National Women’s History Month: Weaving New Hampshire’s Stories In Granite

 2015 Women's History Month Theme: Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives

March 2015: Women’s History Month Theme: Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives, from the National Women’s History Project

This year [2015] is the 35th anniversary of the National Women’s History Project.  The group grew from a few concerned educators and history activists in California, to  a more substantial collective of both women and men today.   Since 1909 various “Women’s Days” have been held, but it was not until 1987 that the entire month of March was designated as Women’s History Month.

This year is also the 90th anniversary of women’s suffrage–based on the year of ratification (when it became law). After a seventy year battle, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed by Congress on 4 June 1919.  Then it took a year and two months, until August 18, 1920, to ratify the 19th amendment, and grant women the right to vote. Illinois was the first state to ratify the amendment;New Hampshire the 16th; Tennessee the 36th state (obtaining the three-fourths of the states); and Mississippi the last. In many places it was too late to place women’s names on voting ballots, but two New Hampshire women won their local elections with write-in votes– Jessie Doe and Dr. Mary L. (Rolfe) Farnum.

Today women have much to celebrate, but even more work to do. In order to weave women’s stories back into history, a great deal of research needs to be done.  History books are still  being written with women’s achievements left out, or only vaguely referred to.  Lists of “Famous People from <location>” do the same, with only token references to women. I challenge genealogy and history bloggers to make a difference this year by writing and posting women’s stories during the month of March.  We don’t have to re-write women’s history, just write what we know. Every woman’s story is important.

As long as we are content to do nothing, then we will continue to be left out of history. We need to become women’s history activists.  If we want to empower today’s women, then we need to show that women are as important than men (or more so).  One way to show this is through publishing our stories.

Mattie (Kilborn) Webster, educator, historian, mother, wife, grandmother, sister

Mattie (Kilborn) Webster of Merrimack NH–educator, historian, civic leader, rug-hooker, homemaker, daughter, sister, wife, mother– and (my) grandmother.

The women of New Hampshire are much like the granite rock, commonly found here. We are complex, unique, and useful.  Our history is embedded in the land.  Without knowledge of women’s contributions, local history is full of holes. We can build a solid monument of women’s history if we work collectively to do so. We can weave women’s stories back into the New Hampshire’s granite landscape.

Please join me in writing a story about a lesser known New Hampshire woman, who contributed in her own way to our rich and interesting history. She could be your mother, grandmother, great-grand, aunt, cousin, sister-in-law, daughter or daughter-in-law, teacher, or friend.  She should even be yourself!   Make your story public on a blog or web site, and provide me with the link (either directly or in a comment below), and I will be happy to add it here for others to read.  I have compiled a series of NH women’s history stories for this project that are listed below.  As the stories are published over the next month, the links will be added here.

If you wish to write about a woman who is not connected with New Hampshire, I would also be honored to link back to your publication here.  Either send me an email (see my contact page) or add a comment to this post.

Janice W. Brown

Celebrating Women Through History [this blog 2006-2015]

Manchester New Hampshire’s Human Rights Champion, Volunteer, Civic and Community Leader: Vanessa Leah Washington-Johnson-Bloemen (1953-2011)
– New Hampshire’s first Female Senator: Bristol’s E. Maude (Fowler) Ferguson (1883-1932)
– New Hampshire’s First Female Banker and Financier: Jane Grace Alexander (1848-1932)
– Illustrator, Lecturer, Social Worker, New Hampshire Politician: Effie Brown (Earll) Slingerland Yantis (1869-1950)
– New Hampshire’s Former First Lady: Constance Rivington (Russell) Winant Eppley Earle (1899-1981)
A New Hampshire Joiner’s Wife: Malinda (Maddox) Knox (1812-1890)
– New Hampshire’s Leading Suffragist, Human Rights Proponent and Philanthropist: Armenia S. (Aldrich) White (1817-1916)
– Philosopher, Educator and A Woman of Vision: Canterbury New Hampshire’s Dr. Mary Mills Patrick (1850-1940)


– Daughters of the Granite State, on anceSTORY blog, author Melissa D. Berry

Seacoast Women, on Seacoast NH, author J. Dennis Robinson

– Exhibition: Home, School and Studio: Women Artists and New Hampshire, New Hampshire Historical Society

– New Hampshire Women’s Foundation, #27 Women


Blog, Nutfield Genealogy: The Woeful Life of A Colonial Woman

NEHGS: Women in the Gray Diary

Passage to the Pasts Blog: The “Greatest” Aunt

Preserving the Past: Rose Ann Breslin

This entry was posted in History, New Hampshire Women and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to National Women’s History Month: Weaving New Hampshire’s Stories In Granite

  1. Pingback: Celebrating New Hampshire Women Through History | Cow Hampshire

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

  3. Pingback: 2017 New Hampshire and National Women’s History Month | Cow Hampshire

Leave a Reply