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Anthony, Susan B., her copy)

Bible for Children, The.

book

[Anthony, Susan B.] [Potter, Henry Codman, ed.] The Bible for Children/Arranged from the King James Version/With Twenty-Four Full-Page Illustrations From the Old Masters. New York: The Century Co., [1902].
Large, thick 8vo.; illustrated frontispiece in sepia tones and 23 other illustrations throughout, original tissue guards present; elaborately illustrated title page with fin-de-siecle floral motif; text printed in two colors throughout with drop capitals at beginning of each chapter and book; black cloth, stamped in gilt and red; fine. In a specially made cloth slipcase.
A magnificent presentation copy, inscribed by Susan B. Anthony on the entire second blank:
  To Winnifred Harper & George Cooley
  A Merry Christmas & Happy New Year
  With the hope that they may find much help from this expurgated Bible -
  I have wondered why it was such a sin for Elizabeth Cady Stanton to publish
  just what the book said about women - and a virtue to give what was not ftt for
  children - but that is all right -the world grows apace -
  With the dearest love to both -
  Susan B. Anthony
  Dec. 15,1902
Beneath this elaborate inscription the bible's future owners have added their own postscript:
  Passed on to our niece Amy Francis, in the hope that the large ideas of human
  Liberty and justice which inspired Miss Anthony will also inspire her.
  George Elliott Cooley
  Dec. 25, 1915
A multilayered and multigenerational feminist presentation, inscribed by Susan B. Anthony to the daughter of one of her closest lifelong colleagues, the activist Ida Husted Harper, and then passed on once more to Harper's daughter's young niece.
The Elizabeth Cady Stanton reference alludes to Stanton's 1895 publication The Woman's Bible, in which she attempted to analyze the role of women in the bible and, by extension, in religious life. This is a theme that modern feminists are all too familiar with; but at the time it was considered terribly shocking. The book was subjected to savage reviews by outraged critics who alleged that Stanton's work bordered on (or extended into) blasphemy; and even branches of the suffragist movement, led by Anna Howard Shaw, Rachel Foster Avery, and Carrie Chapman Catt, sought to distance themselves from Stanton's hot potato of a work via a resolution adopted at the 1896 suffragist convention. This resolution lead to a dramatic showdown in which Anthony bravely stood nearly alone in defense of her friend's work, commenting that: "I shall be pained beyond expression if the delegates here are so narrow and illiberal as to adopt this resolution…If we do not inspire in women a broad and catholic spirit, they will fail, when enfranchised, to constitute that power for better government which we have always claimed for them….I pray you vote for religious liberty, without censorship or inquisition." (NAW, Vol. I, 56). Nevertheless the resolution passed and Stanton's work never received the recognition it deserved during her lifetime.
Young Winnifred Harper Cooley, the recipient of this volume, was the daughter of Anthony's longtime friend and collaborator Ida Husted Harper, Anthony's biographer and the co-author of The History of Woman Suffrage. Anthony's inscription indicates that, even in her very last years, she was steadily trying to pursue the joint causes of religious freedom and feminism as interrelated ones. More than anything, Anthony apparently intended this presentation as an invitation to its recipient towards open-mindedness and respect for all women's views. As NAW notes that the young Winnifred Harper "followed in her mother's footsteps as a writer and journalist" (Vol. II, 140), we can happily deduce that the formula did its trick and the gift of open-minded creative analytical thinking was passed on to yet another feminist generation.
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