Women Make History
In celebration of Women's History month, the March 2013 public display cases at the New York State Library showcased some of the stories of New York women who left legacies in their respective fields. The stories of politicians, writers, athletes, suffragettes, and other leaders were featured in materials from the Library’s holdings.
Our first display case told the history of women as political leaders. It honored the first women who fought for the right to vote, such as Matilda Joslyn Gage, who was Fayetteville’s first woman voter. She paved the way for future women to eventually hold key governmental positions, such as those women featured in The Legislative Women’s Caucus of New York State.
The second display case featured a map of New Yorker women throughout the state. It includes women from all walks of life, such as Gertude Ederle who was not just the first woman to swim the English Channel 1926; her time of 14 hours and 39 minutes was faster than the five men who swam it before her! Also featured were a book about Harriet Tubman, images of Eleanor Roosevelt, and stories about the work done in Seneca Falls where a dedicated group organized the fight for rights of all women.
The third case featured women of note in the arts and sciences. A book about Elizabeth Blackwell, who in 1849 became the first woman to receive a medical degree after graduating from Geneva Medical College, has beautifully illustrated endpapers. Works of art by Grandma Moses and photography by Alice Austen can be seen in books from the Library’s holdings.Around the corner by the Library entrance, the smaller display cases told the stories of everyday women as portrayed in The Industrial Bulletin. This magazine, published by the Department of Labor, provides a glimpse into the day in the life of working women in the 1940s. The display featured articles about the fight for equal pay for equal work, the need for engineers, and reports on the activities that constituted a typical day of one woman.