top of page

Acerca de

Core Website 2.png

The Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum is proud to present our “If I could live another century!” Series. Framed by Susan B. Anthony’s wish, this series intends to guide, educate, and inspire participants through the years that Susan was unable to see herself.


This is accomplished through artwork, re-enactment, and author presentations about the suffrage movement directly before and after the passing of the 19th amendment. Details about these events are available below. 


This program is supported in part by grants from the Northern Berkshire Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency, and the Adams Community Bank.

Gram FInal.png

One of Aunt Susan's Lieutenants: Elizabeth Upham Yates' Work as a Subpioneer

Missionary to China, Temperance Lecturer, University Student, and Sour Old Maid (as described by Susan B. Anthony), Elizabeth Upham Yates used her beauty, humor, and eloquence to charm audiences.
She brought her skills to Rhode Island, where the women succeeded in bringing presidential suffrage in 1917, and later ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920.























By the 1890s, the U.S. women's suffrage pioneers like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Lucy Stone had reached old age. Anthony began to train what she called her "lieutenants"--women in the next generation--, whom one suffragist labeled "sub-pioneers," because they still battled public expectations of limited womanhood. Maine-born Elizabeth Upham Yates (1857-1942), one such "lieutenant" of Anthony's, built her early career as a missionary to China, a university student, and a burgeoning popular lecturer in the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (becoming, too, a trusted national speaker for Frances Willard by the 1890s).

Her dynamic speaking caught the eye of both Lucy Stone and Anthony, the latter sending Yates to crucial 1890s suffrage battlegrounds in California, South Dakota, and throughout the South. Yates' beauty, humor, and eloquence charmed her audiences, performing what historian Lillian Faderman has called "the feminine drag." She became a media darling. Susan B. Anthony, speaking to the press, with perhaps a sly smile, said of Yates: "This is one of our sour old maids you have read about. Sour old maids and discontented wives, you know." Yates used her varied skills to navigate the early twentieth century, bringing her leadership to Rhode Island, where the women succeeded in bringing presidential suffrage in 1917, and later ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920.

In the last decade of the suffrage battle, Yates lived with brittle bone disease, chronicling her infirmities in her letters to her best friend, Alice Stone Blackwell, which mingled with her active work for the vote. Yates also helped define the post-suffrage era for reformers, navigating social causes, political candidacy, and old age. Her suffrage sisters in the National American Woman Suffrage Association celebrated her as a "prophet and a dreamer" in the final volumes of the History of Woman Suffrage. 

Vintage New England.jpg


Saturday, June 29th

5:00 PM


Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum

67 East Road,

Adams MA 01220


A presentation of the life of Elizabeth Upham Yates; Aunt Susan's Lieutenant!


Dr. Shannon M. Risk is a professor of history, director of the M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies, and manager of the public history minor at Niagara University in Lewiston, New York. In 2018, she was inducted into the New York Academy of History. She has also worked as a museum professional, serving at a number of organizations including the National Susan B. Anthony House and Museum in Rochester, New York. She has written about women's suffrage movements in New York, New England, and Canada, with her book, The Life and Times of Elizabeth Upham Yates: Crusader for Women's Suffrage, Temperance, and Missionary Work, published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2023. 

Have A Question?

Have a question about the event? Ask us here!

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
Thanks for submitting!
bottom of page
Buy Tickets