glbtq: an encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender & queer culture
social sciences
special features
about glbtq


   member name
   Forgot Your Password?  
Not a Member Yet?  

  Advertising Opportunities
  Permissions & Licensing
  Terms of Service
  Privacy Policy





social sciences

Alpha Index:  A-B  C-F  G-K  L-Q  R-S  T-Z

Subjects:  A-E  F-L  M-Z

Anthony, Susan B. (1820-1906)  
page: 1  2  3  

Relationship with Emily Gross

Another woman of importance in Anthony's life was Emily Gross, the wife of a wealthy Chicago businessman.

The two may have met when Anthony gave a speech at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. The Reverend Anna Howard Shaw, the life-partner of Anthony's niece Lucy Anthony, was with them at the time and noted in her diary that she was "so thankful for the new friend for Aunt Susan." Although no letters between Anthony and Gross are known to exist, Anthony did mention Gross in correspondence with others. In an 1895 letter to another niece, Jessie Anthony, she refers to Gross as "my new lover."

Sponsor Message.

Gross visited Anthony's Rochester, New York home shortly after the meeting in Chicago, and in following years the two often traveled together. Gross was a member of the Birthday Celebration Committee (as were Lucy Anthony and Anna Shaw) when Anthony's eightieth year was marked with a moving program of appreciation at the Lafayette Opera House in Washington, D. C. in 1900.

Portrait of a Female Couple

Anthony never wrote specifically about sexuality. It is, however, interesting to note an example that she used in an 1877 speech entitled "Homes of Single Women." By "single" she can only mean "unmarried" and not "living alone," for two of the single women she profiles were certainly a couple. Mary L. Booth, an editor at Harper's Bazaar, was the bread-winning professional of this couple, while Mrs. Wright, formerly the wife of a ship's captain, saw to the domestic chores and advised Booth about her wardrobe.

Although Anthony does not speak of the emotional aspects of their "co-partnership," the picture that she paints is strikingly like one of a typical heterosexual marriage of the day. It is indeed a picture of--to use nineteenth-century terms--a between "romantic friends."

Her Views on Marriage

Anthony's views on marriage were complex. On the one hand she saw it as such a sacred and inviolable bond that it transcended even death, and she was incensed when the widower of one of her sisters declared his intention to wed again.

She also recognized, however, that the law could put married women at a serious disadvantage by making them economically dependent upon their husbands and giving them little protection in abusive situations. As a practical matter she found it a great nuisance when promising suffragist women married and started having babies because their family responsibilities limited their ability to work for the cause.

Her Final Years and Death

Anthony herself never flagged in her commitment, engaging in social activism until her eighty-sixth birthday. On that occasion she spoke her final public words--and possibly her most famous--"Failure is impossible."

Weak from heart disease, she died a month later on March 13, 1906.

Some twenty-five hundred people were in church for her funeral service, and several hundred more braved stormy weather outside the building.

The Reverend Anna Shaw gave a eulogy in which she said, "Her work will not be finished, nor her last word spoken, while there remains a wrong to be righted or a fettered life to be freed in all the world."

While so lofty a standard can never be attained, Anthony's cherished goal of women's suffrage was achieved with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment on August 18, 1920.

Linda Rapp

  <previous page   page: 1  2  3    

Contact Us
Join the Discussion
Related Entries
More Entries by this contributor
A Bibliography on this Topic

Citation Information
More Entries about Social Sciences

   Related Entries
literature >> Overview:  Romantic Friendship: Female

Until the beginning of the twentieth century, intimate, exclusive, and often erotic romantic friendships between women were largely perceived as normal and socially acceptable.

social sciences >> Overview:  Women's Suffrage Movement

Women whom we would identify as lesbian or bisexual led the American movement for women's right to vote and hold political office.

social sciences >> Boston Marriages

Boston marriages--romantic unions between women that were usually monogamous but not necessarily sexual--flourished in the late nineteenth-century between women who tended to be college-educated, feminist, financially independent, and career-minded.

arts >> Johnston, Frances Benjamin

Pioneering photographer Frances Benjamin Johnston served as the official White House photographer during several administrations and earned fame as a photojournalist and documentary photographer.

literature >> Stein, Gertrude

In addition to becoming--with Alice B. Toklas--half of an iconic lesbian couple, Gertrude Stein was an important innovator and transformer of the English language.

arts >> Thomson, Virgil

Critic and composer Virgil Thomson was a pioneer in creating a specifically American form of classical music that is at once "serious" yet whimsically sardonic.


Barry, Kathleen. Susan B. Anthony: A Biography of a Singular Feminist. New York: New York University Press, 1988.

DuBois, Ellen Carol, ed. The Elizabeth Cady Stanton-Susan B. Anthony Reader: Correspondence, Writings, Speeches. Rev. ed. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1992.

Faderman, Lillian. To Believe in Women. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1999.

Pellauer, Mary D. Toward a Tradition of Feminist Theology: The Religious Social Thought of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Anna Howard Shaw. Brooklyn: Carlson Publishing, Inc., 1991.


    Citation Information
    Author: Rapp, Linda  
    Entry Title: Anthony, Susan B.  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2004  
    Date Last Updated February 25, 2004  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc.  


This Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc. is produced by glbtq, Inc., 1130 West Adams Street, Chicago, IL   60607 glbtq™ and its logo are trademarks of glbtq, Inc.
This site and its contents Copyright © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.
Your use of this site indicates that you accept its Terms of Service.