Hannah Fitch was born in Lawrenceburg, Ind., on October 6, 1851. Several male members of her family had attended Indiana Asbury College (later called DePauw University), and she grew up hearing stories about the college. Her parents felt strongly about the importance of education for young women. She began her college days in January 1869, but while ranking first in her class, was disappointed in her experience and did not return in the fall. One of her new friends, Bettie Locke, wrote her, urging her to return, which she did.
With Bettie Locke and Alice Allen graduating in 1871, and Bettie Tipton transferring to another school, Hannah was the last remaining founder on the campus, and it became her responsibility to continue Kappa Alpha Theta. Not only did she help grow the fraternity, but she was also active on campus, including being on the editorial staff for of the college paper, Asbury Review, the first woman to do so.
Hannah met her future husband, Archibald Shaw, at DePauw, and married him after she graduated in 1873. They had eight children, including a daughter, Ella, who also attended DePauw and was a member of Alpha Chapter. During her lifetime, she obtained a U.S. Patent for an improved dustpan.
Hannah attended four conventions, including the first one in 1872 and then in 1899, 1907, and 1919. She traveled a good amount, and in one particular trip to the west coast, she visited Theta chapters along the way. She attended the installation of Alpha Tau Chapter at the University of Cincinnati in 1913. She continued to hold strong views about the importance of higher education for women.
Hannah died in 1924, and is buried in Lawrenceburg, Ind.