First Lady Frances Wolf, Pa. Commission for Women Mark 19th Amendment Anniversary with Exhibit Honoring Pennsylvania Women
March 19, 2019
Harrisburg, PA – As part of Women’s History Month, First Lady Frances Wolf today announced a new exhibit at the Governor’s Residence to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which in 1920 gave women across the country the right to vote. The exhibit, entitled Game Changers: Pennsylvania Women Who Made History, showcases 32 Pennsylvania women who made a significant mark over the last century.
“This exhibit tells the story of women who proved to be “game changers” in their respective fields, overcoming – as the suffragists who came before them – often insurmountable odds to impact positive change in Pennsylvania,” said First Lady Frances Wolf. “Tom and I hope that this exhibit will serve as a reminder that we all must celebrate and continue to encourage younger generations of women to become leaders in their own professions and communities.”
Game Changers is a collaboration with the Office of the Governor, the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission, the Pennsylvania Commission for Women, and the Distinguished Daughters of Pennsylvania. The exhibit will remain on display throughout 2019, after which it will move to The State Museum of Pennsylvania.
The display consists of portraits of women from across the state representing diverse fields including education, science, business, human rights advocacy, and the arts – and details the contributions they made as well as the challenges they faced. Also exhibited are several objects representing recipients of the Distinguished Daughters of Pennsylvania award, a program that has honored women across the commonwealth since 1949.
“Women have been an integral part of Pennsylvania from the beginning, but their achievements have often been unsung,” said Andrea Lowery, executive director of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. “As we mark the 100th anniversary of Pennsylvania’s ratification of the 19th amendment, which a year later would give women the right to vote, we are pleased to call attention to a selection of remarkable Pennsylvania women from the last century. Whether already notable, or lesser known but deserving of more attention, their accomplishments inspire those who still strive to change the game.”
“We are honored to be a part of this vitally important exhibit honoring not only the legacy of these 32 women and their contributions, but of all Pennsylvania women who have proven to be game changers in their own right,” said Dana Brown, executive director of the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics at Chatham University and member of the Pennsylvania Commission for Women. “This exhibit showcases how far women have come over the last 100 years, but also reminds us that there is still much work to be done. We are so thankful to Governor Tom Wolf and First Lady Frances Wolf for their commitment to improving the lives of Pennsylvania’s women and girls.”
The Governor’s Residence offers tours on Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30 AM until 2:00 PM. Reservations are required and can be made by calling the tour line at 717-772-9130. In addition, any media interested in a private tour of the exhibit can contact the Governor’s Office at 717-783-1116.
The following is a list of the 32 Pennsylvania women featured in the exhibition Game Changers: Pennsylvania Women Who Made History.
Sadie T. M. Alexander (1898–1989), born in Philadelphia, economist/attorney, first African American woman to practice law in Pennsylvania, appointed by Truman to the President’s Committee on Civil Rights.
Marian Anderson (1897–1993), born in Philadelphia, singer, first African American to perform at the New York Metropolitan Opera, delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Committee.
Ernesta Ballard (1920–2005), lived in Philadelphia, horticulturalist/feminist, director of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, active in the women’s liberation movement.
Florence Knoll Bassett (1917–2019), lived in East Greenville, architect/furniture designer, headed Knoll Planning Unit that designed corporate headquarters, launched KnollTextiles that created functional fabrics in the Modernist style.
Genevieve Blatt (1913–1996), born in East Brady, politician/judge, first woman to win statewide elected office in Pennsylvania as secretary of internal affairs, as a Commonwealth Court judge she wrote the legal opinion that gave girls equal access to interscholastic high school sports.
Louise Tanner Brown (1883–1955), lived in Scranton, businesswoman, civic leader in Scranton’s growing African American community in the early 20th century, operated the G.W. Brown Trucking Co. and made it a success.
Pearl Buck (1892–1973), lived in Bucks County, author, first woman in the U.S. to receive the Nobel Prize for literature (The Good Earth), established the interracial adoption agency Welcome House.
Josie Carey (1930–2004), born in Pittsburgh, TV host/lyricist, star of Children’s Corner, pioneered quality television for children.
Rachel Carson (1907–1964), born in Springdale, marine biologist/author/conservationist, helped launch the modern environmental movement with her book Silent Spring.
Gloria Casarez (1971–2014), born in Philadelphia, civil rights leader/LGBT activist, Philadelphia’s first director of LGBT affairs.
Helena Devereux (1885–1975), born in Philadelphia, educator, pioneer in special education, created Devereux Stone to work with intellectually disabled children.
Mira Lloyd Dock (1853–1945), born in Harrisburg, botanist/environmentalist, first woman appointed to a Pennsylvania government agency (the State Forestry Reservation Commission).
Crystal Bird Fauset (1894–1965), born in Philadelphia, politician/legislator, first African American woman elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, founded the Colored Women’s Activities Club to register and mobilize black women voters.
Barbara Gittings (1932–2007), lived in Philadelphia, civil rights leader/LGBT activist, co-organized the campaign that led to the declassification of homosexuality as a mental disorder.
Martha Graham (1894–1991), born in Allegheny City, dancer/choreographer, revolutionized modern dance, founded the Martha Graham Studio.
Elsie Hillman (1925–2015), born in Pittsburgh, political activist/philanthropist, chaired national and statewide presidential campaigns, created the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics.
Grace Kelly (1929–1982), born in Philadelphia, Academy Award–winning actress/princess of Monaco, supported cultural and charitable initiatives.
Stephanie Kwolek (1923–2014), born in New Kensington, chemist, developed the strong lightweight synthetic fiber Kevlar that is used in bullet-proof vests, airplanes, suspension bridges, and undersea optical fiber cables.
Daisy Lampkin (1883–1965), lived in Pittsburgh, suffragist/activist, a major figure in the NAACP, stockholder and vice president of the Pittsburgh Courier newspaper for the black community across the U.S.
Elizabeth Ruddy Lynett (1902–1959), born in Scranton, journalist/publisher, investigative reporter for the Scranton Times and later its copublisher.
Sophie Masloff (1917–2014), born in Mt. Lebanon, politician, Pittsburgh’s first woman mayor who championed policies to lower taxes and stem population decline in the city.
Min Matheson (1909–1992), lived in Wilkes-Barre, labor organizer for the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union who unionized 168 factories and 11,000 workers.
Daisy Myers (1925–2011), lived in Levittown, integration pioneer, she and her family were the first black residents of the white suburban development of Levittown, exercising their right to home ownership amid harassment in one of the defining episodes of the postwar Civil Rights movement.
Violet Oakley (1874–1961), lived in Philadelphia, artist, created the murals in the Pennsylvania State Capitol, the first American woman to receive a public mural commission.
Mary Brooks Picken (1886–1981), lived in Scranton, fashion expert/author, founded the Women’s Institute of Domestic Arts with the mission to guide women to economic self-sufficiency through entrepreneurship.
Jeanette Reibman (1915–2006), lived in Allentown, politician, state senator who championed educational opportunities, the Equal Rights Amendment, and environmental and consumer protections in Pennsylvania.
Helen Richey (1909–1947), born in McKeesport, aviator/pilot, broke numerous aviation records, the first female commercial airline pilot in the U.S.
Jennie Bradley Roessing (1881–1963), born in Pittsburgh, activist, president of the Pennsylvania Women’s Suffrage Association who led the statewide campaign to pass a women’s suffrage bill in the Pennsylvania State Legislature.
Ida Tarbell (1857–1944), born in Amity Township, journalist/lecturer, pioneer of investigative journalism, one of the Progressive Era muckrakers who sought to reveal corruption in business and politics with an eye toward reform.
Grayce Uyehara (1919–2014), lived in Philadelphia, social worker/activist, founding member of the Japanese American Citizens League who led the lobbying initiative that resulted in the U.S. government’s formal apology for the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.
Ora Washington (1898–1971), born in Philadelphia, athlete, black women’s tennis star who won eight national championship titles from the American Tennis Association, played basketball for the Philadelphia Tribunes.
Frances Anne Wister (1874–1956), born in Philadelphia, historic preservationist, organized the Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks, laid the groundwork for a survey that was the basis of the first federal preservation program.