1871-1872: Family Matters


In studying D.R. Anthony (right) it is impossible to forget his sister because of what she did for women in our country and around the world. Her and Daniel shared many beliefs, chief among them abolitionism. Growing up as they did in a progressive, liberal, Quaker household certainly instilled many of these beliefs, as well as creating strong family ties. Once they left the confines of home, however, Daniel went far afield to Kansas, while Susan stayed on the east coast. Two members of the same family who each became giants in their communities, separated by hundreds of mile.

This begs the question; what was their relationship like after they left home?

According to SBA biographer Ida Husted Harper, they were extremely close, writing and visiting often; one anecdote tells of Susan (left) dropping everything for a day just to enjoy the company of her brother when he came to Rochester.

In a collection of letters written by DRA and published in the Kansas Historical Quarterly,  Anthony writes to Susan multiple times, as well as to his father, mother, and brother-in-law. He writes them on such subjects as his business as an insurance agent, the possibility of land purchases for Susan, Bleeding Kansas and border affairs, and other events in his life. To Susan he wrote a letter dated June 20th, 1862, in which he told her of his General Order 26 he had given while on campaign in Tennessee that protected slaves who escaped into areas controlled by his forces. She would no doubt have approved, as she too was agitating for abolition.

After his war service, he returned to the newspaper business, and he took occasion to publish in the Times speeches and events involving his sister.

SBA goes to England – Leavenworth Times, November 23, 1871

his paper reports his sisters speech – February 1st, 1872

Scholars of SBA know that one of the biggest events in her life was her trial after her arrest for voting in New York. Did Daniel Read Anthony cover that? Of course he did!

The full text can be found here.

Perhaps to lighten the mood, in this particular issue of the Times, his embattled sister shared space with a comical story taken from the Saturday Evening Post of a man trying to catch a train into the city (presumably New York). The poor fellow discovers he is late, abandons his breakfast, and is chased by neighborhood dogs in his rush to reach the train. No doubt a story shared by many a commuter, both then and now. There were other railroad related articles as well.

Returning to the subject of Susan and Daniel’s relationship, it is safe to say it was a close one. Both had strong beliefs, owed in part to their upbringing, and they shared in each-others endeavors from afar. During the antebellum years, Daniel was more concerned with issues of Kansas’ statehood than he was with women’s suffrage, though the campaign for the latter in the west was well underway. He is alleged to have told Susan that statehood had to come first. With that achieved and the war behind him, he lent his voice in support of his sister. He died in 1904, 2 years before Susan. In a poignant anecdote that speaks to the love between a brother and sister, he left a provision in his will for a memorial to his famous sibling in the amount of $2,000. Perhaps DRA looked up to his big sister. No doubt he recognized her greatness.


Harper, Ida Husted. The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony; Including Public Addresses, Her Own Letters and Many from Her Contemporaries During Fifty Years. Indianapolis and Kansas City: The Bowen-Merrill company, 1898.

“The Anthony Family in Adams, Massachusetts.” Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum, http://www.susanbanthonybirthplace.com/anthonyFamily.shtml.

All newspaper articles courtesy of Chronicling America (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/)

Images of DRA and SBA from wikipedia


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