Shaw, Anna Howard, 1847-1919

Birth 1847-02-14
Death 1919-07-02

Biographical notes:

Anna Howard Shaw was born February 14, 1847 at Newcastle upon Tyne, England. When she was four, her family moved to Massachusetts. In 1859 her father settled his wife and younger children in an unfinished cabin on Michigan's frontier while he returned east. Shaw's bitter recollections of the responsibilities that fell to her in the next decade make up the most powerful section of the memoirs she published as Story of a Pioneer (1915). Vowing to avoid dependency, Shaw prepared herself for the ministry. Educated at Albion College and Boston University Theological School, Shaw earned a diploma in 1878, and was licensed the same year by the Methodist Episcopal church. The Methodist Protestant church ordained her in 1880. While ministering at East Dennis, Massachusetts, Shaw earned an MD from Boston University Medical School in 1886. However, by the time Shaw acquired her credentials, she had lost interest in the professions they opened to her and instead desired to pursue her gift for oratory, lecturing for temperance and women's suffrage. Shaw chose Lucy E. Anthony, Susan B. Anthony's niece, as her companion for life and "Aunt Susan" sponsored Shaw's ascendancy in the National American Woman Suffrage Association as national lecturer in 1890 and vice president at large in 1892. When the United States entered World War I, Shaw interrupted her tours for suffrage to lead the Woman's Committee of the Council of National Defense. Congress awarded her the Distinguished Service Medal in May 1919. Shaw joined William Howard Taft and Abbott Lawrence Lowell on a national tour for the League to Enforce Peace in the late spring of 1919. At Springfield, Illinois, she collapsed with severe pneumonia and died July 2, 1919 at her home in Moylan, Pennsylvania.

From the description of Anna Howard Shaw papers, 1917-1919. (University of North Carolina at Greensboro, University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 613612443


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  • Commencement ceremonies
  • Frontier and pioneer life
  • Women physicians
  • Suffragists
  • Women social reformers
  • Women--Suffrage
  • Women travelers
  • College students--Correspondence
  • Political rights
  • Women clergy
  • Temperance
  • World War, 1914-1918--Peace
  • World War, 1914-1918--Women
  • Women orators
  • Blacks--Caribbean Area
  • Blacks


  • Suffragists
  • Physicians
  • Activist
  • Ministers


  • Moylan, PA, US
  • Newcastle upon Tyne, ENG, GB