Susan B. Anthony was a trail blazer for women’s rights and the women’s rights movement. We owe her a debt of gratitude. Without her effort and others paving the way for us, women such as Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin would not be in politics today and Oprah Winfrey and Martha Stewart would not own multi-million dollar businesses. All girls today have a much better chance of financial independence and freedom to choose their own destiny.
According to The Susan B. Anthony House, Ms. Anthony worked for many reforms, including suffrage, temperance, and abolition, but found that women were hampered by their lack of power – their lack of money. In the early nineteenth century, very few occupations were open to women. Once married, a woman could not open a bank account, enter into a contract, rent a place to live, or sue someone against whom she had a grievance. Any income that she earned was considered to be the property of her husband. For Anthony, the purse was not a fashion statement. The “purse of her own” became the symbol of a woman’s financial independence.
“Woman must have a purse of her own, and how can this be, so long as the wife is denied the right to her individual and joint earnings. Reflections like these, caused me to see and really feel that there was no true freedom for woman without the possession of all her property rights.” ~ Susan B. Anthony
Susan B. Anthony, was recognized by two trademarks: her alligator purse and a red shawl. Visit the Susan B. Anthony House and Museum to see the famous alligator purse she carried across the United States and to Europe. It is located at 17 Madison Street, Rochester, New York. Anthony used her alligator bag more like a briefcase than like a purse. In it, she carried her speeches and pamphlets, a copy of the transcript from her 1873 trial in which she was found guilty for having voted “illegally” in the 1872 federal election. What would be the most important item you carry in your purse?
The Susan B. Anthony House introduced “Ms. Anthony: a Purse with a Purpose” designed by the Abigail Riggs Collection in 2010. The contemporary handbag has two purposes: to share the story of Susan B. Anthony, champion of woman’s independence, and to generate income to sustain her llegacy through the Susan B. Anthony House. For more information and to purchase the purse visit The Susan B. Anthony House here.