WXXI AM News

Connections: Recently discovered Susan B. Anthony letters shed new light on the suffrage movement

Apr 18, 2017

Imagine cleaning out your attic or basement and accidentally stumbling upon an important piece of history. That's what happened to a couple in Connecticut. When Libbie and George Merrow discovered a crate full of old letters, pamphlets, and photographs in their barn, they were surprised to learn they had uncovered an archive of the suffrage movement. The collection includes letters from Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Isabella Beecher Hooker, a suffragist and the half-sister of Harriet Beecher Stowe.

The University of Rochester acquired the collection -- one that some have called the biggest discovery of its kind in decades. We talk about the significance of the materials, how they impact scholarship, and what we can learn about Susan B. Anthony from her letters. Our guests:

  • Jessica Lacher-Feldman, assistant dean for special collections and preservation, and director of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation at the University of Rochester River Campus Libraries
  • Lori Birrell, special collections librarian for historical manuscripts at the University of Rochester River Campus Libraries
  • Libbie and George Merrow, Connecticut couple who discovered the letters in their barn
  • Deborah Hughes, executive director of the Susan B. Anthony Museum and House