Alice Morgan Wright Papers
Alice Morgan Wright, sculptor, suffragist, and animal welfare advocate, the daughter of Henry Romeyn Wright, a prosperous wholesale grocer, and Emma Jane Morgan, was born on October 10, 1881, in Albany, New York. She attended the St. Agnes School in Albany (now the Doane Stuart School) and then graduated from Smith College in 1904.
Wright worked for the Collegiate Equal Suffrage League and began studying sculpture at the Art Student League in New York City. In 1909 the League awarded her both the Gutzon Borglum and the Augustus Saint-Gaudens prizes for her outstanding art work. She went on to study art at the Académie des Beaux-Arts and at the Académie Colarossi in Paris. While in Europe, Wright involved herself in both the British and French suffrage movements. She organized a meeting in Paris at which English suffragist Emmeline Pankhurst spoke in 1910 and arranged for Pankhurst to make an appearance in Albany during her tour of the United States in 1911.
During a suffrage demonstration, Wright was arrested and spent two months in London's Holloway Gaol. During this time she modeled a small bust of Emmeline Pankhurst, her prison-mate, with art supplies she had smuggled into the prison. When she returned to Paris she organized a petition drive demanding the release of jailed British suffragists. By 1913 Wright's art work had won several prizes, and had been exhibited in New York, Paris, and London. After returning home in 1914, she became the recording secretary of the New York State Women's Suffrage Party, and only returned full time to her sculpture after the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment.
Wright's lifelong companion was Edith J. Goode, whom she met at Smith, and together they worked tirelessly for peace and justice. Wright's love of animals increasingly drew her to the cause of animal protection, and although she was heralded as one of the leading young American sculptors, art increasingly took a backseat to her reform activities. By 1945 she was devoting all her time to the cause, founding the National Humane Education Association, and working with various other animal protection organizations. Russell Sage College awarded her an honorary degree in 1947. Wright died in Albany at the age of 93, on April 8, 1975.