Anna Laurens Dawes

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Anna Laurens Dawes
Born(1851-05-14)May 14, 1851
North Adams Massachusetts
Died(1938-09-25)September 25, 1938
Language English
Nationality American
Education High school
Alma mater Maplewood Institute,
Abbot Academy
Notable worksHow We are Governed (1885)
The Modern Jew: His Present and his Future (1886)
A United States Prison
An Unknown Nation (1888)
Charles Sumner (1892)
The Indian as Citizen (1917)

Anna Laurens Dawes (May 14, 1851 – September 25, 1938) was an American author and suffragist. She was the daughter of Henry Laurens Dawes (October 30, 1816- February 5, 1903), a Republican United States Senator and Representative of Massachusetts. [1]

Suffragette member of the Womans Social and Political Union who advocated for womens right to vote

A suffragette was a member of militant women's organisations in the early 20th century who, under the banner "Votes for Women", fought for the right to vote in public elections, known as women's suffrage. The term refers in particular to members of the British Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), a women-only movement founded in 1903 by Emmeline Pankhurst, which engaged in direct action and civil disobedience. In 1906 a reporter writing in the Daily Mail coined the term suffragette for the WSPU, from suffragist, in an attempt to belittle the women advocating women's suffrage. The militants embraced the new name, even adopting it for use as the title of the newspaper published by the WSPU.

Henry L. Dawes American politician and lawyer

Henry Laurens Dawes was a Republican United States Senator and United States Representative. He is notable for the Dawes Act, which was intended to stimulate the assimilation of Native Americans by ending the tribal government and control of communal lands.


Dawes created the Wednesday Morning Club in 1879 and was its president for sixty years. She later became a trustee of Smith College (1889-1896). In 1883, she secured governmental aid for the Leif exposition to search for Major General A. W. Greely, who had been missing in the Arctic for three years. She was also the vice-president of the Massachusetts State Suffrage Society. Dawes served on the board of the Chicago Columbian Exposition of 1892-1894, as well as the St. Louis Exposition of 1902-1904. [1]

Notable works include How We are Governed (1885), The Modern Jew: His Present and his Future (1886), A United States Prison (1886), An Unknown Nation (1888), Charles Sumner (1892), and The Indian as Citizen (1917). [2]


Anna Laurens Dawes was born in North Adams, Massachusetts, and her family later moved to the town of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Though she attended both the Maplewood Institute and Abbot Academy, [3] Dawes did not graduate from either institution. [4] She also did not have any formal college education. She spent much of her life in Washington D.C. with her father, coming back to Massachusetts shortly after his death in 1903. [1]

North Adams, Massachusetts City in Massachusetts, United States

North Adams is a city in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, United States. It is part of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area. Its population was 13,708 as of the 2010 census,. Best known as the home of the largest contemporary art museum in the United States, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams has in recent years become a center for tourism, culture and recreation.

Pittsfield, Massachusetts City in Massachusetts

Pittsfield is the largest city and the historic county seat of Berkshire County, Massachusetts, United States. It is the principal city of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area which encompasses all of Berkshire County. The population was 44,737 at the 2010 census. Although the population has declined in recent decades, Pittsfield remains the third largest municipality in western Massachusetts, behind only Springfield and Chicopee.

Abbot Academy

Abbot Academy was an independent boarding preparatory school for women boarding and day students in grades 9–12 from 1828 to 1973. Located in Andover, Massachusetts, Abbot Academy was notable as one of the first incorporated secondary schools for educating young women in New England. It merged with Phillips Academy in 1973 and campus buildings along School Street continue to be used for the combined school. Some Abbot traditions continue at the combined private boarding school such as Parents' Weekend. Since the 40th anniversary in 2013 of the merger of the two schools, there has been renewed interest in Abbot's history and traditions.

Though she got her start writing for newspapers, her main area of interests was the support of women's rights and women's education. Because of these interests she was considered a beloved and generous alumna of Abbot Academy, serving as president of the Alumnae Association for two terms (1910-1914). [5] A building at Smith College is named after her (Dawes House). [6]

Professional life and activism

Despite her lack of a formal education, Anna Dawes began a successful career as a writer at the age of twenty, joining her father in Washington D.C. There, she became a correspondent for the Springfield Republican , the Boston Congregationalist, and the Christian Union. [1]

Washington, D.C. Capital of the United States

Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington or D.C., is the capital of the United States. Founded after the American Revolution as the seat of government of the newly independent country, Washington was named after George Washington, first President of the United States and Founding Father. As the seat of the United States federal government and several international organizations, Washington is an important world political capital. The city is also one of the most visited cities in the world, with more than 20 million tourists annually.

<i>The Republican</i> (Springfield, Massachusetts)

The Republican is a newspaper based in Springfield, Massachusetts covering news in the Greater Springfield area, as well as national news and pieces from Boston, Worcester and northern Connecticut. It is owned by Newhouse Newspapers, a division of Advance Publications. During the 19th century the paper played a key role in the United States Republican Party's founding, Charles Dow's career, and the invention of the honorific "Ms." Despite the decline of printed media, The Republican was the 69th largest newspaper in 2017 with a circulation of 76,353, and has seen marked growth in its digital platform affiliate MassLive, with a record 4.7 million unique views in August 2017.

Dawes spent much of her life assisting her father in Washington, serving as his private secretary. This allowed her to meet many of the presidents and other political figures up until her father's death in 1903. [1] Political in her own right, Anna Dawes belonged to many women's groups and was very active in political groups that piqued her interest, especially those that pertained to women's rights and women's education (later becoming a trustee of Smith College from 1889-1896 [7] ). This included groups like the Wednesday Morning Club, which Dawes established in 1879 and served as president for sixty years. In 1883, she secured governmental aid for the Leif exposition to search for Major General A. W. Greely, who had been missing in the Arctic for three years. She was also the vice-president of the Massachusetts State Suffrage Society. Dawes served on the board of the Chicago Columbian Exposition of 1892-1894, as well as the St. Louis Exposition of 1902-1904. [1]


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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Obituary Notice". September 26, 1938. Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  2. "Gallery of Portraits". Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  3. "Abbot Academy Collection". Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  4. "Catalogue of Officers and Students of Abbot Acacdemy". 1854–1870. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  5. "Abbot Academy Bulletin". 1938–1941. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  6. "From Dawesians to Dawsiennes: A Smith House History (Dawes House)". 2011–2012. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  7. "Board of Trustees Records". 1877–1896. Retrieved 8 November 2016.