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Anthony, Susan B.

LETTERS: 8 ALS, 1 TLS, to her nephew; two other Anthony family letters.


Anthony to Her Nephew
on Marriage, "Manliness," and Family Matters
Anthony, Susan B. Eight autograph letters, one typed letter signed, "Susan B. Anthony," to her nephew Burt Luther Anthony, April 2, 1900 - September 2, 1905; with an undated letter to Burt from his mother, and another letter, 1955, from his sister Ann Anthony Bacon ("Anna O.").
11 leaves, 20 pages; all save one on NAWSA letterhead listing Anthony as President; the other on letterhead of The Leavenworth Times; creased where folded for mailing; original envelopes, addressed and franked, also present; together with an autograph note from his mother expressing concern that she gave him a revolver; and a 1955 letter from his sister Anna O. (on Ann Anthony Bacon letterhead), referencing her time living with "the aunts"; also present is a 16mo printed broadside, "Greetings" to Anthony by Harriot Stanton Blatch, to the Lafayette Opera House, Washington, D.C., February 15, 1900.  In a specially made quarter-morocco slipcase with the additional items.
Anthony writes to Burt Luther Anthony with a progression of salutations, addressing him first as "My Dear Nephew," then "Nephew Luther B.," "Nephew Burt Luther Anthony," "Nephew B.L.A," "Nephew Burt Luther A." "My dear Nephew R. [sic] Luther Anthony, "Burt L.A.," "B.L.A," and, finally, "Dear Nephew." Despite these intimacies, she signs each letter in full, "Susan B. Anthony." In these letters she lets loose her thoughts on marriage and "manliness" in between gossipy updates on Anthony family matters and notes on her work for the National Council of Women and NAWSA. She gently chastises her nephew for not keeping well in touch-when she's not thanking him for letters he did write-and she encourages him to visit and to write whenever he is able, not just to her but to his mother, as well.  
The first letter, the only one typed rather than written by hand, is dated April 2, 1900, and is written in response to a letter from Burt: "Your good letter of March 11th came duly. It was really a very excellent report of yourself that you made at that date. You are doing almost as nicely as you little cousin, Guelma Baker." She then fills out a paragraph with details of the stage work of Burt's young female counterpart, a successful actress. She adds, "I wish your sister, Anna O., had succeeded in gaining the approbation of her employers so as to be on the way to an upper seat in her synagogue, as you and Guelma seem to be in yours." She concludes with thoughts on how he might best conduct himself as a man, drawing on Guelma's example, supplemented with her own uxorious advice:
You are quite right in making a careful study of your first presentation of yourself to strangers…. This does not mean to dress like a dandy or behave like a fop, but it does mean to be clean and polite and gentlemanly. There are but few things necessary for you to reach the height of your avocation, and  those are the strictest integrity, patience and perseverance, and continuance in what I hope are now your fully established habits of eschewing the so-called pet vices of men.
The typed conclusion to this letter reads, rather impersonally, "Very sincerely yours." Anthony has crossed out "sincerely" and written "affectionately" above it, adding "I guess will do better," and also crosses out the "s" in "yours" and adds the word, "Aunt."
On May 20, 1900, she thanks Burt for his letter of "the 12th," writes of her travel plans with other players in the feminist movement, and invites Burt to join them when they visit Philadelphia:
Miss Shaw & Mrs. Catt are to be with me-and we are all to stay with dear Mrs. Emma J. [D?]artal-at 1900 Spruce Street-during the Republication Convention-we had a good weeks visit from darling Louise-you all call her Helen-& shall visit her-but she expects to get the James to go out to the Friends Meeting with us-so it will be nice for you to be there too-Any way I shall look forward to seeing you there or in Phila. [para] In jumping haste-but always in love & faith that you are living up to your highest ideal of true manliness…
In a lengthy postscript she asks him to write as much of himself "as the spirit moves," and foresees a visit from his sister Anna O. and her fiancée, "Mr. Bacon."
In the June 26, 1900 letter, Anthony writes about traveling with his mother, the return home, and the approaching marriage of his sister, Anna O.: she had a note from Louise
explaining why the marriage day is to be in July & not September. Of course I cannot go on to Cape May to witness the stand-up & public announcement -much as I would love to do so-but I shall learn all when Mr. Bacon calls. I do hope everything will work together for the happiness of Anna O. and Leon B. - Everything will hinge on their capacity to conform one to the other - or at least be happy in seeing the other not conform - but acting out his or her own individual idea.
She touchingly continues, "Well - I am glad I have had an opportunity to learn more of my youngest nephew - and hope he is the same in [ ]ing to know more of his elder Aunt." She continues with more comings and goings of various family matters.
When next she writes, on June 28, she has had a letter from Burt containing the news that the wedding is to be July 10th at Cape May:
 I wrote her yesterday-with regrets-because I have been booked for the Phantangora [?] Assembly for months for July 14th-and if I [ ] not thereby presented-I couldn't' think of making the trip to Cape May-as Mr. James says-just to see 'the twain made one'-in less than five minutes….so if you can afford to ask for another furlough-so soon-Anna will have to content herself with her younger brother-[ ] Lucy & Miss Shaw write that they would have been very glad to have given her a pretty wedding in September-& had they known she was changing her date-if she could have made it in June-they would have been equally pleased-but, you see Anna O. consults the convenience & possibilities of any of her relatives-in fixing her time or place-hence she must expect of those to come to her whose dates & places will allow of their doing so. [para] Miss Shaw and Lucy are to come here next week. The former is to be [ ] Mrs. Catt & me at Chautauqua July 14th-and Lucy can hardly afford the expense of time or of her strength-(Miss Shaw writes she has been suffering very much with her head the past month) to make the journey to Cape May…
It appears that a second leaf to this letter is missing.
Anthony's next letter-at four pages, the lengthiest-comes after Anna's wedding; it is dated July 11:
Well, I went to Auburn the Friday after reaching home-made my speech at the Farmer's pic nic on Sta. the 30th of June--& Sunday a.m. a crick in the back caught me like lightning & held me in bed for four days at Mrs. Osborne's palatial home-on the 21st Miss Shaw & Miss Lucy E. came--& on Friday p.m. they came home with me & are here still. On Friday me, Miss Shaw, & I go to Chautauqua for Woman's Day on the 14th. I shall come back Monday or Tuesday-the to remain at home-unless I am too strongly moved to go to Phila. By invitation of Mr. and Mrs. Alvin T. Jams to breakfast in honor of Mr. & Mrs. Leon Brooks Bacon [i.e., Anna O. and her new husband].
Here Anthony expresses her deep disappointment that her niece has failed to stand her ground.
So the nieces of Susan B. Anthony blot their own and their family names out of existence at one fell shake of the pen. Well, if her nieces have no love for their identity, no reverence for a name they have been known by for 26 years, how can we except the daughters & nieces of other people to care or do other than bury themselves under the name of the man they love! Can you see any sense or poetry even in this for a girl more than for the man she marries?
She discusses a visit from Mr. Bacon, during which
he told us his plans-that he had rented a lovely first floor of an apartment found partly furnished-so that lessens Anna's first outlay of cash-Miss Shaw was very much pleased with Mr. B. So were all of the [ ] Anthonys. As he was saying good nights to me & another he came to Lucy & began, "Good night, Miss-Sister Lucy" in the most natural & brotherly sweet tone. It was too funny-but neither her not any of us seemed to notice his change of Miss to Sister!  Well, he seems very cool & sensible in all his talk of their marriage & arrangements for things.
 She continues on with family matters, finances and schedules, for another two pages.
Despite the passage of time, she never ceases to dispense familial advice to Burt, as in the next letter, April 5, 1902, which opens with a discussion of the name Richard. She then adds, "you should surely not fail to write your mother often - remember she looks to you as father & brother - as much as son - and she hangs on your every word & action - with a mothers love. So write her - if you don't get time for any other person…" She then queries him on his activities, especially his opportunities for professional growth, and tries to arrange a visit with him in Philadelphia after her upcoming trip to New York, where she is to be honored at the Century Club.
After a letter about his aunt Annie and her family, she writes on Jan. 11, 1905, that his "scheme looks beautiful on paper-but first I am not in presentable shape-having had all of the teeth on my upper jaw taken out-and I should not be ready to be presented so soon." The rest of the letter concerns potential travel plans for his mother. The final letter, dated Sept 2, 1905, is similarly concerned with family logistics.  
Together with an autograph note from his mother expressing concern that she gave him a revolver; and a 1955 letter from Anna O. (on Ann Anthony Bacon letterhead), referencing her time living with "the aunts."
A stirring collection of letters revealing the family life of Susan B. Anthony, as she juggles the demands of family and career, and intermixes the themes of her professional life in with her personal life.

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