Part of the American History & Genealogy Project

Annie Adams Gordon 1853 ~ 1931

 


Annie Adams Gordon

Miss Annie Adams Gordon, vice-president of the National Women's Christian Temperance Union and honorary secretary of the World's Women's Christian Temperance Union, is one of the most unique figures in the temperance reform of today. Miss Gordon came into the work with Miss Willard. In 1877 when Miss Willard was conducting a women's meeting for Mr. Moody, there was no one to play the organ. An earnest appeal was made and after waiting some moments, a young girl stepped forward and offered, saying. "As no one volunteers, I will do the best I can." This was Annie Gordon. Miss Willard was so attracted by her modesty and sweet nature that she persuaded her to come to her as private secretary, and thus began her work in the Women's Christian Temperance Union of this country.

Miss Gordon was born in Boston but early in her childhood her family removed to Auburndale, one of the suburbs of the former city. She was educated by a course in the Newton High School, Mount Holyoke College and Lasell Seminary. The many and varied offices held by Miss Gordon indicate the breadth of her view and the wide scope of her abilities, and identified with the interests of the Women's Christian Temperance Union almost from its inception, she has conserved and served these interests with love and loyalty. Loyalty may be said to be the crowning virtue of her character, a character possessing many of those sterling qualities which we have come to regard as the birthright of the native-born New Englander.

Through her extensive travels on behalf of the Women's Christian Temperance Union, Miss Gordon has acquired an added breadth and culture which make her equally at home in social and official life. As honorary secretary of the World's Women's Christian Temperance Union, Miss Gordon enjoys almost a world-wide reputation, but it is as "the friend of the children" that she is best known on both sides of the Atlantic.

As general secretary of the World's Loyal Temperance Legion (the branch of the organization work devoted to the boys and girls of this and other countries), Miss Gordon has made a large place for herself in the hearts and lives of the world's young people. She has written quite a number of musical compositions for this work and her "Marching Songs" in particular have been a conspicuous factor in popularizing the work of the Loyal Temperance Legion. By the terms of Miss Willard's will. Miss Gordon, was made, in conjunction with Lady Henry Somerset, her literary executor. By request of the general officers of the National Women's Christian Temperance Union, she undertook to prepare a biography of Miss Willard and in a very short space of time she gave to the world "The Beautiful Life of Frances E. Willard." She has written several pieces of prose and poetry and contributed to the work "Questions Answered; a Manual of the Loyal Temperance Legion work," "Marching Songs for Young Crusaders" Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4, "The White Ribbon Birthday Book," "The Y Song Book," and "The White Ribbon Hymnal." Her style is terse and strong.

Miss Gordon is altogether a strong, well-poised, gentle and lovable woman, and has made for herself a noble place la the world's work. Willard Fountain, which stands at the entrance of Willard Hall, in Chicago, is the embodiment of her own thought and work. The money for its erection was raised by having the children give their dimes and sign total abstinence pledges on red, white and blue cards, which were used to decorate the Women's Christian Temperance Union rooms at the Columbian Exposition.

She was Miss Willard's constant companion during the last years and especially the last weeks of Miss Willard's life. The life use of Rest Cottage, at Evanston, Illinois, was given to Miss Gordon by Miss Willard, but she has never used it as a source of income to herself, but has held the gift as a sacred trust, keeping the property in order, and providing a caretaker, so that tourists and friends of the Women's Christian Temperance Union may visit the rooms and homemade sacred by Miss Willard.

Women of America

Source: The Part Taken by Women in American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.

 

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