Chestnut Tree

Susan B. Anthony House
Rochester, New York

The Horse Chestnut Tree (Aesculus hippocastanum) that stands in front of the home of Susan B. Anthony, the legendary women’s-rights advocate, was most likely planted by the Anthony family. 
The tree, over 100 years old, is documented in an 1891 photograph showing Miss Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and a group of fellow campaigners in the women’s rights movement meeting on the front porch under the tree’s welcoming shade.  Miss Anthony and her biographer, Ida Husted Harper, spent countless hours in the third-floor workroom of the home reviewing papers and diaries in preparing the three-volume biography, The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony. In the biography, Harper wrote poetically of the ardors of that authorship and referred to the Horse Chestnut Tree that watched over their labors. Miss Anthony purportedly lobbied to save the tree when the city of Rochester wanted to remove it to make way for new sidewalks. The Horse Chestnut Tree, a living witness to the history of the women’s rights movement in America greets the thousands of tourists each year as they learn about Susan B. Anthony’s pioneering work. Today, the greatest threat to the tree would stem from the lack of appreciation of its history.

Photo © Jim Via
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