Susan W. Lippincott (1835-1906)
By Flora Boros, Independent Historian
This biographical sketch was first published on the Online Biographical Dictionary of the Woman Suffrage Movement in the United States and appears here by permission. That database is accessible at https://documents.alexanderstreet.com/VOTESforWOMEN
President of the Moorestown Equal Suffrage Association
Susan W. Lippincott was a devout Quaker, patron of education, and suffragist. Born on January 17, 1835, she was the daughter of Samuel Roberts Lippincott, a potato farmer in Moorestown board member of the National State Bank of Camden, and Mary Woodward (Heulings) Lippincott.
Susan and her four siblings grew up attending the Moorestown Friends’ Monthly Meeting, and her progressive Quaker upbringing contributed to her beliefs on the rights of women. As Susan pointedly noted in her plea for woman suffrage at the Society of Friends’ General Conference in Chautauqua in 1900, “Why [is] there no mention of the probable value of the voice of our women, if expressed through the ballot, in making and shaping our laws, a potent help in the solution of all the questions [of social and political reforms that] we have been considering.” In her words, “This call for equal suffrage in the United States is so plainly a righteous movement that even a child should understand it.”
A staunch supporter of women’s right to vote, Susan was singled out among the “veteran workers” by Dr. Anna Howard Shaw at the National American Woman’s Suffrage Association Convention in 1901. Susan remained an active “life member” of the Association until her death. As an early pioneer of women’s rights, Susan was a regular delegate for New Jersey at the Annual National Conference, from 1883 until 1906.In continuance of her upbringing, Susan was regularly noted by the press as a champion for the equal rights for women at the Friends’ monthly and annual meetingsin both Moorestown, NJ, and Philadelphia, PA.
In 1897, Susan became the first President of the Moorestown Equal Suffrage Association, a post she held until 1900. One of New Jersey’s five local suffragist societies, the membership of the Moorestown League flourished under Susan’s leadership, and the town developed into the center of the suffrage movement in Burlington County, NJ. Susan continued to be an active member of her local league, but stepped down to serve as the Vice President under Mrs. Minola Graham Sexton in 1900, the suffragist presence in the state eventually expanded to fifteen local leagues.
Known for her financial generosity, Susan’s contributions were regularly noted in annual state and national convention minutes. In 1897, Susan was even singled out as the sole contributor of the Moorestown League’s $300 donation to the New Jersey Conference, which was rasing funds in support of Oklahoma’s bid for suffrage.
Susan died at age 72 on March 2, 1906, in Cinnaminson. An active proponent of education, Susan served on the Board of Managers of Swarthmore College, her father’s alma mater, from 1879 until her death in 1906. In 1911, at the urging of her relatives, the school established a chair in her honor, the Susan W. Lippincott Professorship of French (today, the Lippincott Professorship of Modern and Classical Languages), through her bequest of $30,000. Likewise, closer to home, Susan’s will created a charitable trust with funds of around $20,000 for the erection and maintenance of the public library and free reading room in the Township of Cinnaminson. Under her niece, Mary W. Lippincott, Susan’s trust fund grew to around $50,000. Although Susan’s dream of two library sites was never realized, her trust contributed to The Riverton Free Library Association and the Moorestown Free Library Association, libraries which serve the Cinnaminson community. All books purchased with Susan’s bequest bear an inscribed book-plate, recording her gift.
“Call It Independence Day,” Asbury Park Press, Asbury Park, NJ, July19, 1904, pg. 2.
“Equal Suffragists Elected Officers: Moorestown’s League Very Active—Social and Personal,” Camden Daily Courier, Camden, NJ, December 22, 1903, pg. 3.
“Friends Condemn Legalized Vice: Society in Convention Discusses Women’s Suffrage as a Preventative,” The Times, Philadelphia, PA, May 14, 1902, pg. 5.
Friends’ General Conference, Proceedings of the Friends’ General Conference: held at Chautauqua, N.Y., 1900, (Philadelphia, The Society of Friends General Conference, 1900), pgs. 171-172. https://books.google.com/books?id=7MpCAQAAMAAJ.
Friends Intelligencer Association, Friends’ Intelligencer and Journal, (Philadelphia, Friends’ Intelligencer Associated Ltd, 1900), pgs. 402-403, 860. https://books.google.com/books?id=7Pb7CX8M5ZoC.
Friends Intelligencer Association, Friends’ Intelligencer and Journal, (Philadelphia, Friends’ Intelligencer Associated Ltd, 1902), pgs. 698, 793. https://books.google.com/books?id=AKEsAAAAYAAJ.
“Hen Politicians,” New Brunswick Daily Times, New Brunswick, NJ, November 30, 1895. pg. 1.
“Interest Centered in Swarthmore’s Endowment,”Delaware County Daily Times, Chester, PA, June8, 1911. pg.6.
“Moorestown Mentionings,” The Camden Daily Courier, Camden, NJ, October 8, 1910, pg. 15.
National American Woman Suffrage Association,Proceedings of the Twenty-ninth Annual Convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, at the Central Christian Church…Des Moines, Iowa, January 26th, 27th, 28th, and 29th, 1897, (Washington, DC: The Association of National American Woman Suffrage, 1897), pg. 108. https://books.google.com/books?id=wiw2AQAAMAAJ.
“New Jersey News in Review: Moorestown,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, PA, May 9, 1897, pg. 39.
“Obituary: Susan W. Lippincott,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, PA, March 21, 1906, pg. 7.
Swarthmore College, The Register of Swarthmore College: 1862-1920,(Swarthmore, Swarthmore College, 1920), pg 10. https://books.google.com/books?id=cmlIAAAAYAAJ.
“To Secure Equal Rights for Women,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, PA, May 14, 1902, pg 8.
Township of Cinnaminson v. First Camden National Bank & Trust, 238 A.2d 701 (NJ Super. Ch. 1968). https://law.justia.com/cases/new-jersey/appellate-division-published/1968/99-n-j-super-115-0.html.
Upton, Harriet Taylor and Nettie Rogers Shuler, Handbook of the National American Woman Suffrage Association and Proceedings of the Annual Convention, (1893-1908), pgs. 20, 24, 36, 44, 48, 119, 125, 136, 156, 170, 185. https://books.google.com/books?id=gqMLAAAAIAAJ.