Item: BSL -
SUSAN B. ANTHONY WRITES TO MARILLA M. RICKER
TWO WOMEN'S RIGHTS GIANTS COME TOGETHER IN WASHINGTON
ANTHONY THANKS RICKER FOR "EVERY GOOD WORD AND
WORK GIVEN TO THE WORLD
BY YOUR OWN GOOD SELF"
DOCUMENT IS COVERED BY OUR WRITTEN, SIGNED AND SEALED
LIFETIME GUARANTEE OF AUTHENTICITY
Typed Letter Signed (TLS) by Susan B. Anthony
This is a wonderful letter encompassing the intersection of several
prominent forces at play in the Women's Rights Movement in the 19th
century. Susan B. Anthony here signs a letter to Marilla Ricker,
arguably two of the foremost champions of Women's Rights. What is even
more interesting is that the nexus of this interchange is not only their
mutual time at the Washington Convention, but an "Ingersoll spoon".
While this might appear to be a chance social gift reference, the
meaning is really quite deeper. Colonel Robert Ingersoll was one of the
leading orators of the second half of the century propounding the rights
of women and free thinkers. A Washington attorney, he gave Ricker her
first job as a licensed attorney in the notorious Star Route case, thus
ratifying her credentials as a woman attorney. See below for more
detailed biographies on each of these amazing individuals as well as an
image the "Ingersoll spoon".
Susan Brownell Anthony (1820 – 1906)
Brownell Anthony was a pioneer leader of the cause of woman suffrage,
and her energy was tireless in working for what she considered to be the
best interests of womankind. At home and abroad she had innumerable
friends, not only among those who sympathized with her views, but among
those who held opinions radically opposed to her. She was at the time of
her death the Honorary President of the National Woman Suffrage
Association, the society which she and Elizabeth Cady Stanton organized
in 1869. Anthony was born at South Adams, Mass., on Feb. 15, 1820.
Daniel Anthony, her father, a liberal Quaker, was a cotton manufacturer.
She was first instructed by teachers at home and then sent afterwards to
finish her education at a Friends' boarding school in Philadelphia.
Anthony had become impressed with the idea that women were suffering
great wrongs, and when she abandoned school teaching, having saved only
about $300, she determined to enter the lecture field. In 1851 she
called a temperance convention in Albany, admittance to a previous
convention having been refused to her because it was not the custom to
admit women. The Women's New York State Temperance Society was organized
the following year. Through Miss Anthony's exertions and those of
Elizabeth Cady Stanton women soon came to be admitted to educational and
other conventions, with the right to speak, vote, and act upon
Anthony's active participation in the movement for woman suffrage
started as early as 1854 when she arranged conventions throughout New
York and annually bombarded the Legislature with messages and appeals.
She was active in obtaining the passage of the act of the New York
Legislature in 1860 giving to married women the possession of their
earnings and the guardianship of their children. During the Civil War
she was devoted to the Women's Loyal League, which petitioned Congress
in favor of the thirteenth amendment. She was also directly interested
in the fourteenth amendment, sending a petition in favor of leaving out
the word "male."
In company with Stanton and Lucy Stone, Anthony went to Kansas in 1867,
and there obtained 9,000 votes in favor of woman suffrage. The following
year, with the co-operation of Stanton, Parker Pillsbury, and George
Francis Train, she began the publication in New York City of a weekly
paper called The Revolutionist, devoted to the emancipation of women. In
order to test the application of the fourteenth and fifteenth amendments
she cast ballots in the State and Congressional election in Rochester in
1872. She was indicted and ordered to pay a fine, but the order was
Anthony succeeded Mrs. Stanton as President of the National Woman
Suffrage Association in 1892. This office she held until February, 1899,
her farewell address being delivered at a meeting of the association in
Washington. For a number of years she averaged 100 lectures a year. She
engaged in eight different State campaigns for a Constitutional
amendment enfranchising women, and hearings before committees of
practically every Congress since 1869 were granted to her. Susan B.
Anthony died in Rochester, New York, in her house on Madison St., on
March 13, 1906, and is buried at Mount Hope Cemetery. [includes excerpts from her New York Times Obituary]
Marilla M. Ricker (1840-1920)
Trail-blazing Attorney, Abolitionist, Free Thinker, Humanitarian and
Ricker was born 18 March 1840 in New Durham, New Hampshire. Her father,
Jonathan Young, reportedly related to Mormon prophet Brigham Young, was
a freethinker and proponent of women's rights who took his daughter to
courtrooms and town meetings. She was educated in public schools and the
Colby Academy in New London, New Hampshire. In 1863 she married John
Ricker, Esq. of Madbury but was widowed by his death in 1868. After some
time traveling in Europe she moved to Washington, D.C. where she read
law with Albert Gallatin Riddle and Arthur Williams. Ricker was admitted
to the bar of the District in May, 1882, after four years study in a law
office, placing first in the bar examination. Her first public courtroom
appearance was as assistant counsel to Robert G. Ingersoll in the Star
Route mail fraud cases. An ardent Ingersoll fan, Ricker would later
offer to buy the full 12-volume Dresden Edition of the Works of
Ingersoll for any New Hampshire library that would accept them. Her
practice, however, was primarily in criminal litigation and she became
known as the "prisoner's friend," successfully challenging a district
law that indefinitely confined poor criminals unable to pay fees.
In 1870 Ricker cast a ballot in Ward 3 at Dover, New Hampshire and had the distinction of being
one of the first U.S. woman to attempt to vote under a constitutional
right, perhaps the first using
the argument that women were "electors" under the Fourteenth Amendment.
Her vote was annulled. In 1890, Marilla won the right of women to practice law in New
Hampshire, becoming the first woman attorney in that state, her case
before the New Hampshire Supreme Court being co-argued by Lelia
Robinson, the woman who had gained women the right to be admitted to the
bar of Massachusetts. The New Hampshire Women's Bar Association each
year awards its Outstanding Woman Attorney the Marilla Ricker Prize.
Ricker was also the first woman appointed Commissioner and Examiner in
Chancery in the District of Columbia in 1884 and the first woman to
apply for a foreign ambassadorship in 1897. This too was denied.
In 1879 Belva A. Lockwood prevailed upon Congress to adopt an “Act to
relieve certain legal disabilities of women” and which authorized women
to be admitted to practice before the U. S. Supreme Court. Lockwood was
subsequently admitted as the first woman of the Supreme Court bar. The
early women pioneers in the Supreme Court knew and worked with one
another, often active in suffrage movements as well as professional and
voluntary associations. It was Emma M. Gillett, the seventh woman
admitted to the Supreme Court who moved the admission of Marilla M.
Ricker to become a woman member of the Court bar. On May I, 1891, she
was the ninth woman admitted to practise before the Supreme Court of the
United States. In 1910 she was the first woman to run for governor of
New Hampshire; the Secretary of State, Edward Pearson, returned her
application fee and refused to even put her name on the ballot claiming
that “without the right to vote she could not run for office.” Marilla
M. Ricker died on 12 November 1920 at the age of eighty. She did live to
see some of her life ambitions fulfilled as the Nineteenth Amendment,
giving women the right to vote, was ratified three months before her
death, and the 1920 election saw New Hampshire elect the first two women
to the House of Representatives.
Ricker likely began her association with Susan B. Anthony when she
attended the first National Woman’s Suffrage Association (NWSA)
convention in 1869.
You are particularly recommended to read:
Marilla Ricker in the Struggle for Women's Rights, Stanford
University 2002, LeeAnn Richey
Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899)
One of the foremost orators and political speechmakers of late 19th
Ingersoll was born in Dresden, New York in 1833 where today there is a
museum in his honor. While still quite young his family moved to
Illinois. Ingersoll entered public life as a Peoria, Illinois, attorney.
Following distinguished service in the Civil War, he served as the first
Attorney General of Illinois. Politically, he allied with the
Republicans, the party of Lincoln and in those days the voice of
progressivism. Ingersoll' s electrifying speaking voice soon made him
the most sought-after speechmaker on behalf of Republican candidates and
causes. His legal career was also distinguished. He mounted a successful
defense of two men falsely charged in the Star Route Scandal, perhaps
the most controversial, politically-charged trial of the late 19th
century. But it was his private speaking career that made him famous.
Tour after tour, he crisscrossed the country and spoke before packed
houses on topics ranging from Shakespeare to Reconstruction, from
science to religion. In an age when oratory was the dominant form of
public entertainment, Ingersoll was the unchallenged king of American
orators. Ingersoll was the friend of Presidents, literary giants like
Mark Twain, captains of industry like Andrew Carnegie, and leading
figures in the arts. He was also beloved of reformers like Elizabeth
Cady Stanton. He was an early popularizer of Charles Darwin and a
tireless advocate of science and reason. More, he argued for the rights
of women and African-Americans.
In 1876 he gave a speech before the Republican National Convention in
Cincinnati, nominating James G. Blaine for the presidency. The party
nominated Rutherford B. Hayes instead, but Ingersoll' s nominating
speech - known ever after as the "Plumed Knight" speech - was considered
for decades afterward the classic political speech of the age.
Candidates sought Ingersoll' s oratorical services eagerly. He
campaigned for every Republican Presidential candidate but one, from
Grant to McKinley. Yet because of his outspoken and controversial views,
Ingersoll was never appointed to public office by any of the politicians
whose election he helped to secure.
Ingersoll' s law practice added to his fame. He defended Thomas J. Brady
and Stephen W. Dorsey in the famous Star Route Trial. This was the same
trial in which he gave Marilla Ricker her first court appearance as a
woman attorney. The Star Route affair, which concerned the
mis-assignment of rural postal routes, was the Watergate scandal of its
day. The nation watched Ingersoll deftly weave what would become the
longest trial defense in American history. After months of testimony,
Ingersoll secured acquittals for his clients. Between 1865 and 1899
Ingersoll crisscrossed the country on more than a dozen speaking tours.
He would pack the largest theaters of the day at the then-substantial
admission of $1 apiece. Ingersoll had numerous three- to four-hour
lectures committed to memory. No human being had been seen and heard by
more Americans - or would be until the advent of motion pictures, radio,
and television. His subjects ranged from Shakespeare and Burns to
religion, from political and moral issues to the lives of famous
patriots and scientists. Among his admirers were president James
Garfield, poet Walt Whitman, General Ulysses S. Grant,
industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, inventor Thomas Edison,
and preacher Henry Ward Beecher. Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) was
especially impressed by Ingersoll. After hearing Ingersoll speak, he
wrote his wife Olivia Langdon Clemens: "What an organ is human speech
when it is employed by a master!"
died of heart failure on July 21, 1899 at Walston, his son-in-law's
palatial home in Dobbs Ferry-on-Hudson, New York. He was 65 years old.
Ingersoll was buried with military honors in Arlington National
Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, where his large grave marker can still be
seen. Shortly after Ingersoll' s death, his complete works were
collected and published by his brother-in-law Clinton P. Farrell. The
lavish 12-volume set was known as the "Dresden Edition," named for the
town of Ingersoll' s birth.
This sterling silver miniature spoon bears front and rear likenesses of
Ingersoll and includes imagery symbolizing reason and free thought as
blazing torches. Made in 1892 by Illinois jeweler, free thought
activist, and Ingersoll admirer Otto Wettstein. This particular
original Wettstein spoon resides at the Ingersoll museum in his old
homestead in Dresden, New York. It was later reproduced by Gorham silversmiths some
copies of which are still extant.
The document is on Rival Bond
watermarked wove paper and measures 8" wide x 6" tall (223mm x 150mm).
Typed document in black ink and signed by "Susan B. Anthony" in ink.
There are several folds and a surface disturbance along the bottom
margin possibly from an earlier applied tape. Signed Anthony documents
are scarce and one such as this linking major figures within the Women's
Rights Movement are extremely rare in the marketplace.
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Item: BSL - 1900-Anthony