Tag: Women

Matilda Sissieretta (Joyner) Jones

Matilda Sissieretta (Joyner) Jones, an internationally acclaimed black opera singer, was born in Portsmouth, Virginia on January 5, 1868, the daughter of Jeremeah Joyner, a former slave and a minister, and Henrietta Beale Joyner, a homemaker, washerwoman, and singer in her church choir.  The couple had three children, but only Sissieretta survived childhood. At the

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Mary Francis “Fanny” Purdy Palmer

Fanny was an author, poet, and social activist. She was born in New York City on July 11, 1839 to Henry and Mary (Sharp) Purdy. Following the death of her father when she was only seven, she grew up in upstate New York. She attended the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Buffalo and graduated

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Sara M. Algeo

Sara Louise Algeo was born on June 13, 1876 in Cohasset MA, the fifth child to John and Sarah (Clemens) MacCormack. Following her education in the Cohasset public schools she attended and graduated from Boston University. Upon graduation she came to Rhode Island in September 1899 to teach at Cranston High School. She would remain

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Bertha G. Higgins

Bertha was born in Danville, VA on November 18, 1872 to Horace and Barbara Dillard. She was married twice, first to Walker Thomas in 1887, but following his death in 1897, she married Dr. William Higgins. In 1903 the couple moved to Providence, Rhode Island where Dr. Higgins practiced medicine. Bertha was an accomplished dressmaker

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Maria Kindberg

Maria Kindberg is intertwined with the woman’s suffrage movement not only in Rhode Island but nationally because of her accomplishments during the early decades of the twentieth century. Maria Albertina Kindberg was born in Ryd near the town of Skövde, Sweden on October 12, 1860; she emigrated to the United States arriving on June 25,

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Ingeborg Kindstedt

The name of Ingeborg Kinstedt is associated with the woman’s suffrage movement not only in Rhode Island but nationally because of her accomplishments during the early decades of the twentieth century. Maria Ingeborg Kindstedt was born in Glava near the town of Karlstad, Sweden, on April 8, 1865; she arrived in the United States in

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Sophia R. Little

Sophia Little was born in Newport in 1799, the daughter of Asher Robbins. Her father was a prominent Rhode Island politician who served as U.S. Attorney General for Rhode Island and then in the state legislature before serving as U.S. Senator from 1825 to 1839. Not much is known about Sophia’s early education other than

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Anna W. Spencer

Anna’s life is somewhat of a mystery, but her accomplishments are significant in the history of social reform, especially that for women’s equality and suffrage. In 1852 she began the publication in Providence of the newspaper The Pioneer and Woman’s Advocate; the newspaper’s motto was “Liberty, Truth, Equality, Temperance.” Anna’s newspaper is significant since it

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Roberta J. Dunbar

Roberta Dunbar was born in Narragansett, Rhode Island on July 10, 1868 to John and Louisa Cartwright Dunbar. By 1870 the family was living in Providence and Roberta attended the English High school. She worked in a number of professions including dressmaker, masseuse and hairdresser but her work of note was as an activist dedicated

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Leona McElroy Kelly

Former Rhode Island Representative from South Kingstown. Leona A. Kelley was born in Providence on August 15, 1919. She attended Classical High School and the University of Rhode Island graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1941. Her political career began in the 1950s as a social worker. After taking time off to raise

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Elizabeth Buffum Chace

Elizabeth Buffum Chace, the first woman to be memorialized with a statue in the Rhode Island State House, was an antislavery activist and a pioneering advocate for women’s suffrage. The daughter of abolitionist leader Arnold Buffum, she married fellow Quaker Samuel Chace, a Fall River textile manufacturer. The Chaces had ten children; tragically the oldest five died

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Catherine O’Reilly Collette

Cathy Collette was born in North Providence, grew up in Harmony, and is a 1969 graduate of Rhode Island College. She began her illustrious career with the state Department of Elderly Affairs where she helped to organize workers and became active in her local union, an affiliate of the 1.3 million member American Federation of

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Catherine R. (Arnold) Williams

Catharine R. (Arnold) Williams (1790-1872) of Providence was one of Rhode Island’s major literary figures of the nineteenth century. She was the daughter of Alfred Arnold, a sea captain, and Amey Read. Her mother died when Catharine was a child, so the oft-absent father entrusted her education and upbringing to two of her aunts. Catharine

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Lila M. Sapinsley

Lila Sapinsley, a trailblazer for women in Rhode Island politics and beloved wife of John Sapinsley. She was a state Senator for Rhode Island and rose to Senate minority leader. In 1972, Lila Sapinsley was elected to the state Senate and became Senate Majority Leader, the first woman to hold a leadership post in the

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Mother Mary Frances Xavier Warde

Mother Mary Frances Xavier Warde, 1840-1884, was the American founder of the Sisters of Mercy (R.S.M.). Born in Ireland to fairly prosperous parents, she was orphaned in her teens. At age sixteen she moved to Dublin where she met Catherine McAuley, a social service worker, who established the Sisters of Mercy in 1831 to provide for the

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Catherine Robinson

Catherine Robinson, an outspoken champion of civil rights, approached that goal through practical application of better race relations. She was Assistant Director of the University of Rhode Island Extension Division Service until her mandatory retirement.

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Catherine R. (Arnold) Williams

Catharine Read (Arnold) Williams (1790-1872) of Providence was one of Rhode Island’s major literary figures of the nineteenth century. She was the daughter of Alfred Arnold, a sea captain, and Amey Read. Her mother died when Catherine was a child, so the oft-absent father entrusted her education and upbringing to two of her aunts. Catharine

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Christiana Carteaux Bannister

Bannister, Christiana Carteaux, 1822-1903 Christiana Carteaux Bannister was born Christiana Babcock in Rhode Island’s South County sometime between 1820 and 1822. Details concerning her birth and background are obscure, but she appears to have been of mixed native American and African-American parentage and was undoubtedly descended from slaves that worked the plantations of South County

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Victoria S. Lederberg

Lederberg, Victoria, — 1937- Lederberg was a psychology professor and state legislator before becoming a state Supreme Court judge in 1993. Lederberg earned her bachelors and masters at doctoral degrees Brown University. She served as Providence Municipal Court judge and was professor of psychology at Rhode Island College. She served as state representative from 1975-1983

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Paulina Kellogg Wright Davis

Davis, Paulina W. (Paulina Wright), 1813-1876 Paulina Kellogg Wright Davis was born in Bloomfield, New York on August 7, 1813, the daughter of Captain Ebenezer Kellogg and Polly Saxon. After the death of both parents, Paulina was raised by a strict orthodox Presbyterian aunt. After a brief immersion with religion, Paulina married Francis Wright, a

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Isabelle Florence Ahearn O’Neill

Isabelle Florence Ahearn O’Neill, 1880-1975, stage and silent-film actress and suffragette. She was the state’s first female legislator, elected to the House in 1922. She also served as deputy Democratic floor leader in the Senate. Isabelle Florence Ahearn O’Neill, 1880-1975, stage and silent-film actress and suffragette. She was the state’s first female legislator, elected to

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Abigail Aldrich Rockefeller

Abigail Aldrich Rockefeller, 1874-1948, was the daughter of U.S. Sen. Nelson Aldrich, patron of the arts, and advocate for women’s rights. She worked with her husband, John D. Rockefeller Jr., in restoration of Colonial Williamsburg. Through her marriage to financier and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr., she was a prominent member of the Rockefeller family

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Alice A. Sullivan

When Alice Sullivan was growing up, she dreamed about playing high school sports. She never realized her dream but, thanks to her dedication, thousands of young women have experienced the thrill of being a high school athlete. For more than five decades, Alice Sullivan tirelessly dedicated herself to helping girls enjoy the benefits of athletic competition.

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Norma Ann (Bergquist) Garnett Ed.D.

  Garnett, Norma Ann, 1930- Norma Ann (Bergquist) Garnett, Doctor Education, an innovative educator, has been a luminary in foreign language education since 1964. Dr. Garnett has instructed thousands of students and mentored hundreds of teachers, while receiving many prestigious local and national honors. She received one of Rhode Island’s first Milken Educator Awards. She

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Alva Vanderbilt Belmont

Alva Belmont a Newport socialite was born on January 17, 1853 in Mobile, Alabama, one of six children to Murray and Phoebe Smith. She was married twice, first to William K. Vanderbilt and later to Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont. Following the death of her second husband in 1908, Alva moved back to Marble House, her

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Elizabeth Lillie Buffum Chace Wyman

Lillie Chace Wyman was the eighth child born into the Quaker family of Samuel Buffington Chace and Elizabeth Buffum Chace on December 10, 1847. Her maternal grandfather was Arnold Buffum the noted Rhode Island abolitionist, a co-founder and first president of the New England Anti-Slavery Society. Her mother was the leading abolitionist and woman suffragist

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Margaret F. Ackroyd

Margaret Ackroyd was a native Rhode Islander who served in the State Labor Department for thirty years before her retirement. She served as Chief in the Division of Women and Children and Commissioner of Minimum Wage.  She became known as the “architect of non-discriminatory employment standards for women”. Born in Providence, she was a daughter of Timothy

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Anne M. Hutchinson

  Hutchinson, Anne, 1591-1643 Ms. Hutchinson, formerly of Pocasset which is now Portsmouth, was born in England and immigrated to the Mass Bay Colony in 1634. Her early liberal upbringing and Puritan leanings inspired her to take a strong part in the religious life of the community, which led to her banishment from the Colony.

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Frances H. Whipple Green McDougall

Frances Whipple Green McDougall (1805-1878)was one of Rhode Island’s most significant mid-nineteenth century writers and reformers. She was born in Smithfield where she spent her childhood in modest circumstances despite her membership in two of Rhode Island’s pioneering families. Frances began her writing career by publishing her poems in local newspapers and by editing, in

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Noreen Stonor Drexel

When Noreen Stonor Drexel accepted her Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Salve Regina in 1999, she made a confession: She had never been to school. And she meant never. As a girl at her family’s ancestral estate of Stonor Park in Oxfordshire, England, she had jumped on a horse and ridden away whenever she

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Margaret Langdon-Kelly

Mrs. Langdon-Kelly, of Little Compton, was affectionately known to all as “Poggy”.  She, along with Dr. Eric Denhoff, founded Rhode Island’s famed Meeting Street School, a world renowned institution providing early education as well as medical intervention for special needs children.  Her contributions to community service are legion, and at the age of 93, she

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Maria Spacagna

Maria Spacagna, formerly of Providence and now living in East Greenwich, distinguished soprano and a regular guest of leading opera companies throughout the world whose many prominent recordings have earned critical acclaim. A noted performer of the role of Madame Butterfly, she is the first American-born artist to interpret the role at the famed La

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Helen A. Bert

Ms. Bert, of North Providence, was a Director of Women’s Athletics at Providence College, and widely recognized for her decades of service promoting athletic opportunities for Women.  Coming to the Rhode Island when the College became co-educational in 1970, she was the first woman to be elected into the Providence College Athletic Hall of Fame

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Catherine T. Hammet

  Hammett, Catherine Tilley Ms. Hammett of Newport was an internationally recognized Girl Scout Official who continued to serve as a volunteer even after retirement. She was the first young woman in Newport to become a Girl Scout in 1917, then joined the Rhode Island staff as a field captain and served on the national

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Sarah Helen Whitman

Sarah Helen Whitman, 1803-1878, was born Sarah Helen Power. Her father was a prosperous Providence merchant. As a child, Sarah lived with an aunt in Jamaica, Long Island while she attended a Quaker school there. On returning to Providence she was placed in a private school where she learned to read French, German, and Italian

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Helen Adelia Rowe Metcalf

Metcalf, Helen Adelia Rowe, — -1895. Ms. Rowe Metcalf, formerly of Providence, was leader in the drive to establish the Rhode Island School of Design and devoted most of her time from 1878 to her death in 1895 to directing the School. Her influence and administrative skills enabled RISD to be founded with the goals

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Lynne Jewell (Shore)

Lynne Jewell (Shore) won a gold medal in yachting at the Seoul Games in the 470 class.  Lynne’s yachting career spans two coasts. She grew up in California, summered with her grandparents in Plymouth, Massachusetts, starred in sailing as a student at Boston University (Class of 1981), and came to live in Rhode Island in

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Arlene Violet

Ms. Violet of Barrington was the first woman in the United Stated to be elected to State Attorney General, as well as a popular radio talk-show host.  She was a practicing attorney and former Roman Catholic nun.  She was RI’s Attorney General in the mid 1980’s, and is widely recognized for her community service and

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Helen Johns (Carroll)

Helen Johns (Carroll) was a gold medalist in the women’s 400-meter freestyle swim relay in 1932 at the Los Angeles Games in a world record time of 4:38. Helen is shown here (at left) with Albina Osipowich, who became a member of the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame at its 1968 Olympic induction for

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Kathryn “Katie” King

Katie King-Crowley was a member of the gold medal winning women’s ice hockey team at the 1998 Nagano, Japan Games, and silver medalist as a member of the United States women’s hockey team in 2002 at Salt Lake City.  Although a New Hampshire resident, Katie competed for Brown University (Class of 1997) and is the

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Harriet “Holly” Metcalf

Harriet M. “Holly” Metcalf won a gold medal in rowing in the eight-oars with coxswain at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984. Holly, a Rhode Island native, attended Mt. Holyoke College and holds an advanced degree from Harvard University. She has been involved with rowing for three decades. Holly was a six-time national Olympic team

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Gertrude I. Johnson

Gertrude I. Johnson, 1876-1961, and Mary Tiffany Wales, 1874-1952, founding mothers of Johnson & Wales University. Mary Tiffany Wales was born in Wilmington, Delaware in 1874 and graduated from the Pennsylvania State Normal School at Millersville in 1893. Following graduation, Mary taught school, first in Pennsylvania and later in Massachusetts. In 1911 she moved to

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Mary T. Wales

Gertrude I. Johnson, 1876-1961, and Mary Tiffany Wales, 1874-1952, founding mothers of Johnson & Wales University. Mary Tiffany Wales was born in Wilmington, Delaware in 1874 and graduated from the Pennsylvania State Normal School at Millersville in 1893. Following graduation, Mary taught school, first in Pennsylvania and later in Massachusetts. In 1911 she moved to

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Jean Madeira

Jean (Browning) Madeira, 1918-1972, sang as contralto diva of the Metropolitan Opera. She gained world renown for her performances in the role of Carmen and starred in the Munich, Salzburg, and Bayreath Festivals. She sang leading roles at LaScala, San Carlo, Vienna, Convent Garden, the Stockholm and Paris Operas, and was sensational as Delilah at

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Prudence Crandall

Prudence Crandall  was born in Hopkinton, Rhode Island, the daughter of Pardon Crandall, a Quaker farmer and Esther Carpenter, both of whom were descended from prominent old-line South County families.  When Prudence was ten she moved to a farm in nearby Canterbury, Connecticut, but returned to Rhode Island from 1825 to 1830 as a student

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Elizabeth ” Lizzie” Murphy

The late Elizabeth “Lizzie” Murphy, 1894-1964, a native of Warren, was an outstanding athlete who was the first woman ever to play in Major League Baseball competition, and who starred for more than thirty years for otherwise all-male professional, semi-professional, and amateur baseball teams throughout New England and other Eastern states. She has been cited

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Joanne Carner

Joanne Carner was a five time national women’s amateur golf champion, and won the Rhode Island title three times, as well as the New England and Eastern championships. She also won a professional-amateur tournament that included most of the top women professionals in the field. She is thought to be the best female golfer in

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Harriet Ware

Harriet Ware, 1799-1849, a 19th-century reformer of strong religious convictions, founded the Providence Children’s Friend Society, an organization still operating over 100 years later to serve impoverished Rhode Islanders. Upon her arrival in Hopkinton, RI, she shocked to see overcrowded and dilapidated homes, overflowing with unwanted, malnourished, filthy, shoeless children, many of whom worked 14-hour

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Sarah Elizabeth Doyle

Doyle, Sarah Elizabeth, 1830-1922 Sarah Elizabeth Doyle (1830-1922) was a lifelong resident of Rhode Island who participated in the social reform ferment that engulfed the state during the Gilded Age. Despite the conservative political nature of local thinking, she successfully pioneered educational opportunities for women at the highest level. She entered Providence High School during

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E. Doris Brennan (Weir)

E. Doris Brennen (Weir), a Providence native, held twenty national and world records in swimming during the late 1930’s and 1940’s. She was named to the U.S. Olympic Team in 1940, but the Games, scheduled in Finland, were cancelled due to the outbreak of World War II. She is a chartered member of the Rhode

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Idawally “Ida” Lewis

Lewis, Ida, 1842-1911 Idawalley “Ida” Lewis  is considered the most famous person ever to serve in the U.S. Lighthouse Service, an agency that evolved into the U. S. Coast Guard.  She was born in Newport on February 25, 1842.  When she was eleven years old, her father Hosea was appointed keeper of the Lime Rock

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Paula Deubel -Phillips

Paula Deubel-Phillips, 1935-1993, was a member of the U.S. Women’s Track and Field Team as a shot putter in the 1956 Melbourne Games. Although a resident of Swansea, Massachusetts, she  trained with and competed for the Little Rhody AC, a local track club that pioneered women’s competition in track and field. In 1954, Paula Duebel,

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Carole Garnett (Wheeler)

Carole Wheeler (Garnett) was a member of the U.S. women’s swim team who competed in the 1924 Paris Games. Later she coached swimming and diving. After the death of her first husband, an army colonel, in an auto crash, Carole married Henry S. Wheeler, a mayor of Newport. As Mrs. Wheeler, she became very active

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Clara Lamore (Walker)

Clara Lamore (Walker) was a member of the U.S. Women’s swim team at the 1948 London Games where she was a finalist in the breaststroke. During the 1940’s Lamore set two U.S. swim records and won five national championships. After her Olympic disappointment, she gave up swimming until 1981. From that time onward she became

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M. Therese Antone RSM, Ed.D.

  Antone, M. Therese Therese Antone was born in Central Falls, the third of seven children raised by Florence Smith Antone and George Antone, a cobbler. After graduation from Cumberland High School, she earned a bachelor’s degree from Salve Regina University, a master’s from Villanova University, and a Doctor of Education degree from Harvard University.

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Barbara H. Roberts M.D.

Dr. Barbara Roberts, an eminent cardiologist with a private practice, is truly a legend in Rhode Island. She was the first woman to be accepted into the Gorlin cardiology fellowship program at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a Harvard University Medical School Teaching Hospital, and the first woman to practice adult cardiology in Rhode Island.

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Albina Osipowich (Van Aken)

Albina Osipowich (Van Aken), 1911-1964, was the women’s swimming star of the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics. Albina, a member of the Pembroke swim team, won gold medals in the 100-meter freestyle in an Olympic record time of 1.11.0, and swam the third leg of the 4×100-meter freestyle relay that set a world record of 4:47.6. She

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Gladys Williams Brayton

The late Gladys Brayton was a direct descendant of Roger Williams and a lifelong resident of Rhode Island. She became one of the State’s most prominent historians, teachers, and authors. She was a former curator of Cranston Historical Society, and an honorary member of the Warwick Historical Society. She was also a member of the

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Nancy Gewirtz Ph.D.

When Nancy Gewirtz died in 2004 after her courageous and graceful battle with cancer, she was widely and appropriately known by a title the Fund for Community Progress had aptly bestowed upon her in 1997–“A Voice for the Voiceless.” Indeed, Dr. Gewirtz’s entire life was marked by her tireless efforts on behalf of the poor,

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Dr. Frances P. Conklin

Dr. Frances P. Conklin, a distinguished radiologist and long-time community leader who became the first woman President of the Providence Medical Society. She was the only woman member of the RI Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline, and named RI’s “Woman Physician of 1989” by the Rhode Island Medical Woman’s Association. She received the prestigious

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Aileen Riggin (Soule)

Aileen Riggin (Soule), 1906-2002, won the gold medal in the three-meter springboard diving competition in the 1924 Antwerp Games and finished fifth in the platform dive. The 14-year-old Riggin of Newport was 4’7″ tall and weighed only 65 pounds in 1920. At the Paris Olympics in 1924, Riggin won a silver medal in springboard diving

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Ade Bethune

Ade Bethune, 1914-2002, of Newport, whose world-renowned expertise in liturgical architecture and iconography led her to a distinguished career as a much sought-after consultant for church planning. She held special concern for less fortunate parishes, as well as community efforts to include low-income housing, solar heating, and energy efficiency. A recipient of six Honorary Degrees

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Lois Testa (Lynch)

Lois Testa (Lynch), a member of the U.S. Women’s Track and Field Team, played as a shot putter in the 1956 Melbourne Games. She is one of the pioneers of women’s athletics in Rhode Island. At Pawtucket East High School, the versatile Testa starred in swimming, basketball, and badminton. In Track and Field, she competed

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Ruth Hussey (Longenecker)

Ruth Hussey of Providence became a Hollywood movie star and accomplished supporting actress after her graduation from Pembroke College. Miss Hussey began her theatrical career on the Broadway stage where she won acclaim for her performances in “State of the Union”, “Goodbye Mr. Fancy”, and “Desk Set”. She also appeared in more than 30 films

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Marie Rose Ferron

Marie Rose Ferron was born to devout Catholic parents on May 24, 1902, in the countryside near Quebec. Her mother had dedicated each of her 15 children to the mysteries of the Rosary. As the tenth child, Marie Rose honored the Crucifixion. These extraordinary circumstances surrounding Rose’s birth seemed to foreshadow her destiny. Rose’s spiritual

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Marion F. Avarista

Ms. Marion Avarista was founder of the Traveler’s Aid Runaway Youth Project and developer of the Travelers Aid Medical Van providing free service for the homeless in Providence. A Cranston resident, she is one of those most responsible for the growth and development of the Traveler’s Aid Society in RI and is a very active

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Merrill W. Sherman

Merrill W. Sherman, Principal of Sherman Consulting, LLC., and former president and CEO of the Bancorp Rhode Island, Inc., a publicly traded bank holding company, and its wholly owned subsidiary, Bank Rhode Island. She was Rhode Island’s only female CEO of a publicly held bank and made Bank Rhode Island a premier economic force in

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Sister Mary Bernard RSM

Sister Mary Bernard served the community as a dedicated religious educator and Mercy missionary for over sixty years. She continued at St. Mary’s Academy well into her eighties where she has been a teacher, Principle, and Head of the Guidance Department. She was also Principle and taught for many years at St. Xavier Academy and

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Glenna Collett Vare

Glenna Vare, 1903-1989, a New Haven native, and Providence resident, is generally regarded as Rhode Island’s greatest female athlete. She was proficient in tennis, diving, swimming, and especially golf. By 1922, she had won her first U.S. Women’s Golf Championship, the first of six such titles. In 1924, at the height of her prowess,she played

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Rev. Anna Garlin Spencer

Anna Garlin Spencer (1851-1931) was born in Attleboro, Massachusetts but spent her formative years in Providence. Her embrace of progressive causes and her quest for social justice can be traced to her abolitionist mother and an aunt who worked with the homeless.   Anna began to write for the Providence Journal at age 19 and worked

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Mary Emma Woolley

Mary Emma Woolley (1863-1947), was a noted educator, college president, feminist, and peace activist. She was born in South Norwalk, Connecticut and moved to Pawtucket, Rhode Island in 1871 at the age of eight. After attending Providence High School, Emma finished her secondary school training at Wheaton Seminary in Norton, Massachusetts and then taught there

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Sister Eileen Murphy RSM

The late Sister Murphy was founder of the Amos House in Providence for the care of the homeless and needy of Rhode Island. A tireless worker for the cause of homeless men and women and helping to provide daily services, including food for low-income Rhode Islanders. Sister Murphy dedicated a lifetime to the teaching and

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Marjorie Joy Vogel

Born in Dayton, Ohio on October 31, 1930, the daughter of Theodore and Margaret (Burke) Suman, Marjorie received her B.Sc. in Business/Psychology at Kentucky’s Bowling Green University. Her early years gave little indication that she would become the most prolific artist ever of Rhode Island’s architectural, or built, landscape. Eventually Marjorie discovered her natural talent

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Dr. Eleanor M. McMahon

Dr. Eleanor McMahon, 1929-2002, was the Rhode Island Commissioner of Higher Education and former Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Rhode Island College. A Brown University Alumni Trustee, she has been the recipient of five honorary doctoral degrees and is the author of twenty treatises on education. Beginning her distinguished career as a

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Annie Smith Peck

Peck, Annie S. (Annie Smith), 1850-1935 Annie Smith Peck was born on October 19, 1850 in a two story house at 865 North Main Street in Providence. She lived with her parents and three brothers in a home that her grandfather had built. Her mother traced the family’s roots to Roger Williams the founder of

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Mary (Barrett) Dyer

Mary Dyer was the wife of William Dyer of Somersetshire, England, with whom she came to Massachusetts in the mid-1630s. According to Massachusetts governor John Winthrop, Mrs. Dyer was “a very proper and fair woman,” and both she and her husband were well educated.  During the Antinomian controversy that rocked the Bay Colony in the

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Sarah J. Eddy

Sarah J. Eddy was a philanthropist and humanitarian; she was also a nationally recognized artist (painter and sculptor), photographer, suffragette and author. Born in 1851, the second of four children, to James Eddy of Providence, a wealthy art connoisseur and philanthropist, and Elisa Jackson of Boston, a staunch woman’s rights advocate and suffragette. Sarah studied

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William D. & Olive F. Wiley

Mr. William (b. 1898) & Mrs. Olive F. Wiley (b.1903) were husband and wife for more than sixty years, many of which were devoted to their fellow man. William edited R.I.’s first African-American newspaper, the Providence Chronicle, for twenty years, while working full-time for the U.S. Postal Service. He was a co-founder and President of

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Helen Metcalf Danforth

The late Helen Metcalf Danforth, 1887-1984, formerly of Providence, served as President of the Corporation of the Rhode Island School of Design from 1931-1947. She also served as a member of the RISD education committee until 1965, when she was elected Chairman Emeratia. During her term of office she is credited with guiding RISD from

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Katharine Gibbs

Katharine Gibbs, 1863-1934, was the founder of the famed schools of business which bears her name. A resident of Edgewood area of Providence, she revolutionized stenography in 1911 with tenacity and vision that brought her to the forefront of American education. Today, thousands of Katherine Gibbs graduates, representing generations of Americans, owe their success to

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Maud Howe Elliott

Elliott, Maud Howe, 1854-1948 Maud Howe Elliott lived a very long life and certainly made the most of it. She was born at the Perkins Institute for the Blind in Boston on November 9, 1854. Her father, Samuel Gridley Howe, a noted physician and social reformer, directed the institution, but most people became familiar with

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James & Ann Smith Franklin

James Franklin ,1696-1735, and Ann Smith Franklin, 1696-1763, of Newport, were journalists and Rhode Island’s first printers and newspaper publishers. In 1727 they set up Rhode Island’s first printing press. In 1732 he issued the Rhode Island Gazette, Rhode Island’s first newspaper. When James died in February, 1735, the printing shop was continued under the

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Sarah Updike Goddard

Sarah Updike Goddard, 1701-1770, of North Kingstown and Providence was a journalist, publisher, civic leader, and editor of the Providence Gazette. She was descended from the Smiths and Updikes of Cocumscussoc and married DiGiles Goddard in 1735. Her son William founded the Providence Gazette in 1762 but left the business in 1765. Sarah continued to

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John Hackett

The late John Hackett was a former Dean of the University of Rhode Island Extension Division. Under his leadership, the division grew to be one of the largest university extension divisions in the nation, offering college credit courses and degrees. He was responsible for instituting the URI Continuing Education of Women(CEW)Program.

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Sara DeCosta (Hayes)

Sara DeCosta (Hayes): gold medalist in women’s hockey at the 1998 Nagano, Japan Games and silver medalist as goalie for the United States women’s hockey team in 2002 at Salt Lake City.  Sara was an all-state goalie on the boy’s varsity team at Toll Gate High School in 1996.  She played intermittently for Providence College,

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Eleanor Slater

Eleanor Slater, 1909-2006, served as both a State Representative and a State Senator. She lead the way to the passage of Rhode Island’s Fair Housing Bill. She was appointed director of the Division of Aging, now the State Department of Elderly Affairs. She served as vice-chairman of the Democratic Committee and was a National Committeewoman.

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Anna M. Tucker

Anna M. Tucker was Director of the Rhode Island Department of Elderly Affairs. She was a recipient of the URI Distinguished Alumni Award, and a member of the URI Athletic Hall of Fame. She became Director of the National Association of State Units on Aging.

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Katherine U. Warren

Katherine U. Warren, 1897-1976, was the founder of the Preservation Society of Newport County and served as president for over 20 years. Her leadership resulted in the acquisition of “The Breakers” and six other mansions for the Preservation Society. She received the French Legion d’Honneur for the Washington-Lafayette celebration held in Newport.

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Caroline Hazard

  Hazard, Caroline, 1856-1945 Caroline Hazard, educator, philanthropist, and author, was born in the South Kingstown village of Peace Dale on June 10,1856. She was educated by private tutors in Providence, by attending some courses at Brown University, and by private study in Europe. She worked side-by-side with her father, industrialist and social reformer Rowland G. Hazard, in

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Diane L. Coutu

Diane Coutu, a native of West Warwick, was named a Rhode Scholar at Oxford after graduating with honors at Yale University. She was the winner of the Rotary International Fellowship, an Oxford University Graduate, and interned as Yale’s Griswold Scholar. At the age of 27, she was appointed to the Rand Corporation in California, where

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Susan L. Farmer

Susan L. Farmer joins her forebears, Bishop Alexander Griswold and Anne Hutchinson as an inductee into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame. Like Hutchinson, a pioneer in many areas, including the advancement of women, Susan was a “first” as well. When elected Secretary of State in 1982, she became the first woman elected in Rhode Island

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Florence Kerins Murray

Florence Kerins Murray, 1916-2004,was a high-ranking officer in the Women’s Army Corps, Rhode Island’s first female state senator (and was reelected four times), female judge and member of the Rhode Island Supreme Court.

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Kathleen S. Connell

Kathleen Sullivan Connell was born in Newport, Rhode Island, the only daughter of Lawrence and Margaret Sullivan. She attended St. Mary’s School and St. Catherine Academy, graduated magna cum laude from Salve Regina University with a BS in Nursing, and then earned a master’s degree in International Relations from Salve.  Kathleen has been connected with health care for most

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Dr. Doris M. Hollway Abels

The late Dr. Doris M. Holloway Abels, formerly of North Kingstown accomplished educator, performing artist and advocate of the arts founded her own school of dance and helped to establish the Trinity Reperatory Company. The versatile Dr. Abels was also a long-time choreographer at Theater By the Sea and was a mental health counselor and

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Antoinette F. Downing

Antoinette F. Downing, 1904-2001, was the preservationist who was Chairwoman of the Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission and the Providence Historic District Commission. Her tireless efforts on behalf of the buildings of Rhode Island have made her name synonymous with historic preservation in the state.

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Mary C. Wheeler

Mary Colman Wheeler (1846-1920) the founder of Providence’s Wheeler School, was born on the family farm in Concord, Massachusetts, May 15, 1846. The Wheeler family, direct descendants of one of the first families of Massachusetts, was friends and neighbors of the Transcendentalists and literary leaders of their times; the Alcotts, Thoreaus, Hawthornes, Peabodys and Emersons.

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Karen L. Adams

Karen L. Adams was born on the Fourth of July in the rural midwestern town of Nevada, Missouri. Upon graduating in 1975 from Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri, she went to work in radio but quickly moved into television news. KOAM-TV in Pittsburg, Kansas was the first stop in her television career, where she was

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Holly Patrice Wood

Award-winning journalist Patrice Wood has been delivering the news to Southern New England on WJAR-TV, Channel 10, since February, 1980, making her the longest-serving female newscaster in Rhode Island television history. She currently anchors the main evening newscasts, Monday through Friday, at 5:00, 6:00, 10:00 and 11:00. Holly Patrice Wood grew up on a farm

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Frances G. Knight

Frances Knight, 1905-1999, was a Newport native who was Director of Passport Service. An independent who ran her own show through many presidential administrations, Frances transformed an inefficient federal agency into a model of efficiency.

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Princess Red Wing

Princess Red Wing, 1896-1987, was a Narragansett and Wampanoag Native American. She was the founder and curator of the Tomquag Native Memorial Museum at Arcadia Village in Exeter. She represented her tribe in a presentation to the United Nations.

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Eileen Gillespie Slocum

Eileen Gillespie Slocum was born in Manhattan on December 21 1915, and during her ninety-two years of life left an indelible mark on Newport society and the world of Republican politics. Educated at Miss Hewitt’s Classes now the Hewitt School in New York City, Eileen became precise in vocabulary and diction. She made her debut at

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Wilma H. Briggs

Wilma  Briggs was born in East Greenwich on November 6, 1930.  One of 11 children, she grew up on a farm in the Frenchtown section of town.  Her father,  Fred Briggs,  was a semi-professional baseball player  and coach.  As a young  girl, after performing daily farm chores,  Wilma typically  joined  her father and brothers  in highly- competitive

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Billie Ann Burrill

World-class master’s athlete, coach, sports administrator, and indefatigable worker for the performing arts in Rhode Island, Billie Ann Burrill’s talents have known no bounds. While she was director of the Health and Physical Education Department at Rhode Island College, her drive and enthusiasm enabled the school’s Performing Arts Series to become the finest in the state.

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Gertrude Hochberg

Gertrude Hochberg was Vice-President of Bryant College and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where she majored in Journalism. She was a past President of the Rhode Island Advertising Club, and a member of the Board of the National Council of Christians and Jews. She also served as Director of the Speakers Bureau for

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Colonel Martha E. McSally

Warwick-born and raised, Martha McSally is truly a renaissance woman. She is an Air Force Academy graduate who was the first American woman to fly in combat and was also the first woman to command a USAF fighter squadron. No slouch at school, Martha was a Rhodes Scholarship regional finalist and a White House Fellowship

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Matilda Sissieretta Jones

Matilda Sissieretta Joyner Jones (“Black Patti”) 1869-1933, was a famous concert singer of the 19th century. After becoming the the first African-American artist to perform at the Wallack’s Theatre in New York, she toured South America, Europe and Canada. Known as “the Black Patti,” after Italian diva Adelina Patti, Ms. Jones performed in Madison Square

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Mary Elizabeth Sharpe

The late Mary Elizabeth Sharpe formerly of Providence, was an entrepreneur, author, environmentalist, philanthropist, and self-taught landscape architect, whose achievements in the field of landscape design were legendary. She was instrumental in the beautification of Brown University, assisted in the creation of the Japanese Gardens at Roger Williams Park, and spearheaded the renovation of India

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Lucy Rawlings Tootell

For nearly a century of public life, Lucy R. Tootell was a force of energy promoting heritage education, celebrating the “South County mystique,” and preserving the architecture and memory of the past. Born in Jacksonville, Illinois on November 27, 1911, Lucy moved to South Kingstown, Rhode Island, with her family in 1913 before she was

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