Biographical / Historical
Andrew H. Woods (1872-1956) grew up in Martinsburg, West Virginia, where his father was a Presbyterian pastor. He attended Washington & Lee and graduated in 1893. He taught at private high schools in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts until he won a scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania Medical Department. After he graduated from UPenn, Woods accepted a position in Canton, China as the vice-president of the newly established Canton College.
Woods met Fanny Sinclair, a member of Bryn Mawr’s class of 1901, in July 1899 at a convention in Northfield before he left for China. Her sister, Elsie Sinclair, had recently graduated from Bryn Mawr in 1897) and was living in Paotingfu with her husband, Cortlandt Van Rensselaer Hodge as missionaries. In 1899, Woods left for China. Before he reaching Canton (he first stopped in England, Constantinople and India), he learned that Elsie Sinclair (Hodge) and her husband had been killed in the Boxer rebellion in 1900.
In 1902, Woods returned to America to marry Fanny Sinclair. Although the college had temporarily relocated to Macao, Woods stayed in Canton and worked at the hospital. Their first son, Thomas Sinclair Woods was born in 1907. Shortly after, the family moved to Bryn Mawr. Woods worked in the University of Pennsylvania clinic and at the Philadelphia General Hospital as the Assistant Neurologist and a teacher.
The family, which now included Francis Marion Woods (1908-2000) and twins, Margaret Woods (Keith) (1910-2001) and Janet Woods (Dickey) (1910-2005), moved back to Canton in 1912, after the dethronement of the Manchu Dynasty, in order to help stabilize Canton College. Andrew and Fanny Wood’s fifth child, Robert Pirie Woods was born in 1914. In February 1917, Andrew Woods returned to the United States to teach neurology to Army Physicians at UPenn, serve as head of the Division for Nerve Wounds in Bordeaux, and work in U.S. Army hospitals. The rest of the Woods family remained in Iowa with Fanny Sinclair Woods’ brother’s family.
After the war, the Rockefeller Foundation offered Woods a position as head of the Neurological department at the Peking Union Medical College, where he worked from 1920-1928. Finally, the family settled in Iowa City in 1929 at their home “Honglok” on the Iowa River. Woods took charge of the Iowa State Psychopathic Hospital and the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Iowa. During his time in Iowa, he became very active in civic matters in Iowa as well as the improvement of Iowa Mental Hospitals. He also wrote many scientific papers (1908-1948) on neurology, psychology and medical practice in China and the United States.
Woods retired from the University of Iowa in July of 1941, but continued a private practice until 1952, when Fanny Woods’s health deteriorated. In 1953, he sold “Honglok,” and moved to Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts, which was close to his son Dr. Francis Woods. Fanny Sinclair Woods died on March 4, 1954. Woods married Elizabeth Faries (Bryn Mawr 1912) in 1955. Shortly after, on November 5, 1956, he died in Newton, Massachusetts after a car accident.
Fanny Sinclair Woods was the fifth of six children: Jack Sinclair, Elsie Sinclair (Hodge), Rob Sinclair, Amy Sinclair and Agnes Maitland Sinclair (Vincent). The children were very close, and frequently wrote to one another. They also wrote to their mother, Caroline Soutter Sinclair (Lele) and their mother’s sister, Great Aunt Fanny Soutter often. Fanny Woods’s father, Thomas Sinclair (1842-1881), was born in Belfast, Ireland. Thomas Sinclair moved to New York in 1862 and started a meat packing business, T. M. Sinclair & Co, in 1871 in Cedar Rapids. He died in an accident at the meat packing plant in 1881. The Sinclair mansion, “Fairhome,” now “Brucemore,” still stands in Cedar Rapids.
Agnes Sinclair (Vincent) (1880-1962), Fanny’s younger sister, also attended Bryn Mawr and graduated in 1903. At Bryn Mawr, she played on the basketball team and was the President of the Christian Union. After her brother’s wife died, she went to live with his family and take care of his four children in Cedar Rapids. She married Dr. Howell Vincent in 1924 and they moved to Peking where he taught at Peking University. They divorced in 1948, and Agnes died in 1962 in Cedar Rapids.
Margaret Soutter Woods (Keith) (1910-2001) and Janet McCleery Woods (Dickey) (1910-2005), or “the twins,” also attended Bryn Mawr where they both majored in archaeology and graduated in 1932. They both attended graduate school at Radcliffe for anthropology. After Radcliffe, Margaret became interested in photography and worked as the expedition photographer in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico and Turkey. She married Gordon Keith in 1938 and lived in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania with her family. After her husband retired, the couple spent two years in Beirut, Lebanon. Margaret Woods Keith died in 2001. Janet married Parker Dickey in 1935. In 1946, they moved to Colombia with their four children. After Parker retired in 1875, the couple traveled in South America and Nepal. Janet Woods Dickey died in 2005.