Anna Howard Shaw - Struggles During College Years

Struggles During College Years

In 1873, Shaw entered Albion College, a Methodist school in Albion, Michigan. Since her family frowned upon her decided career path, they refused to provide any financial support. At that point, Shaw had been a licensed preacher for three years and earned her wages by giving lectures on temperance.

After graduating from Albion College, Shaw attended Boston University School of Theology in 1876. She was the only woman in her class of forty-two men, and she always felt "the abysmal conviction that was not really wanted there." This attitude was furthered by her difficulty supporting herself financially. Already running on a tight income, Shaw found it unfair that the "male licensed preachers were given free accommodations in the dormitory and their board cost each of them $1.25 while it cost her $2 to pay rent of a room outside.” Additionally, she had trouble finding employment. Unlike in Albion where she was “practically the only licensed preacher available”, at Boston University there were many preachers that she had to compete with. As she lost money to pay the rent, she struggled to feed herself and felt “cold, hunger, and lonel.” Now Shaw started to question whether the ministerial profession was meant for her. In the face of these hardships, Shaw continued on. In 1880, she became the first woman in America to be ordained under the Methodist Protestant Church.

After her ordination, Shaw received an M.D. from Boston University in 1886. During her time in medical school, Shaw became an outspoken advocate of political rights for women.

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