Frances (Fanny) Elizabeth Daniel Leak, physician, reformer, and state officer in the Farmers' Alliance, was born in Bath County, Kentucky. While she was a small child the Daniel family moved to Texas, where she grew up and completed her early education. She attended Baylor University and in 1887 received a doctorate of medicine from the Woman's Medical College of Chicago, a department of Northwestern University. Dr. Leak was a member of the Travis County Medical Society and the Austin District Medical Society. She also held the office of superintendent for health and heredity for the Austin Woman's Christian Temperance Union and was the medical examiner for the Knights and Ladies of Dixie, Circles of Woodmen of the World, and state Farmers' Alliance. The alliance elected her state secretary in 1895; she was one of only three women elected to a state office in the Southern Farmers' Alliance. As the state secretary, she rallied alliance members to the causes of the organization. Her spirited articles and letters in the Southern Mercury, the alliance newspaper, focused on such topics as human rights, women's rights, and education. Her letters, although not directly addressed to women, encouraged women's involvement in the alliance. She believed that women, once educated, could reform the world within their sphere as wives and mothers. As an advocate of the expansion of women's role in the alliance, she proposed charging women dues so that they would have more of an interest in the organization. She and her husband, Augustus S. Leak, had four daughters and lived during the 1890s in Austin, where she had a successful medical practice. By 1909 she had moved her practice to Seattle, Washington.
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The Handbook of Texas Women project has its own dedicated website and resources.
Elizabeth Brooks, Prominent Women of Texas (Akron, Ohio: Werner, 1896). Melissa Gilbert Wiedenfeld, Women in the Texas Farmers' Alliance (M.A. thesis, Texas Tech University, 1983).
Health and Medicine
Physicians and Surgeons
Activism and Social Reform
Late Nineteenth-Century Texas
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Melissa G. Wiedenfeld,
“Leak, Frances Elizabeth Daniel,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed June 26, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
March 1, 1995
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: