Lucretia Longshore Blankenurg
“As a child I experienced some persecution because my. Mother was a doctor. At school on elf the teachers advised the children not to play with me because my mother was an improper person.”
Lucretia Longshore Blankenurg was born May 8th, 1845 on a farm near New Lisbon, Ohio. Her father was Thomas Ellwood Longshore, a Quaker schoolteacher, abolitionist, and supporter of women’s rights. He actually lost his first teaching job because of his abolitionist beliefs. Her mother was Hannah E. Myers, also a Quaker, was an educator, abolitionist, suffragist and medical doctor. Hannah was the first medical doctor in Philadelphia, and the police were called in for her graduation fearing a demonstration because she was a woman. She practiced medicine successfully despite the deep prejudice, for 40 years in Philadelphia. The couple named their daughter Lucretia after Lucretia Mott who was a friend and frequent visitor at their home.
Lucretia graduated from Friends’ Central School and Bryant and Stratton Commercial College and after being witness first hand to discrimination, she had long ago decided to work for women’s rights. To please her parents she enrolled in the Women’s Medical College but quickly discovered that she had no aptitude for medicine and left after the first semester. She married Rudolf Blankenburg in April of 1867. She helped her young German immigrant husband get his start in business, working by his side at his dry goods store where they sold yarn, linen and notions. This business was so successful that after three years he opened a textile manufacturing company. The couple had three daughters, all of whom died very young.
After the death of her last daughter of diphtheria in 1878 she devoted her energy to charity work. In 1884 she met Susan B. Anthony and they developed a friendship. Miss Anthony coached her in public speaking and Lucretia served as president of the Pennsylvania Women’s Suffrage Association for sixteen years as well as testifying before congressional committees. Later she served as auditor of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. She was successful in persuading the federation to adopt a formal resolution endorsing women’s suffrage.
In 1911 Mr. Blankenburg was elected mayor of Philadelphia, in large part because of the female reform vote. Lucretia worked closely by his side and was often referred to as the “co-mayor.” Even as she aged she never slowed down. She took a solo automobile trip across the United States at the age of seventy five! She is truly a woman to be remembered.