Notable Women in History ~ United States













Life Influences


Paul, Alice





Moorestowne, NJ




Organized first major suffrage parade with Lucy Burns. Established Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage (later National Woman’s Party. Wrote the Equal Rights Amendment in 1923 after receiving her law degree.  Not all women agreed with her. Organized World Party for Equal Rights for Women (World Woman’s Party). Successfully lobbied for sexual equality in the wording of Preamble to UN Charter and 1964 US Civil Rights Act.


Swarthmore College; Studied in England; Ph.D. U. of PA.


Phillips, Lena Madesin


1881‑ 1955







Women’s Issues. After WWII did extensive work rebuilding women’s clubs in Europe and doing relief work.


Founder of BPW/USA & BPW/International


Musician/pianist, lawyer.


Sanger, Margaret





Corning, NY


6th of 11 children. Father a stone monument shop. Catholic mother.


Founder of birth control movement, convinced that women must control their reproduction. Advocated personal liberty. Refused to be faithful to her husband. Published a series of articles on female sexuality in newspaper. PO refused to deliver issue about syphilis and banned info on contraception & abortion. Started a militant feminist journal which PO refused to mail. Escaped arrest by fleeing to Europe, but left behind an informative pamphlet. With sister, opened clinic in Brooklyn, closed by police in 10 days. Judge didn’t free her but did allow doctors to dispense info about contraceptions. Lobbied for bills to remove legal prohibition to access medical advise. Organized American Birth Control League in 1921. In 1923 first doctor-staffed birth control clinic & gave instructions to hundreds of physicians on contraceptive techniques. 1938, more than 300 birth control clinics existed. Organized the first World Population Conference in Geneva, Switzerland in 1927.


Daughter of businessman. Watched mother’s health deteriorate w/multiple births. Two older sisters paid college tuition. She worked for room & board. Taught immigrant children. Reluctantly kept house for father & attended a new nursing school.

Married to architect. Childbirth almost ruined her health. Hated housework. Moved to NY w/husband. Witnessed a horribly-botched self-abortion.


Catt, Carrie Chapman





Ripon, WI


Farming family, superb equestrian. Married; remarried.


Involved w/IA Woman Suffrage Assoc. Rqd. 2nd fiancé to sign prenuptial agreement allowing her to work for woman suffrage 4 mo/yr. Reorganized National American Suffrage Assoc. along political districts & served as Pres. 1915 till death. Founded 1902 the International Woman Suffrage Alliance & serve as Pres. After Congress adopted the 19th Amendment, reorganized her suffrage association of 2 million into the League of Women Voters. Fostered the peace movement, encouraged disarmament & prohibition and supported formation of United Nations.


Finished HS 3 yrs; teaching certificate, financed degree IA State College in 3 years. HS principal, appointed first woman superintendent in U.S.

First husband died after 2 yrs. 2nd husband died allowing her to work FT for her causes.


Anthony, Susan B.





Adams, Mass.


Father, cotton mfg.


Crusader for Woman Suffrage. Pres. Of National American Woman Suffrage Assoc. Started Women’s Temperance Society of NY, with an even greater concern for suffrage. Joined Stanton & Amelia Bloomer in a crusade for women’s rights. Joined anti-slavery movement. Agent for American Anti-Slavery Society. After Civil War, campaigned for equal pay for women. Trying to vote in 1872, was arrested, then began efforts to gain federal woman suffrage. Organized International Council of Women and the International Woman Suffrage Alliance. Supported co-education vocally & financially. Participants at meetings in London & Berlin acknowledged her contributions to women’s rights world-wide.


Daughter of Quaker abolitionist who dominated the family. Learned to read & write by age 3. Educated boarding school, taught at female academy. Returning home, met Frederick Douglas & others discussing needed reforms in society.


Stone, Lucy





West Brookfield, MA


8th of 9 children. Father a farmer/tanner who ruled wife & children.

Married. Child.


Pay equity. Educated interpretation of Bible. Abbey Kelly Foster suggested her as lecturer for American Anti-slavery movement, but Stone’s inclusion of women’s rights led to her censure. At first national women’s rights convention in Worcester, MA, her speech convinced Susan B. Anthony to join the group.  From then on, Stone lectured about woman’s suffrage.

Before marriage, demanded right to keep her own name and continue her work. Interrupted work to care for child. After Civil War she & husband helped establish Woman Suffrage Assoc. With Julia Ward Howe as Pres.

First person in New England to be cremated.


Age 12 began rising early to help mother who’s health deteriorated w/each birth. Read in Bible that men should rule women; suspected mistranslation. Decided to learn Greek & Hebrew to read original. As teacher, dismayed about pay inequity. Age 25 Oberlin College supported by teaching & housework. Confirmed biblical discrepancies. Became orator & used knowledge to shock audiences into listening. Was first Mass. Woman to receive a college degree.

Founded a weekly newspaper w/Mary Livermore as editor.


Stanton, Elizabeth Cady





Johnstown, NY


4th of 6 children.


Women’s rights leader. In wedding vows, omitted the word “obey.” Met Lucretia Mott at World’s Anti-Slavery convention in London. In Boston met abolutionists. Asked friends to address their letters to her “Elizabeth Cady Stanton.”

She & Lucretia Mott planned agenda for Woman’s Rights Convention in 1848. Her friendship to Susan B. Anthony began when she impressed Anthony with the importance of woman’s suffrage. (See notes on Clarina Nichols of Kansas.) Stanton & Anthony created the National Women’s Suffrage Assoc. & Anthony published a women’s rights newspaper. Stanton protested sexual abuse & advocated co-ed schools. Together they published the first of 3 volumes of “History of Woman Suffrage.” Stanton was President of National American Woman Suffrage Assoc., nearly destroyed by her radical stance against religion. When she published “The Woman’s Bible,” a study of sexism in the Old Testament, she lost her leadership.


Father a lawyer who served in Congress & on NY Supreme Court. Frequently overheard stories of women who lost property & children through divorce. Father once expressed regret that she was a girl--to make him proud of her, she studied languages, horseback riding, & skill at games. Attended Emma Willard’s Troy Female Seminary.


Grimke, Angelina & Sarah





Activists, Charleston, SC


A: Youngest of 14. Married anti-slavery orator

S: 6th child, apparently never married.




Anti-slavery, women’s rights. Member Female Anti-slavery Society. A  lectured extensively to mixed audiences m/f irritating her church. Both realized need for women’s rights to achieve success in other areas.

First woman allowed to testify before Mass. Legislature. Sisters’ lecture series drew thousands. A’s husband & sisters started a school in 1848. Beliefs severely tested when learned brother’s sons by slave were attending Lincoln Univ. Sisters based arguments on Bible. Both moved to NY. S wrote book refuting argument that Bible supported slavery, and book about women’s rights.


Parents southern aristocrats/slave-holders. Well educated for their time (S. Had tutors & learned Greek, Latin & philosophy from brothers). A. lived in Philadelphia w/Sarah. Articles in newspaper linked prominent family name to A’s causes. S. Conformed outwardly to genteel society, but rebelled against slavery & religion. S. Introduced to Quakers where she felt comfortable. She had broken law to teach her own mail to read. Age 28 moved to Philadelphia, renounced Episcopal Church & joined the Quakers. Family males educated at Harvard, Princeton, & Lincoln Univ.


Truth, Sojourner (Isabella Baumfree)






1 of 13 children; slave parents, Dutch settlement NY. Married older slave. 5 children


Abolition, women’s suffrage, personal stories of slavery. Legendary phrase in Akron, OH, “Ain’t I a Woman?”, Aid to freed slaves


Learned to speak English. Domestic for religious communes; inspired by spiritual revelation. Worked with abolitionists such as William Garrison, Frederick Douglass & Olive Gilbert


Mott, Lucretia




Reformer & Minister

Nantucket, MA




Women’s rights. She & husband refused to grow, wear or eat goods produced w/slave labor.  He even changed business from cotton trade to wool commission. Active in American Anti-slavery Society after women allowed to join. Demanded immediate emancipation. Women’s Rights movement began when she & Elizabeth Cady Stanton realized that half the population couldn’t vote at World’s Anti-Slavery Convention in London. She attended but not allowed to speak officially; yet views were privately received well. Mott concerned about inequalities in education, labor, wages, employment & political rights. After 13th Amendment passed, Mott continued fight for African American Suffrage & higher ed for freed slaves.


Father a sea captain; mother kept shop which sold goods from his travels. Attended public &  private schools. Attended Quaker boarding school. Teacher @ half the male salary. Husband supported her causes & joined her on speaking engagements.