Biographical Database of Black Woman Suffragists

Biography of Libbie (Libby) C. Anthony, 1860-1933


By Shireen Guru, undergraduate student, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

Seven hundred fifty miles apart, black women from Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Jefferson City, Missouri, had someone in common—Libbie C. Anthony. In Colorado, the Libby C. Anthony Club was open to all "girls from 13-18 years old." In Missouri, Libby C. Anthony Hall opened its doors to black young women searching for an education in 1940. To understand Anthony and her widespread influence, we must look to her words. In July 1895, Anthony characterized all of her work by saying, "the future of the race depends on the training of the children of to-day."

Born around 1860 in Missouri to Mary Coleman, Libbie Coleman was a teacher. Before her marriage, she also worked as a state organizer and as a superintendent of the Department of Colored Work for the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). A practicing Baptist, Coleman, like many of her contemporaries, worked tirelessly in the temperance movement.

On August 14, 1889, Libbie Coleman married Elmore Lee Anthony in St. Louis, Missouri. Elmore Anthony was a widower, having lost both his wife and newborn son in 1882. Libbie and Elmore Anthony adopted a daughter, Anna, between 1900 and 1910.

Libbie C. Anthony taught in Jefferson City Public Schools, and in 1892, she joined as matron of the Lincoln Institute, a historic black school in Missouri, where she also taught home economics. The Lincoln Institute, now known as Lincoln University, immortalized Anthony by naming the current Honors Dormitories after her. Of the three other buildings built for the Lincoln Institute during the New Deal, only Anthony's was named after a woman.

Libbie C. Anthony also participated in the women's club movement as the president of the Colored Women's Club of Jefferson City during the 1890s. In an article about the club, Anthony was mentioned as "strikingly beautiful in her devotion." Columnist Ella Mahammitt wrote: "Than Mrs. Anthony there is not a busier nor more reliable woman to be found in the state of Missouri."

In addition to supporting temperance and education, she served as treasurer for the National Federation of Afro-American Women (NFAAW) and for the National Association of Colored Women (NACW). As the treasurer, Anthony's main work involved collecting and organizing funds for the black women's club movement. Elected the delegate from Missouri for the Atlanta Women's Congress in 1895, Anthony participated in annual conferences held by the NFAAW and NACW. In fact, Anthony's presence at these conferences was such a staple that her absence from the 1910 conference in Louisville, Kentucky, was noted in newspaper coverage of the event.

Libbie C. Anthony died on December 12, 1933. Elmore Anthony predeceased her in 1926. She was buried next to her husband at Jefferson City National Cemetery two days later.


Anthony, Libbie C. Letter to the Editor. Woman's Era 2, no.4 (July 1895), digital, 2005. Women's Advocacy Collection, Emory Women Writers Resource Project,

Find a Grave. Elmore L. Anthony. July 6, 2006.

Find a Grave. Libbie C. Anthony. May 28, 2007.

Mahammitt, Ella. "Woman's Column." Enterprise. January 18, 1896. Readex: African American Newspapers.

"The Meeting of the Federation of Colored Women." Broad Ax. August 6, 1904. Readex: African American Newspapers.

"National Force in Race Work: Biennial Convention of Colored Women's Clubs a Success." The Statesman. July 30, 1910. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress.

"Race Gleanings." TheFreeman. July 30, 1892. Readex: African American Newspapers.

"Session of the Woman's Congress at Atlanta." Enterprise. January 11, 1896. Readex: African American Newspapers.

"Society News." St. Louis Post-Dispatch. August 15, 1889.

Swaney, Charles. "Libby Anthony Hall, Lincoln University – Jefferson City MO." The Living New Deal (website). July 9, 2015.

"Thompson's Weekly Review. The Meeting of Physicians Surgeons and Dentists." TheFreeman. July 28, 1906. Readex: African American Newspapers.

US Veterans' Gravesites, ca.1775-2006. Libby C Anthony, Jefferson City National Cemetery, December 14, 1933. Ancestry Library.

United States Census 1900, s.v. "Libbie C. Anthony, Jefferson, MO." Ancestry Library.

United States Census 1910, 1930, s.v. "Libby Anthony, Jefferson, MO." Ancestry Library.

Whittaker, Allie. "Colorado Spring Notes." The Statesman. December 7, 1906. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress.

Woman's Column. Enterprise. December 28, 1895. Readex: African American Newspapers.

Woman's Column. Enterprise. November 21, 1896. Readex: African American Newspapers.


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