Monday, February 14, 2005

Dr. Anna Howard Shaw (1847-1919)

Dr. Anna Howard Shaw, an ordained minister, medical doctor, and leader of the American women's suffrage movement, was born on this date in 1847. Although she was born the year before the Seneca Falls Convention and lived to be seventy-two years old, Dr. Shaw did not live to see the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment giving women the right to vote.

Dr. Shaw graduated from the Theological School of Boston University in 1878. She was ordained by the Methodist Protestant Church in 1880. In 1885, she earned an M.D. from Boston University. That same year she began to work full-time for women's suffrage and for temperance.

In 1904, Dr. Shaw became president of the organization founded by Susan B. Anthony, the National Woman's Suffrage Association. She served in that position until 1915.

As a minister, Dr. Shaw never performed a marriage ceremony using the word "obey." She liked to point out that, notwithstanding that fact, she knew of no divorces among couples she had married.

Dr. Shaw's obituary from the New York Times (with many more details of her life) is here.