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Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Hardcover – October 19, 1999
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In 1902, at the age of 83, Susan B. Anthony wrote a letter to her dearest friend, Elizabeth Cady Stanton:
We little dreamed when we began this contest, optimistic with the hope and buoyancy of youth, that half a century later we would be compelled to leave the finish of the battle to another generation of women. But our hearts are filled with joy to know that they enter upon this task equipped with a college education, with business experience, with the fully admitted right to speak in public--all of which were denied to women fifty years ago. They have practically but one point to gain--the suffrage; we had all.
Anthony and Stanton had worked together for over half a century for women's rights and were instrumental in keeping the movement alive despite repeated defeats. Sadly, Anthony is best remembered as "the woman on that funny dollar" and Stanton has been largely forgotten. PBS favorites Ken Burns and Geoffrey C. Ward have joined forces again to change all that, in their respectful dual biography of the great suffragettes, Not for Ourselves Alone. The authors trace Anthony and Stanton's very different lives--Anthony was a Quaker who remained single all her life; Stanton was born to a wealthy family and later married and raised several children--from girlhood on through their hard work, frequent disagreements on policy, and unflagging devotion to the cause of women's rights. In this era when fewer than half the eligible voters go to the polls, many have forgotten the struggles of Anthony and Stanton, the sacrifices they made, and the hardships they endured. Anthony, for one, was frequently vilified in the press, cruelly caricatured, and shouted down at lectures. What shines most brightly throughout the volume, however, is the love and respect these women felt for one another.
With contributions by noted historians Ann D. Gordon and Ellen Carol Dubois, and dozens of evocative contemporary photographs, Not for Ourselves Alone provides a view of the suffrage movement through the eyes of the women who fought hardest for it. "We are sowing winter wheat," Stanton confided to her diary, "which the coming spring will see sprout and which other hands than ours will reap and enjoy." Indeed, neither Stanton nor Anthony lived to be able to cast a ballot. But Burns and Ward have assured them of a larger place in the American memory--as is their right. --Sunny Delaney
From Publishers Weekly
When Paul Barnes suggested that Elizabeth Cady Stanton be included in the film portraits of notable Americans that Ken Burns was planning to make, Burns barely recognized the name. Marginally more familiar was that of Susan B. Anthony, Stanton's comrade-in-arms in the struggle for women's suffrage. But as this bookAthe companion volume to the documentary that will appear this fall on PBSAsplendidly reveals, theirs is the story not merely of two remarkable 19th-century women but of a major political movement, the end of which has yet to be written. This dual biography of the pair by the historian Ward emphasizes the impossibility of treating either one in isolation from the other. Anthony's grasp of the practical complemented Stanton's philosophical imaginationAas Stanton wrote, "entirely one are we." Ward restores Stanton to her proper place alongside Anthony in the history of the women's movement and sensitively handles the more problematic elements of their political positions, especially in regard to their resistance to the enfranchisement of former male slaves before the vote was extended to women of any color. Additionally, there are essays by prominent women historians, including a provocative discussion of Stanton's contemporary reputation by Ellen Carol DuBois, and the wealth of illustrations that we have come to expect from Burns and his associates.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Stanton came from a wealthier background, enjoyed fashion, having children. Anthony kept telling her not to have another child because she felt a large family would natually hinder her work for the Cause.
Stanton probably enjoyed a fuller personal life but both women were dependent on the other & knew it & despite their different priorites at times, had a deep & sustained friendship. Susan A. was able to tirelessly tour the country without children & had deliberately made the choice. She did not want to be either "the doll or the drudge" of some man. At the time poor women were a drudge & rich women (through marriage) were kept as "dolls". Is it so different today?
I didn't realize that the big factor in the temperance movement was that liquor was responsible for husbands being drunk, beating their wives & not supporting them. Women had no access to birth control & divorce laws were totally against them. They could not go to college or keep their own earnings or inherit money. All professions were closed to them. Piece by piece these inequities were changed but the all powerful vote was forever denied.
Stanton had the gift of composing soaring rhetoric. Anthony had the freedom & work horse ability to travel the country delivering Stanton's speeches (plus her own). They had their disputes....they also knew when to curb the other for the greater good. When Stanton wrote a congratulatory letter to Frederic Douglass upon his marriage to a white woman, it was Anthony who wisely told her to keep it private for fear of losing the support of southern white women. It was Stanton who told the fiery Anthony to give up wearing bloomers because it took away from the more important goal & not to care about the disapproval & give in to it for the Cause.
Both women had to contend with the racial prejudices of the southern women when they did not share their racist views but needed their support. They also had to try to go along with the temperence women even though that was not their primary goal. Anthony would take over Stanton's busy household (7 children) while Stanton would be able to write & both gave to each other great emotional support as seen in their touching letters to each other over the years.
Stanton hd her last child at 43 (a 12 pound baby that kept her bedridden for months) despite endless promises to Anthony. Her marriage deteriorated. her son was arrested for stealing government funds & the whole Stanton family even thought of moving to Kansas to avoid disgrace. Stanton was occupied with family drama at times but Anthony had the freedom to travel & "spread the word" that Stanton did not until much later in life when they both joined forces traveling alone & together. Neither one saw eventual victory but both knew it would come. Both felt giving men of color the vote would just subjugate half the women of color & that was not what they thought right. Hard to believe what we take today to be normal was considered radical.Part of the book was so touching as when Anthony asks Stanton at the end of her life "Will I see you again" knowing Stanton was dying. Sadly she didn't.
The Declaration Of Sentiment which Stanton first composed was our declaration of independence. There also were many other women mentioned who contributed greatly to the struggle. Anthony always felt betrayed in some way when her "neices" married because she knew they wouldn't be able to be as totally committed to the Cause but she soldered on.Today women still face sex discrimination. I wonder with all these televison shows & movies where women wear practically no clothes & all the emphasis is on getting face lifts, being "sexual" until you are on your death bed....what would Stanton & Anthony have said?