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Ernestine Rose

AKA Ernestine Louise Susmond Potowski Rose

Born: 13-Jan-1810
Birthplace: Piotrkow, Poland
Died: 4-Aug-1892
Location of death: Brighton, East Sussex, England
Cause of death: Illness
Remains: Buried, Highgate Cemetery, London, England

Gender: Female
Religion: Atheist
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Activist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Suffragette and abolitionist

Her father was a rabbi, but even as a girl Ernestine Rose questioned religion. She refused an arranged marriage, and instead sued her father for her share of the inheritance from her mother's death. Winning in court, she used the money to flee Poland at the age of 17, traveling to Germany, Holland, France, and England, and abandoning her surname along the way. She became intrigued with the teachings of Robert Owen, met with him in London, and he came to call her "my daughter". Owen and Rose co-founded the Association of All Classes of All Nations, a group calling for universal legal equality among all peoples, regardless of gender, class, color, national origin, or religion.

She married William Ella Rose in a civil ceremony, declared herself a socialist, then came to America in 1836, where she almost immediately became one of the first generation of suffragette leaders. In 1837 she circulated the first petition for married women's property rights, and for years she worked alongside her friends Paulina Wright Davis and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Susan B. Anthony, who joined the movement in 1852, saw Rose as an inspiration, and kept a photo of Rose in her study. Rose was an outspoken woman in a time when women were rarely seen as leaders, an abolitionist who toured the American South to speak against slavery, a socialist in a capitalist nation, and an atheist in a time when respectable people turned to their Bibles for guidance. Always a woman of contradictions, Rose became an American citizen in 1869, just before retiring to England with her husband. She never returned to America.

Husband: William Ella Rose (jeweler-activist, b. 1813, d. Jan-1882, no children)

    National Woman Suffrage Association
    Women's National Loyal League
    Universal Peace Society
    Naturalized US Citizen 1869
    Jewish Ancestry
    Polish Ancestry
    Russian Ancestry

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