May 26, 2022

University of Rochester Libraries Acquire Unknown Susan B. Anthony Letters Found in Old Barn

From the U. of Rochester:

The picture most people know of Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and the women’s suffrage movement in America is one painted in broad strokes and grand designs. Beyond the vision, grit, and heroism, however, the workaday details of how the movement was actually run—the backroom negotiations, convention planning, grassroots organizing—are largely unknown to history.

Until now.

A recently discovered trove of letters, speeches, petitions, photographs, and pamphlets—forgotten for a century in attics, barns, and on porches—now opens a window onto the quotidian details of that historic movement. Originally owned by suffragist Isabella Beecher Hooker, the collection includes dozens of letters from fellow movement leaders Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The collection has now found a new home in the University of Rochester’s Department of Rare Books, Special Collections and Preservation (RBSCP).


The purchase was made with funds from Friends of the University of Rochester Libraries, a gift from retired manuscripts librarian and former assistant director of Rare Books and Special Collections, Mary Huth, and a substantial anonymous gift, augmenting the existing University’s special collections acquisition fund.

“Acquisitions like this are so important,” says Mary Ann Mavrinac, the Andrew H. and Janet Dayton Neilly Dean of Libraries. “They add to our already rich resources, draw researchers, and provide the basis for teaching—which students love as they are working with original manuscripts on topics that speak to them. It’s exciting to hear the voices of these intellectual women come alive.”

However, unlike other Anthony letters already in the University’s holdings, this collection is thoroughly political—rarely personal. The letters show the methods and machinations of (mostly) women bent on changing the status quo that heretofore had relegated them to steerage.

MUCH More About the Letters Including Images and Video (approx. 2000 words)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.