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Guide to the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Papers, 1796-1921

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Collection Summary

Repository: Archives and Special Collections Library, Vassar College Libraries
Creator: Stanton, Elizabeth Cady, 1815-1902
Title: Elizabeth Cady Stanton Papers
Dates: 1796-1921
Quantity: 2 cubic ft. (7 boxes)
Abstract: Materials relating to Stanton's work for woman suffrage, abolition, temperance, and other social causes. Includes family and professional correspondence, biographical and autobigraphical material, transcripts of her speeches, and photographs. Also includes material by others, including her daughter Margaret Stanton Lawrence, about the women's movement and Stanton's life and career
Forms of Materials: Correspondence, clippings, articles, transcripts, manuscripts, scrapbooks, and photographs.

Biographical Note

Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902), a leader in the struggle for women's rights, was born on 12 November 1815, in Johnstown, NY, and graduated from Emma Willard's Troy Female Seminary in 1832. Through her close relationship with her cousin Gerrit Smith, wealthy landowner and reformer, and his daughter, Elizabeth Smith Miller, she became interested in the antislavery and temperance movements, and married the abolitionist Henry Stanton in 1840. As reflected in her letters from 1839-1859, her concerns for the next twenty years appear to have been children (seven born between 1842 and 1859) and family; but it was during this period that she became one of the leaders in the woman's rights movement, helping to organize the first convention in Seneca Falls, NY in 1848 and forming the friendship with Susan B. Anthony that was to be so important for the future of the feminist movement. At the well-attended convention in Seneca Falls, Stanton proposed a resolution advocating suffrage for women. The resolution was the first public demand by women for the vote and, eloquently defended by Frederick Douglass, was finally adopted.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton's letters, 1867-1885, which include several to Paulina Wright Davis, another feminist and suffragist, reveal the public person. She became a very popular lecturer on the Lyceum circuit at this time and used her fame and popularity to further the cause of woman's rights throughout the United States and abroad. Stanton persuaded Aaron Sargent of California to introduce a federal woman suffrage amendment following the wording of the Fifteenth Amendment. It was reintroduced in every Congress until finally adopted in 1920. In the 1880s, Stanton and Susan B. Anthony prepared the monumental three-volume History of Woman Suffrage, the last volume of which appeared in 1886.

In later years, Stanton, famous and widely honored, devoted more time to writing for newspapers and magazines such as the Westminster Review, Arena, Forum, and North American Review. Still another controversy involved her. Convinced that the church and its interpretation of the Bible were great obstacles to the progress of women, she demanded that women have an equal place in the church, and she published The Woman's Bible, a commentary analyzing the Bible's derogatory references to women. These activities are reflected in her letters from 1885-1902.

In 1898, Stanton published her reminiscences, Eighty Years and More, and continued to express her views on religion, divorce, and other subjects. She died at the age of eighty-six. For months afterwards newspapers and magazines acknowledged Elizabeth Cady Stanton as "a statesman of the woman's rights movement and the mother of woman suffrage."

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Scope and Content Note

Papers include correspondence with Susan B. Anthony, Paulina Wright Davis, Elizabeth Smith Miller, Gerrit Smith, and others relating to family matters, her children, the woman's movement, her lectures and travels, publication of her books and articles, women and religion, abolition, temperance, and other social causes, 1839-1902; phrenological report by L.N. Fowler on the character of Stanton, 1853; and clippings, articles, transcripts of her speeches, an autobiographical sketch, and photographs. Other items include correspondence by Margaret Stanton Lawrence and others on the women's movement, other social causes, and Stanton's career, 1796-1921; and manuscripts and typescripts by Margaret Stanton Lawrence about Elizabeth Cady Stanton's life and career.

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Access and Use


This collection is open for research according to the regulations of the Vassar College Archives and Special Collections Library without any additional restrictions.

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Subject Headings


  • Anthony, Susan B. (Susan Brownell), 1820-1906.
  • Davis, Paulina W. (Paulina Wright), 1813-1876.
  • Fowler, L.N. (Lorenzo Niles), 1811-1896.
  • Lawrence, Margaret Stanton.
  • Miller, Elizabeth Smith, 1822-1911.
  • Smith, Gerrit, 1797-1874.
  • Stanton family.


  • Abolitionists.
  • Family--New York (State).
  • Feminist literature--Women authors.
  • Feminists.
  • Phrenology.
  • Slavery--Anti-slavery movements.
  • Temperance.
  • Women -- Suffrage.
  • Women and religion.
  • Women authors, American.
  • Women social reformers.
  • Women travelers.
  • Women's rights.
  • Women--Social conditions.

Document Types:

  • Autobiographies.
  • Autographs.
  • Photoprints.

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Encoding Information

Encoded by Elizabeth Clarke, August 2007.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Elizabeth Cady Stanton Papers, Archives and Special Collections Library, Vassar College Libraries.

Processing Information

Original processing date unknown.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Harriot Stanton Blatch (VC 1878) and Alma Lutz (VC 1912).

Other Formats

Scrapbooks are also available on microfilm. With the exception of extenuating circumstances, readers will be required to use the microfilm. A part of "Phrenological Character of Mrs. Elizabeth [sic] C. Stanton..." found in Volume 1 of the Scrapbooks was not microfilmed. The reader will find a photocopy of this part in Box 3 of the Stanton Papers.

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Series List

Series I. Correspondence, 1839-1902 (Boxes 1-3)

147 letters (1839-1902) relating to family, children, woman's movement, lectures and travels, publication of Stanton's books, articles, etc.

Series II. Unpublished Manuscripts by Margaret Stanton Lawerence (Box 4)

4 unpublished manuscripts by Stanton's daughter about her mother's life and career

Series III. Scrapbooks, 1796-1921 (Boxes 5-7)

These 3 volumes (1796-1921) contain letters written to Elizabeth Cady Stanton from others involved in the woman's movement and other causes, as well as clippings of her newspaper articles and letters to the editor, copies of speeches, photographs, and other memorabilia.
Volume 1 of the scrapbooks contains letters from Susan B. Anthony to Stanton, and Volume 2 contains a typescript of "Our Young Girls," Stanton's favorite lecture - and most in demand - on the New York Lyceum Bureau circuit.

Series IV. Miscellaneous (Box 3)

Container List


Folder 1.1 Susan B. Anthony, [May 1852-July 1859] (7 ALS w/ TS)
Folder 1.2 Rachel Foster [Avery], [1880's] (2 ALS w/ TS)
Folder 1.3 Edward Baines, 10 April [1869] (1 ALS w/ TS)
Folder 1.4 Harriot Stanton Blatch, 24 March [1879] (1ALS w/ TS)
Folder 1.5 William J. Bok, 18 November [1894] (1 ALS w/TS)
Folder 1.6 Mr. Brown, 1872 (1 ALS w/ TS)
Folder 1.7 [Lloyd] Bryce, [1893] (3 ALS w/ TS)
Folder 1.8 C.S. Carter, 2 October 1876 (1 ALS w/ TS)
Folder 1.9 Mrs. Conte, 1885 (1 ALS w/ TS)
Folder 1.10 Laura Brownell Collier, 21 January 1886 (1 ALS w/ env.)
Folder 1.11 Mrs. Darlington, 27 May [n.y.] (1 ALS w/ TS)
Folder 1.12 Paulina Wright Davis, [1870-1784] (3 ALS w/ TS)
Folder 1.13 Mrs. Ellsworth, 23 March 1898 (1 LS w/ TS)
Folder 1.14 Mrs. Holloway [?], [1889] (1 ALS w/ TS)
Folder 1.15 Karr Knortz, 1 December 1879 (1 AN w/ TS)
Folder 1.16 Mary Livermore, [1892-1894] (2 ALS w/ TS)
Folder 1.17 Mrs. William Proctor Mellen, [1890] (1 ALS w/ TS)
Folder 1.18 Elizabeth Smith Miller, [1839-1856] (13 ALS w/ TS, 1 AL w/ TS)
Folder 1.19 Lucretia Mott, 1 April [1872] (1 ALS w/ TS)
Folder 1.20 Olive [Moulton?], 12th [1870's] (1 ALS w/ TS)
Folder 1.21 Charles Mumford, [July 1870's-1871] (2 ALS w/ TS)
Folder 2.1 Elizabeth Pease [Nichol], 3 November [1840] (1 ALS w/ TS, env.)
Folder 2.2 Mr. Nordoff, 15 April [n.y.] (1 ALS w/ TS)
Folder 2.3 M.D. Phillips, 5 August 1886 (3 ALS w/ TS)
Folder 2.4 Mr. Redpath, 28 February 1870 (1 ALS w/TS)
Folder 2.5 William Seward, 19 September [n.y.] (1 TS)
Folder 2.6 Mrs. Smith, 4 June [n.y.] (1 ALS w/ TS)
Folder 2.7 Cousin G. [Gerrit Smith], 16 December [1874] (1 ALS w/ TS)
Folder 2.8 Margaret [Marguerite Berry Stanton], 24 June [1867]-20 April [1881] (ALS w/ 2 TS)
Folder 2.9 Mr. Strickland, [May 1886] (1 ALS w/ TS)
Folder 2.10 Mr. [Edwin A.] Studwell, 30 November 1867 (1 ALS w/ TS)
Folder 2.11 C.P. Sumerby, 1 November 1876 (1 ALS w/ TS)
Folder 2.12 Mrs. Thomas, 19 February [1898] (1 ALS w/ TS)
Folder 2.13 Mr. Thomas, 23 January [1898] (1 ALS w/ TS)
Folder 2.14 Mr. Underhill, [1890] (1 ALS w/ TS)
Folder 2.15 Mrs. Underwood, 5 April 1884-23 January [1890-1898] (8 ALS w/ TS)
Folder 2.16 Mr. Underwood, 13 March [1885]- [n.d.] (8 ALS w/ TS)
Folder 2.17 Oswald Villard, 20 October 1902 (2 TS w/ env)
Folder 2.18 William Hayes Ward, 18 March [1870's]-5 December [1890's] (4 ALS w/ TS)
Folder 2.19 Lemuel Washburn, 25 March [1893]- 11 December [1898-1902] (2 ALS w/ TS)
Folder 2.20 Mr. [Thurlow] Weed, 26 January [n.y.] (1 ALS w/ TS)
Folder 2.21 Mrs. White, 14 July [1896] (1 ALS w/ TS)
Folder 2.22 B.W. Williams, 18 October [1872] (1 ALS w/ TS)
Folder 2.23 unidentified others, 29 January 1869 - [n.d.] (9 ALS w/ 8 TS)
Folder 2.24 self - addressed, February - August 1897 (8 postcards)
Folder 3.1 Theodore Tilton, 27 March 1897 (1 ALS)
Folder 3.2 Martha C. Wright, 3 October 1874 (1 ALS w/ TS)
Folder 3.3 Correspondence to and from Margaret Stanton Lawrence, 3 March 1911-1923 (1 ALS, 2 Fragments)
Folder 3.4 Autograph Notes, 1869 - [ca. 1900]
Folder 3.5 Autograph Notes, [n.d.]

Unpublished Manuscripts by Margaret Stanton Lawerence

Folder 4.1 "Elizabeth Cady Stanton..." pp. 1-43
Folder 4.2 "Elizabeth Cady Stanton..." pp. 44-88
Folder 4.3 "Elizabeth Cady Stanton..." pp. 89-134
Folder 4.4 "Who Was Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Who Started Votes For Women"
Folder 4.5 "Who Was Elizabeth Cady Stanton? My Mother," part 1
Folder 4.6 "Who Was Elizabeth Cady Stanton? My Mother," part 2
Folder 4.7 "Who Was Elizabeth Cady Stanton? My Mother," part 3
Folder 4.8 Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Federal Ammendment


Box 5 Volume I
Box 6 Volume II
Box 7 Volume III


Folder 3.6 Inscription of Cook Book from Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 2 October 1878 (1 ANS w/ fasc. of inscr., 1 TS)
Folder 3.7 Bio. Sketch by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 10 March 1885 (1 AN w/ TS)
Folder 3.8 Verses by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, [12 November 1870] (1 AN w/ 1 TS)
Folder 3.9 Birthday Poems by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 20 October 1852, 1897 (2 AN w/ env)
Folder 3.10 Toasts by Elizabeth Cady Stanton at Ellen Walter's Dinner Party, [n.d] (1 AN w/ TS)
Folder 3.11 Robert Livingston Stanton's Toast to E.C.S., [n.d] (1 AN)
Folder 3.12 Bookplate of Theodore Stanton
Folder 3.13 First-day-of-issue envelope honoring E.C.S., 19 July 1948 (1 env)
Folder 3.14 Miscellaneous Printed Material about E.C.S., 1939-1981
Folder 3.15 Photographs
Folder 3.16 "Phrenological Character of Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton," 1853 (Photocopy)

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