June 20, 2012
Goode and Wright: Protecting Animals Was a Life and Death Decision
By Bernard Unti
In more than a half century of humane work, The HSUS has attracted many outstanding supporters—generous, energetic, and unselfish people dedicated to the cause of animals. Even by that standard, however, Alice Morgan Wright and Edith Goode stand out, not simply for what they gave to the cause in life, but for the continuing humane work underwritten by the charitable trusts they had the foresight to establish. Today, their common interest in supporting education and in widening the scope of animal protection to foreign countries is still being sustained through the grants programs administered by the Edith J. Goode Residuary Trust and the Alice Morgan Wright-Edith Goode Fund.
Goode, a native of Springfield, Ohio, was raised in Washington, D.C., which became her lifelong home. Together with her mother, she was a founder of the National Woman's Party (NWP) and a member of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. She devoted her entire life to public service and to campaigns for women's rights, peace, and population control.
Wright, a native of Albany, New York, pursued similar interests while forging an international reputation as a modernist sculptress whose work focused on the human figure. She displayed a strong revulsion to cruelty as a child, refusing to go to church after asking her mother where all of the women's furs had come from.
A partnership is born
After meeting at Smith College, Wright and Goode become lifetime companions, bonded by impassioned commitments to woman's suffrage, racial justice, peace, international understanding, and animal welfare. For half a century, the two women advanced their shared vision of a better world with intensity, inventiveness, and deep conviction about the necessity of concerted political action.
After graduation from Smith, Wright attended the Art Students League in New York City, where she was not permitted to sit in on drawing classes with nude male models. Instead, to develop her knowledge of anatomy, she attended boxing and wrestling matches.
Wright, who exhibited in the controversial New York Armory Show of 1912, was greatly influenced by Cubism and Futurism. She also showed her works at the Royal Academy of Art in London, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Salon des Beaux Arts in Paris, the Salon d'Automne, the 1939 New York World's Fair, the Albany Institute of History and Art, and the Philadelphia Institute of Art.
While traveling to Paris in 1909, Wright met Emmeline "Fanny" Pankhurst, and joined her National Women's Social and Political Union. In 1912, Wright joined Pankhurst and others in a public demonstration in London, and was arrested and imprisoned in Holloway Prison, where she performed hard labor and participated in hunger strikes with other suffragists.
After living and working for a number of years in Greenwich Village, Wright returned to Albany, where Eleanor Roosevelt was a frequent visitor to her home on State Street. In 1921, one year after passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote in the United States, Wright became a founding member of the League of Women Voters of New York State.