Vermont Humanities

A Personal Gift from Anne Commire Estate

Anne Commire’s play Melody Sisters was presented at the Eugene O’Neill Playwright’s Conference in 1983 and at the L.A. Public Theatre in 1984. Anne is shown above on the left with the Los Angeles cast of the play about a musical group of siblings who reunite in mid-life

Vermont Humanities is delighted to announce the creation of the Anne Commire Fund for Women in the Humanities, created through a legacy gift of $125,000 from Anne’s estate. The fund will support projects at Vermont Humanities that focus on women writers. 

Anne Commire was a respected playwright, author, and editor. She passed away on February 23rd 2012 at the age of 72 in her Connecticut home.  Over the years she developed strong ties to Vermont through close friends who later became the executors of her estate.  Anne is buried in Jericho Center.  

A native of Wyandotte, Michigan, Commire graduated from Eastern Michigan University before moving to New York to pursue a career as a playwright. Between the period of 1973 and 1988, four of her plays were awarded the prestigious Eugene O‘Neill Award and were performed in the U.S and around the world. 

All of Anne’s plays have a connection to women’s experiences. Whether they drew on her personal experience or something she witnessed,” states Commire’s literary executor. In her final play, Starting Monday, Commire wrote about a deep friendship between two women. The play was inspired by the death of a friend who succumbed to cancer. In her final work, Mooreville, she told the true, often funny, and occasionally tragic story of her grandmother, her mother, and her aunts during the Depression and Prohibition. 

Commire was also a champion of women’s history and compiled and edited the 17 volume Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Anne’s literary executor recalls the importance of this project, “Anne’s greatest contribution to women was developing the first encyclopedia of notable women in history. She secured most of the funds from feminist and activist Peg Yorkin and completed an exhaustive reference work about accomplished women who were historically left out of traditional encyclopedias. It was a deeply personal endeavor for her.”   

Anne’s legacy gift is one of the largest individual gifts in the history of Vermont Humanities.  Additional gifts of any size can be added to the Anne Commire Fund to support programming of, by, and for women including our Women Veterans book groups, literacy programming for incarcerated women, and other projects. 

If you would like to learn more about giving to this fund, or about how to make your own planned gift to support the humanities in Vermont, contact Kathryn Tufano at 

We are accepting Letters of Intent for our next round of humanities grants until February 3.

Vermont Humanities*** April 30, 2021