Woman of the Century/Anna Byford Leonard
LEONARD, Mrs. Anna Byford, sanitary reformer, born in Mount Vernon, Ind., 31st July, ANNA BYFORD LEONARD. 1843. She is a daughter of the eminent physician and surgeon, William H. Byford, of Chicago, Ill., whose long professional career and devotion to the cause of woman in medicine have done much to advance them in that profession. He was the founder and president of the Woman's Medical College of Chicago. In 1889 Mrs. Leonard was appointed sanitary inspector, being the first woman who ever held that position, and was enabled to carry out many of the needed reforms It was through her instrumentality, aided by the other five women on the force, that the eight-hour law was enforced, providing that children under fourteen-years of age should not work more than eight ours a day. That was enforced in all dry-goods stores. Through her endeavors seats were placed in the stores and factories, and the employers were instructed that the girls were to be allowed to sit when not occupied with their duties. She was enabled to accomplish this through the fact that the physicians and women of Chicago were ready to sustain her, and the other fact that her position as a sanitary inspector of the health department made her an officer of the police force, thus giving her authority for any work she found necessary to do. As a result of this eight-hour law, schools have been established in some of the stores from eight to ten a. m.. giving the younger children, who would spend that lime on the street, two hours of solid schooling, and many a girl, who could not write her name, is now cashier in the store where she commenced her work as an ignorant cash-girl. In 1891 Mrs. Leonard was made president of the Woman's Canning and Preserving Company, which, after one short year from its organization, she left with a factory, four stories and basement, with a working capital of $40,000. Mrs. Leonard is an artist of ability, having studied abroad and traveled extensively. She is a close observer of character.