Sarah Pell's Struggle for History and Human Rights

A new exhibit in the Mars Education Center examines Sarah’s pioneering roles in historical preservation and women’s rights. Just one more of the layers of history that can be uncovered here at Ticonderoga.

Stephen H.P. Pell is almost always credited with restoring Fort Ticonderoga in the early 20th century. But if you picked up a paper in the 1910s, you would have read that Sarah Gibbs Thompson Pell, Stephen’s wife, was being touted as the driver of Ticonderoga’s historic preservation and restoration. A contemporary described her as a “charmingly aggressive woman,” and most early newspapers identified Sarah as the prime mover behind Ticonderoga’s rebirth.

Sarah also helped restore the Pavilion into a summer home, developed the King’s Garden, and was a tireless advocate for women’s rights. Sarah was involved with the suffrage movement across the Atlantic as early as 1913 and joined America’s National Women’s Party (NWP) in the 1920s, setting it on the path of financial stability. She became the NWP national chair in 1936. During her tenure, in 1923, she reintroduced the Equal Rights Amendment written by Alice Paul, who had attended NWP events in the Pavilion.