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Hannah Callowhill Penn

Hannah Callowhill Penn
portrait in the
Friends Historical Library,
Swarthmore College

Hannah Callowhill Penn (February 11, 1671 - 1727) was the second wife of William Penn; she effectively administered the Province of Pennsylvania for six years after her husband suffered a series of strokes and then for another eight years after her husband's death. She served as acting proprietor from 1712 until her death in 1726. She is one of the few individuals and the first woman who has been given the status of Honorary Citizen of the United States. It was given to her by Presidential Proclamation upon an Act of Congress (PL.98-516) by Ronald Reagan on November 28, 1984.

When she came to America she had already been pregnant with their second of eight children when the couple embarked from England for their three month voyage. When William Penn died at age 73 July 30, 1718 his will gave full control of the colony and his fortune to Hannah Penn. William Penn's oldest son by his first marriage sought to set aside his father's will to obtain control of the colony. His suit was unsuccessful and Hannah Penn remained in charge until she died from a stroke at age 55.

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