Judge Ward Hunt refused to allow Susan B. Anthony to testify because she was “not a competent witness.” He preempted the jurors’ role by ordering them to “find a verdict of guilty.” He refused her lawyer’s request for a new trial. So, no wonder, when Hunt asked SBA if she had anything to say before he pronounced her sentence, she declared: “Yes, your honor, I have many things to say.” Here is a link to what she said. http://ecssba.rutgers.edu/docs/sbatrial.html
Today–June 17th–in 1873 the trial of Susan B. Anthony began in Canandaigua, NY: Her crime–voting without “the legal right.” Last summer I visited the actual courtroom. The bust of her is beside the door. The plaque reads: “JUSTICE DENIED HERE.” Here’s a link to information about the trial:
Thinking about fathers on Father’s Day, I am reminded of Susan B. Anthony’s father Daniel, a man who steadfastly supported and encouraged Susan. In my book, I recount the story of Phoebe Harris Phelps, a woman along with her young daughter that Susan helped escape from an abusive husband. Prominent male abolitionists, also close friends & co-workers, insisted that Susan obey the law that gave fathers the entire guardianship and control of his children & reveal Phoebe’s hiding place. Susan refused telling them that she would no more obey the law and return the child than they would obey the law and return a slave. “I think you have done absolutely the right thing,” her father Daniel wrote to her. “Legally you are wrong, but morally you are right, and I will stand by you.” The photograph appears in my book.
“Love is the vital essence that pervades and permeates, from the center to the circumference, . . . Love is the talisman of human weal and woe–the open sesame to every soul.” Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s wise word; the image, a steel engraving, first appeared in the “History of Woman Suffrage.” I included it in my book.
Recently while walking to a Persian restaurant after a morning at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with Linda & friends from Oklahoma, I serendipitously spotted this women’s history landmark: a New York City public school the “Lillie Devereaux Blake School.” A close friend of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, Blake challenged the status quo as an author and organizer. Famed for her eloquent & fearless oratory, she once countered a minister’s claim that Eve was inferior to Adam because God created Adam first. The minister’s logic, Blake retorted, meant that Adam was inferior to fish since God created animals before he created Adam. Blake’s daughter Katherine and ECS’s daughter Harriot were close friends. The principle of the school her mother founded, Katherine was a charter member of the organization Harriot founded in 1907–the Equality League for Self-Supporting Women.
To your left as you’re facing Mary Dyer’s statue (see previous post) on the south lawn of the State House in Boston stands a statue to Anne Hutchinson, a highly respected midwife in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Believing that she could interpret the Bible & receive revelations from God, Hutchinson held meetings in her house in Boston to discuss her ideas about faith & Scriptures & the Puritan ministers’ sermons. She was, according to Governor John Winthrop, “a woman of haughty and fierce carriage, a nimble wit and active spirit, a very voluble tongue, more bold than a man.” Too bold it turned out for Winthrop and other leaders who charged her with sedition & slander. After a civil & a religious trial, Anne Hutchinson was convicted and banished. She moved to Rhode Island with her husband & children; then, after her husband’s death, she moved with her children and some followers to Eastchester, NY, where unrest between the Indians and Dutch spilled over onto her land and she and her family were killed by Indians. (A daughter who was picking blueberries survived but was captured & later ransomed by other family members.) The statue depicts her looking skyward and holding a Bible with a daughter by her side. The plaque reads: “IN MEMORY OF ANNE MARBURY HUTCHINSON . . . COURAGEOUS EXPONENT OF CIVIL LIBERTY AND RELIGIOUS TOLERATION”
During my school years, I learned about Roger Williams and religious freedom; not until my immersion in women’s history did I learn about Mary Dyer who was hanged on Boston Common in June 1660 for defying the Puritan law banning Quakers from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Banished once, she kept returning & being banished. Finally the authorities sentenced her to be hanged, unless she repent. “Nay, I came to keep bloodguiltiness from you, desireing you to repeal the unrighteous and unjust law made against the innocent servants of the Lord,” Dyer declared. “Nay, man, I am not now to repent.”
This statue by Sylvia Shaw Judson, a Quaker sculptor stands in front of the Massachusetts State House in Boston. The text reads: “MARY DYER/QUAKER/WITNESS FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM/HANGED ON BOSTON COMMONS/1660/MY LIFE NOT AVAILETH ME/IN COMPARISON TO THE/LIBERTY OF THE TRUTH.”
Yesterday, May 29, in 1943, Norman Rockwell’s famous painting of a woman riveter that he titled “Rosie” appeared on the cover of “The Saturday Evening Post.” It is also on the cover of my book “Rosie the Riveter: Women Working on the Home Front in World War II.” Rockwell’s model, Mary Doyle, was a nineteen-year-old telephone operator, in Arlington, VT, where Rockwell lived. “She really is a beautiful girl,” Rockwell told a reporter, “but since I wanted to portray a girl of husky proportions, I had to distort the picture.” While researching my book, I located Mary, now Mary Doyle Keefe, and found out that she really was tall–six feet–and really had red hair. Rockwell originally had her wear saddle shoes, and at the time of the painting the ham in the ham sandwich in her left hand was 11 ration points per pound. Neither she nor Rockwell knew a riveter named Rosie. And he tucked the gold trimmed white compact and lace-edged handkerchief in the pocket of her overalls, lest anyone think that “Rosie” wasn’t “all-girl.”
I sent Mary two copies of my book, one to keep & one to autograph & return for me. She wrote: “Reading this book brings back great memories when the “Norman Rockwells” lived in Arlington, VT.”
Oh, my, we spent the morning, despite the in-and-out-rain at the Presby Iris Garden, Montclair, NJ–gorgeous!!!! Although it’s named in honor of a man, a woman–Barbara Walther–was the driving force in establishing the spectacular iris garden. Born in Chicago in 1881, Walther graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in botany. She lived in Montclair from 1918 until her death at the age of 96. While there, I spotted a plaque on a stone dedicating “Flowering ‘Malus’ Trees to Sarita F. Oliphant, covered with cicadas in various stages of hatching!!!! Here some pictures, including one of a cicada pulling itself out of its shell.