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The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony (Volume 1 of 2)   By: (1851-1931)

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[Illustration HW: Susan B. Anthony]

THE LIFE AND WORK

OF

SUSAN B. ANTHONY

INCLUDING PUBLIC ADDRESSES, HER OWN LETTERS AND MANY FROM HER CONTEMPORARIES DURING FIFTY YEARS

BY IDA HUSTED HARPER

A Story of the evolution of the Status of Woman

IN TWO VOLUMES

VOLUME I ILLUSTRATED WITH PORTRAITS, PICTURES OF HOMES, ETC.

INDIANAPOLIS AND KANSAS CITY THE BOWEN MERRILL COMPANY 1899

TO WOMAN, FOR WHOSE FREEDOM SUSAN B. ANTHONY HAS GIVEN FIFTY YEARS OF NOBLE ENDEAVOR THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED

PREFACE.

A biography written during the lifetime of the subject is unusual, but to the friends of Miss Anthony it seemed especially desirable because the reform in which she and her contemporaries have been engaged has not been given a deserved place in the pages of history, and the accounts must be gleaned very largely from unpublished records and personal recollections. The wisdom of this course often has been apparent in the preparation of these volumes. In recalling how many times an entirely different interpretation of letters, scenes and actions would have been made from that which Miss Anthony declared to be the true one, the author must confess that hereafter all biographies will be read by her with a certain amount of skepticism a doubt whether the historian has drawn correct conclusions from apparent premises, and a disbelief that one individual can state accurately the motives which influenced another.

Most persons who have attained sufficient prominence to make a record of their lives valuable are too busy to prepare an autobiography, but there is only one other way to go down to posterity correctly represented, and that is to have some one else write the history while the hero still lives. If we admit this self evident proposition, then the question is presented, should it be published during his lifetime? A reason analogous to that which justifies the writing, demands also the publication, in order that denials or attacks may be met by the person who, above all others, is best qualified to defend the original statement. It seems a pity, too, that he should be deprived of knowing what the press and the people think of the story of his life, since there is no assurance that he will meet the book reviewers in the next world.

These volumes may claim the merit of truthfully describing the principal events of Miss Anthony's life and presenting her opinions on the various matters considered. She has objected to the eulogies, but the writer holds that, as these are not the expressions of a partial biographer but the spontaneous tributes of individuals and newspapers, no rule of good taste is violated in giving them a place. It is only justice that, since the abuse and ridicule of early years are fully depicted, esteem and praise should have equal prominence; and surely every one will read with pleasure the proof that the world's scorn and repudiation have been changed to respect and approval. Many letters of women have been used to disprove the assertion so often made, that women themselves do not properly estimate the labors of Miss Anthony in their behalf. It can not be expected that the masses should understand or appreciate her work, but the written evidence herein submitted will demonstrate that the women of each decade most prominent in intellectual ability, in philanthropy, in reform, those who represent the intelligence and progress of the age, have granted to it the most cordial and thorough recognition.

There has not been the slightest attempt at rhetorical display, but only an endeavor to tell in plain, simple language the story of the life and work of one who was born into the simplicity and straightforwardness of the Society of Friends and never departed from them. The constant aim has been to condense, but it has not been an easy task to crowd into limited space the history of nearly eighty busy, eventful years, comprising a revolution in social and legal customs. If the reader discover some things omitted which to him seem vital, or others mentioned which appear unimportant, it is hoped he will attribute them to an error of judgment rather than to an intention to minimize or magnify unduly any person or action... Continue reading book >>


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