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The 2004 crop of honorees added to the Fredericksburg Wall of Honor made lifelong contributions to the community.

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Date published: 4/24/2004


Miss Annie had learned a lot about public relations from her New York World journalist husband, Horace Herbert Smith. She traveled around the country persuading wealthy patrons--including presidents, governors and senators--to give money and time to Kenmore.

Before World War II, she motored 25,000 miles a year lecturing on Kenmore. Melissa Smith Fitzgerald of Reston, who is active in Fredericksburg preservation circles, described her grandmother in action: "She was assertive and charming and audacious, as pushy as her mother was reserved."

She became so well-known that she received mail addressed simply to "Miss Annie, Fredericksburg."

She used newspapers all over the state to raise matching funds and provide free publicity for Kenmore.

One of Miss Annie's most inspired ideas was the sale of Mary Ball Washington's gingerbread recipe to Dromedary, which used it to make a gingerbread mix. Kenmore received all the gingerbread mix it wanted free of charge and served it in the Colonial kitchen until recent years.

During World War II, 600,000 service men and women were served tea and gingerbread at Kenmore. Miss Annie also welcomed hundreds of them for weekend suppers at her home on Hanover Street. As a result, she was named Good Neighbor for the Day by NBC's "Breakfast at Sardi's."

Emily Fleming was president of Kenmore, serving until 1940, the year before her death. Miss Annie became secretary, then director, a post she held until 1954.

Honors came to both mother and daughter. In 1932, Fleming received a medal for her assistance to the George Washington Bicentennial Commission. When she died, on Oct. 12, 1941, Douglas Southall Freeman wrote: "She did as much as any single individual to preserve Fredericksburg in its picturesque beauty."

Miss Annie was listed in the first edition of Marquis' "Who's Who of American Women"; was cited by the National Antique Show in 1947 as one of 10 persons outstanding in preserving American culture; and was named "First Lady of Fredericksburg" in 1949. She was a founder and a director of Historic Fredericksburg Foundation Inc.

Miss Annie died on Feb. 25, 1962. She rests beside her mother and others of her family in the Fredericksburg Confederate Cemetery.

A Free Lance-Star editorial said: "'Miss Annie' gave of herself, body and soul, to selling Kenmore and Fredericksburg. This city has never had--and perhaps never will have--a more determined salesman working for it than 'Miss Annie' Smith."

BARBARA CROOKSHANKS is a freelance writer living in Fredericksburg.

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