Pioneer Woman on the Santa Fe Trail
Susan Shelby Magoffin was the young wife of a trader from the United States who traveled on the Santa Fe Trail in the late 1840s. She recorded her experiences in a diary – Down the Santa Fe Trail and Into Mexico: The Diary of Susan Shelby Magoffin, 1846-1847 (1926) – which has been used extensively as a source for that period in history.
Image: 7-foot tall statue sculpted by Ethan Houser
Keystone Heritage Park
El Paso, Texas
Susan Shelby was born into a wealthy family on July 30, 1827 on their plantation near Danville, Kentucky. She was the granddaughter of Isaac Shelby, a hero of the American Revolution and the first governor of Kentucky. She grew up with servants and received a proper education.
First Woman Correspondent for the New York Times
Sara Jane Lippincott (1823–1904) was an author, journalist and activist, better known by the pseudonym Grace Greenwood. One of the first women to gain access to the Congressional press galleries, she used the opportunity to advocate for social reform and women’s rights, while creating a path for future women correspondents.
Throughout a career that lasted over half a century, Greenwood most often worked as a journalist. She and her writing were praised in many journals, including Female Prose Writers of America (1852), Female Poets of America (1859) and Eminent Women of the Age (1869), but she was often disliked for her strong opinions on women’s rights and the abolition of slavery.
First and Most Prominent Woman CEO in the United States
Rebecca Lukens was an American businesswoman, who ran a steel mill from 1825 until her retirement in 1847. In the mid-1990s, the mill – the Lukens Steel Company – was considered the oldest continuously operating steel mill in the U.S. In 1994, Fortune magazine named Lukens America’s first female CEO of an industrial company and inducted her into the National Business Hall of Fame.
Image: Portrait of businesswoman Rebecca Lukens
Rebecca Webb Pennock, the eldest daughter of Isaac Pennock, was born on January 6, 1794. She grew up in the business, often accompanying her father in the mill. She had a great desire to learn, and with the support of both her father and cousins, Rebecca received a much better education than most girls of her era. She attended a boarding school in Wilmington, Delaware, where she studied French, mathematics and the sciences.
Doctor and Pioneer in Women’s Education
Clemence Sophia Harned Lozier was one of the first women doctors in the United States. In 1863 she founded the New York Medical College and Hospital for Women, the first school where women of New York City could study medicine and the first hospital where women patients could receive medical care from doctors of their own gender.
Image: Dr. Clemence Sophia Harned Lozier
Dr. Clemence Sophia Harned was born December 11, 1813, in Plainfield, New Jersey, and educated in the Plainfield Academy. She was the youngest of 13 children born to David and Hannah Walker Harned, who had lived among the Native Americans in Virginia for several years before moving to New Jersey.
Women Slaves in the Colony of Virginia
Slavery is a civil relationship in which one person has absolute power over the fortune, life and liberty of another. Chattel slavery further defines that relationship with the added dimension of ownership as personal property (chattel), in which the chattel can be bought and sold as if they were commodities. Chattel slavery was legal in the American colonies from the mid-17th century to the end of the Civil War in 1865.
A slave is a human being who is forced to obey the commands of others, and to work for nothing. A chattel slave is an enslaved person who is owned forever and whose children and children’s children are automatically enslaved as well. A chattel slave has no rights, and is no longer viewed as a human being, but as an object used to accomplish a task, like any other tool.
Women Educating Women in the New Nation
Image: Mills College
Women as far away as the Pacific Coast also had access to higher education by 1852, when the Young Ladies Seminary was established at Benicia, California – the first women’s college west of the Rockies. Susan Tolman Mills served as its president for 19 years.
Women’s Education in Colonial America
In the 18th century, most wealthy parents were willing to invest in education for their sons because it increased his chances of establing a profitable career. In general, the purpose of women’s education in colonial America was to become skilled at household duties in order to find a suitable husband. A woman who was well educated in academic subjects was thought to be unusual and not good marriage material.
First Woman to Preside Over a Public Meeting
Abigail Norton Bush was an abolitionist and women’s rights activist who served as president of the second women’s rights convention in Rochester, New York in 1848 immediately following the Seneca Falls Convention, and thus became the first American woman to serve as president of a women’s rights convention.
Abigail Norton Bush was born in Cambridge, Washington County, New York on March 19, 1810. When she was very young, her family moved to the upstate New York town of Rochester in upstate New York, which was the home of many early social reformers in the early and mid 1800s. In the 1830s, Bush worked for the Rochester Female Charitable Society, an organization devoted to the care of the poor and the ill.
Naturalist and Pioneer in Women’s Education
Elizabeth Cary Agassiz was a naturalist and educator who was co-founder and first president of Radcliffe, a women’s college in Cambridge, Massachusetts. By her tact and fund-raising abilities, she nurtured the college and insured its continued success.
Elizabeth Cabot Cary was born December 5, 1822 to successful Boston businessman Thomas Graves Cary and Mary Ann Cushing Perkins Cary. Due to her delicate health Elizabeth was educated by a governess at home who taught her languages, drawing, music and reading. She additionally received informal history lessons from Elizabeth Peabody.
Suffragist and Organizer of Women’s Clubs
Caroline Severance was an abolitionist, suffragist and pioneer organizer of women’s clubs, founding the first club in the East and the first in Los Angeles. Viewing clubs as vehicles for social reform and a bridge from the home to the public arena, she brought political awareness and support of suffrage to the club movement, and earned the name The Mother of Clubs,
Image: Photo of l to r, Charlotte Wills, Caroline Severance, Susan B. Anthony and Rebecca Spring, taken in Los Angeles in 1905
Caroline Maria Seymour was born January 12, 1820 in Canandaigua, New York, the eldest of five children born to Orson and Caroline Maria Clarke Seymour. After her father died an early death in 1824, Caroline, her mother and her siblings moved to nearby Auburn, New York.
Author of The Women of the American Revolution
Elizabeth Ellet was an author and historian. She was the first writer to record the lives of women who had made significant contributions during the American Revolution. Ellet not only recovered the history of women of that era; she recognized the importance of preserving these stories, which had been ignored by other American historians.
Elizabeth Fries Lummis was born October 18, 1818 in Sodus Point, New York. Her mother was Sarah Maxwell Lummis, daughter of Revolutionary War captain John Maxwell, who was lieutenant of the first company raised in Sussex County, New Jersey. He later joined the army of General George Washington as captain of a company of 100 volunteers known as Maxwell’s Company.