The “hush” of the title comes suddenly, when first Elizabeth Cady Stanton dies on October 26, 1902, and three years later Susan B. Anthony dies on March 13, 1906. It is sudden because Stanton, despite near blindness and immobility, wrote so intently right to the end that editors had supplies of her articles on hand to publish several months after her death. It is sudden because Anthony, at the age of eighty-five, set off for one more transcontinental trip, telling a friend on the Pacific Coast, “it will be just as well if I come to the end on the cars, or anywhere, as to be at home.”
Volume VI of this extraordinary series of selected papers is inescapably about endings, death, and silence. But death happens here to women still in the fight. An Awful Hush is about reformers trained “in the school of anti-slavery” trying to practice their craft in the age of Jim Crow and a new American Empire. It recounts new challenges to “an aristocracy of sex,” whether among the bishops of the Episcopal church, the voters of California, or the trustees of the University of Rochester. And it sends last messages about woman suffrage. As Stanton wrote to Theodore Roosevelt on the day before she died, “Surely there is no greater monopoly than that of all men, in denying to all women a voice in the laws they are compelled to obey.”
With the publication of Volume VI, this series is now complete.