Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Anna Eliza Chase, 1868 - 1919
By Mariah Scrempos, Undergraduate Student
San Jose State University, San Jose, California
Corresponding Secretary, Woman's Christian Temperance Union; Member, California Equal Suffrage League
Anna Eliza Chase was born in Minnesota in 1868 to Charles Crosby Chase and Mary Catherine Chase. Charles and Mary Chase were born in Ohio and married there before moving to Minnesota to raise their family. Charles Chase worked in agriculture as a fruit farmer for most of his life while Mary Chase took care of the home. Anna, her parents, and her five siblings lived in Minnesota until the late 1870s, when they moved to Oakland, California. Anna E. Chase never married nor had any children.
Chase worked tirelessly as the Corresponding Secretary of the San Francisco division of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union from approximately 1882 until her sudden death in 1919. During her time with the WCTU, Chase spoke at numerous events, organized various protests, and helped push legislation that would significantly change the lives of women all over the country but especially in California. She was one of the founders of the youth division of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union and often advocated for the welfare of young women and children. She expressed passion for the uplifting of young people as she realized that the children were the future.
Chase was an active member of the California Equal Suffrage League from 1905 to approximately 1912. During her time with the California Equal Suffrage League Chase participated in a subgroup within the organization called the Susan B. Anthony Club. This club was created to honor women who participated in the advancement of the rights of women. When the women proposed a statue to honor Anthony, Chase wrote, "It is the intention of the association to encourage all women, whether suffragists or non-suffragists, to contribute small donations to this means of honoring a women whose whole life was given for the uplifting of her sex."
The women of California were committed to helping women all over the country gain the right to vote, even though they had already achieved suffrage in 1911. Chase wrote an article for the San Francisco Call expressing this commitment, "For the inspiration of our sisters who are living in states where men are not so willing to accord to women their just share in shaping the government which concerns women quite as much as men, we wish to roll up the largest vote possible..."
In January of 1919, Anna E. Chase fell ill with influenza. Unfortunately, the flu epidemic proved deadly to thousands who were infected that year, triggering a worldwide pandemic. Chase became one of its victims, dying suddenly in February 1919. So suddenly, that there was still mention of her future speaking engagements run in various newspapers in the weeks that followed.
"California Women's Temperance Union Meets in State Convention." The San Francisco Call (San Francisco, CA). Jul. 18, 1909.
"Club Notes of the Week." San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco, CA). Jun. 25, 1905.
"Enfranchised Take Arms." San Francisco Call (San Francisco, CA). Jan. 7, 1912.
"Temperance Worker Dies of Influenza," Petaluma Argus-Courier (Petaluma, CA). Feb. 6, 1919.
"The Call's Championship of Cause of Women Suffrage Warmly Praised." San Francisco Call (San Francisco, CA). Aug. 20, 1911.