1820 - 1906

“It is downright mockery to talk to women of their enjoyment of the blessings of liberty while they are denied the use of the only means of securing them provided by this democratic-republican government: the ballot.”

- Susan B. Anthony

Perhaps the most famous and influential women’s rights activist of the 1800’s, Susan B. Anthony was born in Massachusetts in 1820 as the daughter of a cotton mill owner. Raised in a Quaker household, Anthony was taught from a young age that all people were equal in the eyes of God. She carried this philosophy throughout her life, motivating her, and several of her siblings, to become abolitionists and suffragists. Anthony moved with her family to New York where she met William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass who inspired her to begin giving speeches denouncing slavery in the United States. Anthony met one of her closest friends, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, in 1851. Stanton and Anthony would work together to fight for women's suffrage for nearly 50 years, co-founding the American Equal Rights Association and editing The Revolution, a newspaper dedicated to sharing ideas on equality. In 1869, the pair created the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) in opposition to the 14th and 15th amendments which, while giving African American men the right to vote, failed to do so for women. Anthony illegally voted in 1872, leading to her arrest. She was fined $100 which, in today’s economy, would equate to roughly $2,440. While this was unfortunate to Anthony, it actually brought national attention to her movement. Anthony, Stanton and Matilda Joslyn Gage co-wrote three volumes of the six volume History of Woman Suffrage from 1881 to 1885. Anthony was often questioned by the press as to why she had yet to marry. It was uncommon for a woman to remain “single” at this point in time but Anthony made it clear she had no intention of marrying a man. Rather, the suffragette had several relationships with different women, including Anna Dickinson, a Union speaker during the Civil War. In fact, she was the first woman to give a political speech in front of Congress. Dickinson’s and Anthony’s letters to one another still survive today, depicting their genuine love for each other. Later, Anthony was involved in a thirty year relationship with Sallie Ackley, a married woman, and in her last years with Emily Gross. Anthony died in 1906 in her home from heart failure and pneumonia. She sadly never saw women given the right to vote in the United States. The 19th Amendment was finally ratified in 1920. Anthony was featured on a 1936 U.S. Postal Service stamp. She was also given the honor of being the first American woman to be depicted in U.S. coinage when her portrait appeared on the 1979 dollar coin.


Gender Female

Sexual Orientation Lesbian

Gender Identity Cisgender

Ethnicity Caucasian/White

Faith Construct Quaker

Nations Affiliated United States

Era/Epoch Civil War (1861-1865) Victorian Era (1837-1901)

Field(s) of Contribution


Advocacy & Activism


Civics, Government, Politics, & Law




Social Justice

Social Sciences

US History

Commemorations & Honors

Portrait Monument Sculpture by Adelaide Johnson in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C. Featuring Busts of Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott (1921)

Stained Glass Window Installed at African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in Rochester, New York Featured Anthony's Portrait and Quote of Hers "Failure is Impossible" (1907)

U.S. Postal Service Commemorative Stamp (1936)

Posthumous Hall of Fame for Great Americans Inductee (1950)

National Susan B. Anthony Museum and House in Rochester, NY National Historic Monument (1965)

Annual National Organization for Women New York Chapter Susan B. Anthony Award Bestowed on Grassroots Organizers (1970)

Posthumous National Women's Halls of Fame Inductee (1973)

U. S. Dollar Coin Distributed Featuring Anthony's Portrait (1979)

Susan B. Anthony Center Introduces Susan B Anthony Lifetime Achievement Award (1997)

PBS Documentary Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony (1999)

When Amelia Jenks Bloomer Introduced Susan B. Anthony to Elizabeth Cady Stanton Ted Aub Sculpture Unveiled at Seneca Falls, NY (1999)

Susan B. Anthony Sculpture Unveiled at Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan (2001)

Let’s Have Tea Pepsy Kettavong Sculpture of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Unveiled in Susan B. Anthony Square Across From the National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House in Rochester, NY (2001)

Troup-Howell Bridge Renamed the Frederick Douglass–Susan B. Anthony Memorial Bridge in Rochester, NY (2007)

1872 Monument Bronze Sculpture Ballot Box at Sight of Where Anthony and Other Women Attempted to Vote in Rochester, NY (2009)

U.S. Treasury Announcement of Newly Redesigned Ten Dollar Bill Featuring Anthony, Lucretia Mott, Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Alice Paul on the Back of the Bill (2016)

Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument of Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton Erected in Central Park (2020)

Google Doodle Commemorating Anthony's 200th Birthday (2020)

Susan B. Anthony as an Adult and Child Statue Unveiled in Adams, NY (2020)


Original Biography Author
Annie Tompkins
Biography Edited By
Carrie Maxwell
Resources Coordination
Carrie Maxwell
Annie Tompkins