Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902), a resident of Tenafly, organized the famous 1848 Woman’s Rights Convention at Seneca Falls. The event was held in Wesleyan Chapel and solidified what was to become Stanton’s lifelong commitment to women’s rights. She embodied her notions regarding women’s suffrage in the composition “A Declaration of Rights and Sentiments” which Stanton modeled after the Declaration of Independence. The Seneca Falls convention received national newspaper coverage, and despite it being ridiculed by the press, the revolutionary event also served as the catalyst for a number of future regional and state conventions organized around the same principles of female equality.
For many years, Stanton juggled both social activist and domestic duties. She prepared speeches and articles for women’s rights conventions from her home and also wrote for a local temperance journal called Lily. Stanton produced an impressive amount of literature related to a number of diverse social causes: she wrote resolutions, articles, and speeches on divorce, temperance, rights for blacks, women’s property legislation, coeducation and suffrage. Stanton also assumed the role of the major proponent and theoretician on women’s rights issues with help from longtime friend Susan B. Anthony. The famous pair made speeches before the NewYork State Senate (1854) and the Assembly (1860) to support the Married Women’s Property Act. Stanton and Anthony also formed the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA).