Ann Herbert Scott was born in Philadelphia on November 19, 1926, the only child of Henry Laux Herbert, a newspaper editor, and Gladys Howe Herbert, a singer and painter. She was educated at Springside and George School, a Quaker boarding school, and later attended the University of Pennsylvania, where she graduated with distinction and honors in English and was class valedictorian. After teaching for a few years at various Friends schools, she entered Yale University, where she earned a Master’s Degree in Social Ethics in 1958.
While at Yale, Ann became involved with and later employed by the Wider City Parish, an interdenominational group ministry program focusing on the problems of inner-city children. She developed a program called “Link,” which paired Yale students with challenged children in an ongoing counseling venture. She spent several summers as a camp counselor, and later director, of the University Girls Camp, which offered low-income teen girls the opportunity to escape the stresses of the city and to explore their spiritual beliefs. Ann did volunteer work at the Elm Haven Housing Project, the Dixwell Area Teenage Committee, the Social Relations Committee of the Council of Churches, and the Big Brother Program. Ann met her husband William Taussig Scott during his sabbatical at Yale in 1960, where they both attended Quaker worship services. They moved to Reno in 1961 when Bill was hired there as a professor in the Physics Department.
In Reno, Ann began to explore her interest in multi ethnic children’s literature, and in 1964 published her first book, Big Cowboy Western, one of very few books at the time to depict African-American inner-city life. She published twelve more works for children, including beautifully illustrated counting and picture books, many emphasizing Nevada or western desert themes. In addition, Ann published a popular book on the U.S. Census for high school and college students. Her publications have won awards from the American Library Association and other organizations and several have been translated into foreign languages. In 1995, Ann Scott received the Nevada Writer’s Hall of Fame award. Her published works can be found online or by contacting her family.
Ann’s interest in ethnic children’s literature, coupled with her commitment to her immediate community, led her to plan, develop and direct a variety of festivals and workshops aimed at increasing literacy in Nevada. In 1979, she worked with librarians and teachers to create “Open Door to the Humanities,” bringing popular children’s authors to remote Nevada communities. Ann also planned and directed “All Colors of the Race: A Festival of Ethnic Children’s Writers” in 1982, a conference that brought the Reno and University community together to examine and celebrate ethnicity and culture in general, and in children’s literature in particular. Ann co-founded the Children’s Literature Interest Group in Reno, which has planned the yearly “Art of the Children’s Book Festival” since 1982. She also played an active role in several local writers’ groups.
Ann’s Quaker beliefs drove her to a life committed to pacifism, political action, and service to others. Upon her arrival in Reno, she helped form the Reno Area Committee of the American Friends Service Organization, whose activities included acquiring assistance for the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe; lobbying for prison reform; and advocating for the care or rights of victims of domestic violence. Ann and William Scott co-founded the Reno Friends Meeting, the West Coast Quaker Association on Religion and Psychology, and Sierra Interfaith Action for Peace. She and Bill were also leaders among a group of Friends who adopted children of various races and backgrounds.
At the local level, Ann was committed to interdenominational solutions to a variety of social and political concerns. She helped plan vigils, fasts, walks, runs, tree plantings, educational forums, and discussion meetings to galvanize attention, build cooperation, and further the peace movement in Nevada. The war in Vietnam, civil rights, poverty, women’s equality, Central America, the MX missile, death penalty, nuclear freeze movement, and much, much more all found expression in Nevada, largely through the efforts of Ann Scott. She accomplished all these things while dealing for many years with a serious manic-depressive condition about which she was very forth-right and open.
In 1995, Ann and Bill moved to Santa Rosa, joined Redwood Forest Friends Meeting, and became part of Friends House, a Quaker senior community. Bill died there on February 22, 1999 after a long battle with Parkinson's Disease. Ann continued to live at Friends House until the large California fires of October 2017 forced her evacuation. She subsequently moved to Canyon Trails Senior Living to be near her son Peter in Topanga, California. She died there on July 16, 2018.
Ann is survived by her five children (Jennifer, Stephanie, Melanie, Peter and Katie), by five grandchildren (Thomas, James, Manda, Trent, and Andrew), and by three great grandchildren (Sondreena, Ashtyn, and Carson).