Anne Curwen was educated at Birkenhead High School and Harrogate College, attending Newnham College, Cambridge, where she gained a First in History. After teaching, she became the secretary of the Scottish Women's Hospitals in 1916. In 1919, she joined the YWCA as education secretary, then as National General Secretary from 1930 to 1949.
Following her retirement, she continued to sit on various public welfare committees, and had a particular interest in refugees. She was the British delegate to the United Nations Refugee Fund from 1954–58, and President of the British Council for Aid to Refugees from 1962 until her death in 1973.
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