Biographical Sketch of Francis Elizabeth (Daniel) Leake Cummings

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Francis “Fannie” Elizabeth (Daniel) Leake Cummings, 1853-1928

By Kolby LaBree, researcher, Bellingham, Washington

Francis “Fannie” Elizabeth Daniel was born in March of 1853 in Bath County, Kentucky to Ellison Armistead Daniel and Francis Pricilla Elliott. Fannie's mother died soon after her birth and Fannie went to Texas with her father. They lived with her grandfather, the Reverend Ellison Armistead Daniel Sr., a Baptist minister who moved from Kentucky to Texas in the early 1850s, settling in southwest Dallas County.

Francis “Fannie” Daniel married Augustus Samuel Leake, in 1874 in Austin, Texas. Augustus was a miller. They had two children: Nina, born in 1876, and Robert, born in 1879.

Francis received her medical license from the Northwestern University Women's Medical School in Chicago, Illinois in 1887. Mary H. Thompson established the school in 1870 after failing to gain acceptance to Chicago's male medical colleges.

Fannie went back home to Texas, where she was listed as a physician in Austin City Directories through 1895. She spoke at the fifteenth quarterly meeting of the Austin Medical society in June of 1891 on “Hysteria,” advocating for the training of women's minds and bodies in schools and gymnasiums in order to stave off the affliction. The talk was also published in Daniel's Texas Medical Journal.

At the same conference, Fannie's speech was followed by Dr. Joseph Cummings's discussion, “Amputation of the Cervix Uteri.” Fannie would marry Dr. Cummings's brother William in 1898 in Kitsap County, Washington.

In 1894, Fannie's 14-year-old daughter Nina became very ill with Typhoid fever. She became an invalid as a result of the attack.

It is unclear why Fannie's first marriage failed. Her first husband remained in Texas and later remarried. Fannie moved to Washington with William Cummings where they were married in 1898. William worked as a tinsmith and cornice maker.

Dr. Fannie Leake Cummings became president of the State Equal Suffrage league in Washington and actively involved with the Woman's Christian Temperance Union and the King County Humane Society.

In 1905 she was appointed by Governor Mead as a delegate to attend the national convention on “uniform divorce laws” in Washington D.C. She was apparently so frustrated at the convention that she walked out. She was quoted as saying “the men won't let the women talk,” and that the worst offenders were the ministers.

Dr. Fannie Leake Cummings was active in fighting for protections for women in the workplace and the rights of women in prison. She was outspoken and seen by some as an “agitator. In 1910 she was arrested for allegedly practicing medicine without a license. Fannie asserted that she had not broken any laws and was being targeted for her political outspokenness.

Dr. Fannie Leake Cummings served as general director at the Seattle Women's Industrial Union and Trade School, providing manual training for girls to prepare them for employment in industrial establishments. Courses included those in sewing and millinery, operating “electric power machines,” arithmetic and business ethics, art and design, domestic science and physical education.

In 1914 Fannie's daughter Nina passed away at age 38. Fannie's son Robert married and lived in Seattle, where he died in 1953. Fannie's husband William Cummings passed away in April of 1928.

Fannie remained active in her later years, as president of the Practical Psychology Club, the Seattle Poetry Club and others. She was pictured in the Seattle Daily Times attending a celebration of more than 200 Seattle Suffragists when Tennessee ratified the suffrage amendment in 1920.

When Fannie died 5 months after her husband in September of 1928, her obituary called her a “prominent woman of Seattle” with “a career in civic and political affairs.”


U.S. Federal Census Collection,,, accessed April 2018

Washington State Archives; Olympia, Washington; Marriage Returns; Collection Title: Washington Marriage Records, 1854-2013, accessed April 2018

“The Doctors. Fifteenth Quarterly Meeting of the Austin District Medical Society, the Galveston College,” Austin-American Statesman (Austin, Texas) Jun 22, 1891., Accessed April 2018.

Leake, Fannie, M.D. “Hysteria,” Daniel's Texas Medical Journal, A Monthly Journal of Medicine and Surgery, Vol. VII No 5, November 1891., accessed April 2018

“Woman Selected, Governor Names a New Delegate to the Divorce Congress,” Morning Olympian (Olympia, Washington) December 29, 1905, accessed April 2018

“Hear Divorces in Open Court, Divorce Congress Gives Voice to Views on Several Topics,” Salt Lake Telegram (Salt Lake City, Utah) February 22, 1906, accessed April 2018

“Men Won't Let Women Talk,” Portland New Age (Portland, Oregon), February 24, 1906, accessed April 2018

“For Equal Suffrage, Association is Formed at Seattle for the Enfranchisement of Women.” Morning Olympian (Olympia, Washington) April 12, 1906, accessed April 2018

“Women Say They Will Stand Pat, Sherriff Smith's Attitude Towards Crusaders Against Jail Conditions Excites Contempt of the Leaders.” Seattle Daily Times (Seattle, Washington) April 11, 1907., accessed April 2018

“20,000 Sign Petition for Matrons,” Seattle Daily Times (Seattle, Washington) May 7, 1907, accessed April 2018

“Women Attempt to Enter Jail, Members of Humane Society, Armed with Camera, Are Refused Admittance Today by Jailer McKinnon.” Seattle Daily Times (Seattle, Washington) May 16, 1907, accessed April 2018

“Unlicensed Doctors Arrested, Mrs. Cummings Arrested for Posing As M.D.” Seattle Daily Times (Seattle, Washington) March 27,1910, accessed April 2018

“Local Trade School Issues Its Prospectus, Insitution Plans Manual Training for Girls to Fit Them for Employment in Industrial Establishments,” Seattle Daily Times (Seattle, Washington) April 28, 1912, accessed April 2018

“Plan Leake Funeral,” Seattle Daily Times (Seattle, Washington) December 25, 1914, accessed April 2018

“Suffragists Celebrate Tennessee Ratification, Men Seen but Not Heard at Joyful Luncheon” Seattle Sunday Times (Seattle, Washington) August 22, 1920, accessed April 2018

“Prominent Woman of Seattle Dies, Dr. Fannie L. Cummings Succumbs After Career in Civic and Political Affairs.” Seattle Daily Times (Seattle, Washington) September 27, 1928, accessed April 2018


“Unlicensed Doctors Arrested, Mrs. Cummings Arrested for Posing As M.D.” Seattle Daily Times (Seattle, Washington) March 27,1910, accessed April 2018

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