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Anna Howard Shaw
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Advocate
    (February 14, 1847-July 2, 1919)
    Born in Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, United Kingdom
    Methodist minister and suffragette
    President of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (1904-15)
    She earned a medical degree, but never practiced as a physician, taking up the causes of temperance and women's suffrage instead.
    As NAWSA President, she failed to devise a national strategy for coordinating local suffrage efforts.
    One biographer noted, 'Her gifts were many, but administrative ability was not among them.'
    She was forced out as head of the NAWSA due to repeated clashes with Alice Paul and other more militant suffragettes over tactics.
    She died a year and two months short of witnessing the ratification of the 19th Amendment granting women's suffrage. (Although she did at least see the Amendment get through Congress.)
    At age 12, while living on a frontier farm in Michigan, the combination of her father's frequent absences, her mother's nervous breakdown, and her older brother's illness left her caring for the family, which included clearing land, planting crops, digging a well and laying the floor in their cabin.
    At fifteen, she became a teacher in a frontier school, walking eight miles a day to earn $4 a week.
    She was a powerful orator with a 'rich and musical' voice.
    She became the first woman to earn the Distinguished Service Medal, for her work during World War I heading the Women's Committee of the Council of National Defense.
    She said, 'Nothing bigger can come to a human being than to love a great cause more than life itself.'
    In 30 Rock, Liz Lemon proposed replacing Valentine's Day ('a sham created by card companies') with Anna Howard Shaw Day.

Credit: C. Fishel


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