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Emma Sanford Shelton 1849 ~


Mrs. Emma Sanford Shelton, president of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, of the District of Columbia, was born in Westmoreland County, Va., in 1849. She was the daughter of Julia Ellis Bibb and Charles Henry Sanford, a lawyer residing at Montrose, the county seat

She was educated in the public schools of Washington, and in October, 1873, was married to Charles William Shelton, of Boston, Mass. They have one son, Arthur Bentley Shelton.

Mrs. Shelton has been connected with the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, of the District of Columbia from the time of its organization in 1874. As superintendent of narcotics, she was instrumental in securing the passage by Congress of a law prohibiting the sale of cigarettes and tobacco to minors under sixteen years of age. While working for this law, she secured petitions in its favor signed by nearly every physician in the city, the superintendent of public schools, all the supervising principals and nearly every teacher, as well as by pastors of all denominations. The petitions were ordered printed by the United States Senate and attracted such attention and created such an interest on the subject that the bill prepared by her was speedily reported by the senate committee with favorable recommendations, and became a law.

Mrs. Shelton was recording secretary of the District of Columbia Woman's Christian Temperance Union for more than twenty years, and for several years was the assistant national superintendent of the department of legislation. When, in 1901, it was decided by the District Union to secure a building of its own, the matter was placed in the hands of a board of trustees, of which Mrs. Shelton was made financial secretary. The building, 522 Sixth Street, which is the Woman's Christian Temperance Union Headquarters, was purchased and entirely paid for within eight years by money raised almost entirely by the members of the organization under the efficient leadership of the president of the board of trustees.

Mrs. Shelton has been for many years an active member of the Vermont Avenue Christian Church, a teacher in the Sunday school, and was for several years president of the board of Deaconesses of that church. She is a vice-president of the Interdenominational Missionary Union of the District of Columbia, and also represents her denomination in the Interdenominational Council of Women for Christian and Patriotic Service, whose headquarters are in New York City, She has recently been appointed on the advisory board of the Washington Seminary for young ladies.

Mrs. Shelton has developed great ability as a leader in temperance and other Christian work, and has the peculiar genius of being able to secure the hearty co-operation of her associates in carrying out the plans formulated by herself and other leaders in the movements in which she is interested for the uplift of humanity.

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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