The month of March has a focus on women around the world if you include International Woman’s Day (IWD) on 8 March (with a spot light on women’s rights). Since March of 1987, the United States has formally observed Women’s HISTORY Month. During this time women’s contributions to history, culture and society are shared.
The earliest known Women’s History month goes a bit further back to 1978 in a Sonoma California school district. The first national declaration of Women’s History Week occurred in 1980 when President Jimmy Carter passed a resolution for a national celebration.
Fifteen years ago, in March of 2006, I wrote my first blog article specifically about women’s history, named “New Hampshire Women in History” and since then I have written numerous stories of both famous and lesser known women of my home state. Twice I’ve made a point of focusing on women specific to a time period — suffrage and WWI. But their interests and occupations are as varied as stars in the sky.
This year I admit I struggled whether to choose an era, a profession, or to follow the guidelines of the National Women’s History Alliance. They are extending the 2020 theme to 2021 as “Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to Be Silenced.” I selected none of those options, and instead looked at my ever-growing list of New Hampshire women who were, prior to my research, entirely unknown to me.
All of this month’s subjects were of my grandmother’s generation, all born by 1900, and therefore would all have been relatively young women when they were first able to vote. They were not all politicians nor were they typical suffragists. But they all served the State of New Hampshire by either election or appointment, being “first” in something.
In addition to biographical information, I took the time to research each of my subject’s family trees, which will allow others to connect with these interesting woman. Only once did I digress from this focus.
History researchers often come across odd bits and pieces, or off-topics of interest during their research. I call them rabbit-holes. You start off with one subject and you end up rooting for sources for a completely different one, as if you fell into a rabbit warren. This particular rabbit hole connects with all the WWI stories I have written in the past, and is about a missing statue. Not a New Hampshire one, but because WWI statues honoring women are so rare, I decided to include the story here.
—STORIES WRITTEN FOR 2021 NH WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH—
As the following stories are published on this blog, I will add a link here to them.
World War I’s Missing Hero Statue—Once A Tribute to the Women’s Red Cross Motor Corps
New Hampshire First Lady, Civic Leader, First Woman Nominated to Executive Council: Margaret Walter (Clough) Martin Anderson (1890-1979) of Bow and Concord
Lancaster and Hanover NH Philanthropist, Trustee, Civic and Social Leader: Sarah Maynard “Sally” (Drew) Hall (1876-1949)
Manchester New Hampshire Legislator, Senator, Constitutional Convention and Democratic National Convention Delegate, First Woman Appointee to NH Liquor Commission: Marye (Walsh) Caron (1900-1991)
Rindge and Concord New Hampshire First Woman NH State Agency Director, Administrator, Speaker, Award Recipient: Abby Langdon (Alger) Wilder (1889-1978)
Comments, corrections and suggestions always welcome.
American Woman? Amerique, Columbia and Lady Liberty: Women At the Center, New-York Historical Soociety Museum & Library
COW HAMPSHIRE PAST WOMEN’S STORIES
– 2020 Stories about NH Suffrage and Anti-Suffrage Women & Men