The picture most people know of Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and the women’s suffrage movement in America is one painted in broad strokes and grand designs. Beyond the vision, grit, and heroism, however, the workaday details of how the movement was actually run—the backroom negotiations, convention planning, grassroots organizing—are largely unknown to history.
A recently discovered trove of letters, speeches, petitions, photographs, and pamphlets—forgotten for a century in attics, barns, and on porches—now opens a window onto the quotidian details of that historic movement. Originally owned by suffragist Isabella Beecher Hooker, the collection includes dozens of letters from fellow movement leaders Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The collection has now found a new home in the University of Rochester’s Department of Rare Books, Special Collections and Preservation (RBSCP).