Tag: Women

Ojetta R. Thompson

Ojetta R. Thompson was born in Anderson, South Carolina on August 8, 1951. Her mother was a teacher, and her father was a school principal. Her hometown was Greenville, a municipality named for Rhode Island Revolutionary War General Nathanael Greene who is regarded as a liberator of the South from British rule. From kindergarten through

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Barbara Papitto

Barbara A. Papitto was born in Providence on April 4, 1951, to Emile and Flora (Dandeneau) Auger. The youngest of five siblings, she grew up in the Wanskuck neighborhood of Providence with her four brothers. Her parents worked in local mills and factories, earning only minimum wage. Yet, even on the tightest budgets, her mother,

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Catharine Littlefield Greene

Catharine Littlefield Greene (1755-1814) was the vivacious, free-spirited, and uninhibited wife of General Nathanael Greene, but by the standards of her time, she was so much more. Born on Block Island, the daughter of John Littlefield, a colonial legislator, and Phebe Ray, she moved to Warwick at age ten after her mother’s death. Here, she

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Ann Smith Franklin

James Franklin (1697-1735) was the first of ten children born to Josiah Franklin and Abiah Folger of Boston. He learned the printing trade in England and then returned to America, where in 1721, he began publication of the controversial and independent New England Courant, a newspaper disrespectful of civil and ecclesiastical policies. Young Benjamin Franklin–child

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Gail Cahalan-Conley

GAIL CAHALAN – CONLEY – PHILANTHROPIST, BUSINESSWOMAN, REAL ESTATE DEVELOPER Gail Cahalan-Conley was born in Central Falls on August 29, 1943, at Notre Dame Hospital. On her father’s side she was Irish and French-Canadian; on her mother’s side she was a mixture of Polish, Russian, and Ukrainian Slavic ancestry. Gail was educated in the public

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Roberta Mudge Humble

Roberta Mudge Humble was born on August 5, 1946, to Robert and Claire (nee Wordell) Mudge of Westerly. Roberta soon exhibited a talent for writing when, as an elementary school student, she composed articles and poems for the school newspaper. Roberta developed other skills as well. When she was fourteen, she became the “youngest antiques

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Elizabeth Morancy

Elizabeth “Liz” Morancy’s life is a blueprint of service for others. As a graduate of Salve Regina, Liz was then known as Sister Michael Mary, a Religious Sister of Mercy. She taught at St Xavier’s Academy, and then returned to Salve as a member of the political science faculty. Her love of political science stretched

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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 MacCormack Algeo

Sara M. Algeo was President of the Rhode Island College Equal Suffrage League; Founder and Chair of the Rhode Island Woman Suffrage Party; Member of Rhode Island Woman Suffrage Association; Rhode Island Vice President and Member of the Executive Committee of the New England Woman Suffrage Association; Chair of the Rhode Island Woman’s Americanization Committee;

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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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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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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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Albina Osipowich (Van Aken)

Albina Osipowich blazed across the horizon in 1928 as a double gold medal winner at the Amsterdam Olympics in the 100-meter free and the freestyle relay, setting a World and Olympic record.  She also won two National A.A.U. titles in the 100 and 220 free and held American long course records in the 200, 220,

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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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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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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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Mary Elizabeth “Lizzie” Murphy

Only one woman has ever played baseball with a team of major leaguers in a big-league ballpark. Her name was Mary Elizabeth Murphy, and she was born and raised in Warren, Rhode Island. On August 14, 1922, she played for a team of “all-stars” in an exhibition game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway

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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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Aileen Riggin (Soule)

Aileen Riggin won the first Olympic springboard title in 1920 when she had just passed her 14th birthday, the youngest-ever U.S. woman Olympic champion. She lost her record to another U.S. diver, Marjorie Gestring, at the 1936 Olympics. Riggin won three AAU outdoor and one indoor springboard title and was twice a member of the Women’s Swimming

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Paulina Kellogg Wright Davis

The work of Paulina Kellogg Wright Davis as a women’s rights advocate, social reformer, educator, and author extended over forty years from the late 1830s to her death in 1876. She was born in Bloomfield, New York, on August 7, 1813, the daughter of Captain Ebenezer Kellogg and Polly Saxon. After the death of both

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Mary Emma Woolley

Mary Emma Woolley, noted educator, women’s suffrage supporter, college president, feminist, and peace activist, was the first graduate of the Women’s College at Brown University (later called Pembroke) in 1894. E. Benjamin Andrews, innovative president of Brown University, had persuaded Woolley to become the first woman student at Brown. She earned her degree under the

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Isabelle Florence Ahearn O’Neill

Isabelle A. O’Neill was a stage and screen actor of the silent film era, a suffragist, and the first woman elected to the Rhode Island Legislature. She also served in the state Senate and, under President Franklin Roosevelt, in the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. She was born on June 8, 1880, in Woonsocket, Rhode Island,

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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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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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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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Frances Harriet (Whipple) Green McDougall

“A Rhode Island Original” is a description used by Sarah O’Dowd to title her biography of Frances Whipple. It aptly describes one of Rhode Island’s most significant mid-nineteenth-century writers and reformers. Frances was born in Smithfield in September 1805, but the exact date is unknown. She was the eldest of the four children of George

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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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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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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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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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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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Sarah Helen (Power) Whitman

The third member of Rhode Island’s early nineteenth-century group of famous literary women (Catherine Williams and Frances Whipple) was Sarah Helen (Power) Whitman. She was born in Providence on January 19, 1803, the daughter of the former Anna was Sarah Helen (Power) Whitman, joining Marsh and Providence merchant and sea captain Nicholas Power. Helen’s father

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Annie Smith Peck

Annie Smith Peck was an American mountaineer and adventurer. She was an ardent suffragist and noted speaker, lecturing extensively for many years throughout the world, and writing four books encouraging travel and exploration. Peck was born on October 19, 1850, in Providence, Rhode Island. She was the youngest of five children born to Ann Power Smith Peck and George Bacheler Peck.

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Alva Vanderbilt Belmont

Alva V. Belmont was an American multi-millionaire socialite and women’s suffrage activist. She was noted for her energy, intelligence, strong opinions, and willingness to challenge convention. She was born on January 17, 1853, at 201 Government Street in Mobile, Alabama to Murray Forbes Smith, a merchant, and Phoebe Smith. Her father was the son of

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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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Frances G. Knight

Frances Knight was the director of the U.S. Passport Office from 1955-1977. Known for her stern attitude and conservative policies, she transformed the Passport Office into an efficient infrastructure. Born in Newport, Rhode Island on July 22, 1905, but raised in New York City, Frances Gladys Knight was destined for a bright future. Frances was

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Glenna Collett Vare

“Glenna Collett Vare is regarded as Rhode Island’s greatest female athlete. While she was highly skilled in tennis. swimming and diving, she was an extraordinary golfer, dominating the sport in the 1920s,” according to Dr. Patrick T. Conley, Historian Laureate of Rhode Island. She was born in New Haven, Conn., on June 20, 1903, and raised in Providence, R.I. The Colletts

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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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Maud Howe Elliott

Maud Howe Elliott was an American writer, artist, political activist, patron of the arts, and philanthropist. She and her sister, Laura E. Richards, shared a Pulitzer Prize for the biography of their mother, The Life of Julia Ward Howe. Other prominent works by Maud Howe Elliott included A Newport Aquarelle (1882); Phillida (1891); Mammon (1893);

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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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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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Princess Red Wing (Mary E. Glasko)

Born on March 21, 1896, in Sprague, Connecticut, Mary E. Glasko was the daughter of Walter and Hannah (nee Weeden) Glasko. Her mother, a Pokanoket, named her Princess Red Wing after the red-winged blackbird. Since then, she has been known as Princess Red Wing of the Seven Crescents, from the Royal House of Pokanoket. Influenced

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Mary (Barrett) Dyer

Mary (Barrett) Dyer (ca. 1611-1660) 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 she and her husband were well educated. During the Antinomian controversy that rocked the Bay Colony

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Caroline Hazard

Caroline Hazard, educator, philanthropist, artist, and author was born in Peace Dale, Rhode Island, on June 10, 1856. She was the second of five children of industrialist Rowland Hazard II and Margaret A. (Rood) Hazard of Peace Dale. Caroline grew up with all the privileges her prominent family could afford – private tutors, European vacations,

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Gertrude I. Johnson

The story of Gertrude I. Johnson and Mary T. Wales and the founding of Johnson & Wales University is truly an American success story. Given the times in which they lived, and the difficulty women faced in any professional endeavor in the early twentieth century, their story is nothing short of remarkable. In 1914, Gertrude

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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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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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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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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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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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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

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Mary T. Wales

The story of Gertrude I. Johnson and Mary T. Wales and the founding of Johnson & Wales University is truly an American success story. Given the times in which they lived, and the difficulty women faced in any professional endeavor in the early twentieth century, their story is nothing short of remarkable. In 1914, Gertrude

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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

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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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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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James Franklin

James Franklin (1697-1735) was the first of ten children born to Josiah Franklin and Abiah Folger of Boston. He learned the printing trade in England and then returned to America, where in 1721, he began publication of the controversial and independent New England Courant, a newspaper disrespectful of civil and ecclesiastical policies. Young Benjamin Franklin–child

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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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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

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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 was

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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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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

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Sarah Updike Goddard

There are certain ingredients necessary to create an independent, self-governing, stable commonwealth. A thriving economy always helps. Strong, healthy community institutions like religious congregations and schools and colleges help, as do economic engines like banks and insurance societies. But a vital key to unlocking the participation of the public is the role of the press.

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Harriet Ware

Harriet Ware was born on July 12, 1799, in Paxton, Massachusetts, a small town just northwest of Worcester and about thirteen miles northeast of the town of Ware, settled by her ancestors. Little is known about her formative years. The brief sketch of her life by her benefactor, the Reverend Francis Wayland, president of Brown

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Mary C. Wheeler

Mary Colman Wheeler was an educational innovator, a visionary, an artist, and an activist for human rights. She was also the founder of the Mary C. Wheeler School in Providence, R.I. Born in Concord, Massachusetts, on May 15, 1846, to Abiel Heywood Wheeler and Harriet Lincoln, she was the youngest of five children. Concord was,

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Anne M. Hutchinson

Anne Hutchinson was born in Lincolnshire, England, in 1591, the daughter of an English clergyman named Francis Marbury, who was censured by the Anglican Church for his Puritan leanings (the Puritans wanted to purify the Church of England from any vestiges of the rejected Roman Catholic religion). In August 1612, the well-bred and educated Anne

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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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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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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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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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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

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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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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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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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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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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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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

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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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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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Doris Brennan Weir

It would be difficult to list the highlights of Doris Brennan Weir’s athletic career without omitting some accomplishment, title, or record. She was simply among the finest female swimmers in the world. She just missed a spot with the 1936 team but earned a position on her second chance She was named to the 1940

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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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M. Therese Antone RSM, Ed.D.

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. She also completed the

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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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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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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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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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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

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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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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

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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 staff

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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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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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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

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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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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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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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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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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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Catherine R. (Arnold) Williams

In early nineteenth-century Rhode Island, a woman’s role was sharply circumscribed by tradition. A woman—even one of high social station—was thought of mainly as a wife and a mother. Those who ventured beyond the home (religious nuns excepted) might find work from the 1830s onward as a teacher in a primary school, as a school

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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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Lucy Rawlings Tootell

Lucy R. Tootell was an American schoolteacher, historian, and politician who served in the Rhode Island House of Representatives, representing District 52 from 1973 until 1977. Following the family tradition of public service, her father, Roy Willard Rawlings, was the Republican Speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives. Her brother, Rob Roy Rawlings, was

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