Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Profile of Emma Shafter Howard (1842-1916)
Alden Blake, Undergraduate Student, University of California, Santa Barbara
Founder of the Women's Horticultural and Agricultural International Union; member of the Women's Horticultural and Agricultural International Union; Vice President of the Alameda County Political Equality Society; Honorary Vice President of the Women's Board for the Panama Pacific Exposition.
Mrs. Emma Shafter Howard was born in Vermont on August 26, 1842.1. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/131793935/emma-shafter-howard. She was the daughter of Oscar Lovell Shafter, a prominent New England judge who relocated the family to the Bay Area to serve as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of California from 1864 to 1867. Oscar Lovell Shafter, Life, Diary and Letters of Oscar Lovell Shafter (San Francisco: The Blair-Mudock Company, 1915), 5-7: https://books.google.com/books?id=cMIrAQAAIAAJ&lpg=PA7&ots=sqKaSQiB23&dq On December 22, 1861, she married Charles Webb Howard, a business associate of her father, who became president of the Spring Valley Water Company. She became involved in the Ladies Samaritan Association at the Unitarian church. She lived for a time in Dresden, Germany, but returned to California in 1875. She and Charles had an unhappy relationship and separated in 1890. Meg Linden, “Emma Lovely Shafter Howard, Under the Gables, vol. XXIII, no. 1 (Winter 2018-19):10-11. After Charles died, Howard had to sue her husband's estate and was able to recover her half interest in the community property. This outcome meant that Howard became one of Marin County's largest landowners.
As she grew older, Howard became very active in Bay Area public affairs, Women’s National Farm and Garden Association Bulletin Link 3, no. 3 (1917): 19. https://books.google.com/books?id=7mLTAAAAMAAJ&lpg=PA19&ots=nzRn5QlSzp&dq and "took the greatest interest in everything connected with the advancement of women.... She looked upon co-operation in agriculture as the keynote to success, particularly for women."Ibid Mrs. Howard's writing on agricultural co-operation was presented at the Twenty-Ninth State Fruit-Growers' Convention in Fresno on December 10, 1903, Official Report of the 29th Fruit-Growers Convention of the State of California Link (Sacramento: W.W. Shannon, 1904): 173-176.: https://books.google.com/books?id=I0ymuhl5_twC&lpg=PA173&ots=HID&dq and in this essay she discussed the need for recording an official registry of women's contributions to California agriculture and industry. Mrs. Howard represented the state of California "more than once at International Conferences in London, Rome, and elsewhere; and in 1899 she was the originator and virtual founder of the Women's Horticultural and Agricultural International Union, a trade group and women's club, which advocated for women's suffrage and the expansion of women in farming. Bethany Hopkins, “Fruit of Her Fields: California Women Farmers at the Turn of the Century,” Rural Women’s Studies: A Place to Share Women’s Studies Research and Activism. https://ruralwomensstudies.wordpress.com/2016/03/02/fruit-of-her-fields-california-women-farmers-at-the-turn-of-the-century/ She was a life member of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, and in 1903 was elected Vice President of the Alameda County Political Equality Society. She worked with the Amendment League of Oakland, and also became an early environmentalist, working to save the Coastal Redwoods. In 1915 she became Honorary Vice President of the Women's Board for the Panama Pacific Exposition. Linden, 11. Mrs. Howard died in San Francisco on July 27, 1916. Marin Journal, 54, no. 31 (August 3, 1916), 2. https://cdnc.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/cdnc?a=d&d=MJ19160803.2.12 She was survived by five children: Shafter, Frederick, Harold, Karl Shafter and Maud Howard.