Anthony, Lucy ElminaAlternative names
Minister, physician, lecturer, and suffragist, Anna Howard Shaw was born on February 14, 1847, in Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, the sixth of seven surviving children of Thomas Shaw and Nicolas (Stott) Shaw. AHS described her family's move to America (first to Massachusetts and later to the Michigan wilderness), their hardships on the frontier, her determination to get an education, and her career shifts from teacher to minister to physician to social reformer in her autobiography, The Story of a Pioneer (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1915).
An avid reader, AHS was largely self-taught before becoming a teacher at the age of 15. She later finished high school, and entered Albion College (Michigan) in 1873 at the age of 26. In 1878 she graduated from the divinity school of Boston University, the only woman in her class. In addition to performing various pastoral duties in the Methodist Protestant Church, AHS enrolled in Boston University's medical school in 1883, graduating with an M.D. in 1886. She became increasingly convinced that the problems she encountered in her ministry and as a physician could not be solved without major political and social reforms, and that obtaining the vote for women was a necessary first step.
Lecturing and organizing on behalf of the temperance and woman suffrage movements, AHS became one of the best-known women in the U.S. Her oratorical skills were legendary; in 1913 the National Anti- Suffrage Association forbade its members to engage in any further debate with her.
In addition to serving as vice president (1892-1904) and president (1904-1915) of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, AHS was chairman of the Woman's Committee of the U.S. Council of National Defense (1917-1919). For her extraordinary work and success in coordinating women's contributions to the war effort she was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal by the U.S. government in May 1919.
AHS died of pneumonia on July 2, 1919, in the middle of an exhausting speaking tour on behalf of the League to Enforce Peace, an organization formed to rally support for Woodrow Wilson's proposed peace treaty and League of Nations. Lucy Elmina Anthony (LEA), niece of Susan B. Anthony, was also an active suffragist. For thirty years she was friend and secretary to AHS; she shared a home in Moylan, Pa., with AHS from 1903 until the latter's death in 1919.
For additional biographical information, see The Story of A Pioneer (see above); Notable American Women, 1607-1950 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1971); Wilmer A. Linkugel, "The Speeches of Anna Howard Shaw" (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Wisconsin, 1960; available from University Microfilms); and #352-368 in this series.
From the guide to the Papers, ca. 1863-1955, (Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute)
|Place Name||Admin Code||Country|
|Frontier and pioneer life|
|Caribbean Area--Description and travel|
|Caribbean Area--Social conditions|
|World War, 1914-1918--War work--Women|
|World War, 1914-1918--Peace|
|Women social reformers|