Susan B. Anthony voted in Rochester, NY, on this day, Nov. 5th, in 1872. “Well,” she wrote to Elizabeth Cady Stanton, “I have been & gone & done it!! Positively voted.” During a visit to Rochester, I photographed this marker that reads:
Susan B. Anthony Voted Here
At a shop on this site, on November 5, 1872, Susan B. Anthony and 14 women from this neighbor voted in the presidential election. Two week later, Miss Anthony was arrested in her home on Madison Street for this illegal action. Women struggled for 48 more years before the ratification of the 19th Amendment, making it legal for women to vote. That amendment is known as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment.
Recently I spend an afternoon with a marvelous group of daughter and their mothers talking about my book Adventurous Women: Eight True Stories About Women Who Made a Difference! Interesting & provocative questions, including: How did you select the women? How come we’ve never heard about any of these women? We also talked about the definition of “adventurous” . . . favorite woman . . . solving writing problems . . .Very cool event organized and hosted by my daughter-in-law!
“Love is something like the clouds that were in the sky before the sun came out. You cannot touch the clouds, you know; but you feel the rain and know how glad the flowers and the thirsty earth are to have it after a hot day. You cannot touch love either; but you feel the sweetness that it pours into everything.” Annie Sullivan, teacher and companion for Helen Keller I visited this memorial, “Water” by Mico Kaufman in Feeding Hills, MA, Annie Sullivan’s hometown. It captures the moment Helen Keller, who was deaf and blind, made the connection between the object she was feeling–water–and the letters Annie Sullivan was spelling in her hand, thus learning her first word. The statue is also in Tewksbury, MA.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton dedicated her “Reminiscences” to Susan B. Anthony, her “steadfast friend for half a century.” She also devoted two chapters to Susan: “So closely interwoven,” she wrote, “have been our lives, our purposes, and experiences that, separated, we have a feeling of incompleteness–united, such strength of self-assertion that no ordinary obstacles, difficulties, or dangers ever appear to us insurmountable.” This picture of Susan B. Anthony at the age of thirty-six, appears in ECS’s book (and in mine about both of them).
Today in Boston, MA, people are commemorating “The 1835 Women’s March of Courage.” On this day, 178 years ago, an anti-abolition mob almost lynched William Lloyd Garrison, founder of an anti-slavery newspaper. It was also the meeting day of the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society. Fearing the mob and unable to provide protection, the mayor urged the women to cancel their meeting. Unafraid, black and white women linked their arms together and walked through the mob to Maria Weston Chapman’s house, where they held their meeting. Traditional historians have focused on Garrison, today the focus is on the courageous women, led by Mary Parker.
More wise words from Elizabeth Cady Stanton, pictured here in 1888 with her daughter Harriot Stanton Blatch and five-year-old granddaughter Nora: “Remember that beauty works from within, it cannot be put on and off like a garment, and it depends far more on the culture of the intellect, the tastes, sentiments, and affections of the soul, on an earnest unselfish life purpose to leave the world better than you find it, than the color of the hair, eyes or complexion. Be kind, noble, generous, magnanimous, be true to yourselves and your friends.”
In her day, Elizabeth Cady Stanton was a celebrity. When she gave lectures on the lyceum circuit, huge crowds gathered to hear her. This poster advertising her appearance in Massilon, Ohio, is in my book. “Our Girls” was her favorite speech– “I would have girls regard themselves not as adjectives but nouns . . . . Remember, girls, you have an inalienable right to be healthy and happy and it is your duty to secure these blessings.”
We discovered a unique landmark in South Tyrol, Italy, (in the north, where both German and Italian are spoken)–this memorial fountain comprised of a massive log, hunk of rock with a spigot, and a bronze representation of Denise Karbon, a World Cup alpine ski racer. Her head with a big smile & a ski hat is at the top of the plaque. The inscription is in both languages: German– “Our Denise Karbon winner of the World cup giant ski slalom in ’07-’08. This fountain in memory and recognition.” Italian– “Denise Karbon, winner of the World Cup giant slalom 07-08. In her honor, this fountain.” Very cool contemporary landmark to an female athlete. A very large dog enjoyed a drink while we were sitting nearby.
In Amsterdam, I fulfilled a longtime wish and visited the Vincent van Gogh Museum. Viewing so many of his paintings filled my sense. Plus I learned that van Gogh’s sister-in-law, Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, is credited with propelling van Gogh’s work to worldwide acclaim! After Johanna’s husband, Theo, an art dealer, died shortly after Vincent’s death, leaving her with an infant and 200 paintings (then not considered valuable), Johanna edited and published the illuminating correspondence between Vincent and Theo, organized exhibitions of Vincent’s painting, and nurtured friendships with influential people in the art world. The picture is of a “weeper” on display at the impressive Rijksmuseum, which is near the van Gogh museum. The backstory is: when Isabella of Bourbon died in the mid-15th century, her husband had an elaborate tomb built, surrounded by bronze figures of grieving people, i.e., “weepers.” I thought this one was pregnant, but then learned that a rounded belly was fashionable for rich women during medieval times.
Early on a dreary morning in Amsterdam, this was the line of people waiting to enter Anne Frank House, now a museum with a modern facade. Linda & I were deeply moved as we walked, slowly and quietly, along the self-guided tour through the hiding places of the inhabitants of the Secret Annexe–the landing with movable bookcase, the bedrooms, bathroom, communal living room. The atmosphere was hushed, reverential as people stopped to view photographs, films, archival objects, and read quotations from Anne Frank’s diary: “It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”