Open main menu

Woman of the Century/Anna M. Longshore Potts

POTTS, Mrs. Anna M. Longshore, physician and medical lecturer, born in Attleboro, now Langhorne, Bucks county, Pa., 16th April, 1829. She was one of the class of eight brave young Pennsylvania (Quaker girls graduating from the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, in 1852. That college was the first one ever chartered wherein a woman could earn and secure a medical degree. The commencement exercises on that memorable occasion were marked by the hoots of the male medical students, by the groans of the established medical practitioners, and by the faint applause of the friends of the brave girls. It is pleasant to record that each member of that pioneer class has won an enviable position in the profession and in the scientific world. ANNA M. LONGSHORE POTTS A woman of the century (page 596 crop).jpgANNA M. LONGSHORE POTTS. Mrs. Potts, whose maiden name was Anna M. Longshore, was twenty-two years old when she was graduated. She was without means at her graduation, yet she soon established a lucrative practice in Philadelphia. Her health became somewhat impaired, and she moved to Langhorne, Pa., in 1857, where she became the wife of Lambert Potts, one of the merchants there. A few years later. Dr. Longshore, now Dr. Longshore-Potts, moved to Adrian, Mich., where she speedily rose to a high position in her profession. She became imbued with the belief that a physician's most sacred duty is to prevent rather than cure disease, and to that end she gave many private lectures to her patients. The ability of those talks, coupled with all the better attributes of a woman, was so marked that she was persuaded to give a course of public lectures, the meeting being called by the mayor, leading physicians and clergymen. That was in 1876. Her addresses were so favorably received that she concluded to devote all her time to them. She commenced first in small towns, with a mere boy as agent, who engaged churches and wrote with crayon in blank spaces the place and time of the meetings. Her success was continuous and, as she traveled out into larger towns, became almost phenomenal. The first city of any consequence which she visited as a lecturer was San Francisco, where she appeared in 1881. She then visited the principal coast towns, north as far as Seattle and south to San Diego, Cal. In May, 1883, she sailed with her party, then consisting of seven, for New Zealand, where, from Auckland to Invercargal, the largest houses were packed to listen to the words of wisdom that she so eloquently uttered. In November, 1883, she stood before an audience of four-thousand-five-hundred people in the exhibition building, Sydney, New South Wales, where she was introduced by Charles A. Kahlothen, United States Consul. The proportions of her enterprise may be judged from the fact that her party had been increased to nine people, and it cost her five-hundred-fifty dollars to rent the chairs necessary to seat that building for five lectures. She received a greeting there which was repeated in Melbourne, Brisbane and the larger interior towns of the colonies. In November, 1884, she sailed for London. England, where she delivered her first lecture in the large St. James Hall, on the night of 17th February, 1885, where Gen. E. A. Merritt, then United States Consul-General, presented her to an audience of thirty-five-hundred people. Lady Claude Hamilton placed her fine mansion in Portland Place at Mrs. Potts' disposal, and between her lectures, which continued for five months, and her receptions in the Hamilton mansion, she stirred London from its center to its circumference. Every daily paper and all the leading weeklies accorded her praise. She gave one course of lectures for the benefit of the woman's hospital in Soho square. Many leading charities received substantial aid from her hand. She spent nearly three years in the United Kingdom, lecturing in all the chief provincial cities and repeating her lectures in London at frequent intervals. In October, 1887, she returned to America, making her first appearance in Tremont Temple, Boston. She then appeared in Chickering Hall, in New York, and from there went to California, lecturing only in the large cities. Just five years from the time she sailed for the Antipodes, she stood before an audience in the Baldwin Theater, San Francisco, Cal., that packed that building to the roof. Before her departure from America she had purchased twenty acres of wild land near San Diego, Cal., and during her absence she had had it converted into a garden, in the center of which had been erected a beautiful house of three stories, costing upwards of forty-thousand-dollars, an institution that will become a public monument to her brother, Dr. Joseph Longshore, who was the most active in obtaining the charter for her alma mater. Since her return she has visited all the large cities in this country. In January, 1890, the close of her lectures in the Grand Opera House, Indianapolis, Ind., was marked by an unusual scene. The large audience of ladies rose and greeted her with prolonged cheers, and a committee presented her with an elegant testimonial engrossed on parchment and signed by Mrs. Caroline Scott Harrison, Mrs. Thomas A. Hendricks, Mrs. May Wright Sewall, Mrs. May Harrison McKee, Governor Hovey and many members of the State Senate and House of Representatives, and when she returned there two months later, the common council placed the use of Tomlinson Hall at her disposal without charge. Anna Longshore-Potts, M.D., has made a fortune and has demonstrated the possibility of delivering popular medical lectures free from any trace of chicanery.