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Scott, Ann London (1929–1975)

Scott, Ann London (1929–1975)

American feminist . Born Claire Ann London on July 29, 1929, in Seattle, Washington; died of cancer in Baltimore, Maryland, on February 17, 1975; daughter of Claire Chester London and Daniel Edwin London (a hotel manager); graduated from Dominican Convent School; attended Stanford University, 1947–49; University of Washington, B.A., 1954, Ph.D., 1968; married Paul de Witt Tufts (a musician), in 1951 (divorced); married Gerd Stern (a poet), in 1956 (divorced 1961); married Thomas Jefferson Scott (an artist), in 1969; children: (second marriage) son Jared London (b. 1957).

Born on July 29, 1929, Ann London Scott spent her childhood in San Francisco, where her father was manager of the luxurious St. Francis hotel. She was an excellent student and graduated from one of the city's top high schools, Dominican Convent School. In 1947, Scott received a scholarship to Stanford University, but she transferred to the University of Washington in 1949, after failing to combine the rigors of study with an active San Francisco social life. In Washington, she renewed her lifelong interest in poetry and developed a community of friends in the art world. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1954.

After two failed marriages and the birth of her son, Scott returned to the University of Washington in the fall of 1961 to pursue a doctorate in literature—a decision enthusiastically supported by her parents, who were concerned about her bohemian lifestyle. Her dissertation focused on Shakespeare's use of language, and her poetry was published in several well-known journals. Before she had completed her doctorate, Scott moved to Buffalo, New York, in 1965 to accept a teaching position at the State University of New York (SUNY) there. She earned her doctorate in 1968.

Scott perceived her failure to make tenure at SUNY-Buffalo as a case of sex discrimination, since male professors with fewer credentials were achieving that milestone. With the support of her third husband, artist Thomas Jefferson Scott, she began a sex discrimination study at the university which led her from the academic arena to the world of politics. Scott had founded the Buffalo chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW), and received encouragement from that group in her conflict with SUNY. In 1970, she was elected to NOW's national board of directors, and became its Federal Contract Compliance Officer. As such, she lobbied congressional representatives and national organizations to include women in affirmative-action guidelines for all firms holding federal contracts, first at the Department of Labor and then for all radio and television stations holding Federal Communications Commission licenses. After her success in these areas, she became NOW's vice president for legislation and worked for passage of the 1972 Equal Employment Opportunity Act Amendment and the Equal Rights Amendment.

Scott's ability to network with and persuade others won her the support and admiration of those with whom she worked and lobbied. She was invited to serve on the national boards of Common Cause and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and, in 1974, became the American Association for Higher Education's associate director. She developed cancer that same year, however, and died in 1975 in Baltimore, Maryland.


Sicherman, Barbara, and Carol Hurd Green, eds. Notable American Women: The Modern Period. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University, 1980.

Sally Cole-Misch , freelance writer, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

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