Anna Shaw

Temperance and Women's Rights Reformer

Early Life

  • Born on Febuary 14th, 1847 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England
  • Came to America in 1853
  • Settled in Massachusetts for roughly three years
  • Then moved to Michigan at age 9
  • When she was 12 years old, her father left most of his family alone on an isolated farm in Michigan. As her elder brother became ill, Shaw stepped in to maintain their land. She planted crops, chopped wood and even dug a well.


  • Entered a high school in Big Rapids, Michigan at age 23
  • Attended Albion College for two years
  • Was the only woman in her class at Boston University's School of Theology and graduated in 1878
  • Returned to Boston University to attend medical school
  • Got her M.D in 1885


  • Susan B. Anthony inspired her to join the Women's Rights Movement

What She Wanted to Reform

  • Women made less money than men
  • Men got all of property and money
  • Women couldn't vote
  • Men were drinking and gambling which caused them to abuse and neglet their families as well as spend the income

Her Solution

  • Served as vice president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association from 1892 to 1904, and as president from 1904 to 1915
  • During World War I, Shaw headed the Women's Committee of the Council of National Defense. She received the Distinguished Service Medal in 1919 for her wartime service
  • She spoke in many cities, giving four or five speeches a day


  • The number of suffrage workers increased from 17,000 to 200,000, and one campaign in ten years was replaced by ten in one year; the expenditures of the association increased from $15,000 to $50,000 annually
  • 19th Amendment, which granted women in the United States the right to vote, was ratified.
  • Only woman who ever preached in Gustav Vasa Cathedral

Death & Legacy

    • Passed away due to pneumonia in Moylan, Pennsylvania on July 2, 1919
    • Is remembered for fighting for the rights of women & her speeches