Anna Cope Hartshorne

Germantown, PA
Father Henry Hartshorne, MD
Mother Mary Elizabeth Brown

Bryn Mawr College - Greek Studies 1885

Harvard University Certification in Examinations for Women 1888

Employment Tsuda College, Tokyo, Japan
Her Story

Anna Hartshorne was prominent in the founding of Tsuda College for women in Tokyo, Japan in 1900 and nurtured it over the next forty years. She almost singly raised funds in the United States to rebuild the college after the 1923 earthquake.

Anna met Tsuda Umeko, at Bryn Mawr College in 1885 where Umeko was studying at the invitation of President James E. Rhoads and where Anna was studying Greek. Anna, the only child of Dr. Henry Hartshorne, an advocate of female medical education, she would sit for the Harvard University Examinations for Women in 1888, which she passed with high credit in Elementary Greek and German.

Anna renewed her acquaintance with Tsuda when she came to Tokyo in 1893 with her father at the invitation of a group of Japanese doctors impressed with Dr. Hartshorne's work, "Essentials of the Principles and Practice of Medicine." In 1897 she and her father again returned to Japan as lay missionaries and Anna taught at the Friends' School in Tokyo. When Anna’s father died later that year, it was Umeko who helped her friend overcome her sorrow.

But it would be Anna who would be the mainstay of Tsuda College when it was founded as Joshi Eigaku Juku (Women's Institute of English Studies) in 1900 with the financial assistance of a group of Philadelphia women. It was the first institute for women in Japan to offer an education beyond the high school level.

Anna had helped to raise those funds for Umeko's school in association with the Committee of The American Women's Scholarship for Japanese Women. She came again to Japan in May 1902 to teach at Umeko's school but only planned to stay for six months. She may not have intended to return but during travels in Europe she became aware that her life's work was truly in Japan. As a teacher and administrator at Joshi Eigaku Juku until 1940, Anna would influence two generations of Japanese women. Because of her friendship with Mary Elkinton, author Nitobe Inazo's wife, she was instrumental in the writing of "Bushido: The Soul of Japan" (1900), an explanation of the Japanese samurai ethic in English, a book still in print today.

She published her own book, "Japan and Her People" in 1902. But most importantly, Anna Hartshorne helped support and guide Tsuda College until the onset of World War II. When the 1923 earthquake devastated Japan, when hundreds of thousands were killed and Tsuda College destroyed, Anna took off for the United States and, over the next few years, raised $500,000, a substantial sum at the time, to rebuild the college. Tsuda Umeko died in 1930, but Anna remained to oversee rebuilding of the college and continue Umeko's expectations for Japanese women.

Anna went on home leave in 1940 with every intention of returning to Tsuda College, but once the Pacific War began, was unable to fulfill her promise. She died in Philadelphia on October 2, 1957 at the age of 97. One of our unsung heroines in American women's history, Anna Hartshorne has surely earned her place in the National Women's History Museum's Women’s Stories.