Women's History Month

Please check the March program page for info on events this weekend, including Charter Day (Sunday, March 11). Don't forget to set your clocks ahead one hour by 2 am Sunday (that is, the ones that don't do it themselves, cackling away like an Amazon Echo).

Floyd Schoonover, holding Mayme Schoonover, and Myrtle Sinsabaugh Schoonover
(PA Lumber Museum, 80.1.32, Bowers & Rawson Collection)
We're part way through Women's History Month, and yesterday (March 8) was International Women's Day, so this seems like a good time to take a look at women's history on and around the Trails of History (of course, anytime is a good time to look at all kinds of history). What follows is a series of "snapshots," not a comprehensive list of women's history as interpreted at our sites.

While the history of the lumber industry in Pennsylvania has been dominated by men, the exhibits at the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum do include women and their role in logging and in the conservation movement. Efforts to add more women's history are ongoing (such as this story posted on Facebook). The photo above shows a logging camp foreman or jobber with his wife and daughter; women were present in the camps with their families and sometimes as cooks. The photo below shows a boarding house in Leetonia, one of the lumber towns featured in the museum's core exhibit.

Seymour Whitney's boarding house, Leetonia (Tioga County), 1893
(PA Lumber Museum, 76.25.3, Wilferd E. Whitney Collection)

In addition to interpreting the lives and work of anthracite coal miners, the Anthracite Heritage Museum also explores the textile industry, which employed women in lace factories and as garment workers.

Textile machinery on exhibit at Anthracite Heritage Museum (from website)

Pennsbury Manor's interpretation includes the lives of Gulielma Springett Penn (1644-1694) and Hannah Callowhill Penn (1671-1726), including their roles in supporting and sustaining William Penn's Holy Experiment (read more about Hannah and see a portrait in Pennsbury's International Women's Day Facebook post). The work of other women at Pennsbury, both enslaved, indentured, and free, is also an important part of the programming and exhibits at the site.

The skills and knowledge of open hearth cooking and baking are researched and interpreted at Pennsbury Manor (from Facebook)

Military reenactment and timeline programs at the Pennsylvania Military Museum include the evolving roles of women in the military. New interpretive exhibits currently in development will highlight the experiences of individuals in all branches of the military throughout the course of Pennsylvania history and include women serving on the home front and in conflict zones.

Interpretation at PA Military Museum's "Vietnam Revisited" program includes the role of women as medical personnel (via Facebook)

In related news...

Curious as to how many PHMC Historical Markers feature women or issues related to women's history? I was too, so I did a quick search and downloaded a list. Check it out.

The New York Times announced a project to publish obituaries for notable women whose passing was ignored in its pages at the time of their deaths. The first 15 obituaries in the "Overlooked" project include Ida B. Wells, Ada Lovelace, and Emily Warren Roebling (read all 15 and learn more about the project, including how to nominate a woman for inclusion).

National History Day has posted a preview of a larger project, "Women in American History," which provides resources for teachers to integrate women's history into their classes and encourage students to examine primary sources from colonial America to the present. Materials are available to download.

In honor of Women's History Month, Governor Tom Wolf's Facebook page features a video highlighting women who have made significant contributions to Pennsylvania and beyond (view the video).

On This Day in History - March 9

In keeping with this week's women's history focus (but I managed to get baseball in too)...
  • 1976 - 1st female cadets accepted at West Point Military Academy
  • 1979 - Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn orders teams to provide equal access to female reporters
  • 1990 - Dr. Antonia Novello sworn in as first Hispanic and first female Surgeon General


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