The Revolution (periodical), 1868-1870
“Address,” in An Account of the Proceedings of the Trial of Susan B. Anthony on the Charge of Illegal Voting at the Presidential Election in November, 1872, 1874
The Selected Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, 1997-2000 (2 volumes; Ann D. Gordon, editor)
History of Woman Suffrage, 1881-1922 (6 volumes; with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Ida Husted Harper)
Susan B. Anthony, the United States’ greatest champion for the rights of women, was an author, editor, and publisher as well as a leading figure in the most important early chronicle of the suffragist movement. Her dedication to equality for women, especially at the ballot box, evolved out of her childhood exposure to the temperance movement and the abolition of slavery. Anthony’s humanitarian characteristics were inherited from her father, a Quaker who was a staunch temperance worker and who befriended and supported the great abolitionists of his time, Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison. Despite early ventures into the causes espoused by her father, Anthony eventually found her calling in the cause for women’s rights.
Susan B. Anthony
Anthony did not “convert” to woman suffrage until she was past the age of thirty, and she was greatly influenced by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a pioneer suffragist. Together these two women led, both physically and spiritually, the suffragist movement for more than fifty years. This harnessing of talent also led to a great literary work, which became the definitive history of the women’s rights movement in the nineteenth century, History of Woman Suffrage.
Stanton and Anthony, so very much alike in spirit and yet so very opposite in their personal lives, founded a newspaper, The Revolution, in January, 1868. Stanton and Parker Pillsbury were editors; Anthony was the proprietor and manager. This newspaper was a national voice for women’s rights, and its chief goal was to promote the incorporation of the right of women to vote in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. A secondary cause for the paper dealt with the rights of working women. This was a matter close to Anthony’s heart because she had experienced the inequality of pay that separated men and women in the workplace. The Revolution was published for only two years, but Anthony considered it one of the greatest successes of her career.
Anthony’s most important literary effort was another collaboration with Stanton: the history of the suffrage movement as seen by two of the most active and famous participants of the movement. Volume 1 of History of Woman Suffrage, begun in October, 1880, and finished in May, 1881, contained about nine hundred pages chronicling their own experiences and the events that had shaped the movement up to the time of the Civil War. Volume 2, begun in November, 1881, and completed in April, 1882, contained one thousand pages and covered the movement through 1875. Volume 3, begun in May, 1884, and finished at the end of 1885, brought the history of the cause up to the time of publication. After the third volume was completed Stanton removed herself from the project, and Anthony collaborated with Ida Husted Harper to write the fourth volume (begun in March, 1900, and completed in December, 1902).
Publication costs for the work were paid in part, or in some cases in full, by Anthony herself, and in many instances sales did not cover the printing cost. However, as the reputation and quality of the work grew, it began to sell very well. Allowing that both her collaborators, Stanton and Harper, were better writers than she was, Anthony wrote only a small percentage of the work and left most of the original writing to her coauthors. She served as editor for all the material, however, including that contributed by other suffragist veterans, and it was she who conducted the many tedious hours of research.
The Revolution and History of Woman Suffrage are the premier literary works of Susan B. Anthony. Her great work was lecturing on women’s rights and campaigning for legislation to improve the lot of women. Much of her writing, in the form of letters and speeches, is lost. However, thousands of newspaper accounts, minutes kept at conventions, diary entries, and notes from speaking engagements across the United States contain excerpts and commentary on her writing and speaking abilities. On occasion she produced pamphlets that she and the suffrage movement used for lobbying or propaganda purposes. One of the best-known and most dynamic is her “Address” in An Account of the Proceedings of the Trial of Susan B. Anthony on the Charge of Illegal Voting at the Presidential Election in November, 1872. Although she never lived to see its passage, the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which allowed women in the United States to vote in national elections, was approved in 1919.