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The Americana Collection includes several letters written by suffragist Susan B. Anthony. This exhibit celebrates the vision and courage of several suffragists who were also DAR members including Anthony and Alice Paul.

Suffrage March Centennial Anniversary Online Exhibition

Suffrage parade, March 3, 1913, Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC. A shrewd politician, Alice Paul organized the parade to coincide with Woodrow Wilson's inauguration in order to ensure maximum press attention. Three hundred suffragists were injured mostly by crowds of men in town for the inauguration. (Library of Congress)

Photograph of Susan B. Anthony, 1900.

Suffrage March Centennial Anniversary Online Exhibition

Photograph of Susan B. Anthony, 1900. (Library of Congress) Susan B. Anthony was born on February 15, 1820 in New York. She was raised a Quaker and taught for a time at a Quaker seminary. She was highly intelligent and learned to read and write at age three. She was inspired initially to the cause of women's rights when she found out that the male teachers at her school earned more than she earned for equal work. Later, an introduction to Elizabeth Cady Stanton through a mutual friend further solidified her beliefs in the equality of women to men and she became determined to dedicate her life to ensuring women's civil rights. Anthony believed that the wording of the Fourteenth Amendment gave women the right to vote and, to test her theory, she cast a vote in the 1872 presidential election. She was arrested, found guilty, and ordered to pay a $100 fine. She refused to pay and the court never pressed her to do so. Anthony was co-author of the first four volumes of the six volume History of Woman Suffrage. Susan B. Anthony became a DAR member in 1898. She died in 1906 at 86 years of age.

Suffrage March Centennial Anniversary Online Exhibition

Letter from Susan B. Anthony to Indiana Republican Congressman Thomas McLelland Browne. Anthony and several other women appeared before Congress in the days following the National Woman Suffrage Association's Sixteenth Annual Washington Convention in March 1884. The women testified in support of a Sixteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution giving women the right to vote. Browne contributed to a statement in support of women's suffrage that was read into the Congressional Record on April 24, 1884. Here Anthony asks Browne for 1,000 copies of his remarks for distribution to the NWSA's "members and friends." (Americana Collection, acc. 2363)

These two letters to friend and colleague Ella Jones illustrate Anthony's determination and somewhat one-track mind on matters concerning women's rights.

Suffrage March Centennial Anniversary Online Exhibition

These two letters to friend and colleague Ella Jones illustrate Anthony's determination and somewhat one-track mind on matters concerning women's rights. On the occasion of Jones's mother's death in 1897, Anthony wrote, "I have not met your dear mother in many years—but have always kept her in my list of honored and effective pioneer friends of suffrage." She goes on to assert that "the only real pleasure in living is in the feeling that we are helping to lift the world along toward the brighter and better." (Americana Collection, acc. 3515a) In 1903, Anthony wrote Jones, "I send Vol. IV of the History to you….I am sorry that you are a 'back-slider,' as you say, but I imagine that you think and talk still of the equal freedom of woman." (Americana Collection, acc. 3515c)

Note the difference in the letterhead between the 1884 letter and the 1897 letter.

Suffrage March Centennial Anniversary Online Exhibition

Note the difference in the letterhead between the 1884 letter and the 1897 letter. The National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) was founded by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 1869. The American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA) was founded by Lucy Stone and Julia Ward Howe also in 1869. The differences that separated the two organizations were largely political ones. NWSA tended to take a radical, more militant approach by campaigning for a variety of rights for women other than suffrage including employer discrimination and divorce rights for women. NWSA restricted its membership to women only and opposed the Fifteenth Amendment because it allowed suffrage for black men but not for women. In 1890, the suffragists agreed to merge the two organizations to create the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). Susan B. Anthony served as president of NAWSA from 1892 to 1900.

Alice Paul sewing a suffrage banner, c. 1912–1920 (Library of Congress).

Suffrage March Centennial Anniversary Online Exhibition

Alice Paul sewing a suffrage banner, c. 1912–1920 (Library of Congress). Alice Paul was born in New Jersey and lived from 1885 to 1977. Paul became a DAR member in 1936. The recipient of multiple advanced academic degrees, she joined the National American Woman Suffrage Association in 1912 and was appointed Chairman of the organization's Congressional Committee in Washington. Her activities initially consisted of strategic planning and fund raising. By 1916, Paul and her colleagues began to implement the more assertive tactics used by suffragists in England. Their efforts included parades, hunger strikes, and suffrage watch fires. In 1917, Paul participated in what may have been the first political protest to picket in front of the White House. She was arrested along with other participants and sent to prison at what was then the Occoquan Workhouse in Lorton, Virginia. Paul proceeded to organize a hunger strike and endured force-feedings, beatings, and other torture including sleep deprivation. Later, she described the experience of being force-fed as "revolting." Nevertheless, a physician at Occoquan said of her: "[She has] a spirit like Joan of Arc, and it is useless to try to change it. She will die but she will never give up." It was Alice Paul who nicknamed the Nineteenth Amendment "The Anthony Amendment." In addition to Susan B. Anthony and Alice Paul, suffragists Mary Garrett Hay, Julia Ward Howe, Belva Lockwood, Harriet Taylor Upton, Sue Shelton White, and Frances Willard were DAR members.

The American Woman Suffrage Association's Woman Suffrage Leaflet, September 15, 1888 issue.

Suffrage March Centennial Anniversary Online Exhibition

The American Woman Suffrage Association's Woman Suffrage Leaflet, September 15, 1888 issue. This issue contains the text of a statement made by suffragist Lucy Stone at a woman suffrage hearing before the Committee of the Massachusetts Legislature on February 17, 1885. Stone makes the argument that because certain issues affect women as much as or more than men, it is inherently unfair that only men should make the laws. (Americana Collection, acc. 3848.1d)