Celebrating New Hampshire Women Through History

In March of 2006, I wrote my first blog article specifically about women, named “New Hampshire Women in History,” and eight years later not a great deal has changed.

RECAP of ALL WOMEN’S HISTORY ARTICLES: New Hampshire Women in History (published 2006, updated 2019) | Celebrating New Hampshire Women Through History (2011) (you are reading this)| Celebrating Women’s History in 2014 | National Women’s History Month: Weaving Stories in Granite (2015) | March 2016: Celebrating National Women’s History Month  | 2017 New Hampshire and National Woman’s History Month    | 2018 National Women’s History Month: NH WOMEN & WWI | Women’s History Month: New Hampshire’s Remarkable Women for 2019 | 2020 Recap: More Remarkable Women of New Hampshire |

I am still inspired by my grandmother’s love of history *and* the excitement she instilled in my father, which he in turn shared with me. I am still disappointed that more is not being done to promote our understanding of the contributions by New Hampshire women to our history and culture. There are a few exceptions, and I acknowledge them now–the New Hampshire Historical Society has offered exhibits and programs focused on women, the University of New Hampshire offers educational presentations on women OF UNH, and J. Dennis Robinson of Seacoastnh.com continues to write about Portsmouth and seacoast area women (and of course history specific and in general). The Manchester (NH) Historic Association offers highlights in their Millyard Museum on a few of the notable women from that city.

Since writing that first article, I have researched and authored several hundreds stories focused on often little-known New Hampshire women.  Most are not nationally or even locally recognized beyond this blog.  Almost all of these amazing people were born in New Hampshire– a few were not, but instead garnered ‘fame’ here and they hailed from every county.

All contributed to our wealth of knowledge, or to our health or the heritage of New Hampshire.  They were educators, authors, healers, artists, activists, entrepreneurs, benefactors, and poets.  As women they were also daughters, and some were wives, mothers or sisters. Each story is not a simple biography.  It includes genealogical research into the woman’s family, and provides additional sources of research, and interpersonal connections.

If I complain that women are left out of history, I am often told “it is just too difficult or time consuming to research a woman’s genealogy or history.” This is not a good excuse.  There are ways to research women, it just takes more effort–I think they are worth it.  I encourage other researchers and genealogists to make that effort, lest we ourselves are left out of history.  March is Woman’s History Month–celebrate it in style.

For every event in our history books, there were women involved, whether or not their participation was mentioned in the official texts.  For additional stories about women in New Hampshire, visit my “New Hampshire Women” category, or use the search prompt to locate a specific topic. I have purposefully not included stories written about women in my own family.

Just below I have listed stories about New Hampshire women who *should* be better known to all of us (this is not a complete index). This article was originally written to be included in the Carnival of Genealogy: Womens History.

Cow Hampshire Blog Articles About Women
This article was originally written in 2006, and updated in 2020.  Please read this 2014 blog story for my latest posts and comments. [Celebrating Women’s History Month in New Hampshire 2014] and this blog story for 2015 additions [National Women’s History Month: Weaving New Hampshire’s Stories In Granite ]

Alexandria New Hampshire Author and Teacher, Louise Lamprey (1869-1951)
Boscawen New Hampshire Author, Lecturer, Activist for Peace and Social Reform: Lucia True Ames Mead (1856-1898)
Bartlett New Hampshire’s Author, Lady Blanche Elizabeth Mary Annunciata (Noel) Murphy (1845-1881)
Claremont New Hampshire Author: Constance Fenimore Woolson aka Anne March (1840-1894)
Concord New Hampshire Artist: Alice Ericson Cosgrove (1909-1971)
Concord New Hampshire Educator & Astronaut, Sharon Christa (Corrigan) McAuliffe (1948-1986)
Dover New Hampshire Artist, Ruth (Whittier) Shute (1803-1882)
Raising a Little Hell in New Hampshire: Dublin’s Doris Ethel “Granny D” (Rollins) Haddock (1910-2010)
Dunbarton New Hampshire’s Pioneer Educator in Ohio: Marianne (Parker) Dascomb  (1810-1879)
Exeter New Hampshire Artist & Botanist, Catherine “Kate” Furbish (1834-1931)
Jefferson New Hampshire Doctor: Deborah “Granny” (Vicker) Stalbird (1755-1845)
Goffstown New Hampshire Author, Educator, Social Reformer, and Women’s Rights Champion: Mary Sargeant (Neal) Gove Nichols (1810-1884)
Henniker New Hampshire Poet: Edna Dean Proctor (1827-1923)
Littleton NH Novelist: Eleanor (Hodgman) Porter – (1868-1920)
Madison New Hampshire’s Aviation Innovators: The Amazing Granville Family
Manchester New Hampshire Entrepreneur, Alma M. (Cavagnaro) Truesdale (1881-1973)
Manchester New Hampshire Physician, Civil Leader and Politician: Zatae L. (Longsdorff) Straw (1866-1955)
Mason New Hampshire’s Author, Teacher, and Painter, Elizabeth Orton “Twig” Jones (1910 -2005)
Meredith New Hampshire Doll Maker Barbara Annalee (Davis) Thorndike (1915-2002)
(Merrimack) New Hampshire’s Burnap “Leghorn Bonnets”
Milford New Hampshire Black Novelist and Spiritualist: Harriet “Hattie” E. (Green) Adams Wilson Robinson (1825-1900)
Nashua New Hampshire Clairvoyant: Leonora Evelina Simonds Piper (1857–1950)
New Hampshire’s Record-Breaking State Representative and “Grand Dame”: Hilda C.F. (Johnson) Brungot (1886-1982)
Newport New Hampshire Milliner, Author, Poet, Editor and “Mother of Thanksgiving”: Sarah Josepha (Buell) Hale (1788-1879)
Newton New Hampshire’s Social Worker and UFO Abductee: Eunice Elizabeth “Betty” (Barrett) Stewart Hill (1919-2004)
North Barnstead New Hampshire’s Harriet P. Dame: the “Florence Nightingale” of The Civil War (1815-1900)
Northwood New Hampshire Teacher and Attorney, Ella Louise Knowles (1860-1911)
Peterborough New Hampshire Art Patron and Pianist: Marian Griswold (Nevins) MacDowell (1857-1956)
Portsmouth New Hampshire Philanthropist: Roberta Brooke (Russell) Kuser Marshall ASTOR (1902-2007)
Portsmouth New Hampshire Poet and Hospital Benefactor, Harriet McEwen Kimball (1834-1917)
Randolph New Hampshire’s Wellesley College President and Director of WAVEs: Dr. Mildred Helen (McAfee) Horton (1900-1994)
Rye New Hampshire Artist and Writer, Rose (Cushing) Labrie (1916-1986)
Sugar Hill New Hampshire Physician: Anna Betsey (Taylor) Cole (1851-aft 1927)
Warner New Hampshire Artist, Fine Arts Printmaker: Nancy (Lewis) Nemec (1923-2003)
Warner New Hampshire Author, Amanda Bartlett Harris (1824-1917)
Webster New Hampshire Author and Illustrator: Tashua Tudor aka Starling (Burgess) McCready (1915-2008)
Winchester New Hampshire Businesswoman, Persis Foster (Eames) Albee (1836-1914)

1842: Getting Away With Murder in Bath New Hampshire (Adaline Tenney Comings)
“A Funeral And A Wedding” in Colonial New Hampshire (Frances Deering Wentworth Atkinson Wentworth)
A Valentine’s Day Story: New Hampshire’s Bette Davis Connection
Bath New Hampshire: The Haunted Hibbard House (Sarah Hale Hibbard)
Concord New Hampshire’s White Park And Family (Armenia S. Aldrich White)
Death on Mt. Washington: The Tale of Lizzie Bourne
New Hampshire and the Lowest Social Security Number (Grace D. Owen)
New Hampshire’s Missing Places: Peyton Place (Marie Grace DeRepentigny Metalious)

2020 Additions:
– 2020 Recap: More Remarkable Women of New Hampshire

2019 Additions:
Women’s History Month: New Hampshire’s Remarkable Women for 2019

2018 Additions:
2018 National Women’s History Month: NH WOMEN & WWI

2017 Additions:

2017 New Hampshire and National Woman’s History Month

2016 Additions:
March 2016: Celebrating Women’s History Month in New Hampshire

2015 Additions:
– First Female County Register of Probate in the U.S.: Marlow New Hampshire’s Ella F. Gee (1853-1937)
– National Women’s History Month: Weaving New Hampshire’s Stories In Granite (2015)

2014 Additions:
Four More Manchester (NH) High School Graduates of 1888 [Maude G. Fifield, Ethel G. Lamprey, Sarah G. Sawyer and Alice M. Stuart].
– New Hampshire’s First Female Selectman: Lenna Gwendolen (Wilson) Perry (1899-1986)
–  Four Manchester (NH) High School Graduates of 1888 [Lillian J. Gray and Emma A. Putney]
Merrimack New Hampshire Poet and Author: Hannah Eayrs Barron (1809-1891)
– Manchester New Hampshire’s Philosopher and Educator: Professor Emeritus Isabel Scribner Stearns (1910-1987)
Sadie (Kane) Prichard of Weare and Hillsborough New Hampshire (1870-1933)
– A Portsmouth NH Sea Captain’s Daughter and Wife: Sarah Chase “Sallie” (Tibbetts) Salter (1792-1868)
Mrs. Daniel (Cynthia Imilda Comings) Plummer of Mason and Lee, New Hampshire (1848-1891)
– New Hampshire Missing Places: Janeville [named after Jane (Young) Southwick].
– Barrington, New Hampshire Educator, Civic Leader, Author and Poet: Susan Hale (Hussey) Knapp (1832-1906)
Manchester New Hampshire Actress: Mary E. Fogarty (1921-2011)
– New Durham New Hampshire’s Educator, Lawyer, Suffragist, Humanitarian and Author: Marilla Marks (Young) Ricker (1840-1920)
– “Christmas Picture,” by New Hampshire Poet: Lydia (Swasey) Obear

2013 Additions:
– First American War Vessel Named after Manchester NH: USS Manchester (CL-83) 1946-1960 [includes a partial biography of Mrs. Madeline Gladu]
– Rollinsford New Hampshire’s First Female Legislator, Outdoor Enthusiast, Civic Leader, and Women’s Rights Proponent: Jessie Doe (1887-1943)
– Penacook New Hampshire’s First Female Legislator, Physician, Educator and Civic Leader: Mary Louise (Rolfe) Farnum (1870-1965)
– Derry, Rockingham County, New Hampshire Educator & Library Trustee: Mary Harriett (Day) Low (1868-1957)
– Immigrant to New Hampshire: Cora Alvina Parnell (1868-1913)
– New Hampshire’s Canterbury Shakers: Elderess Bertha Lindsay (1897-1990) and Gertrude Soule (1894-1988)
– Portsmouth New Hampshire’s Charity Worker and Suffragist: Sarah Whittier “Sallie” Hovey (1872-1932)
– New Hampshire Back Stairs: Servants to the Carpenter, Manning, Hoyt, Slayton, Campbell and Jenks Families in 20th Century Manchester [several notable women]
– New Hampshire’s First Female Aviator, Well-Known Photographer and Philanthropist: Bernice Blake Perry (1905-1996)

2012 Additions:
– Merrimack New Hampshire Educator and Actress: Marjorie “Maggi” Blanche Parker (1927-still living)
– A New Hampshire Mom: On Losing A Child (Mary Webster, my mother)
2011 Additions:
– Merrimack New Hampshire International Athlete, Activist for the Disabled: Marilyn Warren Woods (1914-1998)
– Orford New Hampshire Poet, Musician, and Teacher: Fannie H. (Runnells) Poole (1863-1940)


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5 Responses to Celebrating New Hampshire Women Through History

  1. Bret Rush says:

    You failed to mention the most famous woman ever to come out of the state of NH.
    Mary Baker Eddy the founder of the Christian Science Church and author of “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” which has sold over 7 million copies. The state of NH obviously feels Eddy is much more important than you do as a life size
    portrait of her hangs on the wall of the State House but yet you fail to even mention her as a notable woman in NH history.

    • Janice Brown says:

      Bret, for several years I have been compiling information on a story about Mary Baker Eddy, but I am not quite ready to write the story. Already “famous” women who have been written about many times and are quite easy to research are really not my primary focus. With hundreds of possible women to write about, I opt to spend my time with the ones who are less known but as prominent in their own right. Thank you for the suggestion.

  2. Pingback: National Women’s History Month: Weaving New Hampshire’s Stories In Granite | Cow Hampshire

  3. Pingback: March 2016: Celebrating Women’s History Month in New Hampshire | Cow Hampshire

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