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"Aunt Nancy Men"

Parker Pillsbury was a rugged guy, a tall, brawny man with a craggy countenance. His long face was distinguished by sharp cheekbones over slightly hollow cheeks, a straight prominent nose and a deep crease between his eyebrows that arched over his serious eyes. His broad forehead was topped by a v-shaped peak of hair, known as a widow’s peak, that he brushed to the right. As was the typical style for men in the mid-1800s, he had a bushy mustache and a beard that he trimmed on the sides but let grow from his bottom lip down to his neckline. A formidable looking man, Parker Pillsbury did not appear to be someone other men would try to insult and humiliate: But many men did, calling him “Granny Pillsbury,” “Mrs. Pillsbury,” and an “Aunt Nancy man,” slang meaning a not very manly man. Why? Because Parker Pillsbury did something most men at that time refused to do—he stood up for women’s equality. A fearless antislavery speaker who defused hostile crowns with non-resistance tactics, Parker Pillsbury gave women's rights speeches with Lucy Stone, served as vice-president of the New Hampshire Woman Suffrage Association, and was the co-editor with Elizabeth Cady Stanton of the radical newspaper, "The Revolution."

As we celebrate the centennial of the 19th Amendment, let us remember and honor Parker Pillsbury and the many men, e.g., Gerrit Smith who joined women in their fierce fight for the vote! This informative historical plaque (image) for Gerrit Smith, Elizabeth Cady Stanton's cousin, is attached to a boulder at the site of his estate and land office, Peterboro, NY. I write about his influence on Elizabeth in my book Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony: A Friendship That Changed the World. Another important male ally was Samuel Joseph May, a Unitarian Minister, who wrote "The Rights and Condition of Women," in 1846, two years before the Seneca Falls Women's Rights Convention. May advocated for abolition, women's suffrage and equality in all aspects of life.

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