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Collection Susan B. Anthony Papers

About this Collection

The papers of reformer and suffragist Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) span the period 1846-1934 with the bulk of the material dating from 1846 to 1906. The collection, consisting of approximately 500 items (6,265 images) on seven recently digitized microfilm reels, includes correspondence, diaries, a daybook, scrapbooks, speeches, and miscellaneous items. Donated by her niece, Lucy E. Anthony, the papers relate to Susan B. Anthony's interests in abolition and women's education, her campaign for women's property rights and suffrage in New York, and her work with the National Woman Suffrage Association, the organization she and Elizabeth Cady Stanton founded in 1869 when the suffrage movement split into two rival camps at odds about whether to press for a federal women's suffrage amendment or to seek state-by-state enfranchisement. With the possible exception of her close collaborator Stanton, no woman is more associated with the campaign for women's voting rights than Anthony, whose name became so synonymous with suffrage that the federal amendment, which formally became the Nineteenth Amendment, was called for many years by its supporters as simply the Anthony Amendment.

A volume of correspondence, 1846-1905, consists primarily of Anthony's letters to Rachel Foster Avery concerning the details of Anthony's extensive lecture circuit, her finances, the activities of the National Woman Suffrage Association, and her work on the multivolume History of Woman Suffrage which she coedited with Stanton and others. The file also includes several letters from Anthony to the Reverend Anna Howard Shaw and letters from Wendell Phillips. Although most letters concern suffrage, a few deal with personal and family matters.

Two letters were added to the collection in 1997. A photocopy of a letter dated 1883 from Anthony to Mary Kimball Rogers concerns a speech she thought had been lost in Omaha, Nebraska. A typed letter, dated 1896, from Anthony to Adelaide Johnson concerns the charges of illegality that were raised when Johnson's marriage ceremony was performed by a woman. Anthony's lobbying effort to have statues placed in the United States Capitol of herself, Stanton, and Mott as the founders of the woman suffrage movement is also noted in her letter to Johnson.

A daybook, 1856-1860, records the financial accounts Anthony kept of her work for the American Anti-Slavery Society, woman's rights, and personal expenditures for postage, room and board, travel, advertising, rent for lecture halls, and other items.

Twenty-five volumes of diaries span the period from 1865 to 1906 with some gaps and omissions. For the most part, the diaries contain brief notations of Anthony's activities and a financial record kept in the back of each volume. Other topics noted in the diaries include family matters, African-American and woman suffrage, lecture tours, and important events of the day, such as President Abraham Lincoln's assassination.

Individuals represented by either correspondence or diary entries include Rachel Foster Avery, Amelia Jenks Bloomer, Adelaide Johnson, Lucretia Mott, Wendell Phillips, Parker Pillsbury, Anna Howard Shaw, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Lucy Stone.

Also included are six scrapbooks compiled by Anthony's younger sister Mary, containing a valuable compilation of newspaper clippings, convention programs, and other contemporary accounts, which would be impossible to reassemble today. The scrapbooks primarily document Susan's and Mary's activities on behalf of woman suffrage, especially the conventions of the National Woman Suffrage Association and the New York State Woman Suffrage Association. The scrapbooks also contain biographical articles on Anthony and her associates in the suffrage movement and articles on women in higher education and professional employment, particularly in law, medicine, and journalism.

Completing the collection are manuscripts of speeches and other writings. Anthony's early focus was temperance and abolition as well as women's suffrage and education. The manuscripts date from her first public address in 1848 to 1895 when she spoke about Elizabeth Cady Stanton's The Woman's Bible.

A finding aid (PDF and HTML) to the Susan B. Anthony Papers is available online with links to the digital content on this site.

The collection is arranged in five series: