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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Mabel Pollitzer, September 19, 1973. Interview G-0047-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Historical memory and physical space in the home of Susan B. Anthony

Pollitzer describes her visit to Susan B. Anthony's home with two of Anthony's nieces, both suffragists. Pollitzer recalls being very moved to stand in the home of such an iconic figure of women's rights. Pollitzer's description of the house and the memories it evoked for her seem indicative of the power of physical space to the construction of historical memory.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Mabel Pollitzer, September 19, 1973. Interview G-0047-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

And they said "Wouldn't you like to go through the house where Aunt Susan lived?" I can describe it as perhaps rather a simple home. Very lovely in every way. My recollection is that it was a rather narrow house, or appearing so. It was three stories, I think. And we went through the different rooms in which Aunt Susan did much of her work. And the table where she sat. And her various appertinances and so forth.
Was there, then, much memorabilia lying about?
Oh yes. I cannot remember just what we did see. But it was all very, very interesting.
Who is living there now?
Oh, it is kept as one of these treasured homes for the city. I'm not sure whether there was any admission charge, but I think there probably is a small amount. But being their guests, of course, we don't know about that being the guests of the nieces. But I think so because nearly all these homes that are kept in memory of a great person have to have admission charges in order to defray expenses.
What was most significant about that visit? What impressed you most about the tour of the home?
That we were in the home where this great woman lived. Where this great woman had these ideas, ideas of working for Equal Rights. And was brilliant. Of course you know whe was a school teacher. When she started working for this cause, that women should vote, people would throw eggs at her. She had to undergo all sorts of taunts and all sorts of things that to some people would be humiliating. But she rose above everything. And that's why, when the amendment was introduced, it was her nephew naturally who was chosen, Representative Anthony was chosen.