Sarah Kirby Hallowell Willis
(1818–1914) Sarah was a life-long advocate for abolition, women’s suffrage, and political equality. She became involved in social justice through her older sister, Amy Post, who was an ardent abolitionist and suffrage supporter. They were both frequent guests in the home of fellow abolitionists and suffrage supporters Lucy and Daniel Anthony; Susan B. Anthony’s parents.
In 1848, Sarah, her sister Amy, Daniel and Lucy Anthony, Mary Anthony, and Frederick Douglass travelled from Rochester to Seneca Falls to attend the Women’s Rights Convention. At the conclusion of the conference, Sarah signed the Declaration of Sentiments. A few weeks later another convention was held in Rochester, and Sarah was designated as a secretary. In 1853 another convention was held in Rochester. Sarah attended and once again was a designated secretary.
When the National Woman's Suffrage Association was formed, Sarah was one of its first members. She was also one of the first members of the Political Equality Club of Rochester. In 1872, she was one of the many women who attempted to register to vote (Susan B. Anthony and fourteen others succeeded in voting illegally). A year later, she was an officer in the Women’s Taxpayer Association--a short lived organization formed to protest the taxation of women without representation.
Sarah could be counted on for financial contributions when needed. In 1900, when the fundraising campaign to admit women to the University of Rochester came up short, Sarah contributed $2,000. In 1888, she was invited by Susan B. Anthony to attend her newly formed International Council of Women. Susan proudly introduced Sarah as one of the signers of the Declaration of Sentiments. Sarah was a close friend of Susan and was a frequent visitor at the Anthony home for holidays and birthdays. Sarah died in 1914 at the age of ninety-six.
Mount Hope Cemetery
Section V, Lot 20
1133 Mount Hope Avenue, Rochester, NY 14620