Museum the New Llano Colony

Anna Tabb

Birth: She was born around 1895 in Minsk, Russia. Her parents were well-to-do Jews and very religious -- her father had been a teacher of the Talmud -- which seemed paradoxical to some of the colonists who knew Anna as a free-thinker. She recalled that even as a child she had found it difficult to adhere to Jewish orthodox teachings, but at that time had kept her thoughts much to herself and had instead become an introvert.  

Family Information: Mother of Lenin Tabb

Description: In 1927 she was described as "picturesque... in her morning garb of Little Lord Fauntleroy britches and handkerchief of red, [she] goes at her sweeping with almost professional zeal." In one interview she stated how pleased she was that very few of the men spit on the floor; and if one did, a simple reminder that it was unethical, accompanied by a definition of the word, invariably elicited an improvement.

Theodore Cuno described her in 1929 as "sweet, black-eyed... [a person] with whom he took long walks..., talking of past joys and sorrows and indulging in mentally painting glowing pictures of a brilliant and happy future..."  

Pre-Colony History: As a young girl in Vladivostock during the pogrom of 1905, she'd watched as Russian soldiers and peasants dashed through the ghetto with sword, lash and fire-brand, carrying death and destruction with them and witnessed the horrors of the next day, with heaps of dead and dying relatives and friends lying about. Three years later, in Pinsk, she survived another pogrom -- this one not as terrible as the first with only several deaths, although many were driven mad by the experience. It became apparent to Anna that she had to get out of Russia.

According to her own account, in 1914 she and seven friends paid $50 each to some Russian policemen who agreed to take them across the border to Germany. They were caught and spent three days and nights in prison, but were able to once again bribe the guards, who released them. They continued on to Bremen, Germany where they boarded a boat bound for Baltimore, Maryland. A rich uncle in Chicago sponsored all of the fugitives. Because Anna had a university education and spoke Russian, Hebrew and German she was accepted into a Jewish hospital where she was trained as a nurse.  

Soon after her arrival in America, Anna met a young medical student who had once been her sweetheart in Russia. After his graduation, he became a lecturer and they toured the country together, though after only four years his ill health compelled them to settle in Denver, Colorado where she nursed him another four years until his death.

She then went to New York City with her infant son where she heard about Charles Garland's "April Farm" near Allentown, Pa. She joined the group of around twenty-five members which had also been run co-operatively, but focused entirely on agricultural products.

In 1926, after only six months at April Farm, she moved to Newllano with her two-year old son.  

Home in Colony: In 1930 she and Lenin were listed as boarders with Emmaly Swenson.  

Job in Colony: She was a trained nurse, although she was always ready to help in the garden, orchard, laundry, peanut factory or wherever help was needed. In fact, she had, all her life, yearned to "get down into mother earth and dig."

In April 1928 the hotel dining room crew included: Dad Thomas who washed dishes; Mother Waters and Mrs. Mickey who dried them and helped serve at the counter; Mrs. Tabb who looked after the dining room; John Davis who kept them supplied with wood and was the real handy man around the hotel; and Mrs. Moore who was the manager of that most important service industry.

In September 1928 she was on the college faculty along with: Lowell H. Coate - Superintendent and instructor in Sociology, Economics and Public Education; E.C. Bennett - English and History; Benjamin Roe - Scientific Agriculture; Guy F. Rogers - Mathematics; Eugene Hough - Psychology; F. Hamel - Spanish, German and Latin; Mary Erma Wilson - Voice and Piano; R.B. Snyder - Director of Orchestra, Wind and Stringed Instruments, Chorus and Ensemble; Geo. T. Pickett - Industrial Science; Daisy Daugherty - Domestic Science; Edna Mae Coffin - Manual Art, Sculpture and Architectural Drawing; Austin McLane - Journalism; Nell Rogers - Botany; Hope Shoemaker - Shorthand, Typewriting and Book-keeping; Mr. Daugherty - Intermediate Grades; Mrs. A.E. Bennet - Primary Grades; Esther Allen - Health and Hygiene; Mary H. Atworth - Librarian and Instructor in the Art of Expression; Anna Tabb - School Nurse, Dr. J.P. Kimmel - College Physician; Alice Pickett - Girls Counselor; Theodore Atworth - Oil and Watercolor Art; Alma Wilson Bell - Dramatic Art.

At the food products plant in November 1928 Pete Hanson, Anna Tabb, and Mrs. Bingham shelled the beans used to make the colony's coffee substitute.

In June 1933 she working on the evening crew for dinner along with Mrs. Swilley, Mrs. Johnson, Florence Anderson, Mrs. Collins, Anna Tabb and Nora Hewitt.

In April 1934 she and Interne Izzy Ginsberg were making old folks comfortable at the hospital.

In November 1935 Industrial Manager Page appointed Anna Shoemaker as the new manager of the hotel after the departure of Mrs. DuProz. Her crew consisted of Sarah Murray, who would, assisted by Ruby Loftin, cook dinner. Mrs. Gay and Mrs. Anna Tabb would cook supper. Mrs. Wright, who had wiped trays twice a day for so long, would continue to do so at dinner and Katie Belle Goans would clean the trays at supper.

Other Info: In 1928 she was one of the founding members of the local Conscientious Objectors Union; Theodore Atworth served as the first Secretary-Treasurer with O.E. Enfield serving as the President. The organization was planned to be international, composed of people who refused to go to war as a matter of conscience. Charter members included: Theodore Atworth, Mary H. Atworth, Emily H. Dougherty, I.A. Dougherty, Carl H. Gleeser, S. Weislander, Charlie C. Black, John Hight, Lowell H. Coate, W.A. Shutt, F.O. Jernberg, Reka Jernberg, Anna Tabb, Peter Kemp, F. Rosenburg, B. Wade Hewitt, Hamilton H. McClurg, W.J. Hoag, Theodore F. Landrum, C.N. Butts, Mary Snyder, George Snyder, Anna Garrett, Emma Shutt, M.A. Brattland, Richard P. Condon, Jr., Emily Swenson, W.J. Newman, George T. Pickett, Raymond DeFausell, S.E. Baldwin, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Molenar, Earl L. Bosch, Guy F. Rogers, Ora E. Newman, James J. Miller, Bert Busick, Mabel D. Busick, Ole Synoground, C.C. Mickey, Fred A. Jensen, Katie Mickey, F. Rahn and Isaac H. Keyes.

In 1932 Walter Groth drove a group of colonists including Ann and Lenin Tabb, Mrs. Gossett and her daughter, Mae, to the Rice Ranch; they returned by way of Alexandria.

In September 1934 she traveled to Longville to bring her son, Lenin, home to Llano Colony after he'd been visiting with the Giltner family there.

In 1937, Anna announced that she and Lenin would be leaving the colony, going to New Orleans where he was to be placed in a hospital upon the recommendation of Dr. Shaw of the Leesville Hospital (after suffering from typhoid/maleria [sic] contracted in 1935.)  

Post-Colony History: In July 1937 she wrote a letter, sending best wishes for everybody. At the time she was in New York City, "having a situation with the Bronx hospital." She had gone to New York from New Orleans.

In 1940, she and Lenin (clearly listed as 'Leon' on the census sheet) were boarding in Bronx, NY with Ike and Bertha Newman, both of whom, like Ann, had been born in Russia. She had been unemployed for the past 12 months (though her occupation was listed as 'Practical Nurse') because she was 'Unable' to work.

In 1944 she was living in Wilmington, Delaware.  

Death: According to a family tree on she died in 1964 at Wilmington, Delaware.  

Sources: "Llano Colonist": November 12, 1927, April 7, 1928, September 1, 1928, September 15, 1928, November 10, 1928, December 22, 1928, August 3, 1929, August 17, 1929, July 9, 1932, June 4, 1933, April 28, 1934, May 26, 1934, September 8, 1934, January 19, 1935, August 24, 1935, November 23, 1935, May 22, 1937, May 29, 1937, July 17, 1937;  "Can We Co-operate" by Bob Brown; US Census: 1930, 1940; Wilmington City Directory: 1944;


Anna Tabb

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