The Story of a Pioneer
Anna Howard Shaw

Part 3 out of 6

the same sermon I preached in my own pulpit in the
morning. The arrangement worked so well that it
lasted for six and a half years--until I resigned from
my East Dennis church. During that period, more-
over, I not only carried the two churches on my
shoulders, holding three meetings each Sunday, but
I entered upon and completed a course in the
Boston Medical School, winning my M.D. in 1885,
and I also lectured several times a month during
the winter seasons. These were, therefore, among
the most strenuous as well as the most interesting
years of my existence, and I mention the strain of
them only to prove my life-long contention, that
congenial work, no matter how much there is of
it, has never yet killed any one!

After my battle with the Free Religious Group
things moved much more smoothly in the parish.
Captain Crowell, instead of resenting my defiance
of his ruling, helped to reconcile the divided factions
in the church; and though, as I have said, twice
afterward I submitted my resignation, in each case
the fight I was making was for a cause which I
firmly believed in and eventually won. My second
resignation was brought about by the unwillingness
of the church to have me exchange pulpits with the
one minister on Cape Cod broad-minded enough to
invite me to preach in his pulpit. I had done so,
and had then sent him a return invitation. He was
a gentleman and a scholar, but he was also a Uni-
tarian; and though my people were willing to let
me preach in his church, they were loath to let him
preach in mine. After a surprising amount of dis-
cussion my resignation put a different aspect on the
matter; it also led to the satisfactory ruling that
I could exchange pulpits not only with this minister,
but with any other in good standing in his own

My third resignation went before the trustees in
consequence of my protest from the pulpit against
a small drinking and gambling saloon in East Dennis;
which was rapidly demoralizing our boys. Theo-
retically, only ``soft drinks'' were sold, but the
gambling was open, and the resort was constantly
filled with boys of all ages. There were influences
back of this place which tried to protect it, and its
owner was very popular in the town. After my first
sermon I was waited upon by a committee, that
warmly advised me to ``let East Dennis alone'' and
confine my criticisms ``to saloons in Boston and
other big towns.'' As I had nothing to do with
Boston, and much to do with East Dennis, I preached
on that place three Sundays in succession, and
feeling became so intense that I handed in my resig-
nation and prepared to depart. Then my friends
rallied and the resort was suppressed.

That was my last big struggle. During the re-
maining five years of my pastorate on Cape Cod
the relations between my people and myself were
wholly harmonious and beautiful. If I have seemed
to dwell too much on these small victories, it must
be remembered that I find in them such comfort as
I can. I have not yet won the great and vital fight
of my life, to which I have given myself, heart and
soul, for the past thirty years--the campaign for
woman suffrage. I have seen victories here and
there, and shall see more. But when the ultimate
triumph comes--when American women in every
state cast their ballots as naturally as their husbands
do--I may not be in this world to rejoice over it.

It is interesting to remember that during the
strenuous period of the first few months in East
Dennis, and notwithstanding the division in the
congregation, we women of the church got together
and repainted and refurnished the building, raising
all the money and doing much of the work ourselves,
as the expense of having it done was prohibitive. We
painted the church, and even cut down and mod-
ernized the pulpit. The total cost of material and
furniture was not half so great as the original esti-
mate had indicated, and we had learned a valuable
lesson. After this we spent very little money for
labor, but did our own cleaning, carpet-laying, and
the like; and our little church, if I may be allowed
to say so, was a model of neatness and good taste.

I have said that at the end of two years from the
time of my appointment the long-continued war-
fare in the church was ended. I was not immediate-
ly allowed, however, to bask in an atmosphere of
harmony, for in October, 1880, the celebrated con-
test over my ordination took place at the Methodist
Protestant Conference in Tarrytown, New York;
and for three days I was a storm-center around which
a large number of truly good and wholly sincere
men fought the fight of their religious lives. Many
of them strongly believed that women were out of
place in the ministry. I did not blame them for
this conviction. But I was in the ministry, and I
was greatly handicapped by the fact that, although
I was a licensed preacher and a graduate of the
Boston Theological School, I could not, until I had
been regularly ordained, meet all the functions of
my office. I could perform the marriage service,
but I could not baptize. I could bury the dead, but
I could not take members into my church. That had
to be done by the presiding elder or by some other
minister. I could not administer the sacraments.
So at the New England Spring Conference of the
Methodist Episcopal Church, held in Boston in
1880, I formally applied for ordination. At the same
time application was made by another woman--
Miss Anna Oliver--and as a preliminary step we
were both examined by the Conference board, and
were formally reported by that board as fitted for
ordination. Our names were therefore presented at
the Conference, over which Bishop Andrews pre-
sided, and he immediately refused to accept them.
Miss Oliver and I were sitting together in the gal-
lery of the church when the bishop announced his
decision, and, while it staggered us, it did not really
surprise us. We had been warned of this gentle-
man's deep-seated prejudice against women in the

After the services were over Miss Oliver and I
called on him and asked him what we should do.
He told us calmly that there was nothing for us to
do but to get out of the Church. We reminded him
of our years of study and probation, and that I had
been for two years in charge of two churches. He
set his thin lips and replied that there was no place
for women in the ministry, and, as he then evidently
considered the interview ended, we left him with
heavy hearts. While we were walking slowly away,
Miss Oliver confided to me that she did not intend
to leave the Church. Instead, she told me, she
would stay in and fight the matter of her ordination
to a finish. I, however, felt differently. I had done
considerable fighting during the past two years, and
my heart and soul were weary. I said: ``I shall get
out, I am no better and no stronger than a man,
and it is all a man can do to fight the world, the
flesh, and the devil, without fighting his Church as
well. I do not intend to fight my Church. But I
am called to preach the gospel; and if I cannot
preach it in my own Church, I will certainly preach
it in some other Church!''

As if in response to this outburst, a young min-
ister named Mark Trafton soon called to see me.
He had been present at our Conference, he had seen
my Church refuse to ordain me, and he had come to
suggest that I apply for ordination in his Church--
the Methodist Protestant. To leave my Church,
even though urged to do so by its appointed spokes-
man, seemed a radical step. Before taking this I
appealed from the decision of the Conference to the
General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal
Church, which held its session that year in Cin-
cinnati, Ohio. Miss Oliver also appealed, and again
we were both refused ordination, the General Con-
ference voting to sustain Bishop Andrews in his
decision. Not content with this achievement, the
Conference even took a backward step. It deprived
us of the right to be licensed as local preachers.
After this blow I recalled with gratitude the Reverend
Mark Trafton's excellent advice, and I immediately
applied for ordination in the Methodist Protestant
Church. My name was presented at the Conference
held in Tarrytown in October, 1880, and the fight
was on.

During these Conferences it is customary for each
candidate to retire while the discussion of his in-
dividual fitness for ordination is in progress. When
my name came up I was asked, as my predecessors
had been, to leave the room for a few moments. I
went into an anteroom and waited--a half-hour, an
hour, all afternoon, all evening, and still the battle
raged. I varied the monotony of sitting in the ante-
room by strolls around Tarrytown, and I think I
learned to know its every stone and turn. The next
day passed in the same way. At last, late on Saturday
night, it was suddenly announced by my opponents
that I was not even a member of the Church in
which I had applied for ordination. The statement
created consternation among my friends. None of
us had thought of that! The bomb, timed to ex-
plode at the very end of the session, threatened to
destroy all my hopes. Of course, my opponents
had reasoned, it would be too late for me to do
anything, and my name would be dropped.

But it was not too late. Dr. Lyman Davis, the
pastor of the Methodist Protestant Church in Tarry-
town, was very friendly toward me and my ordina-
tion, and he proved his friendship in a singularly
prompt and efficient fashion. Late as it was, he
immediately called together the trustees of his
church, and they responded. To them I made my
application for church membership, which they ac-
cepted within five minutes. I was now a member
of the Church, but it was too late to obtain any
further action from the Conference. The next day,
Sunday, all the men who had applied for ordination
were ordained, and I was left out.

On Monday morning, however, when the Con-
ference met in its final business session, my case was
reopened, and I was eventually called before the
members to answer questions. Some of these were
extremely interesting, and several of the episodes
that occurred were very amusing. One old gentle-
man I can see as I write. He was greatly excited,
and he led the opposition by racing up and down
the aisles, quoting from the Scriptures to prove his
case against women ministers. As he ran about he
had a trick of putting his arms under the back of
his coat, making his coat-tails stand out like wings
and incidentally revealing two long white tape-
strings belonging to a flannel undergarment. Even
in the painful stress of those hours I observed with
interest how beautifully those tape-strings were

I was there to answer any questions that were
asked of me, and the questions came like hail-
stones in a sudden summer storm.

``Paul said, `Wives, obey your husbands,' '' shouted
my old man of the coat-tails. ``Suppose your hus-
band should refuse to allow you to preach? What

``In the first place,'' I answered, ``Paul did not
say so, according to the Scriptures. But even if he
did, it would not concern me, for I am a spinster.''

The old man looked me over. ``You might marry
some day,'' he predicted, cautiously.

``Possibly,'' I admitted. ``Wiser women than I
am have married. But it is equally possible that I
might marry a man who would command me to
preach; and in that case I want to be all ready to
obey him.''

At this another man, a bachelor, also began to
draw from the Scriptures. ``An elder,'' he quoted,
``shall be the husband of one wife.'' And he de-
manded, triumphantly, ``How is it possible for you
to be the husband of a wife?''

In response to that I quoted a bit myself. ``Paul
said, `Anathema unto him who addeth to or taketh
from the Scriptures,' '' I reminded this gentleman;
and added that a twisted interpretation of the
Scriptures was as bad as adding to or taking from
them, and that no one doubted that Paul was
warning the elders against polygamy. Then I went
a bit further, for by this time the absurd character
of the questions was getting on my nerves.

``Even if my good brother's interpretation is cor-
rect,'' I said, ``he has overlooked two important
points. Though he is an elder, he is also a bachelor;
so I am as much of a husband as he is!''

A good deal of that sort of thing went on. The
most satisfactory episode of the session, to me, was
the downfall of three pert young men who in turn
tried to make it appear that as the duty of the Con-
ference was to provide churches for all its pastors,
I might become a burden to the Church if it proved
impossible to provide a pastorate for me. At that,
one of my friends in the council rose to his feet.

``I have had official occasion to examine into the
matter of Miss Shaw's parish and salary,'' he said,
``and I know what salaries the last three speakers
are drawing. It may interest the Conference to
know that Miss Shaw's present salary equals the
combined salaries of the three young men who are
so afraid she will be a burden to the Church. If,
before being ordained, she can earn three times as
much as they now earn after being ordained, it seems
fairly clear that they will never have to support her.
We can only hope that she will never have to sup-
port them.''

The three young ministers subsided into their
seats with painful abruptness, and from that time
my opponents were more careful in their remarks.
Still, many unpleasant things were said, and too
much warmth was shown by both sides. We
gained ground through the day, however, and at
the end of the session the Conference, by a large
majority, voted to ordain me.

The ordination service was fixed for the following
evening, and even the gentlemen who had most
vigorously opposed me were not averse to making
the occasion a profitable one. The contention had
already enormously advertised the Conference, and
the members now helped the good work along by
sending forth widespread announcements of the
result. They also decided that, as the attendance
at the service would be very large, they would take
up a collection for the support of superannuated
ministers. The three young men who had feared I
would become a burden were especially active in
the matter of this collection; and, as they had no
sense of humor, it did not seem incongruous to them
to use my ordination as a means of raising money
for men who had already become burdens to the

When the great night came (on October 12, 1880),
the expected crowd came also. And to the credit
of my opponents I must add that, having lost their
fight, they took their defeat in good part and grace-
fully assisted in the services. Sitting in one of the
front pews was Mrs. Stiles, the wife of Dr. Stiles,
who was superintendent of the Conference. She
was a dear little old lady of seventy, with a big,
maternal heart; and when she saw me rise to walk
up the aisle alone, she immediately rose, too, came
to my side, offered me her arm, and led me to the

The ordination service was very impressive and
beautiful. Its peace and dignity, following the
battle that had raged for days, moved me so deep-
ly that I was nearly overcome. Indeed, I was on
the verge of a breakdown when I was mercifully
saved by the clause in the discipline calling for the
pledge all ministers had to make--that I would
not indulge in the use of tobacco. When this vow
fell from my lips a perceptible ripple ran over the

I was homesick for my Cape Cod parish, and I
returned to East Dennis immediately after my
ordination, arriving there on Saturday night. I
knew by the suppressed excitement of my friends
that some surprise awaited me, but I did not learn
what it was until I entered my dear little church
the following morning. There I found the com-
munion-table set forth with a beautiful new com-
munion-service. This had been purchased during
my absence, that I might dedicate it that day and
for the first time administer the sacrament to my



Looking back now upon those days, I see my
Cape Cod friends as clearly as if the interven-
ing years had been wiped out and we were again to-
gether. Among those I most loved were two widely
differing types--Captain Doane, a retired sea-cap-
tain, and Relief Paine, an invalid chained to her
couch, but whose beautiful influence permeated the
community like an atmosphere. Captain Doane
was one of the finest men I have ever known--high-
minded, tolerant, sympathetic, and full of under-
standing, He was not only my friend, but my
church barometer. He occupied a front pew, close
to the pulpit; and when I was preaching without
making much appeal he sat looking me straight in
the face, listening courteously, but without interest.
When I got into my subject, he would lean forward
--the angle at which he sat indicating the degree
of attention I had aroused--and when I was strongly
holding my congregation Brother Doane would bend
toward me, following every word I uttered with
corresponding motions of his lips. When I resigned
we parted with deep regret, but it was not until I
visited the church several years afterward that he
overcame his reserve enough to tell me how much
he had felt my going.

``Oh, did you?'' I asked, greatly touched. ``You're
not saying that merely to please me?''

The old man's hand fell on my shoulder. ``I miss
you,'' he said, simply. ``I miss you all the time.
You see, I love you.'' Then, with precipitate self-
consciousness, he closed the door of his New England
heart, and from some remote corner of it sent out
his cautious after-thought. ``I love you,'' he re-
peated, primly, ``as a sister in the Lord.''

Relief Paine lived in Brewster. Her name seemed
prophetic, and she once told me that she had always
considered it so. Her brother-in-law was my Sun-
day-school superintendent, and her family belonged
to my church. Very soon after my arrival in East
Dennis I went to see her, and found her, as she al-
ways was, dressed in white and lying on a tiny white
bed covered with pansies, in a room whose windows
overlooked the sea. I shall never forget the picture
she made. Over her shoulders was an exquisite
white lace shawl brought from the other side of the
world by some seafaring friend, and against her
white pillow her hair seemed the blackest I had
ever seen. When I entered she turned and looked
toward me with wonderful dark eyes that were quite
blind, and as she talked her hands played with the
pansies around her. She loved pansies as she
loved few human beings, and she knew their colors
by touching them. She was then a little more than
thirty years of age. At sixteen she had fallen down-
stairs in the dark, receiving an injury that paralyzed
her, and for fifteen years she had lain on one side,
perfectly still, the Stella Maris of the Cape. All
who came to her, and they were many, went away
the better for the visit, and the mere mention of
her name along the coast softened eyes that had
looked too bitterly on life.

Relief and I became close friends. I was greatly
drawn to her, and deeply moved by the tragedy of
her situation, as well as by the beautiful spirit with
which she bore it. During my first visit I regaled
her with stories of the community and of my own
experiences, and when I was leaving it occurred to
me that possibly I had been rather frivolous. So
I said:

``I am coming to see you often, and when I come
I want to do whatever will interest you most. Shall
I bring some books and read to you?''

Relief smiled--the gay, mischievous little smile
I was soon to know so well, but which at first seemed
out of place on the tragic mask of her face.

``No, don't read to me,'' she decided. ``There
are enough ready to do that. Talk to me. Tell
me about our life and our people here, as they
strike you.'' And she added, slowly: ``You are a
queer minister. You have not offered to pray with

``I feel,'' I told her, ``more like asking you to pray
for me.''

Relief continued her analysis. ``You have not
told me that my affliction was a visitation from God,''
she added; ``that it was discipline and well for me
I had it.''

``I don't believe it was from God,'' I said. ``I
don't believe God had anything to do with it. And
I rejoice that you have not let it wreck your life.''

She pressed my hand. ``Thank you for saying
that,'' she murmured. ``If I thought God did it
I could not love Him, and if I did not love Him I
could not live. Please come and see me VERY often--
and tell me stories!''

After that I collected stories for Relief. One of
those which most amused her, I remember, was about
my horse, and this encourages me to repeat it here.
In my life in East Dennis I did not occupy the lonely
little parsonage connected with my church, but in-
stead boarded with a friend--a widow named Cro-
well. (There seemed only two names in Cape Cod:
Sears and Crowell.) To keep in touch with my two
churches, which were almost three miles apart, it
became necessary to have a horse. As Mrs. Crowell
needed one, too, we decided to buy the animal in
partnership, and Miss Crowell, the daughter of the
widow, who knew no more about horses than I did,
undertook to lend me the support of her presence
and advice during the purchase. We did not care
to have the entire community take a passionate in-
terest in the matter, as it would certainly have done
if it had heard of our intention; so my friend and I
departed somewhat stealthily for a neighboring
town, where, we had heard, a very good horse was
offered for sale. We saw the animal and liked it;
but before closing the bargain we cannily asked the
owner if the horse was perfectly sound, and if it
was gentle with women. He assured us that it was
both sound and gentle with women, and to prove the
latter point he had his wife harness it to the buggy
and drive it around the stable-yard. The animal
behaved beautifully. After it had gone through
its paces, Miss Crowell and I leaned confidingly
against its side, patting it and praising its beauty,
and the horse seemed to enjoy our attentions.
We bought it then and there, drove it home, and
put it in our barn; and the next morning we hired
a man in the neighborhood to come over and take
care of it.

He arrived. Five minutes later a frightful racket
broke out in the barn--sounds of stamping, kicking,
and plunging, mingled with loud shouts. We ran
to the scene of the trouble, and found our ``hired
man'' rushing breathlessly toward the house. When
he was able to speak he informed us that we had ``a
devil in there,'' pointing back to the barn, and that
the new horse's legs were in the air, all four of them
at once, the minute he went near her. We insisted
that he must have frightened or hurt her, but, sol-
emnly and with anxious looks behind, he protested
that he had not. Finally Miss Crowell and I went
into the barn, and received a dignified welcome from
the new horse, which seemed pleased by our visit.
Together we harnessed her and, without the least
difficulty, drove her out into the yard. As soon as
our man took the reins, however, she reared, kicked,
and smashed our brand-new buggy. We changed
the man and had the buggy repaired, but by the
end of the week the animal had smashed the buggy
again. Then, with some natural resentment, we
made a second visit to the man from whom we
had bought her, and asked him why he had sold
us such a horse.

He said he had told us the exact truth. The horse
WAS sound and she WAS extremely gentle with women,
but--and this point he had seen no reason to men-
tion, as we had not asked about it--she would not
let a man come near her. He firmly refused to take
her back, and we had to make the best of the bar-
gain. As it was impossible to take care of her our-
selves, I gave some thought to the problem she pre-
sented, and finally devised a plan which worked very
well. I hired a neighbor who was a small, slight
man to take care of her, and made him wear his wife's
sunbonnet and waterproof cloak whenever he ap-
proached the horse. The picture he presented in
these garments still stands out pleasantly against the
background of my Cape Cod memories. The horse,
however, did not share our appreciation of it. She
was suspicious, and for a time she shied whenever
the man and his sunbonnet and cloak appeared;
but we stood by until she grew accustomed to them
and him; and as he was both patient and gentle,
she finally allowed him to harness and unharness
her. But no man could drive her, and when I
drove to church I was forced to hitch and un-
hitch her myself. No one else could do it, though
many a gallant and subsequently resentful man at-
tempted the feat.

On one occasion a man I greatly disliked, and who I
had reason to know disliked me, insisted that he could
unhitch her, and started to do so, notwithstanding
my protests and explanations. At his approach she
rose on her hind-legs, and when he grasped her bridle
she lifted him off his feet. His expression as he
hung in mid-air was an extraordinary mixture of
surprise and regret. The moment I touched her,
however, she quieted down, and when I got into the
buggy and gathered up the reins she walked off like
a lamb, leaving the man staring after her with his
eyes starting from his head.

The previous owner had called the horse Daisy,
and we never changed the name, though it always
seemed sadly inappropriate. Time proved, however,
that there were advantages in the ownership of
Daisy. No man would allow his wife or daughter
to drive behind her, and no one wanted to borrow
her. If she had been a different kind of animal she
would have been used by the whole community,
We kept Daisy for seven years, and our acquaintance
ripened into a pleasant friendship.

Another Cape Cod resident to whose memory I
must offer tribute in these pages was Polly Ann
Sears--one of the dearest and best of my parish-
ioners. She had six sons, and when five had gone
to sea she insisted that the sixth must remain at
home. In vain the boy begged her to let him follow
his brothers. She stood firm. The sea, she said,
should not swallow all her boys; she had given it
five--she must keep one.

As it happened, the son she kept at home was the
only one who was drowned. He was caught in a
fish-net and dragged under the waters of the bay
near his home; and when I went to see his mother
to offer such comfort as I could, she showed that
she had learned the big lesson of the experience.

``I tried to be a special Providence,'' she moaned,
``and the one boy I kept home was the only boy
I lost. I ain't a-goin' to be a Providence no

The number of funerals on Cape Cod was tragi-
cally large. I was in great demand on these occa-
sions, and went all over the Cape, conducting fune-
ral services--which seemed to be the one thing people
thought I could do--and preaching funeral sermons.
Besides the victims of the sea, many of the resi-
dents who had drifted away were brought back to
sleep their last sleep within sound of the waves.
Once I asked an old sea-captain why so many Cape
Cod men and women who had been gone for years
asked to be buried near their old homes, and his reply
still lingers in my memory. He poked his toe in
the sand for a moment and then said, slowly:

``Wal, I reckon it's because the Cape has such
warm, comfortable sand to lie down in.''

My friend Mrs. Addy lay in the Crowell family
lot, and during my pastorate at East Dennis I
preached the funeral sermon of her father, and later
of her mother. Long after I had left Cape Cod I
was frequently called back to say the last words
over the coffins of my old friends, and the saddest
of those journeys was the one I made in response to
a telegram from the mother of Relief Paine. When
I had arrived and we stood together beside the ex-
quisite figure that seemed hardly more quiet in
death than in life, Mrs. Paine voiced in her few
words the feeling of the whole community--``Where
shall we get our comfort and our inspiration, now
that Relief is gone?''

The funeral which took all my courage from me,
however, was that of my sister Mary. In its sudden-
ness, Mary's death, in 1883, was as a thunderbolt
from the blue; for she had been in perfect health
three days before she passed away. I was still in
charge of my two parishes in Cape Cod, but, as it
mercifully happened, before she was stricken I had
started West to visit Mary in her home at Big
Rapids. When I arrived on the second day of her
illness, knowing nothing of it until I reached her,
I found her already past hope. Her disease was
pneumonia, but she was conscious to the end, and
her greatest desire seemed to be to see me christen
her little daughter and her husband before she left
them. This could not be realized, for my brother-
in-law was absent on business, and with all his
haste in returning did not reach his wife's side until
after her death. As his one thought then was to
carry out her last wishes, I christened him and his
little girl just before the funeral; and during the
ceremony we all experienced a deep conviction
that Mary knew and was content.

She had become a power in her community, and
was so dearly loved that on the day her body was
borne to its last resting-place all the business houses
in Big Rapids were closed, and the streets were filled
with men who stood with bent, uncovered heads as
the funeral procession went by. My father and
mother, also, to whom she had given a home after
they left the log-cabin where they had lived so long,
had made many friends in their new environment
and were affectionately known throughout the whole
region as ``Grandma and Grandpa Shaw.''

When I returned to East Dennis I brought my
mother and Mary's three children with me, and
they remained throughout the spring and summer.
I had hoped that they would remain permanently,
and had rented and furnished a home for them with
that end in view; but, though they enjoyed their
visit, the prospect of the bleak winters of Cape Cod
disturbed my mother, and they all returned to Big
Rapids late in the autumn. Since entering upon my
parish work it had been possible for me to help my
father and mother financially; and from the time
of Mary's death I had the privilege, a very precious
one, of seeing that they were well cared for and con-
tented. They were always appreciative, and as
time passed they became more reconciled to the
career I had chosen, and which in former days had
filled them with such dire forebodings.

After I had been in East Dennis four years I be-
gan to feel that I was getting into a rut. It seemed
to me that all I could do in that particular field had
been done. My people wished me to remain, how-
ever, and so, partly as an outlet for my surplus
energy, but more especially because I realized the
splendid work women could do as physicians, I be-
gan to study medicine. The trustees gave me per-
mission to go to Boston on certain days of each week,
and we soon found that I could carry on my work
as a medical student without in the least neglecting
my duty toward my parish.

I entered the Boston Medical School in 1882, and
obtained my diploma as a full-fledged physician in
1885. During this period I also began to lecture
for the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association,
of which Lucy Stone was president. Henry Black-
well was associated with her, and together they de-
veloped in me a vital interest in the suffrage cause,
which grew steadily from that time until it became
the dominating influence in my life. I preached it
in the pulpit, talked it to those I met outside of the
church, lectured on it whenever I had an oppor-
tunity, and carried it into my medical work in the
Boston slums when I was trying my prentice hand
on helpless pauper patients.

Here again, in my association with the women of
the streets, I realized the limitations of my work in
the ministry and in medicine. As minister to soul
and body one could do little for these women. For
such as them, one's efforts must begin at the very
foundation of the social structure. Laws for them
must be made and enforced, and some of those laws
could only be made and enforced by women. So
many great avenues of life were opening up before
me that my Cape Cod environment seemed almost
a prison where I was held with tender force. I
loved my people and they loved me--but the big
outer world was calling, and I could not close my
ears to its summons. The suffrage lectures helped
to keep me contented, however, and I was certainly
busy enough to find happiness in my work.

I was in Boston three nights a week, and during
these nights subject to sick calls at any hour. My
favorite associates were Dr. Caroline Hastings, our
professor of anatomy, and little Dr. Mary Safford,
a mite of a woman with an indomitable soul. Dr.
Safford was especially prominent in philanthropic
work in Massachusetts, and it was said of her that
at any hour of the day or night she could be found
working in the slums of Boston. I, too, could fre-
quently be found there--often, no doubt, to the dis-
advantage of my patients. I was quite famous in
three Boston alleys--Maiden's Lane, Fellows Court,
and Andrews Court. It most fortunately happened
that I did not lose a case in those alleys, though I
took all kinds, as I had to treat a certain number
of surgical and obstetrical cases in my course. No
doubt my patients and I had many narrow escapes
of which we were blissfully ignorant, but I remember
two which for a long time afterward continued to
be features of my most troubled dreams.

The first was that of a big Irishman who had
pneumonia. When I looked him over I was as much
frightened as he was. I had got as far as pneu-
monia in my course, and I realized that here was a
bad case of it. I knew what to do. The patient
must be carefully packed in towels wrung out of
cold water. When I called for towels I found that
there was nothing in the place but a dish-towel,
which I washed with portentous gravity. The man
owned but one shirt, and, in deference to my visit,
his wife had removed that to wash it. I packed the
patient in the dish-towel, wrapped him in a piece of
an old shawl, and left after instructing his wife to
repeat the process. When I reached home I remem-
bered that the patient must be packed ``carefully,''
and I knew that his wife would do it carelessly.
That meant great risk to the man's life. My im-
pulse was to rush back to him at once, but this
would never do. It would destroy all confidence
in the doctor. I walked the floor for three hours,
and then casually strolled in upon my patient,
finding him, to my great relief, better than I had left
him. As I was leaving, a child rushed into the room,
begging me to come to an upper floor in the same

``The baby's got the croup,'' she gasped, ``an'
he's chokin' to death.''

We had not reached croup in our course, and I
had no idea what to do, but I valiantly accompanied
the little girl. As we climbed the long flights of
stairs to the top floor I remembered a conversation
I had overheard between two medical students. One
of them had said: ``If the child is strangling when it
inhales, as if it were breathing through a sponge,
then give it spongia; but if it is strangling when it
breathes out, give it aconite.''

When I reached the baby I listened, but could
not tell which way it was strangling. However,
I happened to have both medicines with me, so I
called for two glasses and mixed the two remedies,
each in its own glass. I gave them both to the
mother, and told her to use them alternately, every
fifteen minutes, until the baby was better. The
baby got well; but whether its recovery was due to
the spongia or to the aconite I never knew.

In my senior year I fell in love with an infant
of three, named Patsy. He was one of nine children
when I was called to deliver his mother of her tenth
child. She was drunk when I reached her, and so
were two men who lay on the floor in the same room.
I had them carried out, and after the mother and
baby had been attended to I noticed Patsy. He was
the most beautiful child I had ever seen--with eyes
like Italian skies and yellow hair in tight curls over
his adorable little head; but he was covered with
filthy rags. I borrowed him, took him home with me,
and fed and bathed him, and the next day fitted him
out with new clothes. Every hour I had him
tightened his hold on my heart-strings. I went to
his mother and begged her to let me keep him, but
she refused, and after a great deal of argument and
entreaty I had to return him to her. When I went
to see him a few days later I found him again in his
horrible rags. His mother had pawned his new
clothes for drink, and she was deeply under its in-
fluence. But no pressure I could exert then or later
would make her part with Patsy. Finally, for my
own peace of mind, I had to give up hope of getting
him--but I have never ceased to regret the little
adopted son I might have had.



There is a theory that every seven years each
human being undergoes a complete physical
reconstruction, with corresponding changes in his
mental and spiritual make-up. Possibly it was due
to this reconstruction that, at the end of seven years
on Cape Cod, my soul sent forth a sudden call to
arms. I was, it reminded me, taking life too easily;
I was in danger of settling into an agreeable routine.
The work of my two churches made little drain on
my superabundant vitality, and not even the win-
ning of a medical degree and the increasing demands
of my activities on the lecture platform wholly eased
my conscience. I was happy, for I loved my people
and they seemed to love me. It would have been
pleasant to go on almost indefinitely, living the life
of a country minister and telling myself that what
I could give to my flock made such a life worth while.

But all the time, deep in my heart, I realized the
needs of the outside world, and heard its prayer for
workers. My theological and medical courses in
Boston, with the experiences that accompanied them,
had greatly widened my horizon. Moreover, at my
invitation, many of the noble women of the day were
coming to East Dennis to lecture, bringing with them
the stirring atmosphere of the conflicts they were
waging. One of the first of these was my friend
Mary A. Livermore; and after her came Julia Ward
Howe, Anna Garlin Spencer, Lucy Stone, Mary F.
Eastman, and many others, each charged with in-
spiration for my people and with a special message
for me, which she sent forth unknowingly and which I
alone heard. They were fighting great battles, these
women--for suffrage, for temperance, for social
purity--and in every word they uttered I heard a
rallying-cry. So it was that, in 1885, I suddenly
pulled myself up to a radical decision and sent my
resignation to the trustees of the two churches
whose pastor I had been since 1878.

The action caused a demonstration of regret
which made it hard to keep to my resolution and
leave these men and women whose friendship was
among the dearest of my possessions. But when we
had all talked things over, many of them saw the
situation as I did. No doubt there were those, too,
who felt that a change of ministry would be good
for the churches. During the weeks that followed
my resignation I received many odd tributes, and
of these one of the most amusing came from a
young girl in the parish, who broke into loud protests
when she heard that I was going away. To com-
fort her I predicted that she would now have a man
minister--doubtless a very nice man. But the young
person continued to sniffle disconsolately.

``I don't want a man,'' she wailed. ``I don't like to
see men in pulpits. They look so awkward.'' Her
grief culminated in a final outburst. ``They're all
arms and legs!'' she sobbed.

When my resignation was finally accepted, and
the time of my departure drew near, the men of the
community spent much of their leisure in discussing
it and me. The social center of East Dennis was
a certain grocery, to which almost every man in
town regularly wended his way, and from which all
the gossip of the town emanated. Here the men sat
for hours, tilted back in their chairs, whittling the
rungs until they nearly cut the chairs from under
them, and telling one another all they knew or had
heard about their fellow-townsmen. Then, after
each session, they would return home and repeat the
gossip to their wives. I used to say that I would
give a dollar to any woman in East Dennis who
could quote a bit of gossip which did not come from
the men at that grocery. Even my old friend Cap-
tain Doane, fine and high-minded citizen though he
was, was not above enjoying the mild diversion of
these social gatherings, and on one occasion at least
he furnished the best part of the entertainment.
The departing minister was, it seemed, the topic
of the day's discussion, and, to tease Captain Doane
one young man who knew the strength of his friend-
ship for me suddenly began to speak, then pursed
up his lips and looked eloquently mysterious. As he
had expected, Captain Doane immediately pounced
on him.

``What's the matter with you?'' demanded the
old man. ``Hev you got anything agin Miss

The young man sighed and murmured that if he
wished he could repeat a charge never before made
against a Cape Cod minister, but--and he shut his
lips more obviously. The other men, who were in
the plot, grinned, and this added the last touch to
Captain Doane's indignation. He sprang to his
feet. One of his peculiarities was a constant mis-
use of words, and now, in his excitement, he outdid

``You've made an incineration against Miss Shaw,''
he shouted. ``Do you hear--AN INCINERATION! Take
it back or take a lickin'!''

The young man decided that the joke had gone
far enough, so he answered, mildly: ``Well, it is said
that all the women in town are in love with Miss
Shaw. Has that been charged against any other
minister here?''

The men roared with laughter, and Captain
Doane sat down, looking sheepish.

``All I got to say is this,'' he muttered: ``That gal
has been in this community for seven years, and she
'ain't done a thing during the hull seven years that
any one kin lay a finger on!''

The men shouted again at this back-handed trib-
ute, and the old fellow left the grocery in a huff.
Later I was told of the ``incineration'' and his elo-
quent defense of me, and I thanked him for it. But
I added:

``I hear you said I haven't done a thing in seven
years that any one can lay a finger on?''

``I said it,'' declared the Captain, ``and I'll stand
by it.''

``Haven't I done any good?'' I asked.

``Sartin you have,'' he assured me, heartily.
``Lots of good.''

``Well,'' I said, ``can't you put your finger on

The Captain looked startled. ``Why--why--
Sister Shaw,'' he stammered, ``you know I didn't
mean THAT! What I meant,'' he repeated, slowly and
solemnly, ``was that the hull time you been here
you ain't done nothin' anybody could put a finger

Captain Doane apparently shared my girl parish-
ioner's prejudice against men in the pulpit, for long
afterward, on one of my visits to Cape Cod, he ad-
mitted that he now went to church very rarely.

``When I heard you preach,'' he explained, ``I
gen'ally followed you through and I knowed where
you was a-comin' out. But these young fellers that
come from the theological school--why, Sister Shaw,
the Lord Himself don't know where they're comin'

For a moment he pondered. Then he uttered a
valedictory which I have always been glad to recall
as his last message, for I never saw him again.

``When you fust come to us,'' he said, ``you had
a lot of crooked places, an' we had a lot of crooked
places; and we kind of run into each other, all of
us. But before you left, Sister Shaw, why, all the
crooked places was wore off and everything was as
smooth as silk.''

``Yes,'' I agreed, ``and that was the time to leave
--when everything was running smoothly.''

All is changed on Cape Cod since those days, thirty
years ago. The old families have died or moved
away, and those who replaced them were of a dif-
ferent type. I am happy in having known and loved
the Cape as it was, and in having gathered there a
store of delightful memories. In later strenuous
years it has rested me merely to think of the place,
and long afterward I showed my continued love of
it by building a home there, which I still possess.
But I had little time to rest in this or in my Moylan
home, of which I shall write later, for now I was
back in Boston, living my new life, and each crowded
hour brought me more to do.

We were entering upon a deeply significant period.
For the first time women were going into industrial
competition with men, and already men were in-
tensely resenting their presence. Around me I saw
women overworked and underpaid, doing men's
work at half men's wages, not because their work
was inferior, but because they were women. Again,
too, I studied the obtrusive problems of the poor and
of the women of the streets; and, looking at the
whole social situation from every angle, I could find
but one solution for women--the removal of the
stigma of disfranchisement. As man's equal before
the law, woman could demand her rights, asking
favors from no one. With all my heart I joined in
the crusade of the men and women who were fight-
ing for her. My real work had begun.

Naturally, at this period, I frequently met the
members of Boston's most inspiring group--the
Emersons and John Greenleaf Whittier, James Free-
man Clark, Reverend Minot Savage, Bronson Alcott
and his daughter Louisa, Wendell Phillips, William
Lloyd Garrison, Stephen Foster, Theodore Weld, and
the rest. Of them all, my favorite was Whittier. He
had been present at my graduation from the theo-
logical school, and now he often attended our suffrage
meetings. He was already an old man, nearing the
end of his life; and I recall him as singularly tall and
thin, almost gaunt, bending forward as he talked,
and wearing an expression of great serenity and
benignity. I once told Susan B. Anthony that if I
needed help in a crowd of strangers that included her,
I would immediately turn to her, knowing from her
face that, whatever I had done, she would under-
stand and assist me. I could have offered the same
tribute to Whittier. At our meetings he was like a
vesper-bell chiming above a battle-field. Garrison
always became excited during our discussions, and
the others frequently did; but Whittier, in whose big
heart the love of his fellow-man burned as unquench-
ably as in any heart there, always preserved his ex-
quisite tranquillity.

Once, I remember, Stephen Foster insisted on
having the word ``tyranny'' put into a resolution,
stating that women were deprived of suffrage by the
TYRANNY of men. Mr. Garrison objected, and the
debate that followed was the most exciting I have
ever heard. The combatants actually had to ad-
journ before they could calm down sufficiently to go
on with their meeting. Knowing the stimulating
atmosphere to which he had grown accustomed, I
was not surprised to have Theodore Weld explain
to me; long afterward, why he no longer attended
suffrage meetings.

``Oh,'' he said, ``why should I go? There hasn't
been any one mobbed in twenty years!''

The Ralph Waldo Emersons occasionally attended
our meetings, and Mr. Emerson, at first opposed to
woman suffrage, became a convert to it during the
last years of his life--a fact his son and daughter
omitted to mention in his biography. After his
death I gave two suffrage lectures in Concord,
and each time Mrs. Emerson paid for the hall. At
these lectures Louisa M. Alcott graced the assem-
bly with her splendid, wholesome presence, and on
both occasions she was surrounded by a group of
boys. She frankly cared much more for boys than
for girls, and boys inevitably gravitated to her when-
ever she entered a place where they were. When
women were given school suffrage in Massachusetts,
Miss Alcott was the first woman to vote in Concord,
and she went to the polls accompanied by a group
of her boys, all ardently ``for the Cause.'' My gen-
eral impression of her was that of a fresh breeze
blowing over wide moors. She was as different as
possible from exquisite little Mrs. Emerson, who,
in her daintiness and quiet charm, suggested an old
New England garden.

Of Abby May and Edna Cheney I retain a general
impression of ``bagginess''--of loose jackets over
loose waistbands, of escaping locks of hair, of bodies
seemingly one size from the neck down. Both
women were utterly indifferent to the details of
their appearance, but they were splendid workers and
leading spirits in the New England Woman's Club.
It was said to be the trouble between Abby May and
Kate Gannett Wells, both of whom stood for the
presidency of the club, that led to the beginning of
the anti-suffrage movement in Boston. Abby May
was elected president, and all the suffragists voted
for her. Subsequently Kate Gannett Wells began
her anti-suffrage campaign. Mrs. Wells was the
first anti-suffragist I ever knew in this country.
Before her there had been Mrs. Dahlgren, wife of
Admiral Dahlgren, and Mrs. William Tecumseh Sher-
man. On one occasion Elizabeth Cady Stanton chal-
lenged Mrs. Dahlgren to a debate on woman suffrage,
and in the light of later events Mrs. Dahlgren's reply
is amusing. She declined the challenge, explaining
that for anti-suffragists to appear upon a public
platform would be a direct violation of the principle
for which they stood--which was the protection of
female modesty! Recalling this, and the present
hectic activity of the anti-suffragists, one must feel
that they have either abandoned their principle or
widened their views.
For Julia Ward Howe I had an immense admira-
tion; but, though from first to last I saw much of
her, I never felt that I really knew her. She was a
woman of the widest culture, interested in every
progressive movement. With all her big heart she
tried to be a democrat, but she was an aristocrat to
the very core of her, and, despite her wonderful work
for others, she lived in a splendid isolation. Once
when I called on her I found her resting her mind
by reading Greek, and she laughingly admitted that
she was using a Latin pony, adding that she was
growing ``rusty.'' She seemed a little embarrassed
by being caught with the pony, but she must have
been reassured by my cheerful confession that if
_I_ tried to read either Latin or Greek I should need
an English pony.

Of Frances E. Willard, who frequently came to
Boston, I saw a great deal, and we soon became close-
ly associated in our work. Early in our friendship,
and at Miss Willard's suggestion, we made a com-
pact that once a week each of us would point out
to the other her most serious faults, and thereby
help her to remedy them; but we were both too sane
to do anything of the kind, and the project soon
died a natural death. The nearest I ever came to
carrying it out was in warning Miss Willard that she
was constantly defying all the laws of personal
hygiene. She never rested, rarely seemed to sleep,
and had to be reminded at the table that she was
there for the purpose of eating food. She was al-
ways absorbed in some great interest, and oblivious
to anything else, I never knew a woman who could
grip an audience and carry it with her as she could.
She was intensely emotional, and swayed others by
their emotions rather than by logic; yet she was the
least conscious of her physical existence of any one
I ever knew, with the exception of Susan B. Anthony.
Like ``Aunt Susan,'' Miss Willard paid no heed to
cold or heat or hunger, to privation or fatigue. In
their relations to such trifles both women were dis-
embodied spirits.

Another woman doing wonderful work at this time
was Mrs. Quincy Shaw, who had recently started her
day nurseries for the care of tenement children whose
mothers labored by the day. These nurseries were
new in Boston, as was the kindergarten system she
also established. I saw the effect of her work in the
lives of the people, and it strengthened my growing
conviction that little could be done for the poor in a
spiritual or educational way until they were given
a certain amount of physical comfort, and until more
time was devoted to the problem of prevention.
Indeed, the more I studied economic issues, the more
strongly I felt that the position of most philan-
thropists is that of men who stand at the bottom
of a precipice gathering up and trying to heal those
who fall into it, instead of guarding the top and pre-
venting them from going over.

Of course I had to earn my living; but, though I
had taken my medical degree only a few months
before leaving Cape Cod, I had no intention of prac-
tising medicine. I had merely wished to add a
certain amount of medical knowledge to my mental
equipment. The Massachusetts Woman Suffrage
Association, of which Lucy Stone was president, had
frequently employed me as a lecturer during the
last two years of my pastorate. Now it offered me
a salary of one hundred dollars a month as a lecturer
and organizer. Though I may not have seemed so
in these reminiscences, in which I have written as
freely of my small victories as of my struggles and
failures, I was a modest young person. The amount
seemed too large, and I told Mrs. Stone as much,
after which I humbly fixed my salary at fifty dollars
a month. At the end of a year of work I felt that
I had ``made good''; then I asked for and received
the one hundred dollars a month originally offered

During my second year Miss Cora Scott Pond and
I organized and carried through in Boston a great
suffrage bazaar, clearing six thousand dollars for
the association--a large amount in those days.
Elated by my share in this success, I asked that my
salary should be increased to one hundred and
twenty-five dollars a month--but this was not done.
Instead, I received a valuable lesson. It was freely
admitted that my work was worth one hundred and
twenty-five dollars, but I was told that one hundred
was the limit which could be paid, and I was re-
minded that this was a good salary for a woman.

The time seemed to have come to make a practical
stand in defense of my principles, and I did so by
resigning and arranging an independent lecture tour.
The first month after my resignation I earned three
hundred dollars. Later I frequently earned more
than that, and very rarely less. Eventually I lec-
tured under the direction of the Slaton Lecture
Bureau of Chicago, and later still for the Redpath
Bureau of Boston. My experience with the Red-
path people was especially gratifying. Mrs. Liver-
more, who was their only woman lecturer, was grow-
ing old and anxious to resign her work. She saw
in me a possible successor, and asked them to take
me on their list. They promptly refused, explain-
ing that I must ``make a reputation'' before they
could even consider me. A year later they wrote
me, making a very good offer, which I accepted. It
may be worth while to mention here that through
my lecture-work at this period I earned all the money
I have ever saved. I lectured night after night, week
after week, month after month, in ``Chautauquas''
in the summer, all over the country in the winter,
earning a large income and putting aside at that
time the small surplus I still hold in preparation for
the ``rainy day'' every working-woman inwardly

I gave the public at least a fair equivalent for
what it gave me, for I put into my lectures all my
vitality, and I rarely missed an engagement, though
again and again I risked my life to keep one. My
special subjects, of course, were the two I had most
at heart-suffrage and temperance. For Frances
Willard, then President of the Woman's Christian
Temperance Union, had persuaded me to head the
Franchise Department of that organization, suc-
ceeding Ziralda Wallace, the mother of Gen. Lew
Wallace; and Miss Susan B. Anthony, who was be-
ginning to study me closely, soon swung me into
active work with her, of which, later, I shall have
much to say. But before taking up a subject as
absorbing to me as my friendship for and association
with the most wonderful woman I have ever known,
it may be interesting to record a few of my pioneer
experiences in the lecture-field.

In those days--thirty years ago--the lecture bu-
reaus were wholly regardless of the comfort of their
lecturers. They arranged a schedule of engagements
with exactly one idea in mind--to get the lecturer
from one lecture-point to the next, utterly regardless
of whether she had time between for rest or food or
sleep. So it happened that all-night journeys in
freight-cars, engines, and cabooses were casual com-
monplaces, while thirty and forty mile drives across
the country in blizzards and bitter cold were equally
inevitable. Usually these things did not trouble
me. They were high adventures which I enjoyed at
the time and afterward loved to recall. But there
was an occasional hiatus in my optimism.

One night, for example, after lecturing in a town
in Ohio, it was necessary to drive eight miles across
country to a tiny railroad station at which a train,
passing about two o'clock in the morning, was to be
flagged for me. When we reached the station it was
closed, but my driver deposited me on the platform
and drove away, leaving me alone. The night was
cold and very dark. All day I had been feeling ill
and in the evening had suffered so much pain that
I had finished my lecture with great difficulty. Now
toward midnight, in this desolate spot, miles from
any house, I grew alarmingly worse. I am not
easily frightened, but that time I was sure I was
going to die. Off in the darkness, very far away, as
it seemed, I saw a faint light, and with infinite effort
I dragged myself toward it. To walk, even to stand,
was impossible; I crawled along the railroad track,
collapsing, resting, going on again, whipping my
will power to the task of keeping my brain clear,
until after a nightmare that seemed to last through
centuries I lay across the door of the switch-tower
in which the light was burning. The switchman
stationed there heard the cry I was able to utter,
and came to my assistance. He carried me up to
his signal-room and laid me on the floor by the stove;
he had nothing to give me except warmth and shel-
ter; but these were now all I asked. I sank into a
comatose condition shot through with pain. Tow-
ard two o'clock in the morning he waked me and
told me my train was coming, asking if I felt able
to take it. I decided to make the effort. He dared
not leave his post to help me, but he signaled to the
train, and I began my progress back to the station.
I never clearly remembered how I got there; but
I arrived and was helped into a car by a brakeman.
About four o'clock in the morning I had to change
again, but this time I was left at the station of a town,
and was there met by a man whose wife had offered
me hospitality. He drove me to their home, and
I was cared for. What I had, it developed, was a
severe case of ptomaine poisoning, and I soon re-
covered; but even after all these years I do not
like to recall that night.

To be ``snowed in'' was a frequent experience.
Once, in Minnesota, I was one of a dozen travelers
who were driven in an omnibus from a country hotel
to the nearest railroad station, about two miles away.
It was snowing hard, and the driver left us on the
station platform and departed. Time passed, but
the train we were waiting for did not come. A true
Western blizzard, growing wilder every moment, had
set in, and we finally realized that the train was not
coming, and that, moreover, it was now impossible
to get back to the hotel. The only thing we could
do was to spend the night in the railroad station.
I was the only woman in the group, and my fellow-
passengers were cattlemen who whiled away the
hours by smoking, telling stories, and exchanging
pocket flasks. The station had a telegraph operator
who occupied a tiny box by himself, and he finally
invited me to share the privacy of his microscopic
quarters. I entered them very gratefully, and he
laid a board on the floor, covered it with an over-
coat made of buffalo-skins, and cheerfully invited
me to go to bed. I went, and slept peacefully until
morning. Then we all returned to the hotel, the
men going ahead and shoveling a path.

Again, one Sunday, I was snowbound in a train
near Faribault, and this time also I was the only
woman among a number of cattlemen. They were
an odoriferous lot, who smoked diligently and played
cards without ceasing, but in deference to my pres-
ence they swore only mildly and under their breath.
At last they wearied of their game, and one of them
rose and came to me.

``I heard you lecture the other night,'' he said,
awkwardly, ``and I've bin tellin' the fellers about it.
We'd like to have a lecture now.''

Their card-playing had seemed to me a sinful
thing (I was stricter in my views then than I am
to-day), and I was glad to create a diversion. I
agreed to give them a lecture, and they went through
the train, which consisted of two day coaches, and
brought in the remaining passengers. A few of
them could sing, and we began with a Moody and
Sankey hymn or two and the appealing ditty,
``Where is my wandering boy to-night?'' in which
they all joined with special zest. Then I delivered
the lecture, and they listened attentively. When I
had finished they seemed to think that some slight
return was in order, so they proceeded to make a
bed for me. They took the bottoms out of two seats,
arranged them crosswise, and one man folded his
overcoat into a pillow. Inspired by this, two others
immediately donated their fur overcoats for upper
and lower coverings. When the bed was ready they
waved me toward it with a most hospitable air, and
I crept in between the overcoats and slumbered
sweetly until I was aroused the next morning by the
welcome music of a snow-plow which had been
sent from St. Paul to our rescue.
To drive fifty or sixty miles in a day to meet a
lecture engagement was a frequent experience. I
have been driven across the prairies in June when
they were like a mammoth flower-bed, and in Jan-
uary when they seemed one huge snow-covered
grave--my grave, I thought, at times. Once during a
thirty-mile drive, when the thermometer was twenty
degrees below zero, I suddenly realized that my face
was freezing. I opened my satchel, took out the
tissue-paper that protected my best gown, and put
the paper over my face as a veil, tucking it inside
of my bonnet. When I reached my destination the
tissue was a perfect mask, frozen stiff, and I
had to be lifted from the sleigh. I was due on the
lecture platform in half an hour, so I drank a huge
bowl of boiling ginger tea and appeared on time.
That night I went to bed expecting an attack of
pneumonia as a result of the exposure, but I awoke
next morning in superb condition. I possess what
is called ``an iron constitution,'' and in those days
I needed it.

That same winter, in Kansas, I was chased by
wolves, and though I had been more or less inti-
mately associated with wolves in my pioneer life
in the Michigan woods, I found the occasion extreme-
ly unpleasant. During the long winters of my girl-
hood wolves had frequently slunk around our log
cabin, and at times in the lumber-camps we had
even heard them prowling on the roofs. But those
were very different creatures from the two huge,
starving, tireless animals that hour after hour loped
behind the cutter in which I sat with another woman,
who, throughout the whole experience, never lost
her head nor her control of our frantic horses. They
were mad with terror, for, try as they would, they
could not outrun the grim things that trailed us,
seemingly not trying to gain on us, but keeping al-
ways at the same distance, with a patience that was
horrible. From time to time I turned to look at
them, and the picture they made as they came on
and on is one I shall never forget. They were so near
that I could see their eyes and slavering jaws, and
they were as noiseless as things in a dream. At
last, little by little, they began to gain on us, and
they were almost within striking distance of the
whip, which was our only weapon, when we reached
the welcome outskirts of a town and they fell back.

Some of the memories of those days have to do
with personal encounters, brief but poignant. Once
when I was giving a series of Chautauqua lectures,
I spoke at the Chautauqua in Pontiac, Illinois.
The State Reformatory for Boys was situated in
that town, and, after the lecture the superintendent
of the Reformatory invited me to visit it and say
a few words to the inmates. I went and spoke for
half an hour, carrying away a memory of the place
and of the boys which haunted me for months. A
year later, while I was waiting for a train in the
station at Shelbyville, a lad about sixteen years old
passed me and hesitated, looking as if he knew me.
I saw that he wanted to speak and dared not, so
I nodded to him.

``You think you know me, don't you?'' I asked,
when he came to my side.

``Yes'm, I do know you,'' he told me, eagerly.
``You are Miss Shaw, and you talked to us boys at
Pontiac last year. I'm out on parole now, but I
'ain't forgot. Us boys enjoyed you the best of any
show we ever had!''

I was touched by this artless compliment, and
anxious to know how I had won it, so I asked,
``What did I say that the boys liked?''

The lad hesitated. Then he said, slowly, ``Well,
you didn't talk as if you thought we were all

``My boy,'' I told him, ``I don't think you are all
bad. I know better!''

As if I had touched a spring in him, the lad
dropped into the seat by my side; then, leaning
toward me, he said, impulsively, but almost in a


Rarely have I had a tribute that moved me more
than that shy confidence; and often since then, in
hours of discouragement or failure, I have reminded
myself that at least there must have been something
in me once to make a lad of that age so open up
his heart. We had a long and intimate talk, from
which grew the abiding interest I feel in boys to-

Naturally I was sometimes inconvenienced by
slight misunderstandings between local committees
and myself as to the subjects of my lectures, and the
most extreme instance of this occurred in a town
where I arrived to find myself widely advertised
as ``Mrs. Anna Shaw, who whistled before Queen
Victoria''! Transfixed, I gaped before the bill-
boards, and by reading their additional lettering
discovered the gratifying fact that at least I was
not expected to whistle now. Instead, it appeared,
I was to lecture on ``The Missing Link.''

As usual, I had arrived in town only an hour or
two before the time fixed for my lecture; there was
the briefest interval in which to clear up these pain-
ful misunderstandings. I repeatedly tried to reach
the chairman who was to preside at the entertain-
ment, but failed. At last I went to the hall at the
hour appointed, and found the local committee
there, graciously waiting to receive me. Without
wasting precious minutes in preliminaries, I asked
why they had advertised me as the woman who had
``whistled before Queen Victoria.''

``Why, didn't you whistle before her?'' they ex-
claimed in grieved surprise.

``I certainly did not,'' I explained. ``Moreover, I
was never called `The American Nightingale,' and
I have never lectured on `The Missing Link.'
Where DID you get that subject? It was not on the
list I sent you.''

The members of the committee seemed dazed.
They withdrew to a corner and consulted in whis-
pers. Then, with clearing brow, the spokesman re-

``Why,'' he said, cheerfully, ``it's simple enough!
We mixed you up with a Shaw lady that whistles;
and we've been discussing the missing link in our
debating society, so our citizens want to hear your

``But I don't know anything about the missing
link,'' I protested, ``and I can't speak on it.''

``Now, come,'' they begged. ``Why, you'll have
to! We've sold all our tickets for that lecture.
The whole town has turned out to hear it.''

Then, as I maintained a depressed silence, one
of them had a bright idea.

``I'll tell you how to fix it!'' he cried. ``Speak on
any subject you please, but bring in something about
the missing link every few minutes. That will satis-
fy 'em.''

``Very well,'' I agreed, reluctantly. ``Open the
meeting with a song. Get the audience to sing
`America' or `The Star-spangled Banner.' That
will give me a few minutes to think, and I will see
what can be done.''

Led by a very nervous chairman, the big audience
began to sing, and under the inspiration of the music
the solution of our problem flashed into my mind.

``It is easy,'' I told myself. ``Woman is the miss-
ing link in our government. I'll give them a suf-
frage speech along that line.''

When the song ended I began my part of the en-
tertainment with a portion of my lecture on ``The
Fate of Republics,'' tracing their growth and decay,
and pointing out that what our republic needed to
give it a stable government was the missing link
of woman suffrage. I got along admirably, for every
five minutes I mentioned ``the missing link,'' and
the audience sat content and apparently interested,
while the members of the committee burst into
bloom on the platform.



My most dramatic experience occurred in a
city in Michigan, where I was making a
temperance campaign. It was an important lum-
ber and shipping center, and it harbored much
intemperance. The editor of the leading news-
paper was with the temperance-workers in our
fight there, and he had warned me that the liquor
people threatened to ``burn the building over my
head'' if I attempted to lecture. We were used to
similar threats, so I proceeded with my preparations
and held the meeting in the town skating-rink--
a huge, bare, wooden structure.

Lectures were rare in that city, and rumors of
some special excitement on this occasion had been
circulated; every seat in the rink was filled, and
several hundred persons stood in the aisles and at
the back of the building. Just opposite the speak-
er's platform was a small gallery, and above that, in
the ceiling, was a trap-door. Before I had been
speaking ten minutes I saw a man drop through this
trap-door to the balcony and climb from there to
the main floor. As he reached the floor he shouted
``Fire!'' and rushed out into the street. The next
instant every person in the rink was up and a panic
had started. I was very sure there was no fire,
but I knew that many might be killed in the
rush which was beginning. So I sprang on a chair
and shouted to the people with the full strength of
my lungs:

``There is no fire! It's only a trick! Sit down!
Sit down!''

The cooler persons in the crowd at once began to
help in this calming process.

``Sit down!'' they repeated. ``It's all right!
There's no fire! Sit down!''

It looked as if we had the situation in hand, for
the people hesitated, and most of them grew quiet;
but just then a few words were hissed up to me that
made my heart stop beating. A member of our local
committee was standing beside my chair, speaking
in a terrified whisper:

``There IS a fire, Miss Shaw,'' he said. ``For God's
sake get the people out--QUICKLY!''

The shock was so unexpected that my knees al-
most gave way. The people were still standing,
wavering, looking uncertainly toward us. I raised
my voice again, and if it sounded unnatural my
hearers probably thought it was because I was speak-
ing so loudly.

``As we are already standing,'' I cried, ``and are
all nervous, a little exercise will do us good. So
march out, singing. Keep time to the music!
Later you can come back and take your seats!''

The man who had whispered the warning jumped
into the aisle and struck up ``Jesus, Lover of My
Soul.'' Then he led the march down to the door,
while the big audience swung into line and followed
him, joining in the song. I remained on the chair,
beating time and talking to the people as they went;
but when the last of them had left the building I
almost collapsed; for the flames had begun to eat
through the wooden walls and the clang of the fire-
engines was heard outside.

As soon as I was sure every one was safe, however,
I experienced the most intense anger I had yet known.
My indignation against the men who had risked
hundreds of lives by setting fire to a crowded building
made me ``see red''; it was clear that they must be
taught a lesson then and there. As soon as I was
outside the rink I called a meeting, and the Congre-
gational minister, who was in the crowd, lent us his
church and led the way to it. Most of the audience
followed us, and we had a wonderful meeting, dur-
ing which we were able at last to make clear to
the people of that town the character of the liquor
interests we were fighting. That episode did the
temperance cause more good than a hundred ordinary
meetings. Men who had been indifferent before
became our friends and supporters, and at the fol-
lowing election we carried the town for prohibition
by a big majority.

There have been other occasions when our op-
ponents have not fought us fairly. Once, in an
Ohio town, a group of politicians, hearing that I was
to lecture on temperance in the court-house on a
certain night, took possession of the building early
in the evening, on the pretense of holding a meeting,
and held it against us. When, escorted by a com-
mittee of leading women, I reached the building and
tried to enter, we found that the men had locked
us out. Our audience was gathering and filling the
street, and we finally sent a courteous message to the
men, assuming that they had forgotten us and re-
minding them of our position. The messenger re-
ported that the men would leave ``about eight,''
but that the room was ``black with smoke and filthy
with tobacco-juice. ``We waited patiently until eight
o'clock, holding little outside meetings in groups,
as our audience waited with us. At eight we again
sent our messenger into the hall, and he brought
back word that the men were ``not through, didn't
know when they would be through, and had told
the women not to wait.''

Naturally, the waiting townswomen were deeply
chagrined by this. So were many men in the out-
side crowd. We asked if there was no other en-
trance to the hall except through the locked front
doors, and were told that the judge's private room
opened into it, and that one of our committee had
the key, as she had planned to use this room as a
dressing and retiring room for the speakers. After
some discussion we decided to storm the hall
and take possession. Within five minutes all the
women had formed in line and were crowding up
the back stairs and into the judge's room. There
we unlocked the door, again formed in line, and
marched into the hall, singing ``Onward, Christian

There were hundreds of us, and we marched di-
rectly to the platform, where the astonished men
got up to stare at us. More and more women
entered, coming up the back stairs from the street
and filling the hall; and when the men realized
what it all meant, and recognized their wives, sis-
ters, and women friends in the throng, they sheep-
ishly unlocked the front doors and left us in posses-
sion, though we politely urged them to remain. We
had a great meeting that night!

Another reminiscence may not be out of place.
We were working for a prohibition amendment in
the state of Pennsylvania, and the night before
election I reached Coatesville. I had just com-
pleted six weeks of strenuous campaigning, and that
day I had already conducted and spoken at two big
outdoor meetings. When I entered the town hall
of Coatesville I found it filled with women. Only
a few men were there; the rest were celebrating
and campaigning in the streets. So I arose and

``I would like to ask how many men there are in
the audience who intend to vote for the amendment

Every man in the hall stood up.

``I thought so,'' I said. ``Now I intend to ask
your indulgence. As you are all in favor of the
amendment, there is no use in my setting its claims
before you; and, as I am utterly exhausted, I
suggest that we sing the Doxology and go home!''

The audience saw the common sense of my
position, so the people laughed and sang the Doxol-
ogy and departed. As we were leaving the hall
one of Coatesville's prominent citizens stopped me.

``I wish you were a man,'' he said. ``The town
was to have a big outdoor meeting to-night, and
the orator has failed us. There are thousands of
men in the streets waiting for the speech, and the
saloons are sending them free drinks to get them
drunk and carry the town to-morrow.''

``Why,'' I said, ``I'll talk to them if you wish.''

``Great Scott!'' he gasped. ``I'd be afraid to let
you. Something might happen!''

``If anything happens, it will be in a good cause,''
I reminded him. ``Let us go.''

Down-town we found the streets so packed with
men that the cars could not get through, and with
the greatest difficulty we reached the stand which
had been erected for the speaker. It was a gorgeous
affair. There were flaring torches all around it, and
a ``bull's-eye,'' taken from the head of a locomotive,
made an especially brilliant patch of light. The
stand had been erected at a point where the city's
four principal streets meet, and as far as I could
see there were solid masses of citizens extending
into these streets. A glee-club was doing its best
to help things along, and the music of an organette,
an instrument much used at the time in campaign
rallies, swelled the joyful tumult. As I mounted
the platform the crowd was singing ``Vote for Betty
and the Baby,'' and I took that song for my text,
speaking of the helplessness of women and children
in the face of intemperance, and telling the crowd
the only hope of the Coatesville women lay in the
vote cast by their men the next day.

Directly in front of me stood a huge and ex-
traordinarily repellent-looking negro. A glance at
him almost made one shudder, but before I had
finished my first sentence he raised his right arm
straight above him and shouted, in a deep and
wonderfully rich bass voice, ``Hallelujah to the
Lamb!'' From that point on he punctuated my
speech every few moments with good, old-fashioned
exclamations of salvation which helped to inspire
the crowd. I spoke for almost an hour. Three
times in my life, and only three times, I have made
speeches that have satisfied me to the degree, that
is, of making me feel that at least I was giving the
best that was in me. The speech at Coatesville was
one of those three. At the end of it the good-natured
crowd cheered for ten minutes. The next day
Coatesville voted for prohibition, and, rightly or
wrongly, I have always believed that I helped to win
that victory.

Here, by the way, I may add that of the two other
speeches which satisfied me one was made in Chicago,
during the World's Fair, in 1893, and the other in
Stockholm, Sweden, in 1912. The International
Council of Women, it will be remembered, met in
Chicago during the Fair, and I was invited to preach
the sermon at the Sunday-morning session. The
occasion was a very important one, bringing to-
gether at least five thousand persons, including
representative women from almost every country
in Europe, and a large number of women ministers.
These made an impressive group, as they all wore
their ministerial robes; and for the first time I
preached in a ministerial robe, ordered especially
for that day. It was made of black crepe de Chine,
with great double flowing sleeves, white silk under-
sleeves, and a wide white silk underfold down the
front; and I may mention casually that it looked
very much better than I felt, for I was very nervous.
My father had come on to Chicago especially to
hear my sermon, and had been invited to sit on the
platform. Even yet he was not wholly reconciled
to my public work, but he was beginning to take a
deep interest in it. I greatly desired to please him
and to satisfy Miss Anthony, who was extremely
anxious that on that day of all days I should do my

I gave an unusual amount of time and thought to
that sermon, and at last evolved what I modestly
believed to be a good one. I never write out a
sermon in advance, but I did it this time, laboriously,
and then memorized the effort. The night before
the sermon was to be delivered Miss Anthony asked
me about it, and when I realized how deeply in-
terested she was I delivered it to her then and there
as a rehearsal. It was very late, and I knew we
would not be interrupted. As she listened her
face grew longer and longer and her lips drooped
at the corners. Her disappointment was so obvious
that I had difficulty in finishing my recitation; but
I finally got through it, though rather weakly toward
the end, and waited to hear what she would say,
hoping against hope that she had liked it better
than she seemed to. But Susan B. Anthony was
the frankest as well as the kindest of women. Reso-
lutely she shook her head.

``It's no good, Anna,'' she said; firmly. ``You'll
have to do better. You've polished and repolished
that sermon until there's no life left in it. It's dead.
Besides, I don't care for your text.''

``Then give me a text,'' I demanded, gloomily.

``I can't,'' said Aunt Susan.

I was tired and bitterly disappointed, and both
conditions showed in my reply.

``Well,'' I asked, somberly, ``if you can't even
supply a text, how do you suppose I'm going to
deliver a brand-new sermon at ten o'clock to-morrow

``Oh,'' declared Aunt Susan, blithely, ``you'll find
a text.''

I suggested several, but she did not like them.
At last I said, ``I have it--`Let no man take thy
crown.' ''

``That's it!'' exclaimed Miss Anthony. ``Give us
a good sermon on that text.''

She went to her room to sleep the sleep of the
just and the untroubled, but I tossed in my bed the
rest of the night, planning the points of the new
sermon. After I had delivered it the next morning
I went to my father to assist him from the platform.
He was trembling, and his eyes were full of tears.
He seized my arm and pressed it.

``Now I am ready to die,'' was all he said.

I was so tired that I felt ready to die, too; but
his satisfaction and a glance at Aunt Susan's con-
tented face gave me the tonic I needed. Father
died two years later, and as I was campaigning in
California I was not with him at the end. It was
a comfort to remember, however, that in the twilight
of his life he had learned to understand his most
difficult daughter, and to give her credit for earnest-
ness of purpose, at least, in following the life that had
led her away from him. After his death, and imme-
diately upon my return from California, I visited
my mother, and it was well indeed that I did, for
within a few months she followed father into the
other world for which all of her unselfish life had
been a preparation.

Our last days together were perfect. Her attitude
was one of serene and cheerful expectancy, and I
always think of her as sitting among the primroses
and bluebells she loved, which seemed to bloom
unceasingly in the windows of her room. I recall,
too, with gratitude, a trifle which gave her a pleasure
out of all proportion to what I had dreamed it would
do. She had expressed a longing for some English
heather, ``not the hot-house variety, but the kind that
blooms on the hills,'' and I had succeeded in getting
a bunch for her by writing to an English friend.

Its possession filled her with joy, and from the
time it came until the day her eyes closed in their
last sleep it was rarely beyond reach of her hand.
At her request, when she was buried we laid the
heather on her heart--the heart of a true and loyal
woman, who, though her children had not known
it, must have longed without ceasing throughout
her New World life for the Old World of her youth.

The Scandinavian speech was an even more vital
experience than the Chicago one, for in Stockholm
I delivered the first sermon ever preached by a
woman in the State Church of Sweden, and the
event was preceded by an amount of political and
journalistic opposition which gave it an international
importance. I had also been invited by the Nor-
wegian women to preach in the State Church of
Norway, but there we experienced obstacles. By
the laws of Norway women are permitted to hold
all public offices except those in the army, navy, and
church--a rather remarkable militant and spiritual
combination. As a woman, therefore, I was denied
the use of the church by the Minister of Church

The decision created great excitement and much
delving into the law. It then appeared that if the
use of a State Church is desired for a minister of a
foreign country the government can give such per-
mission. It was thought that I might slip in through
this loophole, and application was made to the
government. The reply came that permission could
be received only from the entire Cabinet; and while
the Cabinet gentlemen were feverishly discussing
the important issue, the Norwegian press became
active, pointing out that the Minister of Church
Affairs had arrogantly assumed the right of the
entire Cabinet in denying the application. The
charge was taken up by the party opposed to the
government party in Parliament, and the Minister
of Church Affairs swiftly turned the whole matter
over to his conferees.

The Cabinet held a session, and by a vote of four
to three decided NOT to allow a woman to preach in
the State Church. I am happy to add that of the
three who voted favorably on the question one was
the Premier of Norway. Again the newspapers
grasped their opportunity--especially the organs of
the opposition party. My rooms were filled with
reporters, while daily the excitement grew. The
question was brought up in Parliament, and I was
invited to attend and hear the discussion there.
By this time every newspaper in Scandinavia was
for or against me; and the result of the whole matter
was that, though the State Church of Norway was
not opened to me, a most unusual interest had been
aroused in my sermon in the State Church of Sweden.
When I arrived there to keep my engagement, not
only was the wonderful structure packed to its walls,
but the waiting crowds in the street were so large
that the police had difficulty in opening a way for
our party.

I shall never forget my impression of the church
itself when I entered it. It will always stand forth
in my memory as one of the most beautiful churches
I have ever visited. On every side were monu-
ments of dead heroes and statesmen, and the high,
vaulted blue dome seemed like the open sky above
our heads. Over us lay a light like a soft twilight,
and the great congregation filled not only all the
pews, but the aisles, the platform, and even the
steps of the pulpit. The ushers were young women


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