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Profile of the Day: Anna Howard Shaw

On this day in 1847, Anna Howard Shaw was born. A leader of the women’s suffrage movement in the United States, Shaw was also a physician and one of the first ordained female Methodist ministers in the country.

Image: Anna Howard Shaw / Library of Congress

Shaw was born on February 14, 1847 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England. At about the age of 4, Shaw and her family immigrated to the United States and settled in Massachusetts. When she was 12, her father claimed land in the Michigan wilderness and sent her mother and siblings to live there. Life on the frontier was difficult and at 15, she became a school teacher to help support her family.

After becoming active in the Methodist Church, Shaw became one of the first women to earn a license to preach. In 1876, she attended Boston University where she earned a degree in medicine. However, she never practiced medicine. After earning her degree, Shaw became an outspoken advocate of temperance and women’s suffrage. She would serve as President of the National Woman Suffrage Association for 11 years.

Shaw died on July 2, 1919 at the age of 72. Lucy Elmina Anthony, Shaw’s companion of 30 years and niece of Susan B. Anthony, was by her bedside when she died.

View Anna Howard Shaw’s Geni Profile

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