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Anna Howard Shaw

Anna Howard Shaw: The Work of Woman Suffrage

Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 304
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    Anna Howard Shaw
    Book Description:

    Acknowledged by her contemporaries as the most outstanding woman suffrage orator of her time, Anna Howard Shaw (1847-1919) has nonetheless received minimal attention from historians. Trisha Franzen rectifies that oversight with this first scholarly biography of Shaw, a study that illuminates Shaw's oft-ignored early years and challenges existing scholarship on her time in the suffrage movement. An immigrant from a poor family, Shaw grew up in an economic reality that encouraged the adoption of non-traditional gender roles. Challenging traditional gender boundaries throughout her life, she put herself through college, worked as an ordained minister and a doctor, and built a tightly-knit family with her secretary and longtime companion Lucy E. Anthony. Drawing on unprecedented research, Franzen shows how these circumstances and choices both impacted Shaw's role in the woman suffrage movement and set her apart from her native-born, middle- and upper-class colleagues. Franzen also rehabilitates Shaw's years as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, arguing that Shaw's much-belittled tenure actually marked a renaissance of both NAWSA and the suffrage movement as a whole. Anna Howard Shaw: The Work of Woman Suffrage presents a clear and compelling portrait of a woman whose significance has too long been misinterpreted and misunderstood.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09541-2
    Subjects: Sociology, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-xii)
  4. INTRODUCTION: Facing Contradictions
    (pp. 1-14)

    Forty-five years earlier, in 1874, a slight young woman with cropped hair and intense dark eyes sat silently behind the driver in an open wagon.¹ With growing anxiety, she anticipated a long night’s journey through the deep forest to the northern Michigan lumber camp where she was scheduled to preach. Recently licensed as a Methodist preacher, Anna Howard Shaw had agreed to substitute for her newly married colleague before she realized that there was no train connection to his community. Now the hired driver taking her on the last leg of her trip began to taunt her by telling her...

  5. CHAPTER 1 The Development of a Dissenter (1847–1870)
    (pp. 15-31)

    Anna Howard Shaw faced an uphill battle from the start.¹ She was born on St. Valentine’s Day in 1847, in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in northeast England, the sixth child and the third daughter of a bankrupt Scottish family. While all members of such struggling families in the mid–nineteenth century faced bleak and limited futures, girl-children, if they survived, had even fewer opportunities. Most would see lives that reproduced their mothers’ existences of the inevitable marriage, uncontrolled maternity, and domestic drudgery. Nothing in Shaw’s background set her apart from the millions of other baby girls born to poor families. Nothing suggested that...

  6. CHAPTER 2 The Road to Independence (1871–1880)
    (pp. 32-49)

    When the U.S. Census enumerator visited the Shaw family on their farm outside of the village of Paris, Michigan, in 1870, the Civil War had been over for five years.¹ For Anna Howard Shaw these had been five frustrating years. From 1865 to 1870 Shaw had struggled against external realities as well as internal conflicts. She had a vision, shaped by that early epiphany in the woods, that God had called her to a larger life. She would not resign herself to a world bounded by Mecosta County, Michigan; by the school district where she had earned her license; and...

  7. CHAPTER 3 Finding the Cause (1881–1889)
    (pp. 50-66)

    Ordination, national coverage by theWoman’s Journal, two parishes, and financial independence—by 1880, Anna Howard Shaw had not only achieved her specific goals, but she had redefined herself.¹ The 1870 unmarried, “at home” daughter of the Michigan frontier was now a thirty-three-year-old “clergyman,” in East Dennis, Massachusetts. Yet the changes recorded in the 1880 census don’t begin to capture the physical and figurative space Shaw had traversed. In those ten years, she had crossed state and national borders, but perhaps more importantly she had challenged the less tangible boundaries of gendered institutions and professions by attending college, graduating from...

  8. CHAPTER 4 Apprenticeship in the National American Woman Suffrage Association (1890–1903)
    (pp. 67-93)

    South Dakota was not a welcoming landscape for Anna Howard Shaw when she joined Susan B. Anthony and other suffrage workers in 1890 for her first state suffrage campaign.¹ While the Wounded Knee massacre of December 1890 dominates the history of South Dakota’s initial year of statehood, the earlier part of that year witnessed a campaign and a referendum on woman and Native American suffrage. The debates among the white male politicians were intense. These politicians made promises to their constituents and the petitioners that they casually abandoned with the next round of debates. Adding to the tensions was the...

  9. CHAPTER 5 Compromised Leadership: NAWSA PRESIDENCY, PART I (1904–1908)
    (pp. 94-114)

    Anna Howard Shaw had dreamed of succeeding her mentor, Susan B. Anthony, as leader of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA).¹ That hope had crashed against the economic realities of Shaw’s life. In 1900 and still in 1904, she was in no position to assume the unpaid position of the NAWSA presidency. In 1900, however, Anthony and the NAWSA had another choice in the independently wealthy Carrie Chapman Catt. But personal and political stresses had worn Catt down to the point where she felt she had no option but to refuse reelection. As 1904 opened, Anthony, soon to be...

  10. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  11. CHAPTER 6 Creating Her Vision: NAWSA PRESIDENCY, PART II (1909–1912)
    (pp. 115-140)

    On September 18, 1909, five long years after the membership of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) first elected her President, Anna Howard Shaw celebrated a major victory. The victory wasn’t adding another suffrage state or securing a large fund for the cause. On this September day the NAWSA opened its new national headquarters at 505 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.¹

    This was a major symbolic as well as material triumph for Shaw and the NAWSA. Woman suffrage was now part of the political mainstream. Opening the New York headquarters helped bring it there and keep it there. Journalists and...

  12. CHAPTER 7 Unanticipated Challenges: NAWSA PRESIDENCY, PART III (1913–1915)
    (pp. 141-163)

    By 1913 Anna Howard Shaw could see the end of the struggle. The movement to extend that basic right of equal citizenship—full suffrage—to all women now had sufficient momentum to see it through to the final victory.¹ After years of slow progress and the efforts of generations of women, Shaw was leading “the cause” with new leaders and organizations, extensive financial resources, regular attention from the media and politicians, and finally new suffrage gains in major western states. Within the expanding NAWSA office, Shaw had a team of innovative and efficient administrators building an increasingly powerful political organization....

  13. CHAPTER 8 A Worker to the End (1916–1919)
    (pp. 164-184)

    Over the course of her long working life, very few things stopped Anna Howard Shaw.¹ Though illnesses plagued her from the time she was in her forties, Shaw generally would manage to stave them off to keep them from disrupting her schedule. On a number of trips to Europe, she spent days confined to her cabin with some malady. Most often she was able to get home to Lucy. Ironically, the peripatetic orator was most vulnerable to respiratory illnesses, ankle injuries, and headaches. The last were so common that Susan B. Anthony once remarked that a headache seemed necessary for...

  14. EPILOGUE: Anna Howard Shaw and Women’s History
    (pp. 185-192)

    History matters, but, as we well know, history doesn’t just happen. Over the many years of researching Anna Howard Shaw, I was driven by a quest to understand not only the life of this remarkable woman but also how women’s history transformed this transgressive, irreverent pioneering woman into an incompetent and conservative leader—that is, when our scholarship didn’t ignore her entirely. In the end, this book argues that knowing Anna Howard Shaw’s life is important for our history.¹

    It has been a long struggle to bring Shaw’s story front and center. First, while Susan B. Anthony clearly had passed...

    (pp. 193-204)
  16. NOTES
    (pp. 205-256)
  17. INDEX
    (pp. 257-264)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 265-274)