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Book/Printed Material The story of a pioneer,

About this Item


  • The story of a pioneer,


  • This autobiography follows the life of Anna Shaw (1847-1919) from her birth in Newcastle-on-Tyne, England through her presidency of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Shaw immigrated with her genteel but financially pressed family to America in 1851. They settled first in New Bedford and then in Lawrence, Massachusetts, finally migrating in 1859 to a pioneer farmstead in northern Michigan, where Anna performed much of the subsistence labor during her father's long absences. The first part of her narrative emphasizes her efforts to gain an education and take up a ministerial career. After two years at Albion College, she attended Boston Theological School (1876-1878) and accepted a pastorate in East Dennis, Cape Cod, after graduation; later she also took temporary charge of the Congregational Church in Dennis. After her ordination had been blocked by members of the New England Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church opposed to ordaining women, Shaw was ordained by the 1880 Conference of the Methodist Protestant Church in Tarrytown, N.Y.
  • She continued to serve her congregations while simultaneously attending Boston University Medical School, where she received a diploma in 1885. Inspired by leaders of the suffrage and temperance movements, Shaw resigned from her parishes in 1885 to become a lecturer for the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association. After touring the country in a series of freelance speaking engagements, she accepted Francis Willard's invitation to head the Franchise Department of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union from 1888 to 1892. With the encouragement of Susan B. Anthony, her close friend and mentor, Shaw devoted increasing amounts of time to the work of the National Woman Suffrage Association and, in 1891, became national lecturer for the newly- created National American Woman Suffrage Association. From 1892 to 1904 she was vice-president of this organization and served as its president from 1905 through 1915. In addition to eyewitness observations on the developing suffrage movement, Shaw provides extensive descriptions of frontier life and the rigors of traveling the country as a female lecturer. She also reminisces about reform-minded luminaries such as Julia Ward Howe and John Greenleaf Whittier, and includes anecdotes about her experiences in Europe.


  • Shaw, Anna Howard, 1847-1919.
  • Jordan, Elizabeth Garver, 1867-1947.
  • Catt, Carrie Chapman, 1859-1947, former owner.
  • National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection (Library of Congress)
  • George Fabyan Collection (Library of Congress)

Created / Published

  • New York, London, Harper & Brothers [1915]


  • -  Women--Suffrage--United States


  • -  Miss Shaw's autobiography.
  • -  Also available in digital form on the Library of Congress Web site.
  • -  Card lists copy number of NAWSA Collection copy as Copy 4 and Fabyan Collection copy as Copy 5. LAC nsk 2019-08-27
  • -  LAC nsk 2019-08-27 update (1 card)
  • -  LAC nsk 2019-09-06 no edits (1 card)


  • 6 p.l., 337, [1] p. front., illus., plates, ports. 22 cm.

Call Number/Physical Location

  • JK1899.S6 A3
  • JK1881 .N357 sec. VIII, sub. 1, no. 41 Copy 4. Inscribed by the author. Bookplate: library, Carrie Chapman Catt. Albumen print laid in. Gift of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, Nov. 1, 1938.
  • JK1899.S6 A3 1915 Copy 5. Signed by the author. Fabyan item no. 645.

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 15018433

Online Format

  • image
  • pdf

Additional Metadata Formats

Rights & Access

The Library of Congress is not aware of any U.S. copyright protection (see Title 17, U.S.C.) or any other restrictions in the materials in the Pioneering the Upper Midwest: Books from Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, ca. 1820-1910 materials. The Library of Congress is providing access to these materials for educational and research purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or other rights holders (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permissions ultimately rests with persons desiring to use the item.

Credit Line: Library of Congress, General Collections and Rare Book and Special Collections Division.

Further copyright information is also available at American Memory and Copyright.

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Shaw, Anna Howard, Elizabeth Garver Jordan, Carrie Chapman Catt, National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection, and George Fabyan Collection. The Story of a Pioneer. [New York, London, Harper & Brothers, 1915] Pdf.

APA citation style:

Shaw, A. H., Jordan, E. G., Catt, C. C., National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection & George Fabyan Collection. (1915) The Story of a Pioneer. [New York, London, Harper & Brothers] [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Shaw, Anna Howard, et al. The Story of a Pioneer. [New York, London, Harper & Brothers, 1915] Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.