Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Anne Burgess, 1868-1924

By Dr. Shannon M. Risk, Associate Professor of History, Niagara University

Prominent Suffragist in Portland, Maine

Anne Burgess was born in Maine to Lydia J. Robbins Burgess and Noah P. Burgess in 1868. She resided in the Portland area for her entire life at the Burgess family home. Noah worked as a clerk and salesman and Lydia tended to the family home. Anne was named for her grandmother, Anne Burgess, from the Plymouth, Massachusetts region.

Burgess joined the ranks of a more organized professional Maine Woman Suffrage Association (MWSA), led by an all-female executive, by the early 1900s. The first iteration of the MWSA began in 1870 under the leadership of Portland newspaper editor John Neal and stewarded by a mixed-gender group until the early 1890s. She assisted MWSA President Ann Hobart Day in writing the Maine suffrage history for the 1900 National American Woman Suffrage Association Conference Proceedings, for the gathering in Washington, D.C. that year. Burgess worked with a team to help the MWSA incorporate in 1903 after a generous bequest from Hadassah Herrick, a housewife and widow of a prosperous farmer and state senator, Jacob Herrick, from Harmony, Maine. This money, around $2,000, helped to keep the MWSA vital during a transitional period in the American suffrage movement. During Burgess's tenure on the MWSA executive in the early 1900s, they held "open house" days, and welcomed national speakers Carrie Chapman Catt and Anna Howard Shaw.

Burgess served in a number of roles for the MWSA, including corresponding secretary from 1900 to 1907, recording secretary in 1905, and attended several state suffrage conventions in that era, taking a prominent role at the 1907 convention in Farmington as head of the Resolutions Committee. She traveled to Chicago, Illinois, in 1907 and worked on the credential committee. She rose from secretary, in 1900, to president of the Portland Equal Suffrage Club by 1908. Anne often joined new MWSA President Fannie J. Fernald in travel to regional suffrage meetings, including one briefly described by New Hampshire suffragist Millicent S. Morse, in 1903. Morse reported that she and her fellow suffragists were "cheered in having with us Mrs. Fannie J. Fernald and Miss Anne Burgee of Maine. This is the third time Mrs. Fernald has come to us to inspire and cheer us with warm words of greeting from her state" (Brown). She also participated in the national convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association held in Seattle in July 1909.

Like many in the suffrage movement, Anne choose not to marry. She made her living as a teacher in the Portland School District. She lived with her now-widowed mother, Lydia, and then deeded her house upon her own death in 1924.


"8-10 Whitney Street [Home of Anne Burgess, 1924]." Maine Memory Network. Accessed January 28, 2020.

Agger, Lee. Women of Maine. Portland, Maine. Guy P. Gannett Publishing Co., 1982: 200.

Anthony, Susan B., Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and National American Woman Suffrage Association. Proceedings of the ... Annual Convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Washington, D.C.: The Association, 1893: 67.

"Birth of Annie Burgess, October 11, 1868, Portland, Maine." Maine Vital Records, 1670-1921. Accessed January 28, 2020.

Brown, Janice. "New Hampshire Educator, Suffragist, Civic Leader, Millicent S. Morse of Manchester (1866-1966)." New Hampshire History Blog. Accessed January 20, 2020.

Foster, Rachel Avery, and National American Woman Suffrage Association. Proceedings of the Thirty-Second Annual Convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association... Washington, D.C.: The Association, 1900: 72.

Journal of the Senate of Maine, 1893, Sixty-Sixth Legislature. Augusta: Burleigh & Flynt, 1893: 610.

Massachusetts Births. "Noah Prince Burgess." Massachusetts Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1626-2001. Accessed January 20, 2020.

National American Woman Suffrage Association. Proceedings of the Thirty-Ninth Annual Convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Warren, Ohio: The Association, 1907: 15.

"Obituary of Hadassah Herrick (1830-1903)," Maine Vital Records, 1670-1921. Accessed January 21, 2020.

"Obituary of Noah P. Burgess." Maine Vital Records, 1670-1921. Accessed January 20, 2020.

Risk, Shannon M. "In Order to Establish Justice" – The Nineteenth Century Woman Suffrage Movements of Maine and New Brunswick. PhD diss., University of Maine, 2009: 222-223.

Shriver, Edward O. "Deferred Victory": Woman Suffrage in Maine, 1873-1920," in David C. Smith and Edward O. Schriver, Maine: A History through Selected Readings. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall-Hunt Publishing Company, 1985: 410.

Stanton, Elizabeth Cady, Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage, and Ida Husted Harper, eds., History of Woman Suffrage. Six Volumes. Rochester, NY; Indianapolis, IN: Susan B. Anthony; Hollenbeck Press, 1881-1921. [LINK]

U.S. Census, 1870, 1900, 1920. Accessed January 18-21, 2020.

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