Welcome to Event Planning 101, where the sun always shines, and nothing can go terribly wrong. There’s nothing that tough about being an event planner. You just have to plan and design an event from scratch, right? A piece of cake.
A beginner event planner envisions an ideal event, where everything goes as planned while a pro event planner knows that no matter how well you planned ahead there’s always going to be something that goes wrong.
The success of a great event planner is about knowing what to do when things begin to get out of hand. In other words, a great event planner will always be calm and collected, regardless of the circumstances. Don’t know a thing about event planning? Here’re a few tips to get you started.
1. Known Who Your Client Is
The first step to becoming an event planning wizard is to get to know your clients. This is a critical aspect of the job because all your preparations must be done according to your target audience. For example, if you’re planning a corporate party, it may be fine to introduce a moderate drinking or networking game to get things going, but you should probably refrain from this when planning a wedding.
2. Look Out For Major Holidays
When planning your event, make sure that you don’t schedule it close to an important holiday like Easter or Christmas. If you do this, the chances are that you are going to end up with a lot of empty seats and a lighter wallet. In order to make sure that your target audience attends your own event, check to see if there are other popular events going on at the same time. You don’t want them to have to decide between your event and another event.
3. Flexibility Spells Success
Perhaps one of the most painful lessons learned by amateur event planners is the need to become very flexible. Keep in mind that planning an event is part art and part science, meaning that if you go out there expecting things to go exactly according to your plan, you and your guests are going to have a rough time. Be flexible when it comes to selecting the location, hiring a structure, the menus, the band and everything needed to get your gig up and running.
4. Keep on Eye on Your Budget
Pay close attention to your budget when planning your event. Even if you have a large budget, you should not jump the wagon to buy a bunch of stuff. You may need that money to cover certain things, like a band or extra menus. Emergencies can always come up last minute so make sure you have some cash handy. Moreover, don’t go out there thinking that you can’t do anything on a tight budget, because no matter how small or big your budget is, there is always a solution. You just have to be creative.
5. Find Sponsors
Ideally, an event can be planned without the need of outside support. But, in real life, you’re going to need a lot of support from people who actually have money in order to get things started. How do you encourage outside sponsors to invest in your event? By telling them how you are going to pay for the event. If you come up with an accurate profit plan, like how much income you’ll get from selling tickets, they’ll be more impressed and more willing to invest in your event than by showing them just an overview. Also, make sure you share with them how many people are likely to attend and the target audience so they can visualize the event and the success of their brand if they sponsor the event.
6. Use Social Media
You should take full advantage of technology and social media in event planning. As baffling as it might seem at first, social media can really help you promote your event faster than any other means. Before jumping the social media wagon though, keep in mind that your event has a specific target audience and you should use only appropriate social media channels. For example, if you’re throwing a corporate event, it would be a good idea to use Facebook, instead of Instagram or Snapchat.
7. Create a Promotional Clip
In order to make the event more inviting, you should definitely try and create a promotional clip. And, to make it look even more professional, you should hire a studio to do the job for you. If you are on a low budget, you can try creating your own promotional material. Just remember to bring along a professional camera.
8. Give It Your Best
Don’t put your feet up just yet. Planning the event is the easy part, but making sure that everything goes like clockwork is the hardest part. Be sure to check out how things are going from time to time. If you see anything that might get out of hand, act on it before it is too late.
9. Select a Great Catering Service
It’s very important to do your due diligence and make sure you select a great catering service. Often, you get what you pay for so don’t shop only on price. Food can make or break your event so this needs to be a priority when planning your event. Check out the local services around you to see what they have to offer and don’t make a quick decision. Test out their food and make sure you are comfortable with the staff that will be available on the day of the event. You don’t want any surprises.
10. Offer incentives
Be sure to include some incentives for those who arrive early or purchase early. People generally love incentives and will probably enjoy your event even more. Offer prizes and giveaways as well to get your attendees excited.
Sorry for being this direct, but writing a business plan the traditional way simply sucks. I mean, you have to take care of all the boring elements like: the SWOT analysis (or should I say prediction), executive summary, business description, market strategies, competitive analysis, design and development plan (not only for online businesses), operations and management plan, financial factors, and so on.
This is a lot of work, and from my perspective it’s work that won’t bring you any reasonable insights.
For instance, the main problem with the SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) is that you don’t even have the chance to accurately describe the reality you’re in, you’re just playing the guessing game.
Almost every SWOT analysis is just a prediction mechanism and a way of foretelling the future. You’re not listing your actual strengths, you’re listing what you think your strengths are. You’re not listing your actual weaknesses, you’re listing what you think your weaknesses are, and so on.
That’s why I want to present an alternative approach at writing a business plan. One that’s much simpler and easier to grasp.
Now, I need to set one thing straight. I’m no expert on the economy or business development. But I have my own experiences and those of my friends. And since the following advice has turned out to work for everybody so far, I’ve decided to share it with you too.
Element #1: What you’ve got
Simply start by listing what you’ve got.
What I mean here is everything you can offer to your customers. Things like: products, services, content, etc.
Be somewhat detail oriented when going through this step. If you’re listing a new product of yours, make sure to mention its main features and characteristics.
Depending on the nature of your business, you may just have a single item to offer, which is fine. We’re not going for quantity here.
Element #2: Who are you going to sell it to?
Aka your target audience.
Only don’t make it lame. Lame is where you try to define your average customer like this, for example: “it’s a woman in her 30s, mother of two, and working a 9-5 job as an accountant.” I mean, how can anyone come up with that? What research tools do they have? Surely not anything a small business owner can afford.
Besides, not every business has an audience that is so specific. For instance, if you’re selling socks and live in Austin then your target customer base is “people with feet living in Texas.” If that’s true then don’t try to make it narrower just for the sake of it.
Go with a general description that’s nothing more than a starting point – your starting audience. If it turns out that your main audience is actually someone entirely different then nothing bad will happen, but you need to be ready and accept such a situation.
Element #3: Why would they buy?
What makes your product better or just as good as your competitors’? Or what’s some other reason someone would want to work with you?
Just be honest and not overly promotional. This is about facts.
Also, keep in mind that you don’t necessarily have to be better than your competition to be a successful business owner. Is Pepsi better than Cola? I mean, scientifically better? No. It’s the same thing.
Element #4: How are you going to reach them?
As in, reaching your target customer base. Do you have anything fancy in plan? Or just standard marketing methods (which are completely fine, by the way)?
Actually, the exact methods are not important here. No matter what you’re going to end up doing, you need to have a plan for the initial couple of weeks. Treat it as your getting started approach.
Pick a handful of methods that have the most potential in your opinion and start executing them. Then, if something doesn’t work, you can adjust your business plan to reflect the new situation.
There’s no element #5. All you need in 90% of possible situations are the four elements above: you need to know what you’ve got, who you’re going to sell it to, why would they buy, and how you’re going to reach them. Of course, your mileage may vary … so feel free to disagree with me if your experience is different.
From now on I will posting a every Nobel Prize winner on here every week on Women’s Daily Essentials (a Magazine for Women) to inspire more women to aspire to become Nobel Prize Winners.
This week we will be about what the Nobel Prize is all about.
|The Nobel Prize|
|Awarded for||Outstanding contributions for humanity in chemistry, economics, literature, peace, physics, or physiology or medicine|
|No. of laureates||579 Prizes to 911 Laureates as of 2016|
The Nobel Prize (/ˈnoʊbɛl/, Swedish pronunciation: [nʊˈbɛl]; Swedish definite form, singular: Nobelpriset; Norwegian: Nobelprisen) is a set of annual international awards bestowed in a number of categories by Swedish and Norwegian institutions in recognition of academic, cultural, and/or scientific advances.
The will of the Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel established the prizes in 1895. The prizes in Chemistry, Literature, Peace, Physics, and Physiology or Medicine were first awarded in 1901. Medals made before 1980 were struck in 23 carat gold, and later from 18 carat green gold plated with a 24 carat gold coating. Between 1901 and 2015, the Nobel Prizes and the Prize in Economic Sciences were awarded 573 times to 900 people and organisations. With some receiving the Nobel Prize more than once, this makes a total of 23 organisations, and 870 individuals.
The prize ceremonies take place annually in Stockholm, Sweden (with the exception of the peace prize, which is held in Oslo, Norway). Each recipient, or laureate, receives a gold medal, a diploma, and a sum of money that has been decided by the Nobel Foundation. (As of 2012, each prize was worth SEK 8 million or about US$1.2 million, €0.93 million, or £0.6 million.) The Nobel Prize is widely regarded as the most prestigious award available in the fields of literature, medicine, physics, chemistry, peace, and economics.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awards the Nobel Prize in Physics, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences; the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet awards the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine; the Swedish Academy grants the Nobel Prize in Literature; and the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded not by a Swedish organisation but by the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
The prize is not awarded posthumously; however, if a person is awarded a prize and dies before receiving it, the prize may still be presented. Though the average number of laureates per prize increased substantially during the 20th century, a prize may not be shared among more than three people.
Alfred Nobel ( listen (help·info)) was born on 21 October 1833 in Stockholm, Sweden, into a family of engineers. He was a chemist, engineer, and inventor. In 1894, Nobel purchased the Bofors iron and steel mill, which he made into a major armaments manufacturer. Nobel also invented ballistite. This invention was a precursor to many smokeless military explosives, especially the British smokeless powder cordite. As a consequence of his patent claims, Nobel was eventually involved in a patent infringement lawsuit over cordite. Nobel amassed a fortune during his lifetime, with most of his wealth from his 355 inventions, of which dynamite is the most famous.
In 1888, Nobel was astonished to read his own obituary, titled The merchant of death is dead, in a French newspaper. As it was Alfred’s brother Ludvig who had died, the obituary was eight years premature. The article disconcerted Nobel and made him apprehensive about how he would be remembered. This inspired him to change his will. On 10 December 1896, Alfred Nobel died in his villa in San Remo, Italy, from a cerebral haemorrhage. He was 63 years old.
Nobel wrote several wills during his lifetime. He composed the last over a year before he died, signing it at the Swedish–Norwegian Club in Paris on 27 November 1895. To widespread astonishment, Nobel’s last will specified that his fortune be used to create a series of prizes for those who confer the “greatest benefit on mankind” in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and peace. Nobel bequeathed 94% of his total assets, 31 million SEK (c. US$186 million, €150 million in 2008), to establish the five Nobel Prizes. Because of skepticism surrounding the will, it was not until 26 April 1897 that it was approved by the Storting in Norway. The executors of Nobel’s will, Ragnar Sohlman and Rudolf Lilljequist, formed the Nobel Foundation to take care of Nobel’s fortune and organise the award of prizes.
Nobel’s instructions named a Norwegian Nobel Committee to award the Peace Prize, the members of whom were appointed shortly after the will was approved in April 1897. Soon thereafter, the other prize-awarding organisations were designated or established. These were Karolinska Institutet on 7 June, the Swedish Academy on 9 June, and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on 11 June. The Nobel Foundation reached an agreement on guidelines for how the prizes should be awarded; and, in 1900, the Nobel Foundation’s newly created statutes were promulgated by King Oscar II. In 1905, the personal union between Sweden and Norway was dissolved.
The Nobel Foundation was founded as a private organisation on 29 June 1900. Its function is to manage the finances and administration of the Nobel Prizes. In accordance with Nobel’s will, the primary task of the Foundation is to manage the fortune Nobel left. Robert and Ludvig Nobel were involved in the oil business in Azerbaijan, and according to Swedish historian E. Bargengren, who accessed the Nobel family archives, it was this “decision to allow withdrawal of Alfred’s money from Baku that became the decisive factor that enabled the Nobel Prizes to be established”. Another important task of the Nobel Foundation is to market the prizes internationally and to oversee informal administration related to the prizes. The Foundation is not involved in the process of selecting the Nobel laureates. In many ways, the Nobel Foundation is similar to an investment company, in that it invests Nobel’s money to create a solid funding base for the prizes and the administrative activities. The Nobel Foundation is exempt from all taxes in Sweden (since 1946) and from investment taxes in the United States (since 1953). Since the 1980s, the Foundation’s investments have become more profitable and as of 31 December 2007, the assets controlled by the Nobel Foundation amounted to 3.628 billion Swedish kronor (c. US$560 million).
According to the statutes, the Foundation consists of a board of five Swedish or Norwegian citizens, with its seat in Stockholm. The Chairman of the Board is appointed by the Swedish King in Council, with the other four members appointed by the trustees of the prize-awarding institutions. An Executive Director is chosen from among the board members, a Deputy Director is appointed by the King in Council, and two deputies are appointed by the trustees. However, since 1995, all the members of the board have been chosen by the trustees, and the Executive Director and the Deputy Director appointed by the board itself. As well as the board, the Nobel Foundation is made up of the prize-awarding institutions (the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institute, the Swedish Academy, and the Norwegian Nobel Committee), the trustees of these institutions, and auditors.
Once the Nobel Foundation and its guidelines were in place, the Nobel Committees began collecting nominations for the inaugural prizes. Subsequently, they sent a list of preliminary candidates to the prize-awarding institutions.
The Nobel Committee’s Physics Prize shortlist cited Wilhelm Röntgen‘s discovery of X-rays and Philipp Lenard‘s work on cathode rays. The Academy of Sciences selected Röntgen for the prize. In the last decades of the 19th century, many chemists had made significant contributions. Thus, with the Chemistry Prize, the Academy “was chiefly faced with merely deciding the order in which these scientists should be awarded the prize.” The Academy received 20 nominations, eleven of them for Jacobus van’t Hoff. Van’t Hoff was awarded the prize for his contributions in chemical thermodynamics.
The Swedish Academy chose the poet Sully Prudhomme for the first Nobel Prize in Literature. A group including 42 Swedish writers, artists, and literary critics protested against this decision, having expected Leo Tolstoy to be awarded. Some, including Burton Feldman, have criticised this prize because they consider Prudhomme a mediocre poet. Feldman’s explanation is that most of the Academy members preferred Victorian literature and thus selected a Victorian poet. The first Physiology or Medicine Prize went to the German physiologist and microbiologist Emil von Behring. During the 1890s, von Behring developed an antitoxin to treat diphtheria, which until then was causing thousands of deaths each year.
The first Nobel Peace Prize went to the Swiss Jean Henri Dunant for his role in founding the International Red Cross Movement and initiating the Geneva Convention, and jointly given to French pacifist Frédéric Passy, founder of the Peace League and active with Dunant in the Alliance for Order and Civilization.
Second World War
In 1938 and 1939, Adolf Hitler‘s Third Reich forbade three laureates from Germany (Richard Kuhn, Adolf Friedrich Johann Butenandt, and Gerhard Domagk) from accepting their prizes. Each man was later able to receive the diploma and medal. Even though Sweden was officially neutral during the Second World War, the prizes were awarded irregularly. In 1939, the Peace Prize was not awarded. No prize was awarded in any category from 1940–42, due to the occupation of Norway by Germany. In the subsequent year, all prizes were awarded except those for literature and peace.
During the occupation of Norway, three members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee fled into exile. The remaining members escaped persecution from the Germans when the Nobel Foundation stated that the Committee building in Oslo was Swedish property. Thus it was a safe haven from the German military, which was not at war with Sweden. These members kept the work of the Committee going, but did not award any prizes. In 1944, the Nobel Foundation, together with the three members in exile, made sure that nominations were submitted for the Peace Prize and that the prize could be awarded once again.
Prize in Economic Sciences
In 1968, Sveriges Riksbank (Swedish National Bank) celebrated its 300th anniversary by donating a large sum of money to the Nobel Foundation to be used to set up a prize in honour of Nobel. The following year, the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded for the first time. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences became responsible for selecting laureates. The first laureates for the Economics Prize were Jan Tinbergen and Ragnar Frisch “for having developed and applied dynamic models for the analysis of economic processes.” Although not a Nobel Prize, it is intimately identified with the other awards; the laureates are announced with the Nobel Prize recipients, and the Prize in Economic Sciences is presented at the Swedish Nobel Prize Award Ceremony. The Board of the Nobel Foundation decided that after this addition, it would allow no further new prizes.
The award process is similar for all of the Nobel Prizes; the main difference is in who can make nominations for each of them.
Nomination forms are sent by the Nobel Committee to about 3,000 individuals, usually in September the year before the prizes are awarded. These individuals are generally prominent academics working in a relevant area. Regarding the Peace Prize, inquiries are also sent to governments, former Peace Prize laureates, and current or former members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. The deadline for the return of the nomination forms is 31 January of the year of the award. The Nobel Committee nominates about 300 potential laureates from these forms and additional names. The nominees are not publicly named, nor are they told that they are being considered for the prize. All nomination records for a prize are sealed for 50 years from the awarding of the prize.
The Nobel Committee then prepares a report reflecting the advice of experts in the relevant fields. This, along with the list of preliminary candidates, is submitted to the prize-awarding institutions. The institutions meet to choose the laureate or laureates in each field by a majority vote. Their decision, which cannot be appealed, is announced immediately after the vote. A maximum of three laureates and two different works may be selected per award. Except for the Peace Prize, which can be awarded to institutions, the awards can only be given to individuals.
Although posthumous nominations are not presently permitted, individuals who died in the months between their nomination and the decision of the prize committee were originally eligible to receive the prize. This has occurred twice: the 1931 Literature Prize awarded to Erik Axel Karlfeldt, and the 1961 Peace Prize awarded to UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld. Since 1974, laureates must be thought alive at the time of the October announcement. There has been one laureate, William Vickrey, who in 1996 died after the prize (in Economics) was announced but before it could be presented. On 3 October 2011, the laureates for the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine were announced; however, the committee was not aware that one of the laureates, Ralph M. Steinman, had died three days earlier. The committee was debating about Steinman’s prize, since the rule is that the prize is not awarded posthumously. The committee later decided that as the decision to award Steinman the prize “was made in good faith”, it would remain unchanged.
Recognition time lag
Nobel’s will provided for prizes to be awarded in recognition of discoveries made “during the preceding year”. Early on, the awards usually recognised recent discoveries. However, some of these early discoveries were later discredited. For example, Johannes Fibiger was awarded the 1926 Prize for Physiology or Medicine for his purported discovery of a parasite that caused cancer. To avoid repeating this embarrassment, the awards increasingly recognised scientific discoveries that had withstood the test of time. According to Ralf Pettersson, former chairman of the Nobel Prize Committee for Physiology or Medicine, “the criterion ‘the previous year’ is interpreted by the Nobel Assembly as the year when the full impact of the discovery has become evident.”
The interval between the award and the accomplishment it recognises varies from discipline to discipline. The Literature Prize is typically awarded to recognise a cumulative lifetime body of work rather than a single achievement. The Peace Prize can also be awarded for a lifetime body of work. For example, 2008 laureate Martti Ahtisaari was awarded for his work to resolve international conflicts. However, they can also be awarded for specific recent events. For instance, Kofi Annan was awarded the 2001 Peace Prize just four years after becoming the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Similarly Yasser Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin, and Shimon Peres received the 1994 award, about a year after they successfully concluded the Oslo Accords.
Awards for physics, chemistry, and medicine are typically awarded once the achievement has been widely accepted. Sometimes, this takes decades – for example, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar shared the 1983 Physics Prize for his 1930s work on stellar structure and evolution. Not all scientists live long enough for their work to be recognised. Some discoveries can never be considered for a prize if their impact is realised after the discoverers have died.
Except for the Peace Prize, the Nobel Prizes are presented in Stockholm, Sweden, at the annual Prize Award Ceremony on 10 December, the anniversary of Nobel’s death. The recipients’ lectures are normally held in the days prior to the award ceremony. The Peace Prize and its recipients’ lectures are presented at the annual Prize Award Ceremony in Oslo, Norway, usually on 10 December. The award ceremonies and the associated banquets are typically major international events. The Prizes awarded in Sweden’s ceremonies’ are held at the Stockholm Concert Hall, with the Nobel banquet following immediately at Stockholm City Hall. The Nobel Peace Prize ceremony has been held at the Norwegian Nobel Institute (1905–1946), at the auditorium of the University of Oslo (1947–1989), and at Oslo City Hall (1990–present).
The highlight of the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony in Stockholm occurs when each Nobel laureate steps forward to receive the prize from the hands of the King of Sweden. In Oslo, the Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee presents the Nobel Peace Prize in the presence of the King of Norway. At first, King Oscar II did not approve of awarding grand prizes to foreigners. It is said that his mind changed once his attention had been drawn to the publicity value of the prizes for Sweden.
The Nobel Peace Prize banquet is held in Norway at the Oslo Grand Hotel after the award ceremony. Apart from the laureate, guests include the President of the Storting, the Prime Minister, and, since 2006, the King and Queen of Norway. In total, about 250 guests attend.
According to the statutes of the Nobel Foundation, each laureate is required to give a public lecture on a subject related to the topic of their prize.[not in citation given][not in citation given] The Nobel lecture as a rhetorical genre took decades to reach its current format. These lectures normally occur during Nobel Week (the week leading up to the award ceremony and banquet, which begins with the laureates arriving in Stockholm and normally ends with the Nobel banquet), but this is not mandatory. The laureate is only obliged to give the lecture within six months of receiving the prize. Some have happened even later. For example, US President Theodore Roosevelt received the Peace Prize in 1906 but gave his lecture in 1910, after his term in office. The lectures are organised by the same association which selected the laureates.
It was announced on 30 May 2012 that the Nobel Foundation had awarded the contract for the production of the five (Swedish) Nobel Prize medals to Svenska Medalj AB. Formerly, the Nobel Prize medals were minted by Myntverket (the Swedish Mint) from 1902 to 2010. Myntverket, Sweden’s oldest company, ceased operations in 2011 after 1,017 years. In 2011, the Mint of Norway, located in Kongsberg, made the medals. The Nobel Prize medals are registered trademarks of the Nobel Foundation. Each medal features an image of Alfred Nobel in left profile on the obverse. The medals for physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, and literature have identical obverses, showing the image of Alfred Nobel and the years of his birth and death. Nobel’s portrait also appears on the obverse of the Peace Prize medal and the medal for the Economics Prize, but with a slightly different design. For instance, the laureate’s name is engraved on the rim of the Economics medal. The image on the reverse of a medal varies according to the institution awarding the prize. The reverse sides of the medals for chemistry and physics share the same design.
All medals made before 1980 were struck in 23 carat gold. Since then, they have been struck in 18 carat green gold plated with 24 carat gold. The weight of each medal varies with the value of gold, but averages about 175 grams (0.386 lb) for each medal. The diameter is 66 millimetres (2.6 in) and the thickness varies between 5.2 millimetres (0.20 in) and 2.4 millimetres (0.094 in). Because of the high value of their gold content and tendency to be on public display, Nobel medals are subject to medal theft. During World War II, the medals of German scientists Max von Laue and James Franck were sent to Copenhagen for safekeeping. When Germany invaded Denmark, Hungarian chemist (and Nobel laureate himself) George de Hevesy dissolved them in aqua regia (nitro-hydrochloric acid), to prevent confiscation by Nazi Germany and to prevent legal problems for the holders. After the war, the gold was recovered from solution, and the medals re-cast.
Nobel laureates receive a diploma directly from the hands of the King of Sweden, or in the case of the peace prize, the Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. Each diploma is uniquely designed by the prize-awarding institutions for the laureates that receive them. The diploma contains a picture and text in Swedish which states the name of the laureate and normally a citation of why they received the prize. None of the Nobel Peace Prize laureates has ever had a citation on their diplomas.
The laureates are given a sum of money when they receive their prizes, in the form of a document confirming the amount awarded. The amount of prize money depends upon how much money the Nobel Foundation can award each year. The purse has increased since the 1980s, when the prize money was 880 000 SEK (c. 2.6 million SEK, US$350 000, or €295,000 today) per prize. In 2009, the monetary award was 10 million SEK (US$1.4 million, €950,000). In June 2012, it was lowered to 8 million SEK. If there are two laureates in a particular category, the award grant is divided equally between the recipients. If there are three, the awarding committee has the option of dividing the grant equally, or awarding one-half to one recipient and one-quarter to each of the others. It is common for recipients to donate prize money to benefit scientific, cultural, or humanitarian causes.
Controversies and criticisms
Among other criticisms, the Nobel Committees have been accused of having a political agenda, and of omitting more deserving candidates. They have also been accused of Eurocentrism, especially for the Literature Prize.
- Peace Prize
Among the most criticised Nobel Peace Prizes was the one awarded to Henry Kissinger and Lê Đức Thọ. This led to the resignation of two Norwegian Nobel Committee members. Lê Đức Thọ declined the prize. Kissinger and Thọ were awarded the prize for negotiating a ceasefire between North Vietnam and the United States in January 1973. However, when the award was announced, both sides were still engaging in hostilities. Many critics were of the opinion that Kissinger was not a peace-maker but the opposite, responsible for widening the war.
Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres, and Yitzhak Rabin received the Peace Prize in 1994 for their efforts in making peace between Israel and Palestine. Immediately after the award was announced, one of the five Norwegian Nobel Committee members denounced Arafat as a terrorist and resigned. Additional misgivings about Arafat were widely expressed in various newspapers.
Another controversial Peace Prize was that awarded to Barack Obama in 2009. Nominations had closed only eleven days after Obama took office as President, but the actual evaluation occurred over the next eight months. Obama himself stated that he did not feel deserving of the award, or worthy of the company it would place him in. Past Peace Prize laureates were divided, some saying that Obama deserved the award, and others saying he had not secured the achievements to yet merit such an accolade. Obama’s award, along with the previous Peace Prizes for Jimmy Carter and Al Gore, also prompted accusations of a left-wing bias.
- Literature Prize
The award of the 2004 Literature Prize to Elfriede Jelinek drew a protest from a member of the Swedish Academy, Knut Ahnlund. Ahnlund resigned, alleging that the selection of Jelinek had caused “irreparable damage to all progressive forces, it has also confused the general view of literature as an art.” He alleged that Jelinek’s works were “a mass of text shovelled together without artistic structure.” The 2009 Literature Prize to Herta Müller also generated criticism. According to The Washington Post, many US literary critics and professors were ignorant of her work. This made those critics feel the prizes were too Eurocentric.
- Science prizes
In 1949, the neurologist António Egas Moniz received the Physiology or Medicine Prize for his development of the prefrontal leucotomy. The previous year, Dr. Walter Freeman had developed a version of the procedure which was faster and easier to carry out. Due in part to the publicity surrounding the original procedure, Freeman’s procedure was prescribed without due consideration or regard for modern medical ethics. Endorsed by such influential publications as The New England Journal of Medicine, leucotomy or “lobotomy” became so popular that about 5,000 lobotomies were performed in the United States in the three years immediately following Moniz’s receipt of the Prize.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee confirmed that Mahatma Gandhi was nominated for the Peace Prize in 1937–39, 1947, and a few days before he was assassinated in January 1948. Later, members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee expressed regret that he was not given the prize. Geir Lundestad, Secretary of Norwegian Nobel Committee in 2006, said, “The greatest omission in our 106 year history is undoubtedly that Mahatma Gandhi never received the Nobel Peace prize. Gandhi could do without the Nobel Peace prize. Whether Nobel committee can do without Gandhi is the question”. In 1948, the year of Gandhi’s death, the Nobel Committee declined to award a prize on the grounds that “there was no suitable living candidate” that year. Later, when the Dalai Lama was awarded the Peace Prize in 1989, the chairman of the committee said that this was “in part a tribute to the memory of Mahatma Gandhi.” Other high profile individuals with widely recognised contributions to peace have been missed out. Foreign Policy lists Eleanor Roosevelt, Václav Havel, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Sari Nusseibeh, and Corazon Aquino as people who “never won the prize, but should have.”
In 1965, UN Secretary General U Thant was informed by the Norwegian Permananent Representative to the UN that he would be awarded that year’s prize and asked whether or not he would accept. He consulted staff and later replied that he would. At the same time, Chairman Gunnar Jahn of the Nobel Peace prize committee, lobbied heavily against giving U Thant the prize and the prize was at the last minute awarded to UNICEF. The rest of the committee all wanted the prize to go to U Thant, for his work in defusing the Cuban Missile Crisis, ending the war in the Congo, and his ongoing work to mediate an end to the Vietnam War. The disagreement lasted three years and in 1966 and 1967 no prize was given, with Gunnar Jahn effectively vetoing an award to U Thant.
The Literature Prize also has controversial omissions. Adam Kirsch has suggested that many notable writers have missed out on the award for political or extra-literary reasons. The heavy focus on European and Swedish authors has been a subject of criticism. The Eurocentric nature of the award was acknowledged by Peter Englund, the 2009 Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy, as a problem with the award and was attributed to the tendency for the academy to relate more to European authors. This tendency towards European authors still leaves a number of European writers on a list of notable writers that have been overlooked for the Literature Prize, including Europe’s Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov, J. R. R. Tolkien, Émile Zola, Marcel Proust, Vladimir Nabokov, James Joyce, August Strindberg, Simon Vestdijk, Karel Čapek, the New World‘s Jorge Luis Borges, Ezra Pound, John Updike, Arthur Miller, Mark Twain, and Africa’s Chinua Achebe.
Candidates can receive multiple nominations the same year. Gaston Ramon received a total of 155 nominations in physiology or medicine from 1930 to 1953, the last year with public nomination data for that award as of 2016. He died in 1963 without being awarded. Pierre Paul Émile Roux received 115 nominations in physiology or medicine, and Arnold Sommerfeld received 84 in physics. These are the three most nominated scientists without awards in the data published as of 2016. Otto Stern received 79 nominations in physics 1925–43 before being awarded in 1943.
The strict rule against awarding a prize to more than three people is also controversial. When a prize is awarded to recognise an achievement by a team of more than three collaborators, one or more will miss out. For example, in 2002, the prize was awarded to Koichi Tanaka and John Fenn for the development of mass spectrometry in protein chemistry, an award that did not recognise the achievements of Franz Hillenkamp and Michael Karas of the Institute for Physical and Theoretical Chemistry at the University of Frankfurt. According to one of the nominees for the prize in physics, the three person limit deprived him and two other members of his team of the honour in 2013: the team of Carl Hagen, Gerald Guralnik, and Tom Kibble published a paper in 1964 that gave answers to how the Cosmos began, but did not share the 2013 Physics Prize awarded to Peter Higgs and François Englert, who had also published papers in 1964 concerning the subject. All five physicists arrived at the same conclusion, albeit from different angles. Hagen contends that an equitable solution is to either abandon the three limit restriction, or expand the time period of recognition for a given achievement to two years.
Similarly, the prohibition of posthumous awards fails to recognise achievements by an individual or collaborator who dies before the prize is awarded. In 1962, Francis Crick, James D. Watson, and Maurice Wilkins were awarded the Physiology or Medicine Prize for discovering the structure of DNA. Rosalind Franklin, a key contributor in that discovery, died of ovarian cancer four years earlier. The Economics Prize was not awarded to Fischer Black, who died in 1995, when his co-author Myron Scholes received the honour in 1997 for their landmark work on option pricing along with Robert C. Merton, another pioneer in the development of valuation of stock options. In the announcement of the award that year, the Nobel committee prominently mentioned Black’s key role.
Political subterfuge may also deny proper recognition. Lise Meitner and Fritz Strassmann, who co-discovered nuclear fission along with Otto Hahn, may have been denied a share of Hahn’s 1944 Nobel Chemistry Award due to having fled Germany when the Nazis came to power. The Meitner and Strassmann roles in the research was not fully recognised until years later, when they joined Hahn in receiving the 1966 Enrico Fermi Award.
Emphasis on discoveries over inventions
Alfred Nobel left his fortune to finance annual prizes to be awarded “to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind.” He stated that the Nobel Prizes in Physics should be given “to the person who shall have made the most important ‘discovery’ or ‘invention’ within the field of physics.” Nobel did not emphasise discoveries, but they have historically been held in higher respect by the Nobel Prize Committee than inventions: 77% of the Physics Prizes have been given to discoveries, compared with only 23% to inventions. Christoph Bartneck and Matthias Rauterberg, in papers published in Nature and Technoetic Arts, have argued this emphasis on discoveries has moved the Nobel Prize away from its original intention of rewarding the greatest contribution to society.
Specially distinguished laureates
Four people have received two Nobel Prizes. Marie Curie received the Physics Prize in 1903 for her work on radioactivity and the Chemistry Prize in 1911 for the isolation of pure radium, making her the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences. Linus Pauling won the 1954 Chemistry Prize for his research into the chemical bond and its application to the structure of complex substances. Pauling also won the Peace Prize in 1962 for his activism against nuclear weapons, making him the only laureate of two unshared prizes. John Bardeen received the Physics Prize twice: in 1956 for the invention of the transistor and in 1972 for the theory of superconductivity. Frederick Sanger received the prize twice in Chemistry: in 1958 for determining the structure of the insulin molecule and in 1980 for inventing a method of determining base sequences in DNA.
Two organisations have received the Peace Prize multiple times. The International Committee of the Red Cross received it three times: in 1917 and 1944 for its work during the world wars; and in 1963 during the year of its centenary. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has won the Peace Prize twice for assisting refugees: in 1954 and 1981.
The Curie family has received the most prizes, with four prizes won by five individual laureates. Marie Curie received the prizes in Physics (in 1903) and Chemistry (in 1911). Her husband, Pierre Curie, shared the 1903 Physics prize with her. Their daughter, Irène Joliot-Curie, received the Chemistry Prize in 1935 together with her husband Frédéric Joliot-Curie. In addition, the husband of Marie Curie’s second daughter, Henry Labouisse, was the director of UNICEF when it won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1965.
Although no family matches the Curie family’s record, there have been several with two laureates. The husband-and-wife team of Gerty Cori and Carl Ferdinand Cori shared the 1947 Prize in Physiology or Medicine as did the husband-and-wife team of May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser in 2014 (along with John O’Keefe). J. J. Thomson was awarded the Physics Prize in 1906 for showing that electrons are particles. His son, George Paget Thomson, received the same prize in 1937 for showing that they also have the properties of waves. William Henry Bragg and his son, William Lawrence Bragg, shared the Physics Prize in 1915 for inventing the X-ray spectrometer. Niels Bohr won the Physics prize in 1922, as did his son, Aage Bohr, in 1975. Manne Siegbahn, who received the Physics Prize in 1924, was the father of Kai Siegbahn, who received the Physics Prize in 1981. Hans von Euler-Chelpin, who received the Chemistry Prize in 1929, was the father of Ulf von Euler, who was awarded the Physiology or Medicine Prize in 1970. C. V. Raman won the Physics Prize in 1930 and was the uncle of Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, who won the same prize in 1983. Arthur Kornberg received the Physiology or Medicine Prize in 1959; Kornberg’s son, Roger later received the Chemistry Prize in 2006. Jan Tinbergen, who won the first Economics Prize in 1969, was the brother of Nikolaas Tinbergen, who received the 1973 Physiology or Medicine Prize. Alva Myrdal, Peace Prize laureate in 1982, was the wife of Gunnar Myrdal who was awarded the Economics Prize in 1974. Economics laureates Paul Samuelson and Kenneth Arrow were brothers-in-law.
Being a symbol of scientific or literary achievement that’s recognisable worldwide, the Nobel Prize is often depicted in fiction. This includes films like The Prize and Nobel Son about fictional Nobel laureates as well as fictionalised accounts of stories surrounding real prizes such as Nobel Chor, a film based on the unsolved theft of Rabindranath Tagore’s prize.
Refusals and constraints
Two laureates have voluntarily declined the Nobel Prize. In 1964, Jean-Paul Sartre was awarded the Literature Prize but refused, stating, “A writer must refuse to allow himself to be transformed into an institution, even if it takes place in the most honourable form.” Lê Đức Thọ, chosen for the 1973 Peace Prize for his role in the Paris Peace Accords, declined, stating that there was no actual peace in Vietnam.
During the Third Reich, Adolf Hitler hindered Richard Kuhn, Adolf Butenandt, and Gerhard Domagk from accepting their prizes. All of them were awarded their diplomas and gold medals after World War II. In 1958, Boris Pasternak declined his prize for literature due to fear of what the Soviet Union government might do if he travelled to Stockholm to accept his prize. In return, the Swedish Academy refused his refusal, saying “this refusal, of course, in no way alters the validity of the award.” The Academy announced with regret that the presentation of the Literature Prize could not take place that year, holding it until 1989 when Pasternak’s son accepted the prize on his behalf. Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, but her children accepted the prize because she had been placed under house arrest in Burma; Suu Kyi delivered her speech two decades later, in 2012. Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 while he and his wife were under house arrest in China as political prisoners.
The memorial symbol “Planet of Alfred Nobel” was opened in Dnipropetrovsk University of Economics and Law in 2008. On the globe, there are 802 Nobel laureates’ reliefs made of a composite alloy obtained when disposing of military strategic missiles.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
|Elizabeth Cady Stanton|
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, c. 1880
November 12, 1815
Johnstown, New York
|Died||October 26, 1902 (aged 86)
New York City, New York
|Occupation||Writer, suffragist, women’s rights activist, abolitionist|
|Spouse(s)||Henry Brewster Stanton (m. 1840)|
|Parent(s)||Daniel Cady (1773–1859)
Margaret Livingston Cady (1785–1871)
|Relatives||Gerrit Smith, cousin
Col. James Livingston, grandfather
Elizabeth Cady Stanton (November 12, 1815 – October 26, 1902) was an American suffragist, social activist, abolitionist, and leading figure of the early women’s rights movement. Her Declaration of Sentiments, presented at the Seneca Falls Convention held in 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York, is often credited with initiating the first organized women’s rights and women’s suffrage movements in the United States. Stanton was president of the National Woman Suffrage Association from 1892 until 1900.
Before Stanton narrowed her political focus almost exclusively to women’s rights, she was an active abolitionist with her husband Henry Brewster Stanton (co-founder of the Republican Party) and cousin Gerrit Smith. Unlike many of those involved in the women’s rights movement, Stanton addressed various issues pertaining to women beyond voting rights. Her concerns included women’s parental and custody rights, property rights, employment and income rights, divorce, the economic health of the family, and birth control. She was also an outspoken supporter of the 19th-century temperance movement.
After the American Civil War, Stanton’s commitment to female suffrage caused a schism in the women’s rights movement when she, together with Susan B. Anthony, declined to support passage of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. She opposed giving added legal protection and voting rights to African American men while women, black and white, were denied those same rights. Her position on this issue, together with her thoughts on organized Christianity and women’s issues beyond voting rights, led to the formation of two separate women’s rights organizations that were finally rejoined, with Stanton as president of the joint organization, about twenty years after her break from the original women’s suffrage movement. Stanton died in 1902, having written both The Woman’s Bible and her autobiography Eighty Years and More, and many other articles and pamphlets about female suffrage and women’s rights.
Stanton’s Speech Regarding the Destructive Male
In 1868 at the Women’s Suffrage Convention in Washington, D.C., Elizabeth Cady Stanton, at age 52, gave a powerful speech which begins as such: “I urge a sixteenth amendment, because ‘manhood suffrage,’ or a man’s government, is civil, religious, and social disorganization. The male element is a destructive force, stern, selfish, aggrandizing, loving war, violence, conquest, acquisition, breeding in the material and moral world alike discord, disorder, disease, and death. See what a record of blood and cruelty the pages of history reveal! Through what slavery, slaughter, and sacrifice, through what inquisitions and imprisonments, pains and persecutions, black codes and gloomy creeds, the soul of humanity has struggled for the centuries, while mercy has veiled her face and all hearts have been dead alike to love and hope!”
The speech ends as such “With violence and disturbance in the natural world, we see a constant effort to maintain an equilibrium of forces. Nature, like a loving mother, is ever trying to keep land and sea, mountain and valley, each in its place, to hush the angry winds and waves, balance the extremes of heat and cold, of rain and drought, that peace, harmony, and beauty may reign supreme. There is a striking analogy between matter and mind, and the present disorganization of society warns us that in the dethronement of woman we have let loose the elements of violence and ruin that she only has the power to curb. If the civilization of the age calls for an extension of the suffrage, surely a government of the most virtuous educated men and women would better represent the whole and protect the interests of all than could the representation of either sex alone.”
Ideological divergence with abolitionists and the women’s rights movement
“The prejudice against color, of which we hear so much, is no stronger than that against sex. It is produced by the same cause, and manifested very much in the same way.”
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
After the American Civil War, both Stanton and Anthony broke with their abolitionist backgrounds and lobbied strongly against ratification of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, which granted African American men the right to vote. Believing that African American men, by virtue of the Thirteenth Amendment, already had the legal protections, except for suffrage, offered to white male citizens and that so largely expanding the male franchise in the country would only increase the number of voters prepared to deny women the right to vote, both Stanton and Anthony were angry that the abolitionists, their former partners in working for both African American and women’s rights, refused to demand that the language of the amendments be changed to include women.
Eventually, Stanton’s oppositional rhetoric took on racial overtones. Arguing on behalf of female suffrage, Stanton posited that women voters of “wealth, education, and refinement” were needed to offset the effect of former slaves and immigrants whose “pauperism, ignorance, and degradation” might negatively affect the American political system. She declared it to be “a serious question whether we had better stand aside and see ‘Sambo‘ walk into the kingdom [of civil rights] first.” Some scholars have argued that Stanton’s emphasis on property ownership and education, opposition to black male suffrage, and desire to hold out for universal suffrage fragmented the civil rights movement by pitting African-American men against women and, together with Stanton’s emphasis on “educated suffrage,” in part established a basis for the literacy requirements that followed in the wake of the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment.
Stanton’s position caused a significant rift between herself and many civil rights leaders, particularly Frederick Douglass, who believed that white women, already empowered by their connection to fathers, husbands, and brothers, at least vicariously had the vote. According to Douglass, their treatment as slaves entitled the now liberated African American men, who lacked women’s indirect empowerment, to voting rights before women were granted the franchise. African American women, he believed, would have the same degree of empowerment as white women once African American men had the vote; hence, general female suffrage was, according to Douglass, of less concern than black male suffrage.
Disagreeing with Douglass, and despite the racist language she sometimes resorted to, Stanton firmly believed in a universal franchise that empowered blacks and whites, men and women. Speaking on behalf of black women, she stated that not allowing them to vote condemned African American freedwomen “to a triple bondage that man never knows,” that of slavery, gender, and race. She was joined in this belief by Anthony, Olympia Brown, and most especially Frances Gage, who was the first suffragist to champion voting rights for freedwomen.
Thaddeus Stevens, a Republican congressman from Pennsylvania and ardent abolitionist, agreed that voting rights should be universal. In 1866, Stanton, Anthony, and several other suffragists drafted a universal suffrage petition demanding that the right to vote be given without consideration of sex or race. The petition was introduced in the United States Congress by Stevens. Despite these efforts, the Fourteenth Amendment was passed, without adjustment, in 1868.
By the time the Fifteenth Amendment was making its way through Congress, Stanton’s position had led to a major schism in the women’s rights movement itself. Many leaders in the women’s rights movement, including Lucy Stone, Elizabeth Blackwell, and Julia Ward Howe, strongly argued against Stanton’s “all or nothing” position. By 1869, disagreement over ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment had given birth to two separate women’s suffrage organizations. The National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) was founded in May, 1869 by Anthony and Stanton, who served as its president for 21 years. The NWSA opposed passage of the Fifteenth Amendment without changes to include female suffrage and, under Stanton’s influence in particular, championed a number of women’s issues that were deemed too radical by more conservative members of the suffrage movement. The better-funded, larger, and more representative woman suffragist vehicle, the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA), founded the following November and led by Stone, Blackwell, and Howe, supported the Fifteenth Amendment as written. Following passage of that Amendment, the AWSA preferred to focus only on female suffrage rather than advocate for the broader women’s rights espoused by Stanton: gender-neutral divorce laws, a woman’s right to refuse her husband sexually, increased economic opportunities for women and the right of women to serve on juries.
Believing that men should not be given the right to vote without women also being granted the franchise, Sojourner Truth, a former slave and feminist, affiliated herself with Stanton and Anthony’s organization. Stanton, Anthony, and Truth were joined by Matilda Joslyn Gage, who later worked on The Woman’s Bible with Stanton. Despite Stanton’s position and the efforts of her and others to expand the Fifteenth Amendment to include voting rights for all women, this amendment also passed, as it was originally written, in 1870.
In her later years, Stanton became interested in efforts to create cooperative communities and work places. She was also attracted to various forms of political radicalism, applauding the Populist movement and identifying herself with socialism, especially Fabian socialism.
In the decade following ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment, both Stanton and Anthony increasingly took the position, first advocated by Victoria Woodhull, that the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments actually did give women the right to vote. They argued that the Fourteenth Amendment, which defined citizens as “all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” included women and that the Fifteenth Amendment provided all citizens with the right to vote. Using this logic, they asserted that women now had the constitutional right to vote and that it was simply a matter of claiming that right. This constitution-based argument, which came to be called “the new departure” in women’s rights circles because of its divergence from earlier attempts to change voting laws on a state-by-state basis, led to first Anthony (in 1872), and later Stanton (in 1880), going to the polls and demanding to vote. Despite this, and similar attempts made by hundreds of other women, it would be nearly 50 years before women obtained the right to vote throughout the United States.
During this time, Stanton maintained a broad focus on women’s rights in general rather than narrowing her focus only to female suffrage in particular. After passage of the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870 and its support by the Equal Rights Association and prominent suffragists such as Stone, Blackwell, and Howe, the gap between Elizabeth Cady Stanton and other leaders of the women’s movement widened as Stanton took issue with the fundamental religious leanings of several movement leaders. Unlike many of her colleagues, Stanton believed organized Christianity relegated women to an unacceptable position in society. She explored this view in the 1890s in The Woman’s Bible, which elucidated a feminist understanding of biblical scripture and sought to correct the fundamental sexism Stanton believed was inherent to organized Christianity. Likewise, Stanton supported divorce rights, employment rights, and property rights for women, issues in which the American Women’s Suffrage Association (AWSA) preferred not to become involved.
Her more radical positions included acceptance of interracial marriage. Despite her opposition to giving African American men the right to vote without enfranchising all women and the derogatory language she had resorted to in expressing this opposition, Stanton had no objection to interracial marriage and wrote a congratulatory letter to Frederick Douglass upon his marriage to Helen Pitts, a white woman, in 1884. Anthony, fearing public condemnation of the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) and wanting to keep the demand for female suffrage foremost, pleaded with Stanton not to make her letter to Douglass or support for his marriage publicly known.
Stanton went on to write some of the most influential books, documents, and speeches of the women’s rights movement. Starting in 1876, Stanton, Anthony, and Gage collaborated to write the first volume of History of Woman Suffrage, a seminal, six-volume work containing the full history, documents, and letters of the woman’s suffrage movement. The first two volumes were published in 1881 and the third in 1886; the work was eventually completed in 1922 by Ida Harper. Stanton’s other major writings included the two-part The Woman’s Bible, published in 1895 and 1898; Eighty Years & More: Reminiscences 1815–1897, her autobiography, published in 1898; and The Solitude of Self, or “Self-Sovereignty,” which she first delivered as a speech at the 1892 convention of the National American Woman’s Suffrage Association in Washington, D.C.
In 1868 Stanton, together with Susan B. Anthony and Parker Pillsbury, a leading male feminist of his day, began publishing a weekly periodical, Revolution, with editorials by Stanton that focused on a wide array of women’s issues. In a view different from many modern feminists, Stanton, who supported birth control and likely used it herself, believed that both the killing of infants and abortion could be considered infanticide, a position she discussed in Revolution. At this time, Stanton also joined the New York Lyceum Bureau, embarking on a 12-year career on the Lyceum Circuit. Traveling and lecturing for eight months every year provided her both with the funds to put her two youngest sons through college and, given her popularity as a lecturer, with a way to spread her ideas among the general population, gain broad public recognition, and further establish her reputation as a preeminent leader in the women’s rights movement. Among her most popular speeches were “Our Girls”, “Our Boys”, “Co-education”, “Marriage and Divorce”, “Prison Life”, and “The Bible and Woman’s Rights”. Her lecture travels so occupied her that Stanton, although president, presided at only four of 15 conventions of the National Woman’s Suffrage Association during this period.
In addition to her writing and speaking, Stanton was also instrumental in promoting women’s suffrage in various states, particularly New York, Missouri, Kansas, where it was included on the ballot in 1867, and Michigan, where it was put to a vote in 1874. She made an unsuccessful bid for a U.S. Congressional seat from New York in 1866, and she was the primary force behind the passage of the Woman’s Property Bill that was eventually passed by the New York State Legislature. She worked toward female suffrage in Wyoming, Utah, and California, and in 1878, she convinced California Senator Aaron A. Sargent to introduce a female suffrage amendment using wording similar to that of the Fifteenth Amendment passed some eight years previously.
Stanton was also active internationally, spending a great deal of time in Europe, where her daughter and fellow feminist Harriot Stanton Blatch lived. In 1888, she helped prepare for the founding of the International Council of Women. In 1890, Stanton opposed the merger of the National Woman’s Suffrage Association with the more conservative and religiously based American Woman Suffrage Association. Over her objections, the organizations merged, creating the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). Despite her opposition to the merger, Stanton became its first president, largely because of Susan B. Anthony’s intervention. In good measure because of The Woman’s Bible and her position on issues such as divorce she was, however, never popular among the more religiously conservative members of the “National American”.
On January 18, 1892, about ten years before she died, Stanton joined Anthony, Stone, and Isabella Beecher Hooker to address the issue of suffrage before the United States House Committee on the Judiciary. After nearly five decades of fighting for female suffrage and women’s rights, it was Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s final appearance before members of the United States Congress. Using the text of what became The Solitude of Self, she spoke of the central value of the individual, noting that value was not based on gender. As with the Declaration of Sentiments she had penned some 45 years earlier, Stanton’s statement expressed not only the need for women’s voting rights in particular, but the need for a revamped understanding of women’s position in society and even of women in general:
“The isolation of every human soul and the necessity of self-dependence must give each individual the right to choose his own surroundings. The strongest reason for giving woman all the opportunities for higher education, for the full development of her faculties, her forces of mind and body; for giving her the most enlarged freedom of thought and action; a complete emancipation from all forms of bondage, of custom, dependence, superstition; from all the crippling influences of fear—is the solitude and personal responsibility of her own individual life. The strongest reason why we ask for woman a voice in the government under which she lives; in the religion she is asked to believe; equality in social life, where she is the chief factor; a place in the trades and professions, where she may earn her bread, is because of her birthright to self-sovereignty; because, as an individual, she must rely on herself […].”
Stanton strongly supported the Spanish–American War in 1898, writing: “Though I hate war per se, I am glad that it has come in this instance. I would like to see Spain… swept from the face of the earth.”
Death, burial, and remembrance
Stanton died of heart failure at her home in New York City on October 26, 1902, 18 years before women were granted the right to vote in the United States. Survived by six of her seven children and by seven grandchildren, she was interred in Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York City, the grave upon which there is a monument for her and her husband. Although Elizabeth Cady Stanton had been unable to attend a formal college or university, her daughters did. Margaret Livingston Stanton Lawrence attended Vassar College (1876) and Columbia University (1891), and Harriot Stanton Blatch received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Vassar College in 1878 and 1891 respectively.
After Stanton’s death, her unorthodox ideas about religion and emphasis on female employment and other women’s issues led many suffragists to focus on Anthony, rather than Stanton, as the founder of the women’s suffrage movement. Stanton’s controversial publishing of The Woman’s Bible in 1895 had alienated more religiously traditional suffragists, and had cemented Anthony’s place as the more readily recognized leader of the female suffrage movement. Anthony continued to work with NAWSA and became more familiar to many of the younger members of the movement. By 1923, in celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention, only Harriot Stanton Blatch paid tribute to the role her mother had played in instigating the women’s rights movement. Even as late as 1977, Anthony received the most attention as the founder of the movement, while Stanton was not mentioned.
Over time, however, Stanton received more attention. Stanton was commemorated along with Lucretia Mott and Susan B. Anthony in a sculpture by Adelaide Johnson at the United States Capitol, unveiled in 1921. Originally kept on display in the crypt of the US Capitol, the sculpture was moved to its current location and more prominently displayed in the rotunda in 1997. The Elizabeth Cady Stanton House in Seneca Falls was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1965. Her house in Tenafly, New Jersey, was declared a landmark in 1975. Years later, 37 Park Row, the site of the original office of Stanton and Anthony’s newspaper, The Revolution, was included in the map of Manhattan historical sites related or dedicated to important women created by the Office of the Manhattan Borough President in March 2008. She is commemorated, together with Amelia Bloomer, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Ross Tubman, in the calendar of saints of the Episcopal Church on July 20. In 1999, interest in Stanton was popularly rekindled when Ken Burns and others produced the documentary Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony. Once again, attention was drawn to her central, founding role in shaping not only the woman’s suffrage movement, but a broad women’s rights movement in the United States that included women’s suffrage, women’s legal reform, and women’s roles in society as a whole.
Ten Dollar Bill
On April 20, 2016 Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew announced that several denominations of United States currency would be redesigned prior to 2020, the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. The newly designed $10 bill will include images which will pay homage to the women’s suffrage movement and feature the images of Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Lucretia Mott, Alice Paul, and the 1913 Woman Suffrage Procession.