“SEND SUSAN B. ANTHONY HOME” ---That’s the refrain being heralded by the Susan B. Anthony House and museum, a National Historic Landmark, in Rochester, NY. Remember those Susan B. Anthony dollars first minted by the United States Treasury in 1979? They were originally released by the U.S. Mint at the Susan B. Anthony House at 17 Madison Street in Rochester, New York. The dollar coin, the first U.S. currency to bear the image of a famous American woman, went into circulation from her home much the same she journeyed forth from Madison Street to campaign for human rights. About eight hundred million Susan B. Anthony dollars were minted over twenty years. However,the coin was similar enough in size and color to the quarter that it never caught on as currency. Many of the coins have ended up in jars or drawers, but Susan B. Anthony would not be happy sitting still on a shelf! The House invites one and all to put her back in circulation by sending dollars to the Susan B. Anthony House, where they will be used to share her story with the world.
The campaign is designed as a way to focus national attention on the Susan B. Anthony House and its work, and to help the House raise much-needed funds for continued development of its campus and programs. The Susan B. Anthony House is a national treasure, incorporated in 1945 as the Susan B. Anthony Memorial, and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966. Deborah L. Hughes, the House’s executive director, is quick to point out that only 3% of all historic sites on the national historic registry have this designation, and fewer than 10% of those sites focus on women’s history. In addition to the 150 year old home that is 75% restored, there are more than 5,000 artifacts, documents, photos, furnishings, and ephemera in the collection, including invaluable personal belongings of Miss Anthony and her family. The House is committed to sharing these national treasures while also assuring they have the finest care and conservation to be preserved for future generations. Currently, the House has items on loan to the state of Washington, to Disney/Epcot Center, and to Rochester’s Hall of Justice.
Thousands of visitors come from around the country and the world each year to hear about Susan B. Anthony’s life and work, to stand in the room where Susan B. Anthony was arrested for voting in 1872, to gather near the bed where she breathed her last in 1906. In addition to tours led by more than 100 dedicated volunteer docents, the House offers a series of workshops and programs to motivate people of all ages to become more active in their communities. There are programs for Girl Scouts, veterans, women in transition (from addiction, incarceration, or trauma), older adults, people with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and school groups.
For 65 years, the House has operated much as Susan B. Anthony did: raising just enough money for today to make tomorrow’s work possible. Now it is time to grow the membership nationally and to build an endowment to secure the future. This national treasure deserves national support.
It’s easy to participate in the “Bring Susan B. Anthony Home” campaign. Individuals can mail their Susan B. Anthony dollars to the Susan B. Anthony House, 17 Madison St., Rochester, NY 14608-1928, or visit a special web page at www.sendsusanhome.org, where they can make an online contribution or post a link to the campaign on Facebook or Twitter.
The launch of the campaign coincides with the celebration of the 90th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, often called the “Susan B. Anthony Amendment,” in honor of the famous suffragist’s long and valiant fight for equal rights for women. The amendment was finally ratified in 1920, fourteen years after Susan B. Anthony’s death.