FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT:
Thursday, March 16, 2006 Ellen K. Wheeler
Director of Development
(585) 279-7490, ext. 12
House to re-enact the funeral of Susan B. Anthony
Rochester, NY—The Susan B. Anthony House announces that it will present an historically accurate re-enactment of Susan B. Anthony’s funeral on Saturday, March 25, 2006 at 2:00 p.m. at the Hochstein School of Music, the site of Miss Anthony’s funeral on March 17, 1906, when it was Central Presbyterian Church. The event is free and open to the public.
The service will present the event in all its detail as it took place in 1906. Individuals who participated in the service will be portrayed by prominent Rochesterians, and their exact words will be read. Dr. Joel Seligman, President of the University of Rochester, will portray Dr. Rush Rhees, university president in 1906. Arlette Miller Smith, Dean of Multi-Cultural Affairs and Diversity Programs at St. John Fisher College, will portray Mrs. R. Jerome (Hester C.) Jeffrey, national human rights leader and founder of the Susan B. Anthony Club for African-American women and girls. William Lloyd Garrison, the son of the famous abolitionist, who grew up calling Miss Anthony “Aunt Susan”—such was the closeness of the two families, will be portrayed by William B. Morse, III, president of Morse Lumber Co. and past trustee of the Susan B. Anthony House. The Rev. Anna Howard Shaw, president in 1906 of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, will be portrayed by the Rev. Kaaren Anderson of the First Unitarian Church. The Rev. Gordon Webster and the Rev. Pat Youngdahl, co-pastors of Downtown United Presbyterian Church, will portray the Central Presbyterian Church ministers who participated in the service in 1906.
The service will include a casket provided by Anthony Funeral and Cremation Chapels, flowers (matching those used at the funeral) arranged by the Associated Florists of Greater Rochester, (Michael Miller, President), and music performed by the Eastman Quartet and the choir of the First Unitarian Church. Eight students from the University of Rochester will serve as honor guards, just as occurred in 1906.
Re-enactment committee chairperson, Martha Johnson, explained that the inspiration for this event came originally from Susan B. Anthony House docent Mary Huth, Assistant Director of Rare Books and Special Collections at the U of R’s Rush Rhees Library. Ms. Johnson commented, “The committee’s goal was to re-enact in precise detail the service as it took place one hundred years ago this month.”
One example of that precision was the committee’s search for the music to a particular hymn that was sung at Miss Anthony’s funeral. Lowell E. Salyards of the Downtown United Presbyterian Church kindly took on the search with help from Carol Tuzzeo of Rundel Library, Gerry Syzmanski of the Sibley Music Library of the Eastman School, and ultimately Gloria J. Korsman of the Andover-Harvard Theological Library at Harvard Divinity School. The music was found and will be sung on March 25.
Another example of the detail sought and achieved by the committee is the generous loan (weather permitting) of a circa 1906 Cunningham hearse by the Granger Homestead Society, Inc. that will be on display outside the Hochstein School during the event. Earlier ideas to transport the casket from #17 Madison Street to the Hochstein School in the hearse, complete with a team of horses pulling it down West Main Street, had to be scrapped when it was learned that operation in 2006, as opposed to 1906, would require a parade permit and police escort.
Various friends, volunteers, and staff of the Susan B. Anthony House will dress in period clothing and portray members of the Anthony family. Representatives of many of the groups that attended Miss Anthony’s funeral and were associated with her life and work will also attend, including the Irondequoit Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, (of which Miss Anthony was a member), the Women’s Union, the Rochester Federation of Women’s Clubs (which Miss Anthony started), the League of Women Voters, among others. Rochester public schools in the neighborhood of the Susan B. Anthony House were also invited to attend.
The major sources for the detail of the ceremony are the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle report of Friday, March 16, 2006, the Rochester Herald of the same day, and the biography of Susan B. Anthony by Ida Husted Harper. Susan B. Anthony House volunteers, Colleen Hurst and Mary Ellen Sweeney, provided extensive research for the project.
Media is invited to attend (no flash photography, please) and cover the event as it would a state funeral for a present-day prominent American citizen.
The Susan B. Anthony House shares the story of Susan B. Anthony’s lifelong struggle to gain voting rights for women and equal rights for all. We keep her vision and struggle alive by owning and protecting Anthony’s National Historic Landmark home; collecting artifacts and research materials directly related to her life and work; and making these resources available to the public through tours, publications, educational and interpretive programs, and the Internet. The Susan B. Anthony House is supported primarily through the contributions of its members. The Susan B. Anthony House is not affiliated with other organizations bearing her name.