Biographical Sketch of Annie Page Reid

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Annie Page Reid, 1863-1925

By Matthew Gardner, undergraduate student, University of Maryland, College Park

Annie Page Reid was born in Fork Union, Fluvanna County, Virginia, to Albert Gallatin and Cornelia A. Reid on November 22, 1863. Albert Reid died shortly thereafter, and Cornelia Reid moved to Portsmouth, Virginia, to live with her grandfather, Leonard Adams. Before and during the 1870s, Adams fostered what the Baltimore Sun referred to as Reid's “inborn love of mathematics... teaching her such intricate things as cube roots and arithmetical progression.” By 1880, Adams had died, and Annie Page Reid and her sister, Katherine, still lived in Portsmouth with their mother, who worked as a dressmaker. Nevertheless, Reid continued her education in mathematics at the Leache-Wood Seminary, a school for young women run by Irene Leache and Anna Wood, who lived in a Boston marriage.

In 1886, A. Page Reid moved to Baltimore and began working as a bookkeeper. One year later, she launched her grocery business, Reid and Company, at 3 East Franklin Street; it was to become her principal employment for the rest of her life. After some initial losses, Reid found her entrepreneurial footing, and her business began to prosper. In 1893, she moved to 13 West Eager Street, where she lived until 1920. Reid believed in advertising, and ads for her products like her “Fancy Asparagus Tips” can be found in publications like the Maryland Suffrage News and the University of Maryland Pharmacy Yearbook. She ran ads in the Baltimore Sun, classifieds for a horse, boards, and lumber, but not for grocery stock. Reid introduced the “Smithfield Ham” to Baltimore, and its popularity became international. The demand grew so great that Reid purchased a farm in Smithfield, Virginia, from which to source her hams. Reid appeared to have integrated herself into the business community of Baltimore quite well: she was a member of the Merchants and Manufacturers Association and the first woman to attend one of their annual banquets, which she did in January 1917. She was the only woman present.

A. Page Reid traveled widely, and her comings and goings were noted in the personals and, later, the Society News column of the Baltimore Sun and the Baltimore American. She traveled in the United States, visiting states like Iowa, New York, and New Jersey, and she had a fondness for Europe, visiting countries such as Italy, England, Germany, and Austria. These trips were for both business and pleasure, as Reid's persistence earned her a job as an agent for a New York import firm. She also traveled on behalf of her many organizations, often representing the Maryland or Baltimore contingent, when the associations came together at national conventions.

Reid lent her business acumen to these organizations, serving as the treasurer for many of them, planning fundraising events, distributing tickets for those events, and keeping their books in order. She kept them in good order: in 1916, one of her financial reports (this one, for the Women's Wilson League) was called out for noncompliance with a corruption law, but when the matter was investigated and explained, the report was “balanced to a penny.”

Reid was a suffragist and an active member in the Equal Suffrage League of Baltimore, the local chapter of the Maryland Suffrage Association, and she served as its treasurer. When the federal Nineteenth Amendment was ratified and the League of Women Voters was organized, Reid stayed on to serve as the founding treasurer for the Maryland chapter.

An outspoken Democrat, Reid served as the treasurer for the Women's Wilson League from the moment it was organized in 1912, supporting Woodrow Wilson through his first presidential election, and she numbered among those receiving Mrs. Wilson and her daughter when they visited Baltimore that same year. Perhaps the pair made an impression, for she stayed on with the League in 1916 and helped Wilson through his second election.

A lover of animals, Reid dedicated herself to helping care for the stray cats and dogs of Baltimore. To this end, she helped establish a refuge for the creatures, and she was present when an irritated neighbor challenged the refuge in court; the case was dismissed. She was later one of the incorporators of the Animal Refuge Association, and she served as treasurer on the board that managed it.

Reid was also a member of the Daughters of the United American Confederacy, with which she did charity work. She was a member of the Red Cross and was offered the opportunity to serve on the Red Cross Emergency Relief Committee. She was also on the Blue Cross committee.

A. Page Reid lived little of her life alone. When she first moved to Baltimore in 1886, her mother came with her, and she lived with Reid for seven years. In 1900, Reid was taking in boarders at her primary residence. By 1910, Reid lived with one maid and Bessie Porter, the latter of whom lived and traveled with Reid for the rest of her life. Interestingly, Porter is listed in several places as Reid's cousin but was listed as her “partner” on the 1920 census.

Reid appears to have made herself a wealthy woman. Much of her travel was not subsidized, and she traveled often and internationally. When her house was burglarized in 1914, the thief managed to make off with $400 in jewelry. She owned multiple properties, including a summer home and a farm, for which she hired a manager. She could afford a maid. She had at least one debtor.

Reid stood 5 foot 7 inches, with a high forehead, light blue eyes, a straight nose, a round chin, brown hair, light complexion, and a round face. When asked for the “secret” to her success, Reid said: “There is no secret. Success comes from nothing but a firm, unswerving, indominable determination to ‘get there.'”

A. Page Reid died on December 21, 1925, in Baltimore City, Maryland, after what her obituary reported as “a long illness of rheumatism and complications.”

 

CAPTION: Ann Page Reid, Baltimore, ca. 1920s.
CREDIT: “Miss Ann Page Reid, Pioneer Business Woman in City, Dies.” Baltimore Sun. December 22, 1925, p.24. ProQuest Baltimore Sun Historical.

SOURCES:

“12 Women to Represent Maryland at Convention.” Baltimore Sun. April 9, 1923, p.6. ProQuest Baltimore Sun Historical.

“Admits Jewel Robbery.” Baltimore Sun. July 31, 1914, p.12. ProQuest Baltimore Sun Historical.

Advertisement. “Fancy Asparagus Tips.” Maryland Suffrage News (Baltimore, MD). February 27, 1915, p.383. Chronicling America. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn89060379/1915-02-27/ed-1/seq-7/.

Advertisement. “My Eggs are Absolutely Fresh.” Maryland Suffrage News (Baltimore, MD). January 2, 1915, p.317. Chronicling America. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn89060379/1915-01-02/ed-1/seq-5/.

“Animal Refuge Association Elects.” Baltimore Sun. May 4, 1916, p.5. Newspapers.com.

“Baltimore's Strayed and Homeless Dogs Have a Fine Hotel on Ensor Street.” Baltimore Sun. October 11, 1908, p.16. Newspapers.com.

“Blue Cross Booth Planned.” Baltimore Sun. February 10, 1917, p.4. Newspapers.com.

“Dog Lovers Victorious.” Baltimore Sun. October 27, 1908, p.9. ProQuest Baltimore Sun Historical.

“Fete For Suffragists.” Baltimore American. May 12, 1910. Genealogybank.com.

Harper, Ida Husted, ed. “Maryland,” chapter XIX in History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6: 1900-1920. New York: National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922, pp. 258-76. [LINK]

“M. and M. and Mayor Make Up at Banquet.” Baltimore Sun. January 26, 1917, pp.16, 9. Newspapers.com.

“Maryland League of Women Voters Elects Officers.” Evening Capital and Maryland Gazette. May 5, 1921, p.1,6. Chronicling America. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88065726/1921-05-05/ed-1/seq-1/.

“Miss Ann Page Reid, Pioneer Business Woman in City, Dies.” Baltimore Sun. December 22, 1925, pp.24, 4. ProQuest Baltimore Sun Historical.

“Miss Reid Surprised.” Baltimore Sun. November 22, 1912, p.12. ProQuest Baltimore Sun Historical.

“Mr. Maltbie on Relief Board.” Baltimore Sun. February 22, 1917, p.10. ProQuest Baltimore Sun Historical.

“Mrs. Wilson Charmed.” Baltimore Sun. October 18, 1912, p.14. ProQuest Baltimore Sun Historical.

News of Society. Baltimore Sun. July 9, 1913, p.4, col.2. Newspapers.com.

Obituary. “Mrs. Cornelia A. Reid.” Baltimore Sun. July 11, 1906, p.14. Newspapers.com.

Personal. Baltimore Sun. July 20, 1897, p.8. ProQuest Baltimore Sun Historical.

Personal. Baltimore Sun. July 1, 1910, p.8. ProQuest Baltimore Sun Historical.

Personals. Baltimore Sun. October 29, 1911, Part 3, p.1. ProQuest Baltimore Sun Historical.

“Political Lawn Party Organized by Women; ‘Good Supper' Included.” Baltimore Sun. June 8, 1921. ProQuest Baltimore Sun Historical.

Real Estate for Sale. “$375 for house 1819 to 1825.” Baltimore Sun. June 19, 1899, p.3. Newspapers.com.

Reid, A. Page. Baltimore, MD. City Directory, 1886-1923. Ancestry Library Edition.

“Saving Homeless Animals.” Baltimore Sun. May 6, 1910, p.8. ProQuest Baltimore Sun Historical.

“Seizes Broker's Office.” Baltimore Sun. October 20, 1917, p.16. ProQuest Baltimore Sun Historical.

Society. Baltimore American. January 26, 1909. Genealogybank.com.

Society. “Miss A. Page Reid.” Baltimore Sun. June 2, 1917, p.4, col.2. Newspapers.com.

Society. “A Rummage Sale.” Baltimore Sun. March 15, 1921, p.9, col.1. Newspapers.com.

“State Ratification Activity: Baltimore Elects Officers.” Women Citizen 4, no.3. June 21, 1919, p.68. Gerritsen Collection.

United States Census 1870, 1880, s.v. “A. Page Reid, Portsmouth, Norfolk, VA.” Ancestry Library Edition.

United States Census 1900, 1910, 1920, s.v. “A. Page Reid, Baltimore, MD.” Ancestry Library Edition.

U.S. Passport Application. Annie Page Reid. Baltimore City, MD. July 10, 1894. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C. Ancestry Library Edition.

Watson, Denise M. “War History, Military History, LGBT History? Yep, Norfolk has Plenty of That, Too. A Local Historian has Created a Tour About It.” Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, VA). October 1, 2017. https://pilotonline.com/entertainment/article_59843f3c-3b78-5e20-8011-5240d6396e61.html.

“A Week's Record in Society's World.” Baltimore American. September 13, 1903. Genealogybank.com.

“Women Form Wilson League.” Baltimore Sun. October 15, 1916, p.6. ProQuest Baltimore Sun Historical.

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