Anna Howard Shaw Quotes

1847 - 1919

Susan B. Anthony (left) and Anna Howard Shaw (right). Getty Images

Anna Howard Shaw, born in England but living most her life in America, was a women's rights advocate, minister, and physician.

Selected Anna Howard Shaw Quotations

• To be bound by outworn customs and traditions, and to be hampered by every known obstacle which could be put in one's path, and then to have the world calmly look on and tell you it was no use it was the divine will, was growing too absurd to be longer tolerated with dignity or accepted with self-respect.

The soul within me refused to beat out its life against barred doors, and I rebelled.

• 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.

• A gentleman opposed to their enfranchisement once said to me, women have never produced anything of any value to the world. I told him the chief product of the women had been the men, and left it to him to decide whether the product was of any value.

• Then the young lady ... proved by statistics ... the awful results which happened where women did have the ballot -- how deeply women get interested in politics, because women are hysterical, and we cannot think of anything else, we just forget our families, cease to care for our children, cease to love our husbands, and just go to the polls and vote and keep on voting for ten hours a day, 365 days a year, and never let up!

If we ever get to the polls once, you will never get us home. So that the women will not vote at all, and they will not do anything but vote! Now these are two very strong anti-suffrage arguments, and they can prove them, by figures.

• If we ever get to the polls once, you will never get us home.

• Now one of two things is true: Either a republic is a desirable form of government, or else it is not.

If it is, then we should have it, if it is not, then we ought not to pretend that we have it.

• Think of submitting our measure to the advice of politicians!  I would as soon submit the subject of the equality of a goose to a fox.

•  [speaking out against lynching, and the justification for it of protecting white women] If this country wants to protect its women, let them give us the power to protect ourselves.

•  Before I had crossed the threshold of my church I was made to realize that I was shepherd of a divided flock.

•  [about Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton): She [Miss Anthony] often said that Mrs. Stanton was the brains of the new association, while she herself was merely its hands and feet; but in truth the two women worked marvelously together, for Mrs. Stanton was a master of words and could write and speak to perfection of the things Susan B. Anthony saw and felt but could not herself express.

•  I wake up every morning with a great desire to live joyfully.

• The idealists dream and the dream is told, and the practical men listen and ponder and bring back the truth and apply it to human life, and progress and growth and higher human ideals come into being and so the world moves ever on.

About These Quotes

Quote collection assembled by Jone Johnson Lewis. Each quotation page in this collection and the entire collection © Jone Johnson Lewis. This is an informal collection assembled over many years. I regret that I am not be able to provide the original source if it is not listed with the quote.