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Anna Howard Shaw Scholarship Fund

The following biography was written at the time of this scholarship establishment; some information may not be up to date:

During the year of 1924, Lucy E. Anthony (niece of Susan B. Anthony) – Dr. Anna Shaw’s secretary and housemate for many years – sent the University of North Carolina a thousand dollar bond, requesting that at her death, it be used in some way to keep the memory of Dr. Shaw alive on Woman’s College campus. This bond was kept in a vault in the city hall until some years later, when Miss Anthony recalled it. In early spring 1940, a letter from Miss Anthony announced her intention of again making the bond available to Woman’s College for the stated purpose. At that time, she suggested the bond be held in escrow pending her death. Upon her death, she wished the interest be given each year to some worthy student in political science who needed help and that it be presented to Woman’s College on Dr. Shaw’s birthday, February 14. Lucy E. Anthony died in late 1944.

The scholarship is awarded annually to a worthy student majoring in the social sciences, with social sciences being broadly defined.

The fund is named in honor of Dr. Shaw, who visited campus between 1917 and 1919. In 1919, Dr. Shaw was the commencement speaker for that year’s graduating class, which was the first to wear caps and gowns.

Anna Howard Shaw was born February 14, 1847, in Newcastle-On-Tyne, England. Her parents, brothers, and sisters came to the United States in 1851, settling originally in Lawrence, Massachusetts. After a few years in Massachusetts, Mr. Shaw moved the family to Big Rapid, Michigan to settle 300 acres of uncleared land which would eventually be used as a church and missionary place. After several years, Mr. Shaw wearied of the effort and returned to Lawrence and his preaching, leaving the family to continue the work. A short time later, Anna’s mother suffered a nervous breakdown and died, leaving Anna to bring up the other children and keep the would-be farm going.

By 1871, Anna Howard Shaw received her license as a preacher in Michigan. She graduated from Albion College in Michigan and returned to Lawrence to begin a preaching career. In 1878, Dr. Shaw graduated from the Divinity School at Boston University, the only woman in her class. In 1881, she was recognized by the Methodist Church as the first woman minister. In 1886, she graduated a second time from Boston University with a medical degree. Fortified with her two degrees, Dr. Shaw intended to become a missionary physician but was deflected from this through a meeting with Susan B. Anthony.

By the time Shaw acquired her credential, she had lost interest in those professions but discovered her gift for oration. Lecturing for temperance and woman suffrage became her trade. Susan B. Anthony recruited Anna Howard Shaw to be part of the American Women Suffrage Association. Dr. Shaw became renowned as a spokesperson for the association and eventually became its third president. Susan B. Anthony won her undying loyalty. Shaw cemented their intimacy when she chose Anthony’s niece, Lucy E. Anthony, as her companion for life, and “Aunt Susan” sponsored Shaw’s ascendancy in the National American Woman Suffrage Association, as national lecturer in 1890 and vice president at large in 1892.
Anna Shaw died on July 2, 1919.

Additional information on Anna Howard Shaw can be obtained through the UNCG Archives, as well as her collection of papers at the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe College. The University’s rare book collection contains Dr. Shaw’s autobiography, “Story of a Pioneer.” Additional information about Dr. Shaw can be found in William O’Neill’s book, “Everyone Was Brave.”