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Simmons University Magazine

2020 Foresight

Nancy Brown ’81 chairs a national initiative putting suffragettes’ stories on the map for the 19th Amendment’s centennial.

Nancy Brown ’81 knew nothing about famed suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton as a kid growing up in Johnstown, N.Y. What makes it more amazing is that the pair share the same hometown.

“I grew up down the street from her birthplace, but it wasn’t until I went off to college that I learned about her,” Brown says. “Stanton’s father ran a law office, and she saw the injustices women suffered. That inspired her.”

Brown, for her part, is working to elevate the legacies of the suffragettes, who also include Susan B. Anthony and Lucretia Mott. Together, they helped win passage of the 19th Amendment which in 1920 gave women the right to vote.

Volunteers in 34 states have identified 900 locales that were important to the suffragist movement.

Brown is volunteer chairwoman for The National Votes for Women Trail, an effort to “tell the largely unknown story of the 72-year struggle for women’s suffrage.” She and other volunteers in 34 states have identified 900 locales that were important to the suffragist movement.

Volunteers are in the process of developing a website that can be used by educators, researchers and “heritage” tourists. The effort should be complete by 2020, the centennial for women winning the vote.

Brown, a fifth-grade teacher in Gloversville, N.Y., has another reason for being involved.

“The other part of my calling is that I am the mother of three daughters,” she says.

Photograph: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony formed the National Woman Suffrage Association in 1869.