April 1, 2023

When politicians pretend to honor great women . . .

February 15th will mark Susan B. Anthony’s 203rd birthday.  It is impossible to overstate her impact on the lives of women today.  We all enjoy the benefits of her dedication, even if we do not know the extent of her sacrifice and that of her primary assistants, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott.

Below is a newspaper account of the ceremonious acceptance of a statue honoring the tremendous trio.  The unfinished segment in the back is said to represent the unfinished work.  Be sure to read the “update” that follows–a clear reminder that there is no straight line in progress—each generation must take seriously their duty to guard the progress and help it grow.


It is an illuminating commentary on our
man-made government that among the count-
less bronze and marble statues of men in the
national Capital only one is erected to the
memory of a woman.

     Warriors, statesmen, inventors, and small-
town lawyers – men only – live for the future in
the halls of government buildings at Washington.
Frances E. Willard, alone among her sex, is
honored by a marble bust in Statuary Hall.

     Suffragists have long felt that the great
women who started the movement in Amer-
ica for the emancipation of one-half the race
should have some sort of lasting memorial to
their work.

     With this in mind, the National Woman’s
Party plans to present to the Capitol, when
ratification of the suffrage amendment is
finally completed, statues of the women who
first labored for that victory – Susan B. An-
thony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Lucretia

     The busts to be presented by the Woman’s
Party are from models made during the life-
time of the suffrage pioneers by Mrs. Adelaide
Johnson, friend of both Miss Anthony and Mrs.
Stanton, whose excellent work in the modeling
of the famous women of the nineteenth and
twentieth centuries is widely known. Mrs.
Johnson began her work with the financial
backing of a committee, organized by Miss
Anthony, which appealed for funds for this
purpose. Contributors to the fund numbered
many of the noted men of the day, such as
John Greenleaf Whittier. Miss Anthony herself
raised and gave approximately a thousand
dollars toward the cost of the busts.

     After the death of Miss Anthony and of the
members of the original committee, none of
whom is now living, plans for the completion
of the statues and their placing did not
mature and they have remained for many
years in Mrs. Johnson’s studio.

     The affairs of the original committee
are now in the hands of Mrs. Ida Husted
Harper, as attorney for the committee.

     In a letter to Mrs. Harper, Mrs. Johnson,
and later Miss Paul, asked her permission to
have the busts completed and their presen-
tation to the Capitol made by the Woman’s
Party. Mrs. Harper replied giving her consent
in the following letter :

     “My dear Miss Paul :

     “I have your letter asking me, as the
sole representative of the committee which
made the contract with Mrs. Adelaide Johnson
many years ago for the busts of Mrs. Eliza-
beth Cady Stanton, Miss Susan B. Anthony and
Mrs. Lucretia Mott, for permission to have
the National Woman’s Party take charge of
placing them, or similar ones, in the Capitol
at Washington.

     “I am very glad to give this permission
and hope that the Party will be successful
in the effort. A little later I will be glad to
comply with your request to write you a
history of these busts and give you any other
needed information.”

     Mrs. Johnson is now in Rome completing
her work on the busts and arranging them on
one pedestal. She will bring them back with her
when she returns to this country in the near

THE SUFFRAGIST      JULY, 1920     P 137  C 1
UPDATE : The monument was welcomed into
the Capitol on February 15, 1921, Susan B.
Anthony’s 101st birthday, with great cere-
mony. But just two days later, it was sent to
the basement, where, after its inscription
(“Woman, first denied a soul, then called
mindless, now arisen, declared herself an
entity to be reckoned”) was removed, it
languished in undeserved obscurity for 76
years. But on May 10, 1997 the pioneers
were returned to their place of honor in the
Rotunda, and may still be seen there today.
$ 1,000 donated in 1893 = $ 26,419 in 2015

Thanks to David Dinsmore who has helped to preserve this precious history.