Biographical Sketch of Anna Holden King

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Anna Holden King, 1865-1953

By Kaia Michaelis, Executive Director and Chief Curator, Brigham City Museum of Art & History.

Utah legislator, politician, and community leader.

Referenced as Annie H. King in some sources, Anna Holden King was born March 2, 1865 in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Michael Holden and Ellen Peet. She married Howard Alexander King in 1888, with whom she had three children. She died in 1953. Anna was one of four women elected to the Utah Legislature in 1912 and served from 1913 until 1915. A Delineator article on women in politics proclaimed Anna to be a "woman whose alert mind and keen convictions enable her to make her personality felt among the lawmakers," but did not specify any of her accomplishments, as it did with some of the other women mentioned.

One thing she did accomplish in the legislature was passage of the "Dependent Mothers' Pension Bill," H.B. 49. This bill was one of many across the country during the teens to help support children whose fathers were not supporting them, whether because they were dead or for other reasons. The bill allowed up to ten dollars per month for the first child under age 15, and up to five dollars per month for each additional child. The goal of this bill, as others like it, was to enable the mother to remain at home with the children (rather than working), and required the mother to be judged "a proper person morally, physically and mentally, for the bringing up of her children." Another bill Anna brought before the Utah Legislature that season was House Bill 81 amending how voter rolls were compiled for municipal elections. She did not introduce any bills in the 1914 legislative season.

Like many women involved with politics in that era, Anna was involved with various clubs. With Lily Clayton Wolstenholme, Anna founded the Women's Republican Club in 1899, and worked to organize local branches of the club. She was also a member of the Wasatch Literary Club, and the Business and Professional Women's club, although there is no evidence she had a profession. When writing to a group of political women in Kanab, she asked specifically about their work, asking "if [they] were married women of families."

In addition to the two bills she introduced to the Utah Legislature--and her place as one of the earliest women elected to that position in this state--Anna's legacy is that of a community builder. She worked for many years to engage women with clubs, both political and social, and to encourage them to become more active in the world around them.

SOURCES:

"Delegates to Meeting Named by B.P.W. Club." Salt Lake Telegram. May 18, 1928. https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu/details?id=15560758

Holden King, Anna. "A bill to provide for the partial support of mothers who are dependent on their own efforts for the maintenance of their children and giving country commissioners and juvenile court jurisdiction in such matters." Pub. L. No. H.B. 49 (1913). http://images.archives.utah.gov/cdm/ref/collection/432n/id/15340

-----, "An act to amend section 816 complete laws of Utah, 1907, related to the official register of voters of each election district." Pub. L. No. H.B. 81 (1913). http://images.archives.utah.gov/cdm/ref/collection/432n/id/15521

Holland Kinkaid, Mary, "Miss Senator, Mrs. Commissioner and Ladies of the Jury," The Delineator, 1913.

Howard, Mary W., "An Example of Women in Politics," The Improvement Era, 1914.

Leff, Mark H. "Consensus for Reform: The Mothers' Pension Movement in the Progressive Era," Social Service Review 47, no. 3 (September 1973): 397-417.

Scott, Patricia Lyn and Linda Thatcher. Women in Utah History: Paradigm or Paradox. University Press of Colorado, 2005.

"Society: May Party for Wasatch Literary Club," Salt Lake Telegram. May 4, 1920, Volume XIX No. 82. https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu/details?id=19131879

Stanton, Elizabeth Cady, Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Gage, Harriot Stanton Blatch, and Ida H. Harper. The Suffragettes--Complete History of the Movement (6 Volumes in One Edition): The Battle for the Equal Rights: 1848-1922 (Including Letters, Newspaper Articles, Conference Reports, Speeches, Court Transcripts & Decisions). E-artnow, 2017.

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