Biographical Database of Black Woman Suffragists

Biographical Sketch of Fannie Hagen Emanuel, 1853-1934

By kYmberly Keeton, M.L.S.

Fannie Hagen was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on July 31, 1871. She excelled in education, graduating with honors from Old Gains High School in Cincinnati. She lived in New York City briefly and then moved to Chicago, Illinois, in 1887. In Chicago, she began a family life with William Emanuel, a young entrepreneur and native of Macon, Georgia (b. December 1, 1862), They married on February 28, 1888 at Bethel Church. William Emanuel established a family business, Professor William Emanuel Scientific Chiropody Company, a staple in the Chicago Loop for close to 35 years.

After serving as the treasurer of the family business, in 1908, Fannie Emanuel enrolled in Graham Taylor School of Civics and Philanthropy, Chicago. A few years later, she opened Emanuel House, located on Armour Avenue in the Black Belt of Chicago. Emanuel House maintained a dental clinic, educational and creative programming targeted at adolescents, and adult and life skills courses. Though the settlement house was located in the heart of the Black community, it was available to all races. Emanuel House closed in 1912. Fannie Hagen Emanuel's next move led her in the health profession, and civic leadership as a member of African American women's organizations.

Emanuel enrolled in 1911, at the Chicago Hospital College of Medicine. In 1915, she received her degree of M.D. and established her practice with offices in the Roosevelt State Bank Building on Grand Boulevard and 35th Street. Dr. Fannie Hagen Emanuel was a member of African American women's organizations and served on boards including the Board of Directors of the Phyllis Wheatley Club, YMCA, Ida B. Wells Women's Club, Women' Aid of Old Folks Home, Elizabeth Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star Warden Temple, and the Delta Sigma Theta sorority. She was also a member of the Alpha Suffrage Club led by Ida B. Wells-Barnett and served as recording secretary of the Illinois Federation of Colored Women's Clubs.,

The Emanuels had four children, including an adopted daughter Juanita, and sons William, Floyd, and McKinley.

In honor of Dr. Fannie Hagen Emanuel's accomplishments and for her continued support of the community, the Chicago Housing Authority named a 20-story (181 units) senior apartment complex located at West Garfield Park in her name. She passed away on March 31, 1934.


Wanda A. Hendricks, Gender, Race, and Politics in the Midwest: Black Club Women in Illinois (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998), p. 36.

Clark, C. D., Rightler-McDaniels, J. L., Green, N. F., Hayden, J., Broussard, J. C., DuRocher, K., . . . Forde, K. R. (n.d.). Political Pioneer of the Press. Retrieved from

District, C. P. (n.d.). Chicago Women's Park & Gardens. Retrieved from

Reed, Christopher R. (2014). Knock at the door of opportunity: Black migration to Chicago, 1900-1919. Carbonale: Southern Illinois Univ. Press.

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division, The New York Public Library. (1922). Dr. Fannie Emanuel.  Accessed online at

Wikipedia contributors. (2018, July 14). Fannie Emanuel. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Accessed online at


Dr. Fannie Emanuel, ca. 1907.
Wikipedia image:

There is another image of Dr. Fannie Emanuel at:
New York Public Library, Digital Collections. Accessed online at

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