Albion library finds 1903 letter from Susan B. Anthony, written to then Swan Library

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 April 2019 at 4:24 pm

ALBION – Hoag Library found a letter today in the files of its local history room that was written to the former Swan Library from Susan B. Anthony, the women’s rights activist who was a pivotal leader for women’s suffrage.

The Nov. 12, 1903 letter from Anthony encourages Swan Library in Albion to buy four volumes of the History of Woman Suffrage and also two volumes about the Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony.

The History of Woman Suffrage would later include six volumes from 1881 to 1922 and includes more than 5,700 pages about the women’s suffrage movement.

The first two volumes of the Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony were published in 1898 and were written by journalist Ida Husted Harper. She would write a third in 1908, after Anthony’s death.

Dee Robinson, a reference librarian at Hoag, was looking through the files in the local history today when she found the letter from Anthony.

The typed letter to “Librarian Swan Library” says the following:

My Dear Friend : —

Enclosed are the circulars for the Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony, in two volumes, and the History of Woman Suffrage in four volumes. Will not your library purchase them? These ought to be in a public place where every student of the High school or public school, as well as every person who wishes to learn anything about the Woman Suffrage movement, can have easy access to them.

I hope you will purchase them.

Sincerely yours,

(signed) Susan B. Anthony

The library last year hired two new librarians and that is freeing up Robinson to search through the old files in the history room, said Betty Sue Miller, the library’s director.

Robinson has also found an original program from the dedication of Swan Library, which opened in 1900. She also found an advertisement for a play from 1873 where community members performed Dickens’ plays to raise money for a library.

“We’re digging through the archives,” Miller said this afternoon. “Who knows what else we’ll find.”

Robinson is checking to see if the books in Anthony’s letter are still in the library’s possession. Miller said she would like to create a timeline display about the library’s history in Albion, and include a copy of the letter from Anthony. The original will be kept in a secure spot.

Anthony signed the letter when she was 83 and serving as the honorary president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Anthony had an office at 17 Madison St., Rochester.

She would die at age 86 on March 13, 1906. She was a leader at age 28 when a group of women held a convention at Seneca Falls in 1848, the first Women’s Rights Convention in the United States. It began the Suffrage movement and Anthony devoted her life to the cause.

She didn’t live to see women get the right to vote. That right was secured in 1920 with the passage of the 19th Amendment.

Return to top