Woman of the Century/Anna Cheney Edwards
EDWARDS, Miss Anna Cheney, educator, born in Northampton. Mass., 31st July, 1835. Her father, Charles, was sixth in descent from Alexander Edwards, one of the early settlers of the town. Her mother, Ruth White, of Spencer, Mass., was also of Puritan ancestry. Anna early showed a fondness for books and a predilection for teaching. She remembers making up her mind, on her first day of her attending school, at the age of four years, that she was to be a teacher. This was an inherited fondness, as her father and grandfather had successively taught the district school near the old Edwards homestead. Her great-grandfather, Nathaniel Edwards, is worthy of mention in these days of higher education for women, for his labors in the instruction of the girls of his neighborhood in vacations, because in his time they were not allowed to attend school with the boys during the regular terms. Miss Edwards' career as a teacher began at the age of sixteen, after she had passed through the public schools of Northampton, in an outer district of the town. After two years of experience she entered Mt. Holyoke Seminary, South Hadley, Mass., in September, 1853. At the end of one year her studies were interrupted by three years more of teaching, after which she returned to the seminary and was graduated in July, 1859. She was recalled as assistant teacher the following year and has been a member of the Holyoke faculty most of the time since. She was absent at one period for about two years, her health being somewhat ANNA CHENEY EDWARDS, impaired, and from 1866 to 1868 she was principal of Lake Erie Seminary, Painesville, Ohio. She has spent eighteen months in travel in Europe, and in vacations she has taken separate trips to New Orleans, California. Alaska and various parts of the United States and Canada. She was appointed second associate principal of Mt. Holyoke eminary in 1872, and first associate in 1883. A college charter having been obtained for that institution in 1888, she was made professor of theism and Christian evidences, and instructor of ancient literature. In scientific studies she shared the enthusiasm and the wide reading of Lydia W. Shattuck, the botanist, and became herself an earnest student and teacher of geology. She is identified with her alma mater in its religious character and work. For the use of her classes she printed in 1877 a volume of "Notes on Ancient Literature." She has given lectures to classes and to ladies' literary societies on a variety of topics. Her more public activities have been in the way of papers and addresses before the different associations of Holyoke alumna? and in connection with women's missionary meetings. Since 1876 she has been vice-president of the Hampshire County Branch of the Woman's Board of Missions. In 1888 the degree of Master of Arts was conferred upon her by Burlington University, Vermont.