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Women's Suffrage History Trail
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The Portrait Monument depicts Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony. It was commissioned by the National Woman’s Party and sculpted by Adelaide Johnson. The sculpture was given to the US Capitol in February 1921 after the passage of the 19th Amendment and was installed in the Rotunda in 1997.


The Portrait Monument in the US Capitol Rotunda

Head, Sculpture, Statue, Temple

The Portrait Monument

Sculpture, Style, Statue, Black-and-white

The Portrait Monument

Pedestal, Picture frame, Statue, Sculpture

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, c. 1880

Clothing, Hand, Arm, Sleeve

Susan B. Anthony

Sleeve, Coat, Collar, Blazer

Lucretia Mott, c. 1870-1880

Forehead, Sleeve, Headgear, Art

Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, c. 1900

Outerwear, Fashion, Standing, Gesture

Johnson standing with the marble block used for the Portrait Monument

Photograph, Black, Working animal, Tree

The Portrait Monument being delivered to the U.S. Capitol in 1921 (Library of Congress)

Automotive tire, Black, Motor vehicle, Black-and-white

The Portrait Monument being delivered to the U.S. Capitol in 1921 (Library of Congress)

Black, Standing, Black-and-white, Style

The dedication ceremony in February 1921 (Library of Congress)

Black-and-white, Style, Building, Monochrome photography

Unveiling ceremony on February 15, 1921

Photograph, White, Black, Black-and-white

Sculptor Adelaide Johnson

Forehead, Hair, Head, Chin

After the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, the National Woman’s Party commissioned sculptor Adelaide Johnson to complete this statue and presented it to the U.S. Capitol as a gift from the women of the nation. The main monument was accepted by Congress on February 10, 1921 and unveiled in a ceremony on February 15, 1921 (to coincide with the 101st birthday of Susan B. Anthony). Jane Addams presided over the ceremony with representatives of approximately 70 women’s organizations in attendance.

Johnson had already carved individual busts of the three women for the World’s Columbian Exhibition in 1893 (they were displayed in the Court of Honor in the Woman’s Building), and she replicated those designed into this block of marble. The rough-hewn marble surrounding the three figures and the unfinished look of the monument caused some controversy and dissatisfaction among members of the suffrage movement. However, Johnson wanted to leave her sculpture with an unfinished appearance to symbolize that even with the passage of the 19th Amendment the work of women’s equality was not done. Johnson’s design included two additional marble slabs to create a base for the sculpture: a black Belgian marble base and a white Carrara marble base. These slabs were added in 1925 by the artist, although the black slab arrived broken and had to be replaced in 1929. The main marble sculpture weighs 14,000 pounds and with the original marble slabs the total weight was 26,000 pounds.

Between 1921 and 1997, the Portrait Monument was installed in the Crypt, the area below the Capitol Rotunda. In 1997 Congress passed House Concurrent Resolution 216 which allowed the statue to be relocated to the Rotunda. Due to the weight of the entire monument, the two marble slabs at the base were replicated in a lighter material to allow the safe installation of the sculpture in the Rotunda.

About Adelaide Johnson:

Adelaide Johnson was born on September 26, 1859 in Plymouth, Illinois. When she was 15 years old her parents enrolled her in the St. Louis School of Design, which trained women to work in the commercial art business. Johnson was greatly influenced by the style and progressive ideas of the school’s founder Mary Henderson, who served as the president of the Missouri State Suffrage Association. After graduation, Johnson moved to Chicago and ran an interior design business with Ida Morgan. She also studied sculpture in Italy for a year in 1884. Johnson’s work supporting the women’s suffrage movement began around 1886, after which she created many works of sculpture depicting suffrage leaders. Her work with the National Women’s Party proved to be the height of her success as her career dwindled in the 1930s and 1940s. Johnson passed away in 1955.

“Portrait Monument to Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony.” Architect of the Capitol. Accessed June 23, 2021. https://www.aoc.gov/explore-capitol-campus/art/portrait-monument-lucretia-mott-elizabeth-cady-stanton-and-susan-b.

“Sculptor Adelaide Johnson: from Illinois.” Suffrage 2020 Illinois: The Fight for the Vote in Illinois. July 27, 2020. Accessed June 23, 2021. https://suffrage2020illinois.org/2020/07/27/sculptor-adelaide-johnson-from-illinois/

Image Sources(Click to expand)

"Portrait Monument." Wikipedia. Accessed June 23, 2021. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portrait_Monument.

“Portrait Monument to Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony.” Architect of the Capitol. Accessed June 23, 2021. https://www.aoc.gov/explore-capitol-campus/art/portrait-monument-lucretia-mott-elizabeth-cady-stanton-and-susan-b.

“Portrait Monument to Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony.” Architect of the Capitol. Accessed June 23, 2021. https://www.aoc.gov/explore-capitol-campus/art/portrait-monument-lucretia-mott-elizabeth-cady-stanton-and-susan-b.

"Elizabeth Cady Stanton." Wikipedia. Accessed June 23, 2021. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Cady_Stanton.

"Susan B. Anthony." Wikipedia. Accessed June 23, 2021. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susan_B._Anthony.

"Lucretia Mott." Wikipedia. Accessed June 23, 2021. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucretia_Mott.

"Susan B. Anthony." Wikipedia. Accessed June 23, 2021. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susan_B._Anthony.

“Sculptor Adelaide Johnson: from Illinois.” Suffrage 2020 Illinois: The Fight for the Vote in Illinois. July 27, 2020. Accessed June 23, 2021. https://suffrage2020illinois.org/2020/07/27/sculptor-adelaide-johnson-from-illinois/

Lorraine Boissoneault. "The Suffragist Statue Trapped in a Broom Closet for 75 Years." Smithsonian Magazine. May 12, 2017. Accessed June 23, 2021. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/suffragist-statue-trapped-broom-closet-75-years-180963274/.

Lorraine Boissoneault. "The Suffragist Statue Trapped in a Broom Closet for 75 Years." Smithsonian Magazine. May 12, 2017. Accessed June 23, 2021. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/suffragist-statue-trapped-broom-closet-75-years-180963274/.

Lorraine Boissoneault. "The Suffragist Statue Trapped in a Broom Closet for 75 Years." Smithsonian Magazine. May 12, 2017. Accessed June 23, 2021. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/suffragist-statue-trapped-broom-closet-75-years-180963274/.

“Portrait Monument to Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony.” Architect of the Capitol. Accessed June 23, 2021. https://www.aoc.gov/explore-capitol-campus/art/portrait-monument-lucretia-mott-elizabeth-cady-stanton-and-susan-b.

“Sculptor Adelaide Johnson: from Illinois.” Suffrage 2020 Illinois: The Fight for the Vote in Illinois. July 27, 2020. Accessed June 23, 2021. https://suffrage2020illinois.org/2020/07/27/sculptor-adelaide-johnson-from-illinois/