Image via Smithsonian Portrait Gallery
Central Park is one of the premier public parks in New York City, recognized internationally and popular amongst both residents and visitors. Of the dozens of statues in the park, 22 are dedicated to men as varied as a 14th century Polish king to New York City Marathon founder Frank Lebow (the only statue in the park that moves once a year). There are no real women in the park, but there are statues to fictional ones – Mother Goose, Juliet (and her Romeo), and Alice from Alice in Wonderland. The Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Fund seeks to change this by raising the funds to install the first statues to honor real women in Central Park.
The fund received the approval of New York City Parks commissioner Mitchell Silver and are accepting both financial pledges and designs for the statues. The statues, the fund website states, will be located at 77th Street and Central Park West, a “gateway of history,” with statues that already honor “the principal actors in the battles over the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 19th Amendments” with Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and Theodore Roosevelt already present. The future statue “will celebrate the largest nonviolent revolution in our nation’s history — the movement for women’s right to vote,” states the Fund’s website.
At the base of the statue, there are also plans to include the names of other women who were active in the women’s rights movement, including Sojourner Truth, Alva Vanderbilt Belmont and many others. The inclusion of Belmont is especially notable, given that she is mostly remembered in New York City history as the extravagant wife of William K. Vanderbilt who commissioned various Gilded Age mansions – but her work in the women’s rights movement is far more impressive and well-documented in the book Fortune’s Children: The Fall of the House of the Vanderbilts, written by a descendant of the family.
Among the board of The Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Fund is a great great granddaughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Coline Jenkins and Pam Elam, a former New York City government staffer who led the effort in 2004 to officially name the site where Anthony and Stanton wrote their newspaper The Revolution as the “Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton Corner.” Stay tuned on updates from the Fund via its Facebook page.
Next, check out the Top 10 Secrets of Central Park.