Susan B. Anthony

February 15, 1820
Suffragette extraordinaire (and lace enthusiast) Susan B. Anthony is born.

Here’s the needlework connection to this date:

Susan Strawn, a PieceWork contributing editor, wrote about Susan B. Anthony in the May/June 2013 issue. Here’s an excerpt:

“According to a recently discovered letter, Susan Brownell Anthony’s (1820–1906) reputation for leaving no detail unattended extended even to the lace she wore. The letter, dated April 7, 1898, and written in hasty cursive on letterhead from the Office of the President of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), is filled with emphatic underlining and inserted words that suggest a woman with pressing concerns and demands on her time. The recipient of Anthony’s letter was Rachel Foster Avery (1858–1915), corresponding secretary for NAWSA and a steadfast advocate for women’s suffrage. Although mutual affection is evident in all their correspondence, the letters of Anthony and Avery were written primarily to plan meetings and travel, share concerns about funding, react to new technology (the typewriter!), lament defeat in the battle for women’s suffrage, and on occasion discuss what to wear for photographs and public appearances. The letter of April 7, 1898, is unusual in that it deals almost entirely with Anthony’s lace-embellished clothing.”


Susan B. Anthony. Circa 1890.
Photo by Benjamin Johnston and courtesy of the Library of Congress.

As you can see from this photograph of Anthony, lace was prominent in her wardrobe—lots and lots of lace. To learn more about her remarkable life, her love of lace, and see the actual letter (courtesy of Archives and Special Collections, Dominican University, River Forest, Illinois), download the May/June 2013 issue. Susan B. Anthony also features prominently in Katherine Durack’s article, “Let Us Keep Knitting and Crocheting for the Bazar, Sisters! Notes on the December 1900 National Suffrage Fair,” in the November/December 2015 issue of PieceWork.

Happy Birthday, Susan!

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