Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Anne Webb Janney, 1861-1933

By Eileen W. Sateriale, freelance writer

Maryland Woman Suffrage Association corresponding secretary and member of Society of Friends

Anne Barnitz Webb was born on July 8, 1861 and was raised a member of the Society of Friends. On October 22, 1885, she married Dr. O. Edward Janney, a Baltimore physician. The couple had two daughters and a son who died as a baby. Anne Webb Janney died on January 30, 1933. She is buried next to her husband who died in 1930 and their son in Friends Burial Ground in Baltimore.

The Society of Friends always held advanced views on women's rights and was, for a long time, the only religious body which gave women equal rights with men in the church. Women of this denomination were natural leaders in the movement for the emancipation of women. The Women's Suffrage Movement, which had a growing presence from the mid-nineteenth century, proposed the nineteenth amendment in 1878 which needed assistance at local levels in order to gain momentum.

Mrs. Janney concentrated her suffragist efforts in Baltimore, which was Maryland's largest city. After attending national conventions, she participated in state conventions as well as hosting meetings in her home and sending out leaflets advocating women's right to vote. She was a member of the Equal Suffrage League of Baltimore, the Maryland Woman Suffrage Association and President of Society of Friends Equal Rights Association. Mrs. Janney, the corresponding secretary, frequently corresponded with Rev. Anna Howard Shaw, the President of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) and invited her to speak in Baltimore. Activities for the Association came in the form of Sunday afternoon meetings with guest speakers, parlor meetings consisting of gatherings in private homes to discuss suffrage progress in other parts of the country, and petitioning Congress with pleas to endorse suffrage for women. Mrs. Janney was an officer in the association for over ten years. Because of her Quaker upbringing of nonviolence, she did not participate in militant protests that the suffragettes did.

From February 7-13, 1906, the NAWSA convention was held in Baltimore drawing delegates from all over the country. Speakers included local President Emma Maddox Funck, National President, Rev. Anna Howard Shaw with Susan B. Anthony replying to local speeches. It was the last convention Miss Anthony attended as she died a month later. Mrs. Janney, along with other suffragists, attended her funeral.

Dr. O. Edward Janney retired from his medical practice in 1907 to devote his time to social causes. He spoke at the Maryland Woman Suffrage Association State convention in 1903 and 1912. During the 1912 convention, he advocated for a Men's League for Woman Suffrage. Other causes he believed in were education, health, and hygiene of children, abolishing the white slave trade, the repression of prostitution, morality, peace, religion, and temperance.

Members of the Maryland suffrage movement submitted petitions to the Maryland General Assembly in Annapolis in 1906 and 1907 regarding the woman's right to vote. They were not taken seriously and were promptly dismissed. Later, other bills were presented to the Maryland House of Delegates on the same issue, however, these bills were also defeated. By 1920, thirty-six states ratified the nineteenth amendment making it law, but Maryland was not among them. Ironically, the state of Maryland is the only U.S. state with the distinction of having the state named for a woman as well as the state capital, Annapolis, named for a woman.


The History of Quakers in Baltimore, Baltimore Monthly Meeting of Friends Sony Run

Buhle, Mari J. and Paul Buhle, The Concise History of Woman Suffrage, University of Illinois Press, Urbana, 1978, p 371.

The History of Woman Suffrage, Volume V [LINK], see pp. 106, 664, and 666.

An Inventory of the O. Edward (Oliver Edward) Janney Papers, 1874-1945, Friends Historical Library, Swarthmore College., 1966.

Lantz, Emily Emerson. Demand the Right to Vote; National American Woman Suffrage Association Convention, Baltimore. Baltimore, Maryland, ante February 7, 1906. Manuscript/Mixed Material. Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

Maryland at a Glance Historical Chronology, Aided by Robert J. Brugger, Maryland: A Middle Temperament, 1634-1980, Baltimore & London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988.

Romano, Kristen, Guide to the Woman Suffrage in Maryland Collection, Enoch Pratt Free Library Special Collections, October, 2002.

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