Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: A-143: M-21: M-42

Papers of Susan B. Anthony, 1815-1961


Diaries, correspondence, speeches, etc., of Susan B. Anthony, suffragist and reformer.


  • Creation: 1815-1961


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Access. Originals are closed; use digital images.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Susan B. Anthony as well as copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


.83 linear feet ((2 file boxes) plus 1 oversize folder, 5 photograph folders, 1 folio+ photograph folder)

This collection contains genealogies, diaries, correspondence and speeches, as well as photographs and memorabilia, and was used by Ida H. Harper in preparing her biography of Anthony. The papers provide information about Anthony's schooling and employment, her relationships with her family, particularly her father and two of her nieces, and her work for the abolition of slavery, temperance reform, and woman's rights. There is, however, very little correspondence from the period 1851-1880; some letters from this period can be found in A/A628b.

The bulk of the collection is divided into two sections, preceded by a small group of genealogies, clippings and photographs. The first section (#6-32) consists mainly of Anthony's correspondence, three of her diaries and seven speeches; each of these groups is arranged chronologically. The second section (#35-49) consists almost entirely of family correspondence and is arranged first by generation and then by individual writer. It includes a 1905 diary kept by Anthony's sister Mary.


Susan B. Anthony was born in Adams, Massachusetts in 1820, the second of seven children of Lucy (Read) Anthony and Daniel Anthony. When Anthony was six the family moved to upstate New York. As a young woman Anthony alternately managed the family farm and taught school.

Best known for her lifelong crusade for woman's suffrage, Anthony was first active in the temperance and anti-slavery movements. The discrimination she and other women encountered at temperance meetings and her friendship with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and others concerned with women's rights convinced Anthony that women could not fully participate in social action unless they first secured equal rights. In May 1869 she organized the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) with Stanton as president. Other women, led by Lucy Stone and more conservative in their approach, founded the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA) later that year. They disagreed with Anthony's focus on a federal suffrage amendment and concentrated their efforts on individual states amendments. This schism in the movement lasted for two decades, during which time Anthony published The Revolution (1868-1870) and in 1872 cast a vote, for which she was arrested and tried. In the early 1880s she worked together with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Matilda Joslyn Gage on the first three volumes of the History of Woman Suffrage .

In 1890 AWSA and NWSA merged and became the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA); Anthony served as its second president (1891-1900). 1897 found her collaborating with Ida Husted Harper on the two-volume biography, Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony, which appeared in 1898. During this period she also organized the International Council of Women and twice traveled to Europe as head of the U. S. delegation. Anthony died in March 1906, one month after attending the NAWSA convention in Baltimore, and fourteen years before the Nineteenth Amendment gave American women the vote.

More complete biographical information is readily available. Besides the above mentioned book by Harper, see Katherine Anthony, Susan B. Anthony: Her Personal History and Her Era , (New York, 1954); Alma Lutz, Susan B. Anthony: Rebel Crusader, Humanitarian, (Boston, 1959); and the article in Notable American Women (Cambridge, Mass., 1971); the last includes a list of additional sources.

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 812

The papers of Susan Brownell Anthony were given to the Schlesinger Library by Charlotte Lyman Clark in 1964. The collection had been in the possession of the Anthony family and was bought at a Parke-Bernet Galleries auction. The typed transcripts of two of the diaries, 1837-1838 and 1839, were the gift of Alma Lutz in 1964.


The Susan B. Anthony collections were selected for microfilming under a grant from The George F. and Sybil H. Fuller Foundation because they are frequently requested by researchers and much of the material is in fragile condition. The following information applies to all the collections on these two reels.

  1. 1. The collections have been filmed in the order in which they are listed on the title page. Each one is preceded by its own descriptive inventory.
  2. 2. The photographs in A-143 (folders 3-5) and in the small collections, A/A628b and A/A628c, have been microfilmed with the Library's photograph collection; the film is available at the Schlesinger Library.
  3. 3. The manuscript speeches in A-143 (folders 23-29) were previously microfilmed; the film is available at the Schlesinger Library and is numbered M-21.
  4. 4. Dates and/or other information or marks have been written on some papers by an unknown person or persons (perhaps Ida Husted Harper). The processor has found some of this information to be inaccurate and urges readers not to assume that it is correct. Dates and other information added by the processor are in square brackets.
  5. 5. The typed transcripts included in the collection have been microfilmed; the reader is cautioned to check them for accuracy.
  6. 6. Letters of one or more pages with either the salutation or signature missing, as well as smaller portions of letters, have been counted in the inventories as fragments.
  7. 7. Pages of letters that were written on in more than one direction were filmed twice only when the texts intersected.
  1. Folders 1-17: M-42, reel 1
  2. Folders 18-22: M-42, reel 2
  3. Folders 23-29: M-21, reel 1
  4. Folders 30-49: M-42, reel 2

Related Material:

For additional Susan B. Anthony manuscript materials at the Schlesinger Library, see A/A628, A/A628a, A/A628b, A/A628c, A/A628d, A/A628e, A/A628f, and A/A628g.

Container List

  1. Box 1: Folders 1, 6-19
  2. Box 2: Folders 20-49

Processing Information

Reprocessed: February 1980

By: Bert Hartry

Anthony, Susan B. (Susan Brownell), 1820-1906. Papers of Susan B. Anthony, 1815-1961: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

3 James St.
Cambridge MA 02138 USA