Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Annice Florence Jeffreys Myers, 1860-1911
By Jill Jeffery, independent historian
Annice Florence Jeffery/Jeffreys was born on May 21, 1860, the 4th in a family of 11 children. Her father was a conductor with the Underground Railroad in Northeastern Ohio. She attended Western Reserve College in Cleveland (now Case Western Reserve University) at a time when women weren't admitted to the medical school. After a 24-year period (1856-1879) as a men-only institution, the faculty voted to admit women in 1879 and Annice Jeffery graduated from the School of Medicine in 1883. She was the second woman in Ohio to receive an MD degree.
Dr. Jeffery had difficulty establishing a practice in Ohio (as the story goes, due to the reluctance of patients being treated by a female doctor), so after 7 years she moved to the state of Oregon. She married a former state senator, Jefferson Myers, and began to practice medicine in Portland, specializing in the treatment of women and children.
Dr. Jeffreys Myers, as she was known, was very involved in local, state, and national causes, in particular, women's activities. Her obituary describes her as, “A womanly woman with a well-balanced and a well-stored brain, a woman of broad sympathies, keenly alive to the betterment of her kind, whether individually or in the mass.”
She wrote an essay entitled “Women in Medicine” which was published in The Souvenir of Western Women. In this article, she encouraged women to pursue medical careers, emphasizing women's suitability for the caring professions. She encouraged many young women to become better educated, especially as nurses, and to seek elevated employment opportunities. Her obituary stated, “It was the work of helping girls that occupied most of her time during the last few years, however, and she was planning to organize this work and carry it out on a much larger scale when taken ill.”
Dr. Jeffreys Myers and her husband were a power couple, both in Oregon and at the national level. She became greatly involved with the suffrage movement, and in 1895, Dr. Jeffreys Myers and Abigail Scott Duniway went before the Oregon legislature to submit an equal suffrage amendment. Later, she served as vice president-at-large of the State Equal Suffrage Association, auditor of the National American Women's Suffrage Association in 1905, chairman of the Committee of Arrangements for the 37th Annual Convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association held in Portland in 1905 and on the Association's Committee on Congressional Legislation.
Both Annice and her husband, who was president of the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition Commission, traveled to Washington, D.C. to invite the Suffrage Association to bring its next meeting to Oregon. They were successful in this endeavor, and Annice acted as hostess for the women's exhibition hall at the Exposition, also in 1905. Upon the success of the Lewis and Clark event, the couple were called upon to travel east to help organize the 300th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown.
Annice was the personal doctor to Oregon's foremost suffragist, Abigail Scott Duniway. In addition, she provided the copper for the statue of Sacajawea that stands today in Portland's renowned Washington Park, site of the famous Rose Garden.
Unfortunately, Dr. Jeffreys Myers did not live to see her state or nation adopt suffrage for women. She died on May 10, 1911 in Portland, Oregon after a protracted illness. The women of Oregon received voting rights in the general election of 1912.
Women's History Month Spotlight: Annice Florence Jeffreys Myers, Medical School class of 1883 March 28, 2018. Helen Conger. Case Western Reserve University Archives. http://blog.case.edu/archives/2018/03/28/womenas_history_month_annice-florence_jeffreys_myers_school_class_of_1883.
”Loved Woman Dies” The Morning Oregonian, May 11, 1911, p. 6
”Mrs. Myers Will Be Buried Friday” The Evening Telegram, Thursday, May 11, 1911 (Portland, Oregon)
Medical Licensing Board, State of Oregon.
”National Suffrage Convention and its Social Problems.” The Oregon Sunday Journal, April 24, 1904, p. #16.
“How to Win the Ballot,” May 2, 1899. She Flies With Her Own Wings, The Collected Speeches of Abigail Scott Duniway. asduniway.org
“Current Events”:Friends' Intelligencer 1905, Volume 62, Friends' Intelligencer Association, Limited, N.W. Corner. Fifteenth and Cherry Streets, Philadelphia., page 423. Lydia H Hall, Rachel W Hillborn, Elizabeth Lloyd, R. Barclay Spicer, Editors.
“National American Woman Suffrage Association,” photograph in The Oregon History Project, Catalogue #OrHi59438, July 1, 1905. Accessed online at https://oregonhistoryproject.org/articles/historical-records/national-american-woman-suffrage-association/#.XUX_xOhKjIU.
Ida Husted Harper, et al., eds. “Oregon,” The History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6, also Chapter 5, “National American Convention of 1905.” [LINK].