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MC 248

Matthews, Annabel, 1883-1960. Papers of Annabel Matthews, 1880-1960 (inclusive), 1901-1960 (bulk): A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Processed under NEH Grant Number RC 24669-76-987.

Descriptive Summary

Location: Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Call No.: MC 248
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Annabel Matthews, 1883-1960
Title: Papers of Annabel Matthews, 1880-1960 (inclusive), 1901-1960 (bulk)
Date(s): 1880-1960
Date(s): 1901-1960
Quantity: .63 linear feet (1 + 1/2 file boxes) plus 1 folio+ folder, 1 folio folder)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Correspondence, clippings, photographs, etc., of Annabel Matthews, lawyer and government tax specialist.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession numbers: 804, 1254 75-85
The Annabel Matthews papers were given to the Schlesinger Library in September 1964 by Mary Pearce Matthews, her sister; and in December 1967 and March 1975 by Benjamin A. Matthews, her brother.

Processing Information:

Processed: August 1977
By: Madeleine Bagwell Perez

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Annabel Matthews is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred Citation:

Annabel Matthews Papers, 1880-1960 ; item description, dates. MC 248, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.


Annabel Matthews, lawyer and government tax expert, was born in Culloden, Georgia on December 31, 1883, the daughter of Alphonso Houghton and Augusta Louisa (Vaughan) Matthews. Her schooling prior to college was begun at home and continued in the ungraded public schools in the small towns of Barnesville and Culloden. At the age of fourteen (1898) she entered Brenau College, Gainesville, Georgia and graduated with an AB degree in 1901. She taught first, fourth, and seventh grades in Gainesville and Thomasville public schools (1901-1914) before becoming a technical clerk in the income tax division of the Bureau of Internal Revenue in Washington, D. C.
She advanced steadily within the Bureau. In 1918, realizing a full legal background would allow her a broader field of work and more rapid promotion, she began studying law at night at Washington College of Law. In 1921, at the age of 35, she graduated with honors and was admitted to the Washington bar. She was assigned to the general counsel's office of the Bureau as an attorney in 1925, the second woman to be so honored. As "the expert in the United States service who knew the most about the taxation of non-residents, aliens, and foreign corporations under the Federal tax laws," she was sent as the assistant to the American delegate to two League of Nations Conferences on double taxation (London, 1927; Geneva, 1928).
In 1930 President Hoover appointed her to fill an unexpired term on the United States Board of Tax Appeals. She was the first woman to serve on the Board, which heard the appeals of taxpayers who owed additional income or estate taxes and determined whether the deficiency had to be paid. These hearings were held throughout the United States and Matthews presided over many of them, earning her the title of "Judge" Matthews. President Roosevelt did not reappoint Annabel Matthews to the Board in 1936 and she returned to the chief counsel's office of the Bureau of Internal Revenue. In 1944 she retired from government work and entered private practice.
President Truman appointed her to the Fair Employment Board of the Civil Service Commission in 1948 where she served until 1954. Her appointment was opposed by the American Council on Human Rights, the National Council of Negro Women, and the CIO United Public Workers Union because of her prominent role in preventing blacks from becoming members of the Washington chapter of the American Association of University Women.
During her lifetime Matthews was a trustee of Brenau College and held active memberships in the American Bar Association, the Women's Bar Association (D.C. chapter, President 1937-1939), League of Women Voters (D.C.), American Association of University Women, Phi Mu sorority, and the Phi Delta Delta legal fraternity. She was active and vocal throughout her lifetime about the role and position of women in the work force, especially in the federal government.
Annabel Matthews died March 24, 1960 in Washington, D. C.




The papers of Annabel Matthews include: correspondence, almost all of which is about her appointment and her later efforts toward re-appointment to the United States Board of Tax Appeals; newsclippings about Matthews, the Women's Bar Association, and prominent women in government work; and photographs of Matthews, other Matthews family members, and friends (Mabel Walker Willebrandt and Laura M. Berrien). Except for one folder of personal correspondence, there are few papers about Matthews's personal life; there are also few papers about her early life.



This index lists writers and recipients of letters. Information about individuals is not indexed; nor are subjects. The numbers refer to folder numbers.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Georgia--Politics and government
Taxation--United States
United States--Officials and employees
Women--Southern states
Women's rights
Dewson, Molly, 1874-1962
Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964
Sabin, Vera Mankinen
United States. Board of Tax Appeals
Willebrandt, Mabel Walker, 1889-1963
Women's Bar Association of the District of Columbia