Manuscript/Mixed Material Letter, Susan B. Anthony to Adelaide Johnson discussing women ministers and Johnson's sculpture memorializing prominent suffragists, 8 February 1896.
About this Item
- Letter, Susan B. Anthony to Adelaide Johnson discussing women ministers and Johnson's sculpture memorializing prominent suffragists, 8 February 1896.
Created / Published
- 8 February 1896
- - Artists
- - National Woman's Party
- - National American Woman Suffrage Association
- - Sculptors
- - Anthony, Susan B. (Susan Brownell) (1820-1906)
- - Exhibitions
- - Johnson, Adelaide (1859-1955)
- - Library of Congress
- - Marriage
- - Mott, Lucretia (1793-1880)
- - Spiritualism
- - Stanton, Elizabeth Cady (1815-1902)
- - Suffrage
- - Winslow, Caroline B. (1822-1896)
- - Women
- - Manuscripts
- - Reproduction number: A4 (color slide; page 1); A5 (color slide; page 2)
- - On 29 January 1896, sculptor Adelaide Johnson (1859-1955) married English businessman Alexander Frederick Jenkins, in her Washington, D.C., studio, with busts of women's rights leaders Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) and Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902) serving as "bridesmaids."1 The ceremony was performed by a woman minister, and the bridegroom assumed his wife's last name. A week later, Anthony wrote this letter of support to Johnson, criticizing the president of the Washington Theosophical Society who had publicly condemned Johnson's wedding. "The man must be next door to an idiot when he says a marriage ceremony performed by a woman is immoral. . . . I am glad you were married by a woman, and I am glad that for the first time in the history of marriages of our woman's rights women, one man has at last been found to give up his own name cheerfully and accept that of the woman he married." Unfortunately, the Johnsons' marriage was short-lived. It was unable to survive the couple's long separations, and Adelaide, eleven years her husband's senior, came to feel that Alexander had lost their shared commitment to spiritualism. She divorced him in 1908.
- - Three years before her wedding, Johnson had exhibited busts of pioneer physician Caroline B. Winslow (1822-1896) and suffragists Stanton, Anthony, and Lucretia Mott (1793-1880) in the Woman's Pavilion at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. In this 8 February 1896 letter, Anthony notifies Johnson of her wish for these busts to be purchased by Congress for installation in the new Library of Congress building, which would open to the public in November 1897. The "busts ought to stand in some of the niches in that mammoth building, the taxes to build which have been wrung from the hard earnings of the women of this nation as well as from those of the men." The busts were not installed in the Library, but portrait busts of Mott, Stanton, and Anthony are part of Johnson's famous sculpture, "The Woman Movement," which was commissioned by the National Woman's Party and given to the nation on 15 February 1921, Anthony's birthday, by the NWP on behalf of all American women. Although the sculpture stands in the United States Capitol, Anthony during her lifetime had opposed placing a women's monument there, arguing instead for a setting more hospitable to women's rights. Her objections led to a rift with Johnson, who in 1904 broke with Anthony's National American Woman Suffrage Association and sought the commission from the NWP.
- - The Manuscript Division holds the personal papers of both Susan B. Anthony and Adelaide Johnson. This letter was purchased for addition to the Anthony Papers in 1990.
- Susan B. Anthony Papers
- Manuscript Division
IIIF Presentation Manifest
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Chicago citation style:
Letter, Susan B. Anthony to Adelaide Johnson discussing women ministers and Johnson's sculpture memorializing prominent suffragists, 8 February. 8 February, 1896. Manuscript/Mixed Material. https://www.loc.gov/item/mcc.063/.
APA citation style:
(1896) Letter, Susan B. Anthony to Adelaide Johnson discussing women ministers and Johnson's sculpture memorializing prominent suffragists, 8 February. 8 February. [Manuscript/Mixed Material] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/mcc.063/.
MLA citation style:
Letter, Susan B. Anthony to Adelaide Johnson discussing women ministers and Johnson's sculpture memorializing prominent suffragists, 8 February. 8 February, 1896. Manuscript/Mixed Material. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/mcc.063/>.