Biographical Sketch of Anna Elizabeth Thomas Piercey

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Anna Elizabeth Thomas Piercey, 1864-1953

By Kathryn MacKay and Tiffany Greene

Anna Elizabeth Thomas Piercey was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Charles John Thomas and Amy Thomas, who had come to Utah from England as part of the "gathering" of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She graduated from Brigham Young Academy and the Salt Lake City Kindergarten Academy and taught school and music. She married laborer John F. Piercy (1869-1908) in 1889. They had three children: Louise, Charles, and Joseph Knowles.

In the 1910s, women in Utah began to reorganize to fight for national woman suffrage. The Utah Council of Women, established in 1899 during a visit of Carrie Chapman Catt to Utah, was revitalized. Anna T. Piercey served as assistant secretary in that organization.

She became involved in the Democratic party and in a 1918 election sweep of that party was elected to the state house of representatives where she served on the Labor and Military Affairs standing committees. She and the other three women legislators worked to change the state law providing an eight- hour work day for women. "'Why should the law provide an eight hour day for men and a nine hour day for women," they united in asking. They failed, however, in their efforts to secure a law providing women with pay equal to men. In 1919, a special session of the state legislature was called to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment Piercey was called upon to preside over the house while the measure was voted upon.

In the 1920s, Mrs. Piercey was very active in the Daughters of Utah Pioneers organization. In 1928, Mrs. Piercy was again elected to the Utah House of Representatives and she tried again to amend the minimum wage law for women. She also worked to established a state industrial school. In the 1930s, Piercy continued active in the Democratic Party, serving as a delegate to the party convention in 1936.

Anna died in Provo, Utah in 1953.

Cannon, Annie Wells Cannon. "Women Legislators," The Relief Society Magazine, vol 16 (March 1929): 133. https://archive.org/details/reliefsocietymag16reli/page/132/mode/2up

"Clean Sweep in the 8th Ward," Ogden Standard Examiner, November 8, 1928.

"Five Utah Women to be Delegates," The Ogden Standard Examiner, 17 June 1936

Harper, Ida Husted, ed. The History of Woman Suffrage, Vol VI: 646, National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922. [LINK]

"Suffrage Ratified by House, Now Goes to Chief Executive," Salt Lake Tribune, Oct. 1, 1919.

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