Susan was born to Daniel Anthony and Lucy Read. Anthony’s father Daniel was a cotton manufacturer and abolitionist, a stern but open-minded man who was born into the Quaker religion.He did not allow toys or amusements into the household, claiming that they would distract the soul from the “inner light.” Her mother Lucy was a student in Daniel’s school; the two fell in love and agreed to marry in 1817, but Lucy was less sure about marrying into the Society of Friends (Quakers). She was not a convinced Quaker and claimed that she was “not good enough” for them.
Lucy Anthony was a progressive-minded woman. She attended the Rochester women’s rights convention held in August 1848, two weeks after the historic Seneca Falls Convention, and signed the Rochester convention’s Declaration of Sentiments. Lucy and Daniel Anthony enforced self-discipline, principled convictions, and belief in one’s own self-worth. Susan was a precocious child, having learned to read and write at age three. In 1826, when she was six years old, the Anthony family moved from Massachusetts to Battenville, New York. Susan was sent to attend a local district school, where a teacher refused to teach her long division because of her gender. Upon learning of the weak education she was receiving, her father promptly had her placed in a group home school, where he taught Susan himself. Mary Perkins, another teacher there, conveyed a progressive image of womanhood to Anthony, further fostering her growing belief in women’s equality.
In 1839, the family moved to Hardscrabble, New York, in the wake of the panic and economic depression that followed. That same year, Anthony left home to teach and to help pay off her father’s debts. She taught first at Eunice Kenyon’s Friends’ Seminary, and then at the Canajoharie Academy in 1846, where she rose to become headmistress of the Female Department. Anthony’s first occupation inspired her to fight for wages equivalent to those of male teachers, since men earned roughly four times more than women for the same duties.
In 1849, at age 29, Anthony quit teaching and moved to the family farm in Rochester, New York. She began to take part in conventions and gatherings related to the temperance movement. In Rochester, she attended the local Unitarian Church and began to distance herself from the Quakers, in part because she had frequently witnessed instances of hypocritical behavior such as the use of alcohol amongst Quaker preachers. As she got older, Anthony continued to move further away from organized religion in general, and she was later chastised by various Christian religious groups for displaying irreligious tendencies.
After retiring in 1900, Anthony remained in Rochester, where she died of heart disease and pneumonia in her house at 17 Madison Street on March 13, 1906. She was buried at Mount Hope Cemetery. Following her death, the New York State Senate passed a resolution remembering her “unceasing labor, undaunted courage and unselfish devotion to many philanthropic purposes and to the cause of equal political rights for women
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