Anna Carpenter Garlin Spencer (1851-1931)
Mrs. Stanton’s 70th Birthday.
Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton[‘s] birthday was also celebrated at the residence of Mrs. Caroline Gilkey Rogers [282 3rd Ave], in Lansingburgh, last evening. A handsome bust of the talented lady, crowned with laurel and smilax, and embowered in calla lilies and japonicas, occupied the post of honor. Nearly 100 guests were present, including prominent ladies and gentlemen of New York, Boston, Albany, Syracuse, Cohoes, Lansingburgh and Troy. The hostess of the evening in a neat speech welcomed her guests and paid a glowing tribute to Mrs. Stanton and her admirable life work. Fitting eulogies upon the services to the community, to women particularly, by Mrs. Stanton were delivered by the Rev. Mr. Spencer, of the Unitarian church, Troy, Mrs. Spencer, Mr. and Mrs. George Howell of Albany, Miss Kate Stoneman and Superintendent Cole of the Albany high school.
The evening was further enlivened by very fine readings, interspersed with charming music by Professor Charles White of Troy
Amsterdam Daily Democrat. November 3, 1885: 1 col 4.
TO VOTE OR NOT TO VOTE: Able Women Advocate Suffrage Before Learned Legislators.
Members of the legislative committee either forgot the hearing on the woman suffrage bill last evening, or were kept at home by the severe weather. At all events they failed to materialize, and if the ladies get the right to vote some of the honorable gentleman may stay at home of necessity. Mr. Ainsworth, who introduced the bill in the assembly, presided, and there was a large audience. […]
Mrs. Caroline Gilkey Rogers made the first address. She wore a rich robe of royal purple velvet, cut pompadour, with Mary Antoinette collar. Among other things she argued that this is the day of heart and brain and that the moral strength of woman’s nature should now be recognized and brought into politics. […]
Mrs. Annie Garland [sic] Spencer, of Lansingburgh, […] made the best speech of the evening. She said some plain things about politics and politicians and insisted that unless the high moral elements which woman would bring into statesmanship were speedily secured, the life of the nation would be endangered.
Albany Morning Express. February 16, 1888: 1 col 6.
Anna Garlin Spencer had moved to Lansingburgh because her husband Reverend William H. Spencer had been appointed Pastor for the First Unitarian Church of Troy, serving from September 1885 through 1888. The Troy City Directory for 1887 shows him at 522 2nd Ave and the 1888 volume at 525 2nd Ave. She had already been active with woman suffrage prior to 1885, and continued to rise in prominence in a number of ways subsequent to 1888. The abstract to the collection of her papers at Swarthmore College reads: “Anna Carpenter Garlin Spencer was a minister, feminist, educator, pacifist, and writer on ethics and social problems. Spencer was the first woman in Rhode Island to be ordained and served as the minister of the Bell Street Chapel from 1891 to 1902. Spencer was active in the cause of women’s rights for more than forty years and served as the president of the Rhode Island Equal Suffrage Association. Spencer’s interest in pacifism also led her to prominent positions with the National Peace and Arbitration Congress in 1907 and she was a founding member of the Woman’s Peace Party in 1915, serving as vice chairman. She also became the first chairman of the national board of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom in 1919. Spencer died at her home in New York in 1931.” http://www.swarthmore.edu/library/peace/DG026-050/dg034agspencer.htm The Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame adds further details, including that she “was also a founding sponsor of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)” http://www.riheritagehalloffame.org/inductees_detail.cfm?iid=580