History In Ink®  Historical Autographs




Elizabeth Cady Stanton

At age 80, the famed womenʼs rights activist decries the “bigotry" of religious inequality

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 1815–1902.  Womenʼs rights activist; first president, National Woman Suffrage Association.  Autographed Quotation Signed, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, one page, 9

Fresh off the celebration of her 80th birthday at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City on November 12, 1895, Stanton decries religious inequality, which she characterizes as "bigotry."  She writes, in full:  “Nothing blocks human progress more effectually then [sic] religious bigotry.  /  Elizabeth Cady Stanton  /  Nov. 12th, 1815‒1895." 

This sentiment echoes the basic theme of Stantonʼs address at her birthday celebration.  A copy of that address, which Stanton has corrected by hand, accompanies this sentiment.  In it, she argued:

     . . . As learned bishops and editors of religious newspapers are warning us against further demands for new liberties, and clergymen are still preaching sermons on the “rib origin,” and refuse to receive women as delegates to their synods, it is evident that our demands for equal recognition should now be made of the Church for the same rights we have asked of the State for the last fifty years, for the same rights, privileges and immunities that men enjoy.  We must demand that the canon law, the Mosaic code, the scriptures, prayer books and liturgies be purged of all invidious distinctions of sex, of all false teaching as to womanʼs origin, character and destiny.  To make here the author of sin, cursed in her maternity, a subordinate in marriage, an afterthought in the creation, and all by the command of God, was so to overweight her in the scale of being that centuries of civilization have not as yet been able to lift the burden. . . .

     . . . We must demand an equal place in the offices of the Church, as pastors, elders, deacons; an equal voice in the creeds, discipline, and all business matters, in synods, conferences and general assemblies.

     . . . Women must demand that all unworthy reflections on the dignity and sacred office of the mother of the race be expunged from religious literature, such as the allegory as to the creation of woman, and Paul's assumptions as to her social status.  These ideas conflict with the Golden Rule and the fifth commandment:  “Honor thy mother,” and should no longer be rehearsed in the pulpit.  such sentiments cannot inspire the rising generation with respect for their mothers.

     . . . We must demand that the pulpit be no longer desecrated by men who read passages of Scripture or preach from texts that teach the subordination of one-half of the human race to the other.

Stanton, an early day abolitionist, became a leader in the women's rights movement when she presented her Declaration of Sentiments at the first organized women's rights convention in Seneca, New York, in 1848.  As this autographed item and her birthday address show, Stanton split with many of her colleagues on her view of religion.  She came to believe that organized Christianity relegated women to an unacceptable position in society.  In The Womanʼs Bible, published in two parts, 1895 and 1898, she and her daughter, Harriett Stanton Blatch, advanced a feminist understanding of Biblical scripture and sought to correct what Stanton believed was fundamental sexism inherent in organized Christianity.  It brought outcries from the religious establishment and even from some in the womenʼs suffrage movement itself.

Stanton has boldly penned this piece in black fountain pen.  She has written over the first four letters of her name, where her pen began to run out of ink.  The piece has several vertical folds and mounting remnants on one end on the back.  The accompanying printed address with Stanton's handwritten corrections has some weakness at the edges from where it was mounted in an album, and edge splits at the folds have been archivally repaired.  Both pieces are in fine condition overall.



This item has been sold, but

click here to see other

American History items

that we are offering.


home  |  presidents  |  supreme court  |  american history  |  world history  |  contact us


© History In Ink, L.L.C.




 Registered Dealer # RD281