[N.P.]: [N.P.], May 1897. First edition. First separate offprint of Susan B. Anthony's speech, originally appearing in volume 17 of The Arena in May 1897 and here released the same year. In Fine condition, with 9 pages in original self-wraps stapled at spine. Signed at the header: "With kind regards, Susan B. Anthony. Rochester NY. Dec. 28/97." The present is the only copy to appear in the modern auction record, in 2017, and is the only copy on the market. Listed in Krichmar's index as an important example of suffrage campaigning, The Status of Woman does not appear in OCLC as an offprint or as an article in The Arena.
As the American woman suffrage movement neared the half-century mark in its fight for equality, Susan B. Anthony released this article as a testament to progress and a call for increased action. Within the first three pages she decries the limitations placed on women in the past: a lack of access to education, denial of participation in fields from literature to medicine to theology, the inability to own property, and a lack of control over one's own body. "Such was the helpless, dependent, fettered condition of woman when the first Woman's Rights Convention was called just forty nine years ago, at Seneca Falls, NY, by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. Half a century before this, Mary Wollstonecraft had written her Vindication of the Rights of Woman, that matchless plea for the equality of the sexes...While there had been individual demands from time to time, the first organized body to make a declaration of the rights of women was the one which met at Seneca Falls, July 19-20, 1848." With powerful rhetoric, Anthony reminds readers of how much progress has been made as a result of women organizing. It was, she asserts, at Seneca Falls "in the Declaration of Sentiments and the Resolutions there framed, every point was covered that, down to the present day, has been contended by the advocates of equal rights for women...There has been radical revolution in the legal status of women." Yet Anthony encourages readers to see that one critical area has remained unchanged to date; and the time has come, she asserts, to fix this final civic flaw. "The department of politics has been slowest to give admission to women. Suffrage is a pivotal right, and if it could have been secured at the beginning, women would not have been half a century in gaining the privileges enumerated above, for privileges they must be called so long as others may either give or take them away. If women could make the laws or elect those who make them, they would be in the positions of sovereigns instead of subjects." To this end, as Anthony and the National Woman Suffrage Association made a renewed push for voting rights, The Status of Woman offers a rallying point to advocates for equality: "All of the States combined in the national organization are directing their energies toward securing a Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States." Though Anthony and her activists would not accomplish suffrage at the time of this amendment -- having to battle another 23 years before accomplishing the Nineteenth Amendment -- her present article marks a key moment in their fight. As amendments passed without suffrage included, the women of the NWSA ultimately decided to rebrand their demand and call it the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, placing the name of their most vocal and visible leader in the public eye.
Krichmar 1429. Fine (Item #3332)