2014 Susan B. Anthony Annual Birthday Luncheon

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, December 3, 2013
CONTACT: Ellen K. Wheeler, (585) 279-7490, ext. 15, Director of Public Relations & Communications

National Susan B Anthony Museum & House announces annual birthday luncheon speaker!

Rochester, NY—The National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House proudly announces that its keynote speaker for the Annual Susan B. Anthony Birthday Luncheon, to be held Wednesday, February 12, 2014, is Louise W. Knight, author, lecturer, and historian.

In making the announcement, Anthony House president and CEO Deborah L. Hughes shared that the theme of the 2014 luncheon is “Up and Doing.” It’s a subject Louise Knight knows very well, as she is the author of two biographies on Jane Addams, one of the late 19th-century and early 20th-century activists in moving public perception and attitudes. Prominent in the battle for woman suffrage and a friend of Susan B. Anthony, Addams is perhaps best known as the co-founder of Hull House, the nation’s first settlement house. Knight will focus on Addams’s and Anthony’s ideas about democracy and how each of them put those ideas into action— “up and doing”—for the causes they held dear.

In addition to her Addams biographies, Louise Knight’s writing has been published in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, and the Women’s Media Center website. She is currently working on a book about Angelina and Sarah Grimke, two abolitionists and women’s rights advocates of the 1830s.

The Susan B. Anthony Birthday Luncheon is held each year in mid-February to celebrate Susan B. Anthony’s February 15th birthday, to honor contemporary women who continue her legacy, and to raise awareness of the education and inspiration programs that take place at and through the National Historic Landmark on Madison Street. The luncheon takes place at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center.


A Fifth-Grade Feminist

Keeping Susan B. Anthony’s vision alive and relevant is our passion at the Susan B. Anthony Museum & House. But how do we measure our impact in the world? Here’s what a fifth-grade teacher shared with our program director, Annie Callanan, after his class experienced our “Change It!” program yesterday:

“Thank you again!! My class had a wonderful time and got so much out of the program.

“On our way back one of my students confronted a group of construction workers and told them she didn’t like their ‘Men Working’ sign. She told them it should say ‘People Working’. One gentleman pointed out that there were only men on the crew. My lovely [student] responded with, “ Well I have another issue, why are there no women on your crew? Shoot, I can do this work.” A group of grown men dumbfounded by the brass of my beautiful young student. Thank you for inspiring them!! It was awesome!!”

I imagine Susan B. Anthony would approve!

Thank you, teacher Dale Spafford, for getting your students to the Anthony House for a field trip. Thank you, fifth graders! We are impressed that you applied for a scholarship to cover your admission and that you all walked here!  Thank you, Joanne French and Bonnie Anne Briggs, our two volunteer docents who led the program (we have 110 inspiring volunteer docents!).  Thank you, Lois and Arn Hart, for providing the scholarship funds that covered the admission for this class.

We love that this particular class came from Clara Barton School #2. Mary Anthony, Susan’s sister, was the first female principal at School #2, where she demanded equal pay for equal work more than a century ago and got it!!  Not only was Clara Barton the founder the American Red Cross, but she was a friend of Mary and Susan B. Anthony and a SUFFRAGIST herself!

Finally, we want to say thank you to the courageous young woman from Mr. Spafford’s fifth grade class who is keeping Susan B. Anthony’s vision alive and relevant!!

We’re not THAT Susan B. Anthony!

It’s a matter of brand confusion, at the very least.  Although we may be THE Susan B. Anthony House (and the only National Historic Landmark Museum bearing the great reformer’s name), there are dozens of other organizations that have chosen to include our hero’s moniker in their title. Her name is in the public domain, and we cannot control how it is used. From the number of “Susan B. Anthony” listings on Facebook, one might conclude that the never-married Ms. Anthony had progeny as numerous as the stars. But brand confusion about Susan B. Anthony is no laughing matter.

Four years ago, a very angry father left a message on my voice mail.  He called me names I had never been called. For this pastor-turned-museum-director, it was my first experience at being the object of vitriol from a complete stranger. His tone and language were evidence of deep rage, and he was certain that I was the appropriate target. After all, I was the director of the “Susan B. Anthony” House.

This young father’s rancor was triggered by a phone call. It was the height of election season. His six year old daughter answered their home phone and was treated to a robo-call message that apparently described late-term abortion in graphic detail.  The child was confused and frightened by the “murder” she had heard described. Her father was shocked to hear what his daughter had been exposed on their home phone.  Appalled and enraged, he checked the caller ID, and it clearly stated “Susan B Anthony” had called.  He googled the name, and the Susan B. Anthony House popped up on his screen (we are proud to have earned that status).  He dialed the number and ended up in my voice mail box. And he let me have it.

Fortunately, we were able to return his call and explain that we are not that Susan B. Anthony.  This Susan B. Anthony did not sponsor that robo-call.  This Susan B. Anthony did not endorse Rick Santorum for president (but we did have several people call us to cancel their support of our organization when they heard the announcement and one who told us Santorum was not conservative enough for their taste). This Susan B. Anthony has not promised $10 million to the Mitt Romney campaign (but the calls and emails we received  today about that announcement triggered this blog post).

This Susan B. Anthony House is a non-partisan Museum and learning center in Rochester, New York, that strives to be an authentic witness to the life and work of Susan B. Anthony.  Please do not confuse us with any other organization bearing the “Susan B. Anthony” name.  In particular, please don’t confuse us with the political action group, the Susan B. Anthony List, that claims to “support pro-life leadership” and apparently has a lot of money to leverage.

Please do not be confused by political parties, caucuses, or groups that claim they know what Susan B. Anthony would say about a contemporary issue.

While we are delighted that the once-reviled radical feminist has earned such a high place of honor and authority that everyone seems to want her for their champion, we are here to tell the authentic story of Susan B. Anthony, not to use her name for a political agenda.

Deborah L. Hughes, president & CEO


Ms. Anthony Product Details

The purse is a contemporary interpretation of Susan B. Anthony’s trademark alligator purse. This limited edition, faux alligator handbag is 17″wide and 5″deep, standing 11″ to the top of the zipper closure and 17″ from the bottom to the top of the handles. The exterior is a glossy, deep chocolate brown; the interior is a warm fawn color. The synthetic material is easily cleaned and durable.  Ms. Anthony is designed to fit comfortably over the shoulder and accommodates a mini laptop 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 Collection “bee” medallion on the front. Each handbag is numbered and only 2,000 have been 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.

Kate Gleason a Remarkable Pioneer

Life and Letters of Kate Gleason book jacketThe Anthony House was delighted to feature author Janis F. Gleason for two programs on March 21, introducing the audience to the new biography of the woman Susan B. Anthony declared to be “the ideal business woman of whom I dreamed fifty years ago.”  Engineer, entrepreneur, bank executive, and philanthropist were among Kate’s accomplishments. “She built a country club and a golf course, ran a trailer car company, and designed what was perhaps the first mobile camper pulled by an automobile. . .bought land. . .built houses. . .constructed a hotel, a resort” and helped “to rebuild the structure and spirit of the war-decimated town” of Septmonts, France, writes Gleason.

Here’s what executive director, Deborah L. Hughes, says about this new biography:

Kate Gleason was born into a world and a century that wasn’t ready for her confidence, courage, or competence,just like her friend and mentor, Susan B. Anthony. Kate was more than ready for the world.  Plunge into the “Life and Letters” to journey with this remarkable woman whose life flows from the end of the Civil War to the beginning of the Great Depression, from Rochester to France, and from California to South Carolina.  You will emerge feeling energized and renewed by what woman can accomplish.

The Life and Letters of Kate Gleason is available in our Visitors Center Museum Shop and in our online store.

Alligator Purse Rhyme

The traveling champion of the women’s rights movement, Susan B. Anthony, was recognized by two trademarks: her red shawl and her alligator “purse.”  You can see the famous alligator bag she carried across the United States and to Europe when you visit the Susan B. Anthony House at 17 Madison Street in Rochester, NY.  You may recognize this children’s jump-rope rhyme (more…)

A Purse of Her Own

Susan B. Anthony worked for many reforms, including suffrage, temperance, and abolition, but found that women were hampered by their lack of power–their lack of money.  In the early nineteenth century, very few occupations were open to women.  Once married, a woman could not open a bank account, (more…)