Leaders in U.S. Women's Suffrage Movement

View the portraits and read the biographical details of the leaders of the women's suffrage movement in the United States.
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Susan B. Anthony
Susan B. Anthony

1820-1906

  • American reformer and leader of the women's suffrage movement
  • Born in Adams, MA
  • Daughter of Daniel Anthony, Quaker abolitionist
  • Teacher in rural New York state at 17 years old
  • Fought for equal pay for women teachers, for coeducation, and for college training for girls
  • Organized the first woman's temperance association, the Daughters of Temperance
  • Met Elizabeth Cady Stanton at a temperance meeting in 1851 and became a close personal friend
  • Until Stanton's death in 1902, Anthony and Stanton were leaders of the women's suffrage movement in the U.S.
  • Lectured on women's rights and abolition from 1851 to 1860
  • Helped to pass the first laws (with Stanton) in the New York state legislature to guarantee women rights over their children and control of property and wages
  • In 1863 Anthony co-organized the Women's Loyal League to support Lincoln's government, especially his emancipation policy
  • After the Civil War, she opposed granting suffrage to freedmen without also giving it to women (division existed among women's suffrage sympathizers on this issue)
  • Anthony and Stanton organized the National Woman Suffrage Association in 1869
  • National Woman Suffrage Association united with the American Woman Suffrage Association to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association in 1890
  • Anthony was President of the National American Woman Suffrage Association from 1892 to 1900
  • She led a group of women in 1872 to vote in Rochester, NY, to test their rights under the terms of the 14th Amendment
  • Anthony was arrested, tried, and sentenced to a fine (which she refused to pay)
  • Other women followed her example until the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case against them
  • Beginning in 1869, she traveled and lectured throughout the U.S. and Europe
  • Anthony possessed superior intellect, a strong personality, and unswerving commitment to the suffrage movement
  • With Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Matilda Joslyn Gage, she compiled Volumes I, II, and III of the History of Woman Suffrage (1881-1886)
  • She used her own financial resources to buy most of the first edition
  • She presented the History of Woman Suffrage to colleges and universities in the U.S. and Europe
  • The History of Woman Suffrage was completed by Ida Husted Harper (Vol. IV, V, and VI, 1900-1922; Anthony contributed to Vol. IV)

Alice Stone Blackwell
Alice Stone Blackwell

1857-1950

  • American feminist
  • Born in Orange, NJ
  • Graduated from Boston University in 1881
  • Daughter of Henry Brown Blackwell and Lucy Stone (American leader in the women's rights movement)
  • Blackwell was an editor of the Woman's Journal from 1881 to 1917
  • She began work on the Woman's Journal as assistant to her parents and became editor in chief after their deaths
  • She wrote a biography of her mother in 1930
  • She wrote anthologies of poetry translated from several languages

Carrie Chapman Catt
Carrie Chapman Catt

1859-1947

  • American suffragist and peace advocate
  • Born Carrie Lane in Ripon, WI
  • Graduated from Iowa State College in 1880
  • Superintendent of schools in Mason City, IA, from 1883 to 1884
  • In 1885 she married Lee Chapman, a journalist (d. 1886)
  • In 1890 she married George Catt, an engineer (d. 1905)
  • Catt was an organizer for the National American Woman Suffrage Association from 1890 to 1900
  • She became president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association in 1900
  • She led the fight to win suffrage through a federal amendment to the Constitution
  • Catt organized the League of Women Voters (dedicated to the education of women in politics) after the ratification of the 19th Amendment (1920)
  • Catt was president of International Woman Suffrage Alliance from 1904 to 1923
  • Beginning in 1923, she devoted her efforts to the peace movement
  • She wrote Woman Suffrage and Politics (1923) with Nettie R. Shuler

Paulina Wright Davis
Paulina Wright Davis

1813-1876

  • American lecturer and suffragist
  • Born Paulina Kellogg in Bloomfield, NY
  • In 1833 she married merchant Francis Wright (d. 1835)
  • In 1849 she married Thomas Davis (who later became a congressman for Rhode Island)
  • Davis was active in the early antislavery and women's rights movements
  • In 1844 she lectured to women on anatomy and physiology
  • Davis helped to open the medical profession to women
  • In 1853 she founded Una, the first women's rights paper in the U.S.
  • In 1871 she published A History of the National Women's Rights Movement

Julia Ward Howe
Julia Ward Howe

1819-1910

  • American author and social reformer
  • Born in New York, NY
  • Married Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, who edited the Boston Commonwealth, an abolitionist paper
  • Worked on her husband’s philanthropic projects
  • She wrote and lectured on behalf of woman suffrage, black emancipation, and other causes, and helped found a world peace organization
  • She wrote "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" in November 1861 after watching Union troops march into battle; this was her most famous work
  • "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" was published in the Atlantic Monthly in February 1862
  • The American Academy of Arts and Letters elected her as its first woman member
  • Howe was the author of Modern Society (1881), and a biography of Margaret Fuller (1883); she also wrote several volumes of poetry

Belva Ann Lockwood
Belva Ann Lockwood

1830-1917

  • Washington, DC, lawyer and women's rights activist
  • Born Belva Bennett in Royalton, NY
  • Taught at a number of schools in upstate New York
  • Her first husband died in 1853
  • She resumed teaching and chose to continue her education
  • Graduated from Genesee College (later Syracuse University) in 1857
  • Relocated to Washington, DC
  • Attended the new National University Law School from 1871 to 1873 and was admitted to the District of Columbia bar in 1873
  • In 1872 she secured the passage of a law granting equal pay for equal work to women employees in the federal government
  • Became the first woman admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court (1879)
  • Lockwood ran twice for U.S. president as the National Equal Rights Party's candidate (1884 and 1888)
  • In 1903 she wrote the congressional amendments granting suffrage to women in the new states of Oklahoma, Arizona, and New Mexico
  • Lockwood was a delegate to various peace congresses in Europe

Anna Howard Shaw
Anna Howard Shaw

1847-1919

  • American woman suffrage leader
  • Born in England
  • Emigrated to the United States in 1851
  • Grew up on a farm in Michigan
  • Received a degree in theology (1878) and one in medicine (1885) from Boston University
  • The Methodist Episcopal Church refused to allow her to preach
  • In 1880 she was ordained by the Methodist Protestant denomination
  • Shaw filled several pastorates in Massachusetts
  • In 1888 she met Susan B. Anthony, and worked for woman suffrage for the rest of her life
  • Shaw was vice president at large (1892-1904) and president (1904-1915) of the National American Woman Suffrage Association
  • Dr. Shaw campaigned in every state where a suffrage measure was under consideration and was an effective speaker for the suffrage movement

Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Elizabeth Cady Stanton

1815-1902

  • American reformer and leader of the woman suffrage movement
  • Born in Johnstown, NY
  • Educated at the Troy Female Seminary (now Emma Willard School) in Troy, NY
  • In 1840 she married Henry Brewster Stanton, a journalist and abolitionist
  • Attended the international slavery convention in London where the woman delegates were excluded from the floor of the convention
  • The exclusion of women candidates led Elizabeth Stanton and Lucretia Mott to organize women to win greater equality
  • The first women's rights convention in the U.S. was held in 1848 at Seneca Falls, NY (Stanton was instrumental in organizing this event)
  • Stanton pushed for a suffrage clause to be included in the bill of rights for women
  • She was president of the National Woman Suffrage Association from 1869 to 1890, and of the National American Woman Suffrage Association from 1890 to 1892
  • Elizabeth Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Parker Pillsbury edited the Revolution, a militant feminist magazine from 1868 to 1870
  • Stanton was a brilliant orator and an able journalist

Lucy Stone
Lucy Stone

1818-1893

  • Reformer and leader in the women's rights movement
  • Born near West Brookfield, MA
  • Graduated from Oberlin College in 1847
  • Regular lecturer for the Anti-Slavery Society
  • In 1855 she married Henry Brown Blackwell, but was always known as Mrs. Stone
  • In 1870 she founded the Woman's Journal, the official publication of the American Woman Suffrage Association and the National American Woman Suffrage Association
  • After her death in 1893, the Woman's Journal was edited by her daughter, Alice Stone Blackwell

Mary Church Terrell
Mary Church Terrell

1863-1954

  • Civil rights and women's rights activist
  • Born in Memphis, TN
  • Terrell's parents were ex-slaves who later became wealthy
  • Attended Oberlin College in Ohio, earning a bachelor's degree in 1884 and a master's degree in 1888
  • Became active in the suffragist movement, founding the Colored Women's League in 1892
  • In 1896 the Colored Women's League merged with the National Federation of Afro-American Women to become the National Federation of Colored Women
  • Church Terrell was the first president of the National Federation of Colored Women
  • In 1895 she became the first African-American woman appointed to the District of Columbia Board of Education
  • A charter member of the NAACP, she was a popular lecturer on equal rights for women and blacks
  • She served as a delegate at various international women's rights congresses and a prolific writer on social issues
  • She received honorary doctorates from Howard University, Wilberforce College, and Oberlin College

Sojourner Truth
Sojourner Truth

1797-1883

  • American abolitionist, a freed slave
  • Born in Ulster County, NY
  • Originally called Isabella, but adopted the name Sojourner Truth
  • Convinced that she heard heavenly voices
  • Traveled throughout the North preaching emancipation and women's rights
  • A remarkable personality and great lecturer even though she remained illiterate

Frances Elizabeth Willard
Frances Elizabeth Willard
1839-1898
  • American temperance leader and reformer
  • Born in Churchville, NY
  • Graduated from Northwestern Female College in 1859
  • President of Evanston College for Ladies
  • Dean of women at Northwestern University
  • In 1874 she helped organize the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, and in 1879 became its president

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