Central Park Will Get Its First Monument to Historical Women


Elizabeth Cady Stanton, seated, and Susan B. Anthony. Photo via Library of Congress.

The Parks Department will announce on Monday that it’s committed to putting up a monument to Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, two pioneers in the fight for women’s rights.

This is incredibly overdue! There are 23 statues devoted to historical men, and zero to women right now (there are some statues to fictional women, like Alice in Wonderland). A group called Monumental Women has been advocating for a statue, and raising money, for more than a year.

On Monday, politicians, city officials and even girl scouts will gather in Central Park to announce the site of the monument and to call for artist submissions.

The statue will be placed on the Mall, the wide walkway in the middle of the park that stretches from 66th to 72nd Street, according to the Parks Department.

The “Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Woman Suffrage Movement Monument” highlights the need for a history that accurate tells women’s stories. Elizabeth Cady Stanton authored the Declaration of Sentiments, a founding document of the American women’s rights movement that was first presented at 1848 Seneca Fall Conference. She met Susan B. Anthony shortly thereafter at an abolitionist meeting, and the two began a lifelong partnership that committed to equal rights for women. Together they founded The Revolution, a suffragist newspaper, and the National Woman Suffrage Association. Both women’s activities were centered in New York City and State.

Along with Stanton and Anthony, the monument will honor the memory of the many others who worked tirelessly to advance women’s rights, including Sojourner Truth, Lucy Stone, Mary Church Terrell, Anna Howard Shaw and Ida B. Wells-Barnett. The Central Park site, with support from the Central Park Conservancy, has been selected in accordance with the dictates of the park’s original designers, Olmsted and Vaux, who identified two locations where commemorative sculpture should be sited in the park: entrances along the perimeter and The Mall. By placing the monument in this location many of the park’s nearly 42 million annual visitors will engage the historical work and planned related programming so to learn more about the many contributions these pioneers and others in the movement made.

Monday’s an auspicious date, the 100th anniversary of the election that gave women the right to vote in New York state. The statue is expected to be unveiled on another auspicious date in 2020, the 100th anniversary of the day women won the right to vote on a national level.

HISTORY, NEWS, OUTDOORS | 19 comments | permalink
    1. Christine E says:

      Hold on. Yes, overdue. But now to make up for it, they are going to erect ONE monument, depicting Stanton and Anthony, and that same monument also “will honor the memory of the many others who worked tirelessly to advance women’s rights, including Sojourner Truth, Lucy Stone, Mary Church Terrell, Anna Howard Shaw and Ida B. Wells-Barnett….” meaning that they expect to put up ONE monument to cover 7 women, versus 23 individual statues honoring 23 men, and call it a day? Rude and gives a new meaning to one and done.

      Aka, here is your token monument to all the women, past, present and future, now pipe down already.

      What they should be announcing is the plan by which they will be erecting MULTIPLE statues to honor these and many other women.

      • UWSHebrew says:

        statues cost enormous sums of money. maybe that is why they are “combining”?

      • Filatura says:

        Couldn’t agree more.
        And then there’s this gem of obfuscation, bad grammar and meaningless blah-blah.
        “By placing the monument in this location many of the park’s nearly 42 million annual visitors will engage the historical work and planned related programming so to learn more about the many contributions these pioneers and others in the movement made.”
        Low ebb in the Truth-and-Literacy Division at the Parks Department?

      • Birgit says:

        My thoughts exactly!

      • ScooterStan says:

        Yup, the kvetching has begun.

        The above is mild.

        Wait until the dirt-diggers find some miniscule “dirt” on either Stanton or Anthony and then, to satisfy their ego-driven power-trip, demand that the statues be torn down…even before they’re erected.

      • David Tillyer says:

        Tokenism indeed!
        Where is Shirley Chisolm? Where is are the women of the space program? Where are the women New York authors? As a man I do not want to quote would say, “Sad”.

      • WeirdThatWay says:

        There’s that.

    2. Carol Lazare says:

      Happy about the new monument but please don’t forget about Eleanor Roosevelt on 72nd and Riverside Drive.

      • Meir Fan says:

        As long as we’ve left Central Park, there’s also Golda Meir at Broadway and 40 St. Yes, she was from Milwaukee, but it wasn’t her fault.

      • Aaron Biller says:

        Let us not forget the first statue in the City of a historical woman, Joan of Arc at West 93rd and Riverside Drive, dedicated 102 years ago. It was also the first statue sculpted by a woman. Amazing how people forget this milestone!

    3. WeirdThatWay says:

      I also want Emily Dickinson on Poet’s Walk in Central Park, and Margaret Mead at the Museum of Natural History. Any other ideas?

    4. Emily Simpson says:

      We really need monuments to Betsy Ross, Abigail Adams, Harriet Tubman, Harriet Beecher Stowe to name just a few who predated Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Check the dates of men’s statues in Central Park.

      • Bob Lamm says:

        Actually, we don’t need a monument in Manhattan to the great Harriet Tubman because there already is one where St. Nicholas Avenue meets Frederick Douglass Boulevard in Harlem.

    5. Jab Levy says:

      What took so long?????

    6. UpperWester says:

      Elizabeth Cady Stanton was an upper westsider. Her house was at 94th and Broadway, and the building that is there now is named for her (the “Stanton”).

    7. Eleanor P Seepes says:

      Hoorah! Long, long overdue, as is so much related to women’s rights and accomplishments. Marie Curie, Eleanor Roosevelt, Harriet Tubman, and so many more.

    8. Yael says:

      Well, it’s a start.