH: Ayer, reprint 1983. This is Susan’s authorized three-volume biography.
- Ibid, p. 1420.
- Ibid, p. 1420.
Muehlberger, James P. The 116: The True Story of Abraham Lincoln’s Lost Guard. Chicago: ABA Publishing, 2015. A fascinating, detailed account of 116 Kansans (including D.R. Anthony), who foiled an attempt to kidnap President Lincoln.