1868- February 1, 1922
Annie Reynolds was born in North Haven to Reverend William T. and Sarah Reynolds. Her father was a minister at the Congregational Church on Church Street in town. She was a graduate of Wellesley College and moved on to post graduate work at Yale. Reynolds was said to be a natural born linguist, always teaching herself new languages. She spoke five languages fluently, including French and Italian, which she taught in school. She was a teacher until 1887.
A contemporary description of Reynolds: “…Taller than average, with a strong and vigorous body…The first impression she often gave was that of a ship in full sail about to run you down. She never did, however, physically or otherwise. When she got near, you realized that there was a strong and skillful hand at the helm, captained by a keen mind.”
Reynolds left North Haven probably after she stopped teaching in 1887 and traveled around the United States. Records show that she was heavily involved in the Young Women’s Christian Association and was noted to be the secretary of both the Brooklyn and Iowa YWCA. In 1894 she was chosen to be the first World Secretary of the YWCA, a position she held until 1904. In this position, she traveled to many countries in Europe, where she often spoke before royalty in their native tongue. She was also a member of the New Haven YWCA between 1914-1915
Back to North Haven
Reynolds moved back To North Haven by 1908. She stated, “The only home, in a heart sense, which I have ever known, is at North Haven, Connecticut.” She was involved in many town activities and clubs, including the Congregational Church and the Library. As president of the Library Association from 1908 to 1915, she facilitated the libraries growth and expansion. Under her presidency, by 1912, the Montowese Branch Library, which was located in the Montowese School, was opened. This was done with the help of the Friday Afternoon Club, a club of prominent women of the Montowese area. Because of her language background, Reynolds was able to help integrate Italian Brickyard workers into the community by teaching them English and helping them adapt to new customs. She is one of 3 women to appear in the book, North Haven in the Nineteenth Century, written by town historian, Sheldon B. Thorpe.
Annie Reynolds died in North Haven in 1922 at the age of 54.
- Allen, D.C. Town Libraries. May 1956. History of Town Libraries, North Haven.
- Elizabeth Frazier to Gloria Furnival. November 8, 1979. North Haven. This letter contained information about Annie M. Reynolds in relation to the North Haven Community.
- “Inventor, Yale Chief, Among Noted Citizens.” New Haven Register, August 15, 1986.
- Miss Annie M. Reynolds. Recollection and Biography, North Haven.
- Thorpe, Sheldon B. North Haven in the Nineteenth Century. Twentieth Century Committee, 1901.
(created by Marisa Hexter, 2017 Summer Intern)