Surely there are New Hampshire women who deserve a place in the history books (and even their own web site.) The National Women’s History Project maintains a site with some wonderful stories, but alas New Hampshire women are strangely missing. If the history books were simply full of dates and places, and all mention of people were left out, I’m sure you would find it disorienting. The fact that for the most part women have been left out should evoke that same feeling for you. Without them, only part of the story has been told.
One of the few internet sites that honors New Hampshire women is Seacoast NH, which dedicates a section to “Seacoast Women.” Kudos to this extremely informative and entertaining web site.
On the NH Genealogy & History web sites that I maintain (see links to them in the right column), I’ve recently begun to add women’s biographies and accomplishments. My Manchester site currently has biographies and partial genealogies of some already famous, and not so famous women–Molly (Page) Stark, Dr. Mary Olive Ann Hunt, Dr. Olive M. Winegar, and Elizabeth “Nackey” (Scripps) Gallowhur Loeb.
History should not be exclusive of women whose lifestyles or beliefs we are not aligned with, and so I plan to include articles here (biographies and partial genealogies) of a variety of women from a broad range of time periods, occupations and accomplishments.
I have started creating a list, and find I can easily come up with at least 40 New Hampshire women who deserve mention. One of my most intriguing challenges is how to designate that a woman is “of New Hampshire.” Should the criteria be that she was born here, moved here, lived here for many years, or died here? I’m not sure birth location alone answers the question, “Where are you from?”
This is a photograph of my grandmother, Mattie (Kilborn) Webster. She was born in 1885 in Webster, New Hampshire, and was a school teacher who lived in Merrimack, New Hampshire. In addition to marrying (my grandfather, Clarence L. Webster), raising a family, teaching school, and being active in her church along with several local clubs and organizations, she found time to teach English to immigrants at the Institute of Arts and Sciences (then called) in Manchester NH. She loved history, and certainly is a source of inspiration to me. She is one of the unsung women who contributed to New Hampshire’s rich history.
March 2011 is National Women’s History Month. This year’s theme is “Our History is Our Strength.” If you are a blogger or webmaster who has written an article relating to women’s history during this month, please leave a comment, and I will include a link from here.
EDITORS NOTE: This article was originally posted March 17, 2007 and since then I have written hundreds of stories about specific women or including women. Links below.
2018: National Women’s History Month — New Hampshire Women & World War I
National Women’s History Month: Weaving New Hampshire’s Stories in Granite (2015)
Celebrating Women’s History Month in New Hampshire (2014)