Subtitle: “Anniversary Reception Tendered to Miss Mary S. Anthony”


Subtitle: “The Home of Mrs. Mary Thayer Sanford Was the Scene of the Happy Occasion Yesterday—Addresses and Presentations”

“The citizens of Rochester are ever willing to honor things achieved, and this is especially if the person to whom honor is due is a citizen. This fact was well demonstrated yesterday by the informal reception given to Miss Mary S. Anthony by Mrs. Mary Thayer Sanford, at No. 20 James street. The occasion was the seventieth anniversary of Miss Anthony’s birth, and between the hours of three and five in the afternoon and eight and ten in the evening, hundreds of her friends gathered to offer their congratulations and do homage to one who has done so much toward the advancement of the educational interests of the city and the securing of social and political equality for her sex.

“Miss Mary Anthony, to be sure, has not gained the national reputation which her more famous sister enjoys, yet among the people of Rochester she is regarded as a sharer in the laurels won by Susan B. Anthony. Whenever one is mentioned the personality of the other is immediately brought to mind. They have always been faithful allies in their work, and the success which the older sister has gained is largely due to the care and support of Miss Mary. The sisters have labored together for many years, and they expect to continue for a long time in their chosen work as advocates of the highest interests of women.

“Miss Mary Anthony was born in Battensville [sic], Washington county, in 1827. Her father was one of the most prominent cotton manufacturers in that section of the state. He had the supervision of a private school at his residence, where Mary Anthony received her early education. She afterwards attended a boarding school at some distance from her home, where she finished her preparatory training and laid the foundation for that learning which she was to impart to others. In 1845, the family moved to this vicinity and settled upon a pleasant farm about a mile from the city limits on the old Rapids road. There, Miss Mary began her vocation as a teacher in what was known as the “old Red school house,” on the Rapids road, and afterwards in the “old Stone school house” on the Chili road. After two years in this place, she secured a position on the faculty of a boarding school at Easton, Washington county, not far from the home of her childhood. She spent but a year in this position, however, when she returned to Rochester and began her long and successful career as a teacher in the public schools. This work was taken up in 1856 and was continued for an uninterrupted period of twenty-six years. During this time she gained a record of which she is justly proud, distributing her services among four schools, Nos. 14, 16, 3 and 2. She spent the largest part of her time at No. 14 school and it was at this place that she attained the distinction of being one of the most successful of the public school instructors. Among her scholars who have gained what might be called success in their business and political careers are Cornelius R. Parsons, state senator from the local district; Rev. Dr. Stephen Camp, a famous Unitarian minister of Brooklyn, Alonzo L. Mabbett and many others.

“While teaching No. 14 [sic] school Miss Anthony had the distinction of filling the office of principal for a short time, receiving “a man’s pay” for her services. J. R. Vosburg, who was at the head of the school during the whole of Miss Anthony’s stay there, became ill and a young man who had been a successful teacher in the country districts, was employed in his place. The young man kept the place for one day and then decided that the cares of a city school were too great and resigned his position. Miss Anthony had taken charge of the school temporarily and the board of education asked her if she would assume the duties until Mr. Vosburg’s return. She answered that she would if she could receive the same salary that Mr. Vosburg was getting. The members of the board were astounded at this seeming impudence, but they finally decided to yield to her proposition, so for one term she held the office of principal, with the same pay that a man received, and it is said, will go down to posterity as the first woman to have this distinction.

“Since leaving the school she has been prominently identified with the educational, industrial and political interests of women and in this sphere she is best known to the younger generations in Rochester families. She is, at the present time, president of the Political Equality Club and active member in several kindred organizations.”

“It was with rare hospitality, interwoven with personal love and respect, that Dr. and Mrs. Sanford devoted their handsome home to the celebration of the seventieth birthday of Miss Mary S. Anthony, and if the general interest that was taken by the people of Rochester in their participation in the anniversary reception is any index to the success of such a venture, surely the host and hostess builded [sic] much better than they knew. During the afternoon hours many guests availed themselves of the opportunity of honoring Miss Anthony but in the evening the visitors were numbered by the hundreds.

“As the guests arrived, they were received by Mrs. Sanford, who presented them to Miss Anthony. Attired in simple black satin and duchesse lace, with a pretty bouquet of bride roses in her hand, Miss Anthony presented an attractive womanly appearance. The others who assisted her in receiving were Mrs. Helen Miller, Dr. and Mrs. F. L. H. Willis, Mrs. Harper, Dr. and Mrs. Tozier, of Batavia, Mrs. Jean Brooks Greenleaf, Susan B. Anthony and Mrs. Lynn. After all had been presented the reception resolved itself into something of a formal nature, and Mrs. Sanford then stepped forward and presented Miss Anthony with a handsome cape on behalf of the Political Equality Club…..”[Ed. Note: from an unidentified Rochester newspaper circa April 2, 1897]