Parrish, Anne (1760–1800)

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Parrish, Anne (1760–1800)

American philanthropist. Born on October 17, 1760, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; died on December 26, 1800, in Philadelphia.

Anne Parrish's life of philanthropy began as a plea and a promise. In 1793, when she was 33 years old, a yellow fever epidemic swept her hometown of Philadelphia. Because her Quaker parents were among those stricken, she vowed to devote her life to charitable works if they recovered. Her parents did survive the epidemic, and Parrish fulfilled her vow by founding the first charitable organization for women in the country. Established in 1795 as the House of Industry, the organization would provide employment opportunities to poor women in Philadelphia for over 125 years. The following year, Parrish established a school for needy girls that would later be known as the Aimwell School. Offering a curriculum of basic studies supplemented by training in domestic skills, the school grew quickly to some 50 pupils. Teachers were added, and the school moved to larger quarters several times to keep up with the growing number of students. The Aimwell School remained in operation until 1923, over a century after Parrish's death in 1800.


McHenry, Robert, ed. Famous American Women. NY: Dover, 1980.

Maria Sheler Edwards , M.A., Ypsilanti, Michigan