Ann Dunham
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Stanley Ann Dunham (1942 - 1995)

Stanley Ann (Ann) Dunham aka Soetoro
Born in Wichita, Kansas, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
Wife of — married 2 Feb 1961 (to 1964) in Maui, Hawaiimap
Wife of — married 1966 (to 1980) in Jakarta, Indonesiamap
Descendants descendants
Mother of and [private daughter (1970s - unknown)]
Died at age 52 in Honolulu, Oahu, Honolulu, Hawaii, United Statesmap
Profile last modified | Created 18 Jul 2009
This page has been accessed 21,401 times.
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"Stanley Ann Dunham (November 29, 1942 – November 7, 1995) was the mother of Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States, and an American anthropologist who specialized in economic anthropology and rural development.[1]


Dunham's name changed several times during her life:

  • Stanley Ann Dunham was her name at birth
  • Stanley Dunham -- through high school,
  • Ann Dunham in graduate school
  • Ann Obama during her first marriage
  • Ann Soetoro during her second marriage
  • Ann Sutoro, after her second divorce, while in Indonesia
  • Ann Dunham after her return to Hawaii. [2]

1942 Birth

Stanley Ann Dunham was born November 29, 1942 in Wichita, Kansas, as the only child of Stanley Armour Dunham (1918-1992) and his wife Madelyn Lee Payne. [3] She spent her childhood in California, Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas, her teenage years in Mercer Island, Washington, and most of her adult life in Hawaii and Indonesia.[4]

She was of predominantly English ancestry, with some German, Swiss, Scottish, Irish, and Welsh ancestry.[5] Wild Bill Hickok is her sixth cousin, five times removed.[6] announced on July 30, 2012, after using a combination of old documents and yDNA analysis, that Dunham's mother may have been descended from African John Punch, who was an indentured servant/slave in seventeenth-century colonial Virginia.[7][8]


She was an American anthropologist who specialized in economic anthropology and rural development.[1]

Dunham studied at the East–West Center and at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in Honolulu, where she attained a bachelor's of anthropology [9] and master's and PhD in anthropology.[10]

Interested in craftsmanship, weaving and the role of women in cottage industries, Dunham's research focused on women's work on the island of Java and blacksmithing in Indonesia. To address the problem of poverty in rural villages, she created microcredit programs while working as a consultant for the United States Agency for International Development. Dunham was also employed by the Ford Foundation in Jakarta and she consulted with the Asian Development Bank in Gujranwala, Pakistan. Towards the latter part of her life, she worked with Bank Rakyat Indonesia, where she helped apply her research to the largest microfinance program in the world.[10]

In an interview, Barack Obama referred to his mother as "the dominant figure in my formative years ... The values she taught me continue to be my touchstone when it comes to how I go about the world of politics." [11]

1961 First marriage to Barack Obama, Sr.

While attending a Russian language class, Dunham met Barack Obama, Sr., the school's first African student.[12][13]At the age of 23, Obama Sr. had come to Hawaii to pursue his education, leaving behind a pregnant wife and infant son in his home town of Nyang'oma Kogelo in Kenya. Dunham and Obama Sr. were married on the Hawaiian island of Maui on February 2, 1961, despite parental opposition from both families.[11][14]Dunham was three months pregnant. [11][15] Obama Sr. eventually informed Dunham about his first marriage in Kenya but claimed he was divorced. Years later, she would discover this was false. [13]

Obama Sr.'s first wife, Kezia, later said she had granted her consent for him to marry a second wife, in keeping with Luo customs.[16] The Standard (Kenya). in keeping with the Luo customs, Obama Senior sought her consent to take another wife, which she granted.

Dunham filed for divorce in January 1964, which Obama Sr. did not contest.[15]

1965 Second Marriage to Lolo Soetoro

"It was at the East–West Center that Dunham met Lolo Soetoro,[17] a Javanese [10] surveyor who had come to Honolulu in September 1962 on an East–West Center grant to study geography at the University of Hawaii. Javanese often have only one name. "Lolo" was a nickname given to Soetoro in childhood. Soetoro graduated from the University of Hawaii with an M.A. in geography in June 1964. In 1965, Soetoro and Dunham were married in Hawaii, and in 1966, Soetoro returned to Indonesia. Dunham graduated from the University of Hawaii with a B.A. in anthropology on August 6, 1967, and moved in October the same year with her six-year-old son to Jakarta, Indonesia, to rejoin her husband.[18]"

1972 Return to Hawaii

In August 1972, Dunham, with the help of her employer (LPPM), obtained an Asia Foundation grant to begin graduate study in anthropology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.[19] She and her daughter moved back to Hawaii where they rejoined Obama. [19]


She died November 7, 1995 (aged 52) in Honolulu, Hawaii, United States of Uterine cancer. Her ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean off Koko Head, Oahu, Hawaii.

President Obama talked about Dunham's death in a 30-second campaign advertisement ("Mother") arguing for health care reform. The ad featured a photograph of Dunham holding a young Obama in her arms as Obama talks about her last days worrying about expensive medical bills.[20] The topic also came up in a 2007 speech in Santa Barbara:[20]

"I remember my mother. She was 52 years old when she died of ovarian cancer, and you know what she was thinking about in the last months of her life? She wasn't thinking about getting well. She wasn't thinking about coming to terms with her own mortality. She had been diagnosed just as she was transitioning between jobs. And she wasn't sure whether insurance was going to cover the medical expenses because they might consider this a preexisting condition. I remember just being heartbroken, seeing her struggle through the paperwork and the medical bills and the insurance forms. So, I have seen what it's like when somebody you love is suffering because of a broken health care system. And it's wrong. It's not who we are as a people.[20]

Posthumous Recognition

After her son was elected President, interest renewed in Dunham's work: The University of Hawaii held a symposium about her research; an exhibition of Dunham's Indonesian batik textile collection toured the United States; and in December 2009, Duke University Press published Surviving against the Odds: Village Industry in Indonesia, a book based on Dunham's original 1992 dissertation.

Janny Scott, an author and former New York Times reporter, published a biography about Ann Dunham's life titled A Singular Woman in 2011.

Posthumous interest has also led to the creation of The Ann Dunham Soetoro Endowment in the Anthropology Department at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, as well as the Ann Dunham Soetoro Graduate Fellowships, intended to fund students associated with the East–West Center (EWC) in Honolulu, Hawaii.[21]

In December 2010 Dunham was awarded the Bintang Jasa Utama, the highest civilian award in Indonesia.[22]


  1. Barack Hussein Obama (b. 1961), son of Ann Dunham and Barack Obama, Sr. (Married 1961-1964). On August 4, 1961, at the age of 18, Dunham gave birth to her first child, Barack Obama II.[23] Friends in the state of Washington recall her visiting with her month-old baby in 1961.[24][25][26]
  2. Maya Kassandra Soetoro (b. 1970), daughter of Ann Dunham and Lolo Soetoro (Married 1965-1980) . On August 15, 1970, Soetoro and Dunham had a daughter, Maya Kassandra Soetoro.[27]


  1. 1.0 1.1 S. Ann Dunham – Surviving against the Odds: Village Industry in Indonesia". Retrieved 2014-08-20. Cited by Wikipedia. Accessed Aug 7, 2016
  2. Scott (2011), p. 6: Anyone writing about Dunham's life must address the question of what to call her. She was Stanley Ann Dunham at birth and Stanley as a child, but dropped the Stanley upon graduating from high school. She was Ann Dunham, then Ann Obama, then Ann Soetoro until her second divorce. Then she kept her husband's name but modernized the spelling to Sutoro. In the early 1980s, she was Ann Sutoro, Ann Dunham Sutoro, S. Ann Dunham Sutoro. In conversation, Indonesians who worked with her in the late 1980s and early 1990s referred to her as Ann Dunham, putting the emphasis on the second syllable of the surname. Toward the end of her life, she signed her dissertation S. Ann Dunham and official correspondence (Stanley) Ann Dunham. p. 363: modernized the spelling: The spelling of certain Indonesian words changed after Indonesia gained its independence from the Dutch in 1949, and again under a 1972 agreement between Indonesia and Malaysia... Names containing oe,... are now often spelled with a u... However, older spellings are still used in some personal names... After her divorce from Lolo Soetoro, Ann Dunham kept his last name for a number of years while she was still working in Indonesia, but she changed the spelling to Sutoro. Their daughter, Maya Soetoro-Ng, chose to keep the traditional spelling of her Indonesian surname.
  3. Peters, Susan (2009-01-27). "President Obama: from Kansas to the capital, part II (video at". Wichita: KAKE 10 News (ABC). Retrieved 2009-09-12. Cited by Wikitree. Accessed Aug 7, 2016
  4. Scott (2011), p. 108. Cited by Wikipedia. Accessed Aug 7, 2016
  5. Smolenyak, Megan Smolenyak (November–December 2008). "The quest for Obama's Irish roots". Ancestry. 26 (6): 46–47, 49. ISSN 1075-475X. Retrieved December 20, 2011; Smolenyak, Megan (May 9, 2011). "Tracing Barack Obama's Roots to Moneygall". The Huffington Post. Retrieved May 19, 2011; Rising, David; Noelting, Christoph (Associated Press) (June 4, 2009). "Researchers: Obama has German roots". Retrieved May 13, 2010; Hutton, Brian; Nickerson, Matthew (May 3, 2007). "For sure, Obama's South Side Irish; One of his roots traces back to small village" (paid archive). Chicago Sun-Times. Press Association of Ireland. p. 3. Retrieved November 24, 2008; Jordon, Mary (May 13, 2007). "Tiny Irish village is latest place to claim Obama as its own". The Washington Post. p. A14. Retrieved May 13, 2007; David Williamson (July 5, 2008). "Wales link in US presidential candidate's past". Archived from the original on 21 May 2011. Retrieved April 30, 2011.
  6. Boston Genealogical Society Confirms Obama and "Wild Bill" Hickok Are Cousins New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2008-07-30. Cited by wikipedia. Accessed Aug 7, 2016
  7. Press Release: Discovers President Obama Related to First Documented Slave in America: Research Connects First African-American President to First African Slave in the American Colonies. Cited by Wikipedia. Accessed Aug 7, 2016
  8. Harman, Anatasia; Cottrill, Natalie D.; Reed, Paul C.; Shumway, Joseph (2012-07-15). "Documenting President Barack Obama's Maternal African-American Ancestry:Tracing His Mother's Bunch Ancestry to the First Slave in America" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-09-10. Most people will be surprised to learn that U.S. President Barack Obama has African-American ancestry through his mother.
  9. The University of Hawaii at Manoa Department of Anthropology says Ann Dunham received a B.A. in anthropology in August 1967 and contemporaneous correspondence in 1966 and 1967 between S. Ann Soetoro and the INS makes repeated references to her obtaining a B.A. in anthropology in 1967.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Dewey, Alice; White, Geoffrey (November 2008). "Ann Dunham: a personal reflection". Anthropology News. 49 (8): 20. doi:10.1111/an.2008.49.8.20. Archived from the original on June 10, 2010. Retrieved 2009-08-23. reprinted by: Dewey, Alice; White, Geoffrey (2009-03-09). "Ann Dunham: a personal reflection". Honolulu: University of Hawaii Department of Anthropology. Archived from the original on 2012-04-02. Retrieved 2010-11-22. "Spotlight on Alumni: EWC Alumna Ann Dunham— Mother to President Obama and Champion of Women's Rights and Economic Justice". East-West Center. Honolulu, HI, USA: East–West Center. 2008-12-09. Archived from the original on 2012-10-12. Retrieved 2013-03-09. External link in |work= (help)
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Jones, Tim (2007-03-27). "Barack Obama: mother not just a girl from Kansas; Stanley Ann Dunham shaped a future senator". Chicago Tribune. p. 1 (Tempo). Archived from the original on 2012-04-02. Retrieved 2009-02-16.
    • (2007-03-27). "Video: Reflections on Obama's mother (02:34)". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 29 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-16.
    • (2007-03-27). "Video: Jim Wichterman reflects on his former student (02:03)". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 29 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-16.
    • (2007-03-27). "Video: She changed his diapers (01:02)". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 30 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-16.
    Cited by wikipedia. Accessed Aug 7, 2016
  12. Obama, Barack (2004) [1995]. Dreams from my father: a story of race and inheritance. New York: Three Rivers Press. p. 9. ISBN 1-4000-8277-3; Mendell (2007), p. 27; Glauberman, Stu; Burris, Jerry (2008). The dream begins: how Hawai‘i shaped Barack Obama. Honolulu: Watermark Publishing. p. 25. ISBN 0-9815086-8-5; Jacobs, Sally (2008-09-21). "A father's charm, absence; friends recall Barack Obama Sr. as a self-confident, complex dreamer whose promising life ended in tragedy". The Boston Globe. p. 1A. Retrieved 2008-12-05. Cited in Wikipedia. Accessed Aug 6, 2016
  13. 13.0 13.1 Maraniss, David (2008-08-22). "Though Obama had to leave to find himself, it is Hawaii that made his rise possible". Retrieved 2008-12-05. (online). Maraniss, David (2008-08-24). "Though Obama had to leave to find himself, it is Hawaii that made his rise possible". The Washington Post. p. A22. (print). Cited in Wikipedia. Accessed Aug 7, 2016
  14. Meacham, Jon (2008-08-23). "On his own". Archived from the original on 23 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-27. (online); Meacham, Jon (2008-09-01). "On his own". Newsweek. 152 (9): 26–36. ("Special Democratic Convention issue") (print) Cited in Wikipedia. Accessed Aug 7, 2016
  15. 15.0 15.1 Ripley, Amanda (2008-04-09). "The story of Barack Obama's mother". Time. Archived from the original on 2012-04-02. Retrieved 2009-08-27. Ripley, Amanda (2008-04-21). "A mother's story". Time. 171 (16): 36–40, 42. Cited by Wikipedia. Accessed Aug 7, 2016
  16. Oywa, John (2008-11-10). "Keziah Obama: My life with Obama Senior".
  17. Solomon, Deborah (2008-01-20). "Questions for Maya Soetoro-Ng: All in the family". The New York Times Magazine. p. 17. Archived from the original on 12 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-13. Cited by Wikipedia. Accessed Aug 7, 2016
  18. Scott, Janny (2008-03-14). "A free-spirited wanderer who set Obama's path". The New York Times. p. A1. Retrieved 2009-02-13.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Dunham (2009), pp. xli–xliv: "January 8, 1976 letter from Ann Dunham Soetoro (Jl. Polowijan 3, Kraton, Yogyakarta) to Prof. Alice G. Dewey (Univ. of Hawaii, Honolulu)." Cited by Wikipedia. Accessed August 6, 2016
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 (2008-12-24). "Obama bids farewell to grandmother (photo gallery)". New York Post. Retrieved 2008-12-25.
  21. "The Ann Dunham Soetoro Endowed Fund". Retrieved 2012-01-02. Cited by wikipedia. Accessed Aug 7, 2016
  22. Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship Fund Website
  23. Henig, Jess; Miller, Joe (2008-08-21). "Born in the U.S.A.". Washington, D.C.: Archived from the original on 25 October 2008. Retrieved October 24, 2008. Cited by Wikipedia. Accessed Aug 7, 2016
  24. Brodeur, Nicole (2008-02-05). "Memories of Obama's mother". The Seattle Times. p. B1. Archived from the original on 24 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-13. Box last saw her friend in 1961, when she visited Seattle...
  25. Martin, Jonathan (2008-04-08). "Obama's mother known here as "uncommon"". The Seattle Times. p. A1. Archived from the original on 7 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-13. Regarding the 1961 visit to Washington state: "Susan Blake,[Botkin] another high-school classmate, said that during a brief visit in 1961, Dunham was excited about her husband's plans to return to Kenya." Regarding her enrollment at University of Washington: "By 1962, Dunham had returned to Seattle as a single mother, enrolling in the UW for spring quarter and living in an apartment on Capitol Hill." Cited by Wikipedia. Accessed Aug 7, 2016
  26. Montgomery, Rick (2008-05-26). "Barack Obama's mother wasn't just a girl from Kansas". The Kansas City Star. p. A1. Retrieved 2009-02-13. But all doubts dissipated when she passed through Mercer Island in 1961 with her month-old son. Cited by Wikipedia. Accessedd Aug 7, 2016
  27. Fornek, Scott; Good, Greg (2007-09-09). "The Obama family tree" (PDF). Chicago Sun-Times. p. 2B. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-06-25. Retrieved 2009-02-13. Cited by Wikipedia. Accessed Aug 7, 2016

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Comments: 8

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Dunham-2378 and Dunham-4 appear to represent the same person because: Same parents and child
Dunham-2314 and Dunham-4 appear to represent the same person because: same dates and family lineage, please approve this merge
Most women do not change their names when their husband's die, they continue to use their married name. In this case, her Obituary refers to her as Ms. Soetoro.
posted by Robin Lee
Ann Dunham is not the mother of Bernard Obama. If Bernard is the son of Barack Obama Sr., it is because he is the son of Mr. Obama's first wife.
posted by Meg McGowan
Dunham-877 and Dunham-4 appear to represent the same person because: Previously rejected this by mistake
Dunham-877 and Dunham-4 do not represent the same person because: These are two different people - one is a woman, the other her husband
Dunham-877 and Dunham-4 appear to represent the same person because: same dates, name was incorrect and was in an incorrect lineage
posted by Robin Lee
Please add to this profile. Thanks!!
posted by Arik Russell

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