Anna Howard Shaw
|Died||July 2, 1919 72) (aged|
Moylan, Pennsylvania, United States
|Alma mater|| Albion College, 1875|
Boston University School of Theology, 1880
Boston University School of Medicine, 1886
|Occupation||Women's suffrage and temperance movement activist, minister and physician|
Anna Howard Shaw (February 14, 1847 – July 2, 1919) was a leader of the women's suffrage movement in the United States. She was also a physician and one of the first ordained female Methodist ministers in the United States.
Shaw was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1847. When she was four, she and her family emigrated to the United States and settled in Lawrence, Massachusetts. When Shaw was twelve years old, her father took "up [a] claim of three hundred and sixty acres of land in the wilderness" of northern Michigan "and sent [her] mother and five young children to live there alone."" Her mother had envisioned their Michigan home to be “an English farm” with “deep meadows, sunny skies and daisies," but was devastated upon their arrival to discover that it was actually a "forlorn and desolate" log cabin "in what was then a wilderness, 40 miles from a post office and 100 miles from a railroad." Here the family faced the dangers of living on the frontier. Shaw became very active during this period, helping her siblings refurbish their home and supporting her mother in her time of shock and despair. Shaw took on several physical tasks such as "digging of a well, chopp[ing] wood for the big fireplace, [and] fell[ing] trees."
Seeing her mother's emotional suffering, Shaw blamed her irresponsible father for "ha[ving] g[iven] no thought to the manner in which [their family was] to make the struggle and survive the hardships [now laid] before [them]."While her invalid mother was overburdened with household chores", her father in Lawrence could freely dedicate "much time to the Abolition cause and big public movements of his day."
The family's misfortunes grew worse over the years. During the Civil War, her sister Eleanor died giving birth, and her brother Tom was wounded. When Shaw was fifteen, she became a school teacher and, after her older brothers and father joined the war effort, she used her earnings to help support her family. Yet with "every month of [the family's] effort, the gulf between [their] income and [their] expenses grew wider."
Shaw felt a call to preach from an early age. As a child, she would spend time in the woods near her house, and stand on tree stumps to preach to the forest.She was determined to go to college, and follow the path that she felt was God's will for her life. Despite her family's disapproval, as Shaw matured, her drive to attend college became firmer. After the Civil War, she abandoned her teaching job and moved in with her married sister Mary in Big Rapids, Michigan. While she recalls that she would have preferred more physical and active labor, such as digging ditches or shoveling coal, she was forced to pick up the "dreaded needle," and become a seamstress, one of the more acceptable occupations available for women at the time.
A pivotal moment in Shaw's life came when she met Reverend Marianna Thompson, a Universalist minister who came to preach in Grand Rapids. Shaw went to the service, eager to see a woman in the pulpit. After the service, Shaw confided in Thompson her own desire to pursue the ministry as a vocation, and Thompson strongly encouraged her to obtain an education without delay.
Thanks to Thompson's help, Shaw entered Big Rapids High School where the preceptress, Lucy Foot, recognized Shaw's talents and drive. At the age of twenty-four, Shaw was invited by Dr. H. C. Peck, a man looking to ordain a woman in the Methodist ministry, to give her first sermon. Shaw hesitated at first because her only previous experience had been "as a little girl preaching alone in the forest...to a congregation of listening trees."With encouragement from Lucy Foot, Dr. Peck, and her close friend, Clara Osborn, Shaw agreed and gave her first sermon in Ashton, Michigan.
Despite the success of her first sermon, her new found passion to preach received disapproval from her classmates, friends, and family who agreed to pay for her college education only if she abandoned preaching. Despite such continual opposition and isolation from so many, Anna chose to keep on preaching. She was "deeply moved" by Mary A. Livermore, a prominent lecturer who came to Big Rapids. Ms. Livermore gave her the following advice: “if you want to preach, go on and preach…No matter what people say, don’t let them stop you!”
In 1873, the Methodist Church “voted unanimously to grant her a local preacher’s license.”
In 1873, Shaw entered Albion College, a Methodist school in Albion, Michigan. Since her family frowned upon her decided career path, they refused to provide any financial support. At that point, Shaw had been a licensed preacher for three years and earned her wages by giving lectures on temperance.
After Albion College, Shaw attended Boston University School of Theology in 1876. She was the only woman in her class of forty-two men, and she always felt "the abysmal conviction that [she] was not really wanted there."This attitude was furthered by her difficulty supporting herself financially. Already running on a tight income, Shaw found it unfair that the "male licensed preachers were given free accommodations in the dormitory and their board cost each of them $1.25 while it cost her $2 to pay rent of a room outside." Additionally, she had trouble finding employment. Unlike in Albion where she was "practically the only licensed preacher available", at Boston University there were many preachers who she had to compete with. As she lost money to pay the rent, she struggled to feed herself and felt "cold, hunger, and lonel[y]." Now Shaw started to question whether the ministerial profession was meant for her. In the face of these hardships, Shaw continued on. In 1880, after she and Annie Oliver were refused ordination by the Methodist Episcopal Church, despite passing with the top exam score that year , she achieved ordination in the Methodist Protestant Church.
Following her ordination, Shaw received an MD from Boston University in 1886. During her time in medical school, she became an outspoken advocate of political rights for women.
Beginning in 1886, Shaw served as the chair of the Franchise Department of Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). Her task was "to work for woman suffrage and then to use the ballot to gain 'home protection' and temperance legislation."However her focus on temperance subsided as she became more heavily involved in the suffrage movement by lecturing for the Massachusetts Suffrage Association and later the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA).
Shaw first met Susan B. Anthony in 1887. In 1888, Shaw attended the first meeting of the International Council of Women.Susan B. Anthony encouraged her to join the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA). Having agreed, Shaw played a key role when the two suffrage associations merged when she "helped to persuade the AWSA to merge with Anthony's and Elizabeth Cady Stanton's NWSA, creating for the first time in two decades a semblance of organizational unity within the [suffrage] movement." Beginning in 1904 and for the next eleven years, Shaw was the president of NAWSA. Under her leadership, NAWSA continued to "lobby for a national constitutional amendment granting women the right to vote."
During the early 20th century, Alice Paul and Lucy Burns, NAWSA members, began employing militant techniques (e.g. picketing the White House during World War I) to fight for women's suffrage. They, like other members, were inspired by the success of the militant suffragettes in England. As president of NAWSA, Shaw was pressured to support these tactics. Nevertheless, Shaw maintained that she was "unalterably opposed to militancy, believing nothing of permanent value has ever been secured by it that could not have been more easily obtained by peaceful methods."She remained aligned with Anthony's philosophy that was against any militant tactics. In 1915, she resigned as NAWSA president and was replaced by her ally Carrie Chapman Catt.
During World War I, Shaw was head of the Women's Committee of the United States Council of National Defense, for which she became the first woman to earn the Distinguished Service Medal. She continued to lecture for the suffrage cause for the remaining years of her life.
At an appearance only months before her death at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, Shaw said, "The only way to refute" the argument that America was a democracy and therefore women were entitled to vote was "to prove that women are not people." She ended the speech by urging the women in attendance to become involved in the women's suffrage movement.
She was a speaker at the 1919 National Conference on Lynching, presenting women's suffrage as a step against lynching.
Shaw died of pneumonia at her home in Moylan, Pennsylvania at the age of seventy-two, only a few months before Congress ratified the Nineteenth Amendment to the US Constitution.
Shaw built a home at 240 Ridley Creek Rd., Media, during her tenure as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Assn. (1904–1915) and lived there with her companion Lucy Elmina Anthony (1859–1944), niece of Susan B. Anthony, until her death.Lucy and Anna were together for thirty years, and she was by her bedside when she died.
Her 1915 speech "The Fundamental Principle of a Republic" was listed as number 27 in American Rhetoric's Top 100 Speeches of the 20th Century (listed by rank).
In 2000, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.Twenty years later, in 2020, she was named an honoree of the National Women's History Alliance.
The Anna Howard Shaw Women's Center at Albion College "coordinates educational programming that promotes inclusiveness and pluralism and raises awareness of women's and gender-related issues. Examples include programming on sexual harassment and sexual assault. The most visible event sponsored by the Center is the Anna Howard Shaw Women's History Month Program, designated each year to honor Dr. Shaw's memory and highlight an important aspect of women's lives. Other educational programs are co-sponsored with student organizations that share mutual interests.
"The Anna Howard Shaw Center at Boston University School of Theology promotes structures and practices that empower women and honor diversity. The Center is named after the Reverend Doctor Anna Howard Shaw, a Methodist minister, medical doctor, and suffragist. Ten years after its founding in 1978, the Shaw Center was designated as the women's center for the Northeastern Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church."
The Anna Howard Shaw Junior High School built in 1922–1924 in Southwest Schuylkill, Philadelphia is named for her.
A statue of Anna Howard Shaw was erected next to the Community Library in Big Rapids, Michigan, in 1988.
The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the states and the federal government from denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States on the basis of sex. Initially introduced to Congress in 1878, several attempts to pass a women's suffrage amendment failed until passing the House of Representatives on May 21, 1919, followed by the Senate on June 4, 1919. It was then submitted to the states for ratification. On August 18, 1920, Tennessee was the last of the necessary 36 states to secure ratification. The Nineteenth Amendment was officially adopted on August 26, 1920: the culmination of a decades-long movement for women's suffrage at both state and national levels.
Olympia Brown was an American minister and suffragist. She was the first woman to be ordained as clergy with the consent of her denomination. Brown was also an articulate advocate for women's rights and one of the few first generation suffragists who were able to vote with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment.
The National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) was an organization formed on February 18, 1890, to advocate in favor of women's suffrage in the United States. It was created by the merger of two existing organizations, the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) and the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA). Its membership, which was about seven thousand at the time it was formed, eventually increased to two million, making it the largest voluntary organization in the nation. It played a pivotal role in the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which in 1920 guaranteed women's right to vote.
Carrie Chapman Catt was an American women's suffrage leader who campaigned for the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which gave U.S. women the right to vote in 1920. Catt served as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association and was the founder of the League of Women Voters and the International Alliance of Women. She "led an army of voteless women in 1919 to pressure Congress to pass the constitutional amendment giving them the right to vote and convinced state legislatures to ratify it in 1920" and "was one of the best-known women in the United States in the first half of the twentieth century and was on all lists of famous American women".
Iron Jawed Angels is a 2004 American historical drama film directed by Katja von Garnier. The film stars Hilary Swank as suffragist leader Alice Paul, Frances O'Connor as activist Lucy Burns, Julia Ormond as Inez Milholland, and Anjelica Huston as Carrie Chapman Catt. It received critical acclaim after the film premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival.
Lucy Burns was an American suffragist and women's rights advocate. She was a passionate activist in the United States and in the United Kingdom. Burns was a close friend of Alice Paul, and together they ultimately formed the National Woman's Party.
Alice Stone Blackwell was an American feminist, suffragist, journalist, radical socialist, and human rights advocate.
Women's suffrage in the United States of America, the legal right of women to vote, was established over the course of more than half a century, first in various states and localities, sometimes on a limited basis, and then nationally in 1920.
The Woman Suffrage Procession, in 1913, was the first suffragist parade in Washington, D.C. It was also the first large, organized march on Washington for political purposes. The procession was organized by the suffragists Alice Paul and Lucy Burns for the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). Planning for the event began in Washington in December 1912. The parade's purpose, stated in its official program, was to "march in a spirit of protest against the present political organization of society, from which women are excluded".
This timeline highlights milestones in women's suffrage in the United States, particularly the right of women to vote in elections at federal and state levels.
Women's suffrage in states of the United States refers to women's right to vote in individual states of that country. Suffrage was established on a full or partial basis by various towns, counties, states and territories during the latter decades of the 19th century and early part of the 20th century. As women received the right to vote in some places, they began running for public office and gaining positions as school board members, county clerks, state legislators, judges, and, in the case of Jeannette Rankin, as a Member of Congress.
The Texas Equal Rights Association (TERA) was the first woman's suffrage association to be formed state-wide in Texas. The organization was founded in 1893 and was an affiliate of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. The TERA was meant to "advance the industrial, educational, and equal rights of women, and to secure suffrage to them by appropriate State and national legislation." It was also an answer to Texas Governor James Stephen Hogg, who had stated publicly in a trip to the north that women's suffrage "had not reached Texas." The organization was firmly "non-sectarian," stating that "it has no war to wage on religion, church or kindred societies."
The Texas Equal Suffrage Association (TESA) was an organization founded in 1903 to support white women's suffrage in Texas. It was originally formed under the name of the Texas Woman Suffrage Association (TWSA) and later renamed in 1916. TESA did allow men to join. TESA did not allow black women as members, because at the time to do so would have been "political suicide." The El Paso Colored Woman's Club applied for TESA membership in 1918, but the issue was deflected and ended up going nowhere. TESA focused most of their efforts on securing the passage of the federal amendment for women's right to vote. The organization also became the state chapter of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). After women earned the right to vote, TESA reformed as the Texas League of Women Voters.
Elizabeth Upham Yates was an American suffragist and missionary in China. She was also one of the first two women to run for statewide office in Rhode Island.
Emily Burton Ketcham was an American suffragist
Lucy Elmina Anthony was an internationally known leader in the Woman's Suffrage movement. She was the niece of American social reformer and women's rights activist Susan B. Anthony and longtime companion of women's suffrage leader Anna Howard Shaw.
Laura Mitchell Johns was an American suffragist and journalist. She served as president of the Kansas State Suffrage Association six times, and her great work was the arrangement of thirty conventions beginning in Kansas City in February, 1892. She also served as president of the Kansas Republican Woman's Association, superintendent of the Kansas Woman's Christian Temperance Union, and field organizer of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA).
Charlotte Ives Cobb Godbe Kirby was an influential and radical women's rights activist and temperance advocate in the state of Utah as well as a figure known nationally. Charlotte was born in Massachusetts and later moved to Utah with her mother to practice religious beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The step-daughter of Brigham Young, a leader of the LDS Church, Charlotte was brought up in the church and married into polygamy. Her first marriage was to William S. Godbe, the leader of the Godbeite revolution against the LDS Church. Kirby was remarried again to John Kirby, who was not a Mormon, and denounced polygamy. Charlotte played an active role in the Utah women's rights movement along with Emmeline B. Wells. She was a leading figure of the Utah Territory Woman Suffrage Association and served as a correspondent to the government and other suffragist organizations. Charlotte traveled to the east coast often to deliver lectures regarding women's rights and temperance. Charlotte Ives Cobb Godbe Kirby died on January 24, 1908 at age 71 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Nellie V. Mark was an American physician and suffragist. In addition to looking after her medical practice, she lectured on personal hygiene, literary topics, and on woman suffrage. Mark served as vice-president of the Association for the Advancement of Women. She was a member of Just Government League of Baltimore, the Equal Suffrage League of Baltimore, the National Geographic Society, and the Arundell Club of Baltimore. Mark could not remember a time when she was not a suffragist and a doctor.
Eugenia McKenzie Bacon (1853-1933) was an American suffragist and advocate for public libraries in Illinois.
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