Anna Howard Shaw (1847-1919)


Anna Howard Shaw desired to excel in a man’s world, which she accomplished as a doctor, orator, and first ordained Methodist woman preacher. She lectured throughout her life on issues of temperance, suffrage, and woman’s social reforms believing there was “but one solution for women – the removal of the stigma of disenfranchisement.” Shaw worked toward that goal as a member of the Massachusetts Women Suffrage Association, official lecturer and vice-president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), and superintendent of the Franchise Department of the national Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. She lectured throughout the country as a way of earning a living while promoting her favorite causes – suffrage and temperance.

A successful vice-president, unfortunately Shaw lacked the administrative, organizations, and philosophical strengths necessary for leading the NAWSA. After Shaw resigned from a turbulent eleven year presidency, she continued to lecture for the cause whiles also serving as chairman of the Woman’s committee of the United States Council of National Defense during World War I. Throughout her long career, Shaw remained an avid and eloquent spokeswoman for suffrage, temperance, and woman’s rights.


Works Cited:

  • Reprinted from NWHM Cyber Exhibit "Rights for Women"
    Author Kristina Gupta
  • PHOTO: Anna Howard Shaw, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division (LC-USZ62-79076)