Made Local

Eliza Smith Brown

The true story of the Gilded Age’s “political twins” who brought women’s suffrage and political reform to the city of Pittsburgh.

Sometimes troublemakers emerge from the most unlikely of places. This true story follows the lives of two daughters of the Gilded Age—Lucy and Eliza Kennedy—who were educated at Vassar College and became leaders of the suffrage movement. Then, after the Nineteenth Amendment was passed in 1920, they spent the next forty years fighting corruption in politics and government.

Tenacious, smart, and witty, they captivated crowds, disarmed their opponents, and instilled particular dread among the corrupt politicians who were the unfortunate targets of their nonpartisan crusade. Their entry across the threshold of Pittsburgh’s City-County Building would reportedly invoke a flurry of hushed warnings through the halls: “The She Devils are at the door!” Together, Lucy and Eliza fought for the vote, empowered women to use it wisely, forced a mayor out of office in disgrace, took control of the city budget, exposed a series of scandals, spearheaded police reform, and launched a campaign that would eventually clear Pittsburgh of its smoky veil.

Featuring the true story of two powerful women, this book comes at a propitious time, reminding us how far women have come and how vigilant we must remain.

Eliza Smith Brown is the author of Pittsburgh Legends and Visions, A Legacy in Brick and Mortar: African American Landmarks in Allegheny County, and The Duquesne Club Cookbook. She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and studied historic preservation at Cornell University. She lives in Pittsburgh with her muse, a rescue beagle named Knox.


She Devils at the Door is available to purchase from White Whale Bookstore.



Thursday, November 9, 2023 at 6 p.m.


Registration is free.
This lecture will be recorded and available to view on our YouTube channel at a later date.
Registration may also be completed by email at or by phone at 412.622.8866.


Carnegie Library Lecture Hall
4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, 15213


Upcoming Lectures

Liann Tsoukas and Rob Ruck

JUN 20

Colm Toibin

SEP 16

Pico Iyer

SEP 30

Heather Cox Richardson

OCT 28