Anne Whitney was born in Watertown, Massachusetts, on 2nd September, 1821. She ran a school in Salem, before moving to New York to study art. Whitney had her first exhibition at the National Academy of Design in 1860.
In 1878 Anne began living and working with Abby Adeline Manning in their new studio at 92 Mt. Vernon in Boston. In 1888 Anne purchased 225 acres in Shelburne, New Hampshire and her and Adeline spent their summers on the farm. They were together for forty four years until, after a brief illness, Adeline died at the age sixty-nine.
Anne Whitney was a passionate opponent of slavery and an advocate of women's rights, Whitney's work often reflected her political beliefs. This included sculptured busts of Lucy Stone, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frances Willard, Harriet Martineau, Mary Livermore and William Lloyd Garrison.
Whitney was also asked by the city of Boston to create a monument to celebrate the achievements of Charles Sumner. However, when the officials discovered that Whitney was a woman, they withdrew the commission. Whitney, who had been a political supporter of Sumner in his campaign against slavery, decided to produce the statue anyway. It now stands outside Harvard Law School.
Anne Whitney died on 23rd January, 1915.