Carrie Shumway is elected to Kirkland City Council, first woman so elected in Washington, in 1911.

  • By HistoryLink Staff
  • Posted 12/19/2000
  • Essay 2875

In 1911, Carrie Shumway (1858-1956) is elected to the Kirkland, Washington, city council. She is the first woman in the state to be elected to a city council. Women had been granted the franchise the year before.

Carrie Shumway was born on September 7, 1858, in Belchertown, Massachusetts, and graduated from Mount Holyoke College, a rare achievement for a woman of her generation. She came to Washington state with her family in 1883 at the age of 25. They first homesteaded in the Skagit Valley, then moved to Seattle in 1888.

Shumway was a school teacher, one of the original staff of the T. T. Minor Grade School in Seattle. She also taught in Seattle High School when the faculty consisted of only three teachers, and eventually was appointed vice principal at that school. She helped establish Tacoma’s first high school. In 1908, after retiring from the Seattle teaching staff she taught English in Tokyo. Upon her return in 1910, she joined her sisters and brothers to live in the recently completed family home on Lake Washington Boulevard in Kirkland.

She was involved with a wide range of community organizations, including the Daughters of the American Revolution, serving as a state historian for that group. She was also a founding member of the Seattle Bicycle Club and the Seattle Camera Club. She was a charter member of the Kirkland Woman’s Club and was active in both the Community Congregational Church in Kirkland and the Plymouth Congregational Church in Seattle.

Carrie Shumway died at the age of 97, on January 1, 1956, in Tacoma at the home of her niece, Ruth Shumway. She was buried in the family plot in the Kirkland Cemetery.


Mildred Tanner Andrews, Woman's Place: A Guide to Seattle and King County History (Seattle: Gemil Press, 1994), 93; A Hidden Past: An Exploration of Eastside History ed. by Arlene Bryant (Seattle: The Seattle Times, 2000), 17; "The Shumway Family," Kirkland Heritage Society marker at the site of the Shumway family home, Kirkland, Washington.

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License
Major Support for Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You