Advanced Search

Anthony, Susan B) Harper, Ida Husted.

Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony, Theā€¦Vols. I and II.


Anthony's Life Story,
Inscribed To Her First Cousin, A Fellow Feminist
[Anthony, Susan B.] Harper, Ida Husted, The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony, Including Public Addresses, Her Own Letters and Many From Her Contemporaries, Volumes I and II, Indianapolis and Kansas City: The Bowen-Merrill Company, (1898).
2 vols., thick 8vos.; marbled endpapers; frontispiece photograph of Anthony in each; many other photos and facsimile signatures of Anthony and other suffrage leaders throughout; brown pebbled calf, elaborate gilt relief of Anthony on the covers; brown leather spines, stamped in gilt; a.e.g.; pages fresh, bright; a handsome set, showing only faint wear to delicate cover edges.
First edition of the first two volumes of the authoritative Anthony biography, conceived and written by her hand-picked biographer Ida Husted Harper. (After Anthony's 1906 death, Harper added a third and final volume to the set, released by Hollenbeck Press in 1908.) Both volumes are intimate family presentation copies, each bearing a lengthy inscription from Susan B. Anthony to her cousin Annette Vail. In Volume I: To Mrs. Annette Vail and her husband Mr. Arnold Schlact From her father's affectionate sister Sementha V. Lapham-By whose request is appended the signature of her loving and grateful cousin Susan B. Anthony, Rochester, N.Y., January 1899. In Volume II: To Mrs. Annette Vail and her chosen life companion Mr. Arnold Schlact. From their affectionate Aunt Sementha V. Lapham by whose request the name of her loving and grateful cousin is here written-Susan B. Anthony, Rochester, N.Y., January 1899." With a small envelope of original newspaper clippings about Susan B. Anthony's life, death, and family affixed to the endpaper of Volume I.
Annette Vail, the recipient of these presentation volumes, was a young feminist and a member of Anthony's immediate family: Vail's aunt and mentor Sementha V. Lapham (to whom Anthony refers in the inscriptions) was Anthony's cousin, making Vail Anthony's first cousin once removed. These volumes discuss the support, financial and otherwise, that Anthony received from female relatives: during the Second New York Statewide Campaign for Woman's Suffrage in 1894-95 Anthony often stayed with Lapham at her New York apartment, which overlooked Central Park (Vol. II, 802); at other times Vail and Lapham offered Anthony encouragement, access to funding, and housing at crucial points during the suffrage struggle. (It was Lapham, in fact, who convinced her older brother Anson Lapham to lend their cousin several thousand dollars to start The Revolution; she similarly convinced him to forgive those debts-almost 4,000 dollars-when the paper went under in 1870, a gesture for which Anthony was eternally grateful.)
The presentations in these volumes make plain Anthony's "loving and grateful" sentiments toward her family. We know from Anthony's recollection, recorded by Harper in Volume II, that these cousins continued to provide her with emotional and financial sustenance into her waning years; according to the biography, "the event of 1897 which gave Miss Anthony more pleasure than all others, in fact one of the happiest incidents of her life" was the Anthony family reunion in Adams, Massachusetts in July of that year. During this gathering of 80 family members, Anthony arranged a special tribute dinner in honor of the family members, like Annette Vail and Sementha V. Lapham, that were closest to her:
...Susan B. Anthony sat at the head of the table; at her right hand, her brother Daniel R.; at her left, her brother Merritt; and close by, the quiet, smiling sister Mary; and then, all along down the line, the cousins, the nephews, the nieces, the three and four generations, who had joined so heartedly with her for the success of this rare occasion. Before the dinner began, Anthony asked that, in accordance with the custom of her ancestors, there might be a moment of silent thanks; and at the close of the meal, when the chatter and mirth were stilled, she arose and in touching words paid tribute to her loved ones who blessed these rooms by their presence . . . (Vol.II, 939-46)
Ida Husted Harper began collaborating with Susan B. Anthony in 1897 on an account of her life and of the suffrage movement which was her life. It proved a far greater task than either had anticipated. Anthony asked Mrs. Harper to become her official biographer. She moved into the Rochester, New York, home of Susan and her sister Mary, and with Anthony undertook the daunting task of recreating Anthony's life and letters in the advancement of woman suffrage. Anthony had never liked writing and without Harper it is doubtful Anthony would have undertaken a biography/autobiography. The volumes are, of course, a trove of information on Anthony and the woman's movement with, as the subtitle suggests, generous citations from letters to Anthony and newspaper pieces about her. They are an "indisputable documentary account of Anthony's life."
Intimate family presentation copies of Anthony's authoritative biography rarely appear on the open market.
Century of Struggle, by Eleanor Flexner & Ellen FitzPatrick, pp. 143-144, 146.
Created Equal, A Biography of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, by Alma Lutz, pp. 161-168.
DAB, Vol. IX, p. 626.
Failure Is Impossible, by Susan  B. Anthony, pp. 308-309.
The Feminist Companion, pp. 9, 190.
Kirchmar 4442.
NAW I, pp. 51-57; II, pp. 139-141.
Women and the American Experience, Vol. I, by Nancy Woloch, pp. 313-314.

© 2011-2018 Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, Inc. All Rights Reserved.