Press Page

Ms. Anthony: Purse with a Purpose designed by the Abigail Riggs Collection

In December 2010, the Susan B. Anthony House introduced this contemporary handbag to share the story of Susan B. Anthony as a champion of women's independence. Read more to learn about the alligator purse that inspired it all, and to join us as we say "Thank You, Susan B. Anthony."


The purse is a contemporary version of Susan B. Anthony's trademark alligator purse. This limited edition, faux alligator (synthetic) handbag is 17"wide and 5" deep, standing 17" to the top of the handles. It fits comfortably over the shoulder and accommodates a mini laptop or tablet and a host of other essentials. It features two quotes from Susan B. Anthony: a plate reading "Failure is impossible" on the back of the purse, and "Every woman needs a purse of her own" stamped on the reverse of the Abigail Riggs bee emblem on the front. Each handbag is numbered and only 2,000 will be produced. Women of all ages are proud to carry this beautiful modern handbag as a reminder of the pioneer who believed that every woman should have the right to economic independence and financial success. One hundred percent of the purchase price benefits the mission and programs of the Susan B. Anthony House.

Ms. Anthony's Original Alligator Bag  The Original Alligator Purse

One of the great treasures in the collection of the Susan B. Anthony House, the National Historic Landmark in Rochester, NY, is Susan B. Anthony's own alligator bag. Well-worn and fragile, today it's on display in a temperature- and humidity-controlled case, carefully protected from bright lights and other environmental effects that could further deteriorate its condition. It's a quiet retirement for the handbag that rode front and center on the arm of one of the most public, most talked-about, equally praised and vilified figures of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The alligator bag traveled with Susan B. Anthony wherever she went---around New York, to the halls of Congress in Washington, D.C., across the country to California and other western states, even crossing the ocean on a ship bound for Germany. It was by her side on trains, sleighs, stagecoaches, buckboards, steamships, and all other forms of transportation Miss Anthony used in her thousands of trips to meet with people, give speeches, advocate for women's rights, and change hearts and minds to support equal rights for all people. This simple alligator bag carried Susan B. Anthony's most important items for her travels---speeches, papers, the transcript of her 1873 trial, petitions, and other documents necessary to press the case to others that all people should be treated fairly in the workings of communities and governments.


(Permission is granted to use these copyrighted images in blogs or stories for educational purposes, as llong as the Susan B. Anthony House is credited. If you would like a higher resolution image, please contact the Susan B. Anthony House.)

What Others Are Saying

On Her Arm, a Symbol of Freedom, NY Times March 5, 2011

"A Purse with a Purpose" Video

Full Story

Shorter Version (YouTube)

A few words from our customers

Click here