Anna Forbes Liddell: Suffragist, scholar, and Distinguished Professor

Anna Forbes Liddell was one of the first professors to be honored as a Distinguished Professor at FSU. She received the award in 1959, prior to it being named the Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor Award. Liddell taught at Florida State College for Women, eventually Florida State University, from 1926 until her retirement in 1962.

Liddell was born in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1891. Between 1909 and 1920 she attended college and worked as a freelance writer for several magazines and newspapers, including the Evening Post. She attended Presbyterian College in Charlotte through the middle of her second year of college. After attending summer school in 1908 at the University of Tennessee, she spent one semester at Columbia University. In 1913, she helped to organize the North Carolina Equal Suffrage League alongside Susanne Bynam. She graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1918 with honors. In 1922, she received her Masters from Cornell University. She then returned to the University of North Carolina and in 1924 became one of the first two women to receive a PhD from UNC. In 1926, she joined Florida State College for Women, where she taught philosophy until her retirement in 1962. In 1934, she became the first American woman to receive recognition at the International Congress of Philosophy held in Prague. She chaired the Department of Philosophy & Religion from 1932 to 1951 while simultaneously serving as the president of the Southern Society of Philosophy and Psychology.

A small collection of Liddell’s papers are in our holdings at Special Collections & Archives. The Anna Forbes Liddell papers include professional and personal correspondence, including from the years she was an advocate for women’s suffrage and letters with friends serving in France during World War I, newspaper clippings, and photographs.

If you are interested in learning more about Anna Forbes Liddell, come into Special Collections & Archives to look through the Anna Forbes Liddell Papers or read the recently published Don’t Let Your Love Go Wrong: The Extraordinary Life of Anna Forbes Liddell by Carolyn Dubard, which explores the life of Liddell and includes images from our holdings.

To learn more about Florida State University history, visit the Florida State University Heritage & University Archives website.

Published by Kacee Reguera

Heritage & University Archives Assistant Florida State University

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