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The Power of Women's Friendship

Past Events

2005
2004

 

The Power of Their Friendship:
Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton

History of the Anthony-Stanton Friendship

In May 1851, on a street corner in Seneca Falls, NY, Susan B. Anthony first met Elizabeth Cady Stanton. A few years later, Stanton wrote in a journal:

"How well I remember the day! George Thompson and William Lloyd Garrison having announced an anti-slavery meeting in Seneca Falls, Miss Anthony came to attend it. These gentlemen were my guests. Walking home after the adjournment, we met Mrs. Bloomer and Miss Anthony, on the corner of the street, waiting to greet us.

There she stood, with her good earnest face and genial smile, dressed in gray delaine, hat and all the same color, relieved with pale blue ribbons, the perfection of neatness and sobriety. I liked her thoroughly, and why I did not at once invite her home with me to dinner I do not know . . ."

So began the famous friendship of the women who changed our lives.

When Stanton and Anthony met, no woman could be a licensed doctor or lawyer—she couldn't even go to college. If a woman earned money, she had to pay taxes but she couldn't vote. Slavery was still legal. A husband could hit his wife with abandon and put her away in an institution.

Anthony and Stanton inspired each other to fight for change. They were abolitionists, temperance activists, and, of course, tireless champions for women's rights and suffrage. Unmarried and without children of her own, Anthony became "Aunt Susan" to Stanton's seven boys and girls. She stirred soup pots and cleaned banged knees to give Stanton time to write speeches, petitions and leaflets. When Stanton couldn't leave home to help rally the troops, Anthony went, thinking of her friend and finding extra power in her words.

Read Harriot Stanton Blatch's speech to Susan B. Anthony honoring the friendship of Ms. Anthony and her mother, Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

Read Stanton's and Anthony's own words about each other.

Harriot Stanton Blatch

On the Friendship of Her Mother, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony.