History Podcasts

Anne Chambers

Anne Chambers

…is author of ten biographies, including the best-selling Grace O’Malley – The Biography of Ireland’s Pirate Queen 1530-1603, an historical novel and a collection of short stories.

Her latest biography, The Great Leviathan: The Life of Howe Peter Browne, 2 nd Marquess of Sligo, 1788-1845 was published in 2018.

Her books have been translated into many languages and have been the subject of TV and Radio documentaries for Discovery, The Learning Channel, Travel Channel, ABC Australia, BBC, BBC World Service, RTE and Lyric FM.

Anne was short-listed for the Irish Book Awards for her biographies of TK Whitaker in 2014, Eleanor Countess of Desmond in 1987 and for short stories at the 2004 Hennessey Literary Awards.

In 2018 she was awarded the Wild Atlantic Way Words Festival Hall of Fame Award in recognition of her contribution to Ireland’s literary tradition.

Her play Matriarchs - The Pirate Queen meets the Virgin Queen was staged in Westport Town Theatre in August 2019.

She writes screenplays for film and TV. Her short film Coming Home was broadcast by RTE.

Anne is a member of the Writers Guild of Ireland.



    For this minicast, we discuss a madam far removed from Madame de Pompadour another country, another time period, a different social class. However, both used similar tools to gain power and influence both used brains in addition to body to make their marks, and both had ties to a title that they were not born to. The madam du jour is Annie Chambers, the Queen of the Kansas City Red Light District!

    Because we live in Kansas City, this woman’s life was physically close to us- but she was brought to our attention by one of our listeners! A sweet man named Donald sent us an email suggesting that we research this woman whose history he had become fascinated with many years ago while on a visit to our fair city. Just a quick search and we were hooked. We can’t tell you enough, your suggestions really do influence who we discuss- usually if you are interested in learning more, so are we!

    Born in Kentucky in 1842, she was given the name Leannah Loveall (That’s enough to grab your attention right? A woman of negotiable affections has LOVEALL as her surname?) The family moved to Sullivan, Indiana when Annie was just a young girl so that Dad could operate a hotel.

    If Annie’s story were a novel, it would begin on a day that was different, a day when change began. That day was when Abraham Lincoln was campaigning for the 1860 election and he came through Sullivan. Annie, against her father’s desires, rode on horseback in the parade.

    She made a decision and marched in that parade for Abraham Lincoln, and it changed her life. We talk about what happened in the podcast- her life as a teacher, and as a woman who married very much like many women did at the time. We talk about her son, his death, and another three days of tragedy that sent her life off on an entirely different path that takes her from sporting houses in Indiana to her own “resort” in Kansas City.

    Annie’s neighborhood. Her house was on the corner of 3rd and Wyandotte

    Annie’s is a story about pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. Yes, it is also a story about prostitution and brothels, about the Kansas City Red Light district and “sporting life”. A tale of a Madam With a Heart of Gold who tried to treat her girls right. But she was a smart business woman who was always looking for ways to expand, always looking for the best for both her clients and her girls. She guided the woman who came to her to vastly improved lives, boasting a high success rate for sending her “girls” off to respectable lives and marriage.

    Even in death, she used her wealth wisely. Her estate was bequeathed to the City Union Mission, an organization that is still providing support to the people of Kansas City. Of course, we go into all those details in the podcast, name drop again (Carrie Nation! ) And chat about details of her life including a VERY May/December romance and marriage later in her life!

    Annie Chambers died on March 24, 1935 and is buried in Kansas City, her grave marked with the last legal married name that she had, Leannah Kearns.

    The story of Annie Chambers is a remarkable adventure during a very exciting time in the history of the United States and we are thrilled to be able to share it with you.

    TIME TRAVEL WITH THE HISTORY CHICKS

    A good place to continue your journey learning more about the life of Annie Chambers is this short video produced by the Kansas City Public Library and available through KCPT . It’s not boring and dry, really! Check it out!

    And here is recommended reading about this woman and her times from the Kansas City Public Library.

    Another really informative stop is this family ancestry blog. After reading about Annie, we will confess that we clicked around the site and read more about the other people and times that are contained in this website – although they are not directly related to the topic at hand. We just get nosey like that sometimes. You never know what you are going to find!

    Books : We found a historical fiction novel about Annie that did a decent job of filling in the blanks and bringing her story to life. We got our copy through our local library. (Have we spoken enough about our love of libraries?)

    Annie Chambers by Lenore Carroll

    Annie’s house was destroyed in 1946, but her legacy lives on in the history of Kansas City and the good work done by those at the City Union Mission. Want to learn what that is? City Union Mission

    We know that sometimes we introduce you to women you may not have known. This time it was one of our listeners who introduced us, and we are so very grateful that he did!

    As always, music comes courtesy of Music Alley. Visit them at Music.mevio.com

    2 Responses to Episode 19A: Annie Chambers

    Loved this segment. As a Kansas Citian that loves history, I really appreciated the content.

    You know there are some pretty famous women from the area as well as women who, like Annie, were real movers and shakers in the development of Kansas City. You know what they say, behind every great man is an even greater woman)

    Aside from Sarah Coates, there was a considerable amount of women activists at the turn of the 20th century. The Kansas City Women’s clubs had a great amount of influence on the social, economic and educational development of the city along with actual physical growth including famous architectural buildings and designs of entire city blocks.

    Groups like the Athenaeum Club, a women’s club (largely well to do matrons), held educational seminars that were so impressive they were recognized by the college accreditation board of that time as an academy for women.

    ONe of the founders of the club, Carolyn Fuller, came to Kansas City to start become and actress and concert vocalist. She married a very wealthy banker and went on to become the first female member of the board of education for Kansas City and founded the first PTA.

    The Athaneaum club and it’s spin off The YOung Matrons were politically active, too. One of their first small achievements was to force the city to appoint a milk inspector. At the time, refrigeration of milk being delivered from the dairies was non existent. Botulism was rampant and was the number one culprit in infant mortality as many women had switched to bottle feeding because they were beginning to seek employment in the fields opening up to them (beyond Annie’s resort).

    These same organizations within a few decades were powerful and influential enough to organize a “clean sweep” of city hall and the police commission that was over run with corruption from the Pendergast political machine.

    The women built their own club house that is still standing on Linwood today. The club exists, but largely doing charitable work.

    These are just a few of the great stories about how women shaped the “Paris on the Prairie” even as most history books give the most credit to the men. Without the women, Kansas City would not be the civilized and sprawling metropolis of today.

    Two resources for Kansas City Women in HIstory:

    Kansas City Women of Independent Minds , Jane Fifield Flynn

    Carolyn Farwell Fuller by Janice Lee, Kansas City Public Library Local History

    Another great place on the web to read about Kansas City is vintagekansascity.com.

    Loved the site. Got it booked mark. Can’t wait to see what you all come up with next.

    Thanks so much for all of the information – do you know the history of that “Young Matrons” building on 51st ish and Main? We also are following the history of Fred Harvey, whose family lived in what is now Hyde Park. Kansas City has a truly fascinating history!

    Leave a Reply Cancel reply

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    The History Chicks

    Beckett Graham and Susan Vollenweider: Two women. Half the population. Several thousand years of history. About an hour.


    Episode 19A: Annie Chambers


    For this minicast, we discuss a madam far removed from Madame de Pompadour another country, another time period, a different social class. However, both used similar tools to gain power and influence both used brains in addition to body to make their marks, and both had ties to a title that they were not born to. The madam du jour is Annie Chambers, the Queen of the Kansas City Red Light District!

    Because we live in Kansas City, this woman’s life was physically close to us- but she was brought to our attention by one of our listeners! A sweet man named Donald sent us an email suggesting that we research this woman whose history he had become fascinated with many years ago while on a visit to our fair city. Just a quick search and we were hooked. We can’t tell you enough, your suggestions really do influence who we discuss- usually if you are interested in learning more, so are we!

    Born in Kentucky in 1842, she was given the name Leannah Loveall (That’s enough to grab your attention right? A woman of negotiable affections has LOVEALL as her surname?) The family moved to Sullivan, Indiana when Annie was just a young girl so that Dad could operate a hotel.

    If Annie’s story were a novel, it would begin on a day that was different, a day when change began. That day was when Abraham Lincoln was campaigning for the 1860 election and he came through Sullivan. Annie, against her father’s desires, rode on horseback in the parade.

    She made a decision and marched in that parade for Abraham Lincoln, and it changed her life. We talk about what happened in the podcast- her life as a teacher, and as a woman who married very much like many women did at the time. We talk about her son, his death, and another three days of tragedy that sent her life off on an entirely different path that takes her from sporting houses in Indiana to her own “resort” in Kansas City.

    Annie’s neighborhood. Her house was on the corner of 3rd and Wyandotte

    Annie’s is a story about pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. Yes, it is also a story about prostitution and brothels, about the Kansas City Red Light district and “sporting life”. A tale of a Madam With a Heart of Gold who tried to treat her girls right. But she was a smart business woman who was always looking for ways to expand, always looking for the best for both her clients and her girls. She guided the woman who came to her to vastly improved lives, boasting a high success rate for sending her “girls” off to respectable lives and marriage.

    Even in death, she used her wealth wisely. Her estate was bequeathed to the City Union Mission, an organization that is still providing support to the people of Kansas City. Of course, we go into all those details in the podcast, name drop again (Carrie Nation! ) And chat about details of her life including a VERY May/December romance and marriage later in her life!

    Annie Chambers died on March 24, 1935 and is buried in Kansas City, her grave marked with the last legal married name that she had, Leannah Kearns.

    The story of Annie Chambers is a remarkable adventure during a very exciting time in the history of the United States and we are thrilled to be able to share it with you.

    TIME TRAVEL WITH THE HISTORY CHICKS

    A good place to continue your journey learning more about the life of Annie Chambers is this short video produced by the Kansas City Public Library and available through KCPT . It’s not boring and dry, really! Check it out!

    And here is recommended reading about this woman and her times from the Kansas City Public Library.

    Another really informative stop is this family ancestry blog. After reading about Annie, we will confess that we clicked around the site and read more about the other people and times that are contained in this website – although they are not directly related to the topic at hand. We just get nosey like that sometimes. You never know what you are going to find!

    Books : We found a historical fiction novel about Annie that did a decent job of filling in the blanks and bringing her story to life. We got our copy through our local library. (Have we spoken enough about our love of libraries?)

    Annie Chambers by Lenore Carroll

    Annie’s house was destroyed in 1946, but her legacy lives on in the history of Kansas City and the good work done by those at the City Union Mission. Want to learn what that is? City Union Mission

    We know that sometimes we introduce you to women you may not have known. This time it was one of our listeners who introduced us, and we are so very grateful that he did!


    Anne Chambers At Home. In Tune. Making History.

    History is being made in the band room at St. Mary’s Central High School. Anne (Jundt) Chambers is the first woman to serve as a high school band director in the Bismarck-Mandan area. She started in August and is right at home in the school adding a little more pep while she is there.

    A native of Bismarck, Chambers graduated in 2007 with honors from SMCHS. While in high school, Anne earned the honor of first chair in the SMCHS Wind Orchestra under the direction of Mr. William J. Schmidt. As a clarinetist, she was principal player for four consecutive years in the North Dakota High School All-State Band and Orchestra. In her senior year, she received the John Philip Sousa Award in recognition of her musical talent and leadership.

    Anne received her Bachelors of Music Education and Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education degrees from Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

    While in college at NSU, she had the opportunity to perform with the band “Kansas.” She was selected by audition to

    Anne Chambers, marching in a parade

    be one of 18 students to participate in conducting workshops sponsored by the University of Minnesota for two consecutive years. Before making her way back to St. Mary’s, Anne served as the assistant director of bands at the Brandon Valley Public Schools in Brandon, South Dakota.

    Last fall, Anne and her husband, Ben, accepted the positions to direct the high school and junior high bands within the Light of Christ Catholic Schools. Ben conducts the junior high band and Anne is living her dream. She says she has always dreamed of being a teacher, so to pursue her dream at her alma mater with her husband has been a huge blessing to her and to the students.

    “I’ve always looked up to my band directors, in particular Bill Schmidt, who taught at SMCHS for over 30 years and it is my goal to continue on the legacy of excellence within the music program,” says Anne.

    This is a goal she has already begun to accomplish in the short amount of time she has been at St. Mary’s. Anne has already added new pep band tunes, taken the pep band to Fargo to play for the Class AA state football championship, and has the bands sounding great. And that’s just in the first half of the school year. She is happy to be back at SMCHS and is excited about the future of the band. It’s a future her students are excited about as well. Anne says it has been a joy to be able to teach and pursue her career in a Catholic education system. She says she is exactly where she is supposed to be.

    “God had a plan for me and when you follow the pieces, it all works out.”

    Audrey Wentz is a junior at St. Mary’s Central High School. She writes for her school’s newspaper and is an active participant in student council, speech, band, and various other activities. She loves spending time with friends and family, and loves to travel.


    Educational Philosophy

    Coleman Chambers and Randolph based Indian Creek School's educational approach on research in neuroscience and cognitive development. In 2001, the school began working with Schools Attuned, an education research nonprofit. Since then, the school has trained its teachers in the All Kinds of Minds, neuroscience-based program, which focuses on understanding different learning styles and promoting collaboration between students, parents, and teachers. As part of the approach, students have a different teacher for each subject, and a learner profile is developed for each student as they progress each year. ⎖] ⎗]

    At the Indian Creek Middle School, Coleman Chambers created extended day-care into the early evening, before this existed at many other schools, after research indicated it was healthy for students. Β] At the Upper School, she scheduled the school day to take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., to best match the circadian rhythms of teenage students and support intellectual and emotional development.

    Coleman Chambers developed a human development curriculum influenced by research in developmental psychology and addressing topics including civil discourse, emotional maturity, drugs, sexuality, and external influences on students as they grow up. The program was also designed to support different children's different needs. After establishing human development education at Indian Creek, Coleman Chambers also helped develop the human development program at Severn School. Β]

    In 2001, Coleman Chambers established a free, three-week summer day camp called Students Taking Academic Responsibility, or STARs, for disadvantaged middle school-aged kids in the Annapolis area, including from Annapolis's Subsidized housing in the United States. Coleman Chambers saw the camp as part of Indian Creek School's mission of giving back to the local community, particularly wanting to help kids who could otherwise be missed in large classroom settings. In the camp's human development classes, campers discussed decision-making, college, and challenges facing kids their age. After starting with about 20 campers in 2001, by 2010 there were 56 campers, and STARs had moved to the Indian Creek Upper School campus. For the first time, in 2010, donations paid for the program, which was previously paid for by the school. STARs also began offering scholarships to Indian Creek School to some campers full tuition in that year was $21,000. Former Indian Creek School student Will Bartz became involved with STARs in 2005, after leaving his job as a financial adviser, where he had grown unsatisfied, and returning to Coleman Chambers for advice. By 2010, Bartz had become director of the STARs program, also teaching math and coaching basketball at Indian Creek. ⎘]

    Under Coleman Chambers, a "Character Counts" program was developed at the Indian Creek Lower School to impart values including respect, kindness, honesty, and responsibility, while middle school students began starting each year with fall camping trips, designed to promote team-building and student-faculty interaction. ⎙]

    In an interview with The Baltimore Sun in 1981, Coleman Chambers distinguished Indian Creek School from more college preparatory-focused primary schools in valuing a wide variety of student goals and interests. She noted that preschool students were admitted on a first-come, first-serve basis, rather than based on test results. ⎚]

    Under Coleman Chambers and Randolph, Indian Creek School began teaching Spanish and computer classes, starting at the kindergarten level, before this was common. ⎛] Indian Creek also developed a focus on project-based learning, believing it to improve knowledge retention. ⎜] In 2014, the school established a program called Blended Learning at Indian Creek, or BLinc, in which faculty offer supplemental courses with some in-person teaching and some online, asynchronous components. Beginning with only two summer courses, the BLinc program expanded to 22 courses offered year-round in 2016. ⎝]

    Alternative Schools Movement

    The Free school movement in American education took place from around 1965 to 1973. This was an unstructured social movement consisting of the founding of independent schools in opposition to established public and private schools, with a particular focus on students' differing needs. ⎞] Free schools in wealthy or middle class white areas tended to focus on younger students and place greater emphasis on student-motivated learning and the development of interpersonal relationships, while schools in urban areas with more Black students tended to place greater emphasis on social justice, student political power, and Afrocentric curricula. Tensions existed between these two strains occasionally, as the former, with a more separatist orientation, were criticized as avoiding real problems in American society, while the latter were criticized as imposing political beliefs onto children. However, most free schools included intellectual elements of both of these movement wings. ⎟] The number of free schools founded each year in the United States peaked in 1970, and the total number of free schools peaked in 1970. ⎠]

    Free schools often faced financial difficulties. Some were supported by wealthy benefactors or earned income by selling crops or craft goods. Most used a sliding scale for tuition. As a result, many struggled to remain financially sustainable, and most either closed, with an average lifespan of about three years, or else survived by growing more traditional over time. ⎡]


    Podcasts.ie

    Anne Chambers is the author of seven biographies, an historical novel, a collection of short stories, several film screenplays and stage dramas, Anne writes, lectures and has been interviewed worldwide about her work. Her books have been the subject of international TV documentaries including Discovery and Learning Channel and have been translated and published world-wide.

    She was short-listed for the GPA Irish Book Awards (biography) and for the 2004 Hennessy Literary Awards (short stories). She has co-written a number of screenplays for cinema and TV, some of which have received development funding from Media and from The Irish Film Board. They cross a broad genre from historical drama, comedy, human drama, a political thriller to an American Western. Currently she has scripts in development with three production companies. Her screenplay LORNA was short-listed for 2009 Jameson Dublin International Film Festival and was subsequently optioned by British Lion Screen Entertainment (LA). She holds an MA in Irish History from the National University of Ireland.

    Over the years Anne’s name has become synonymous with Grace O’Malley. Her adult biography has become the inspiration for documentary makers, musicians, artists and writers from a range of creative disciplines worldwide. First published in 1979, the biography of Grace O’Malley has made a unique contribution to Irish publishing history, never having been out of print since. Now in its 7th edition the book has brought Grace O’Malley out of the shadows and restored her to her place in both political and maritime history. A new anniversary edition was published by Gill&MacMillan (Dublin) in 2009 and the book has recently gone on distribution in the UK. The book is based on the extensive research the author undertook among contemporaneous 16th century manuscript material, both in public and private domain, in Ireland and in the UK. Anne’s biography for young people Granuaile: Sea Queen of Ireland was published in 2006. Ann’s latest biography “Eleanor: Countess of Desmond” has just been published and is the subject of our second podcast below.

    If you would like to find out more about Author Anne Chambers, visit her website here

    Anne’s Short Film ‘Coming Home’ is now available at http://comingho.me/

    2 Comments

    #1 by Richard Habiger on June 7, 2011 - 1:40 am

    I am trying to find out if my grandpa was related to Grace O’Malley. My mother told me that her father, Richard D. McDormott, said they were “related” to a “red-hair, female, Irish pirate”. I understand that grandpa’s name may have been spelled differently at some point. He was the “only son of an only son of an only son”, so I’m not sure what the relationship might have been. Also, I do not know the time period, although gradpa’s ancestors imigrated to the American colonies about the time of the Revolutionary War. So I assume the red-hair female pirate of whom he spoke operated prior to the 1770s. I would sincerely appreciate any direction you might be able to offer. Thanks, Richard


    Anne Cox Chambers Age

    Cox was conceived in Dayton, Ohio. She was hitched to Louis G. Johnson by whom she had two youngsters: Katharine Ann (wedded first Jesse Kornbluth, wedded second William P. Rayner) and Margaretta (wedded first James F. Rock, second Dr. Alexander Taylor, third Michael Rich). The marriage finished in separate.

    In 1955, she wedded Robert William Chambers, by whom she had a child, James Cox Chambers (an entertainer, artist, and choreographer).

    Who is Zahid Younis? Wiki, Bio, Age, Murder of two Women, Charges and Arrested, Report

    In 1974, upon the demise of their sibling, James M. Cox (known as “Jim Jr.”), Chambers and Anthony increased a controlling enthusiasm for the family organization. That equivalent year Chambers became executive of Atlanta Newspapers. Anthony became director of Dayton Newspapers, while her better half, Garner Anthony, turned into the authoritative head of Cox Enterprises. In 1988 Anthony’s child James Cox Kennedy became director and CEO. Chambers stays a nearby consultant concerning the every day activity of the organization.

    Dynamic in business and governmental issues, Chambers was designated represetative to Belgium by U.S. president Jimmy Carter, a post she held from 1977 to 1981. She was a chief of the leading group of The Coca-Cola Company during the 1980s, and she was the primary lady in Atlanta to fill in as a bank executive (Fulton National Bank). She was additionally the principal lady in Atlanta named to the leading body of the city’s council of trade.

    Anne Cox Chambers held the Chair of Atlanta Newspapers and filled in as a Director of Cox Enterprises, one of the biggest broadened media organizations in the United States. It claims one of the country’s biggest satellite TV organizations, Cox Communications, which gives Internet and phone distributes papers including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Palm Beach Post possesses and works communicate TV and radio broadcasts and claims Manheim Auctions, a car closeout firm. It additionally claims stakes in an assortment of web organizations, including Autotrader, the biggest retail car shopping website on the planet. The Ambassador’s nephew Jim Kennedy is executive of Cox Enterprises.

    In 2004 Cox Enterprises declared an obligation financed $7.9 billion privatization offer for the 38% of the digital TV business Cox Communications that it didn’t effectively claim. With roughly 6.3 million link endorsers Cox likewise gives rapid Internet administration to in excess of 2 million homes and telephone utility to 1.1 million homes.


    Former U.S. Ambassador Anne Cox Chambers: How a shy girl became a powerful woman

    She had nothing to do with that, of course, nothing to do with the fact that her father, James M. Cox, born in a log cabin on a farm in Ohio, would build a newspaper empire, then become governor of Ohio, then run for president with Franklin D. Roosevelt as his running mate.

    That election was in 1920, the year Anne turned 1.

    She couldn&rsquot help that her father was loving but "awfully busy," her mother was over-protective and her little sister was as charming as Shirley Temple, while Anne was so "painfully shy" as a girl that she told an interviewer in 1985, "I was the ugly duckling, really. My sister was totally the opposite. Very outgoing, very sure of herself, a show-off, very well-coordinated, marvelous at athletics. I was hopeless. She was small for her age, and I was this same height when I was 12 years old, so I towered over the boys in dancing school, and that made me feel even more awkward. I&rsquove always said that the reason that I have bad posture is, I tried to hide behind my mother."

    As it turned out, posture and stature are two different things.

    As it turned out, Anne Cox Chambers was a rare creature: she spent her first 50 years building up her confidence and her second 50 years using it to change the world.

    &lsquoGone With the Wind&rsquo creates a spark

    That&rsquos not to say her first 50 were dull.

    She met her first husband when her mother beckoned her to Atlanta, where her father had just bought the evening newspaper, the Atlanta Journal.

    A thrilling adventure was at hand: the world premiere of "Gone With the Wind."

    "Mother called me at school (Finch College in New York) and said, &lsquoGet on the train and come on. This is going to be the greatest spectacle that has ever been.&rsquo"

    That was in 1939. Anne was 20. The man she married, Louis G. Johnson, was the son of the woman hosting the Cox family for lunch during the premiere event.

    That marriage lasted 15 years and produced two daughters, Katharine Rayner and Margaretta Taylor, who both have homes in Palm Beach.

    Margaretta&rsquos son, Alex Taylor, became publisher of The Palm Beach Post in 2009. Alex is now president and CEO of Cox Enterprises, the company his great-grandfather started in 1898, and the company that owned The Palm Beach Post and Palm Beach Daily News for nearly 50 years, until 2018.

    Cox Enterprises has more than $21 billion in annual revenue and 55,000 employees, but if you&rsquore one of those employees, as I was for a long time, you feel a sense of belonging, like you&rsquore part of a family.

    The Cox kind of wealth &mdash Forbes estimated Anne Cox Chambers&rsquo fortune at $12 billion in 2013 &mdash creates a natural distance, but Alex didn&rsquot behave in a distant way as publisher.

    He has "a reporter&rsquos mind" &mdash the same term Anne used to describe her father &mdash meaning he is "interested in everybody" and wants to know their story.

    Anne Cox Chambers, who died Friday at 100, revealed this in a candid and touching interview she did with Ann Miller Morin in 1985 as part of an oral history project on women ambassadors. Morin compiled her interviews in a 1995 book, "Her Excellency." The transcript is also available in the Library of Congress.

    The interview focuses on Anne&rsquos years as U.S. ambassador to Belgium and her friendship with President Jimmy Carter, who appointed her to that post.

    It also reveals her vulnerability and humanity, what it was like to be an inhibited girl thrown onto a world stage, her struggles with self-confidence and the challenges of being a woman in business.

    After her father put her on the board of Cox Enterprises, one powerful man in Atlanta told her she&rsquod never succeed because "you&rsquore not pushy enough."

    She never forgot that. She learned to push in her own way.

    &lsquoEach era of my life has been better than the one before&rsquo

    Anne&rsquos fondest early companions were books and her imagination, which conjured a friend she named "Evelyn Pitts."

    She had real friends, too, and she might have been less shy if her mother had been less protective, she said, but her mother&rsquos concerns were understandable: Margaretta Blair Cox had lost a baby boy the year before she gave birth to Anne.

    "The little boy died of pneumonia when he was less than a week old," Anne said.

    And as Barbara later told her sister, "mother worried so about you. She thought you needed &lsquobringing out.&rsquo"

    Anne relied on her smarts, the good grades that earned her father&rsquos praise.

    "I really don&rsquot look back on my childhood as being terribly happy," Anne said. "In fact, a friend of mine, a couple of years ago, sent me a pillow &mdash we all get these pillows with sayings on them &mdash saying, &lsquoScrew the golden years.&rsquo And I wrote her back and said: &lsquoThank you for thinking of me at Christmas, but I really can&rsquot agree with that because I&rsquom finding my golden years my happiest years."

    That&rsquos the lesson for "late bloomers" like Anne, whether you&rsquore rich or poor: Hold on. Look for your moment.

    Anne&rsquos moment came in 1966.

    Troubled by the politics of Lester Maddox, who had become infamous for refusing to serve blacks at a restaurant he owned, Anne asked her friends: Isn&rsquot there somebody coming up in the Democratic Party who could beat Maddox in the governor&rsquos race?

    There was: a peanut farmer named Jimmy Carter.

    Anne liked Jimmy immediately. She also discovered she loved campaigning and politics.

    "To me, there was nothing more exciting than being involved in a political campaign &mdash the adrenaline!" she said.

    Her purpose had revealed itself.

    Until then, "I had no star that I looked for or followed. The girls of my generation. Nobody ever told us to be somebody, so we didn&rsquot. I had no thought of a career. Everything has just sort of happened."

    What happened transformed her: Her stint as ambassador to Belgium from 1977 to 1981 put her in the center of global politics and also opened her eyes to the world&rsquos beauty.

    It was as if all the years she spent as a quiet observer had prepared her, and all the years she felt awkward had empowered her with empathy.

    She bought an estate in Provence and grew lavender and olives, digging into the soil herself. Her contributions to culture there earned her the French Legion of Honor.

    She got an apartment in New York to immerse herself in culture.

    Back in Atlanta, her money helped build the High Museum and support the Atlanta Humane Society, Atlanta Botanical Garden, the Atlanta Symphony and much more.

    She became the first woman director of Coca-Cola. She kept campaigning for Democrats.

    She did things she "never never would have dreamed of" if she had not gone to Belgium.

    From then on, she categorized each part of her life as "BB" &mdash before Belgium or after.

    "Each era of my life has been better than the one before," she said, and she wondered how different her life might have been if she had grown up in her children&rsquos generation.

    One thing she would have changed, she said: she would not have worried so much about towering over the boys.

    "I was very inhibited, maybe by nature and upbringing. I feel that I was so inhibited," she said. "I would have changed that. Because now I&rsquove become less and less so, and it&rsquos a more comfortable way to be.

    "Now people say, &lsquoHow do you have so much energy? How do you move around as much as you do?&rsquo It&rsquos motivation.


    Anne Cox Chambers, 100, enhanced Atlanta in her own quiet way

    My favorite Anne Cox Chambers story dates back to the presidential campaign of 2008.

    Her close friend, Veronica Biggins, told me how Chambers and a small group of Atlantans had gone knocking door to door for then-candidate Barack Obama in Ohio, South Georgia, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, Louisiana and Texas.

    Imagine one of the richest women in the world knocking doors of strangers, asking them to vote for the first African-American president in the nation’s history.

    Anne Cox Chambers, who died on Jan. 31 at the age of 100, was an enigma.

    She was an extremely private person who carefully selected when and where she would take a semi-public role. She preferred to work behind-the-scenes on causes she held dear – the arts and culture, rescue dogs, gardening and flowers, politics as well as international relations with a special love for France.

    Anne Cox Chambers chats with former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young at the 2012 Atlanta Press Club Hall of Fame dinner (Special: Atlanta Press Club)

    I first got to know Chambers during the 1980s when I was covering international business for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. At the time, she was chair of Atlanta Newspapers and a director of Cox Enterprises. She also was serving on the board of the Coca-Cola Co. following her tenure during President Jimmy Carter’s administration as ambassador to Belgium.

    One special moment was when French President Francois Mitterrand came to Atlanta in 1984. Chambers was part of a VIP reception at the Polaris lounge before he made his luncheon speech at the Hyatt Regency. The next year, Delta Air Lines started flying nonstop from Atlanta to Paris – which solidified the ties between the city and France.

    As a journalist, the moments when I actually wrote and/or interviewed Chambers were few and far between. Through her lawyer Chip Allen, I was able to get a feisty quote from her on the eve of Atlanta hosting the 1988 Democratic National Convention about the Southern Center for International Studies, an organization she had generously supported and even chaired the board.

    Both Chambers and another past chairman, Sam Ayoub, resigned from the board in protest of the way the Center was being governed with Chambers calling it a “personal fiefdom.”

    Another time when she demonstrated her independent streak was shortly after Gov. Joe Frank Harris became governor in 1983. Harris had instituted a zero alcohol policy at the Governor’s Mansion.

    One of the first international delegations to come to the Mansion was from France, where it’s common place to be served wine with dinner.

    The Harris administration approached Chambers, who lived across the street from the Mansion, to see if she would host a reception with alcohol before the dinner.

    CIS Atlanta group at recent dinner – Standing: Frank Brown, CEO of Communities in Schools-Atlanta Neil Shorthouse, a co-founder of the organization Jodie Guest, board chair of CIS-Atlanta Jim Chambers, on the national board of CIS Sitting (L-R): Bill Milliken, a co-founder of CIS Anne Cox Chambers and George Johnson, the night’s top honoree – a real estate leader who has supported CIS for 45 years. (Photo by Maria Saporta)

    Her response was direct. “Tell the governor that I will not be running a tavern for the state of Georgia.”

    One of the saddest days of my AJC career was when I interviewed Chambers (and her nephew Jim Cox Kennedy) in April 1998 right after Cox attorney Chip Allen, 53, was killed in a tragic plane accident. Both Chambers and Kennedy were audibly crying as I spoke with them separately on the phone about Allen.

    “We have lost our best friend,” Chambers said. “He has left a gap that no one can ever fill for me.”

    She told me that when she started having business investments in France, Allen learned French so he could advise her.

    “His compassion and understanding and caring just went beyond any lawyer-client relationship,” she said at the time. “”I always counted on him being here long after I was gone.”

    A much happier memory was when the Atlanta Press Club honored Chambers (along with her late father, Gov. James Cox, and her late sister, Barbara Cox Anthony) by inducting them into our Hall of Fame in 2012. We were delighted she attended the dinner, graciously speaking to guests, and proudly watching her grandson, Alex Taylor, accept the honor on her behalf.

    Shortly before I left the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2008, I was invited to dinner at the Grant Park home of Rev. Austin Ford, the founder of Emmaus House. The intimate dinner included Veronica Biggins, Beauchamp Carr of the Woodruff Arts Center and Anne Cox Chambers.

    When I arrived, Chambers was getting out of her limousine with her three non-pedigree dogs that quickly made themselves at home with Ford’s dogs. It was obvious Chambers and Ford, a modest man who was almost blind at the time, were regular dinner companions and dear friends.

    Bill Miliken, Anne Cox Chambers and George Johnson at 2016 Communities in Schools event (Photo by Maria Saporta)

    I realized some of Chambers’ closest friends were people who had devoted their lives to helping the poor, civic leaders like Rev. Ford and Neil Shorthouse, the founder of Communities in Schools.

    Back in the early 1990s, I remember talking with Don Keough, then president of the Coca-Cola Co. who was serving on the board of the Washington Post.

    How wonderful it would have been for Atlanta if Chambers had become our version of Katharine Graham, the well-respected publisher and CEO of the Washington Post who led the paper during its coverage of Watergate.

    Keough, a dear friend of both women, said such a role was not one Chambers would embrace, partly because of her shyness. She preferred staying in the background as a quiet philanthropist and letting others have the spotlight.

    That reminds me of another story that her nephew, Jim Kennedy, laughingly told me.

    “When I die, I want to come back as one of my aunt’s dogs,” Kennedy said. “They have the best life of all.”

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