Ohio Local History Alliance Virtual Meeting October 1-3

Ohio Women's History

Hello fellow readers. I wanted to make you aware of this meeting October 1-3 and let you know that if you sign up, you will hear Ohio Women’s History Project as one of the first presentations on October 1st from 9am – 10am.


The title of the presentation will be Transformed Women Who Brought Us to Where we are Today.  There will be several other presentations and a guest speaker during these three days. I hope you will be able to attend and while it is virtual, you will be able to ask questions via Chat that I will be able to answer at the end. I look forward to seeing you!!

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Names on the Ohio Women’s History Project Shirts

Ohio Women’s History Project T-shirts

Available at https://ohiowomenshistory.com/womens-history-store/

I want to be clear that this is just a sample of the names of women in Ohio History, it is not all of them. These are names that I could fit on a t-shirt and names of women I have begun to write about on this website, plus a few more. I made sure to get names of women that were “firsts” at something. I also tried to only get one name in different categories, and this is why all the first ladies from Ohio are not on here. If you haven’t bought your t-shirt yet, click on the link above and see the different items which are featured. Let’s educate others about Ohio Women’s History, ONE T-SHIRT AT A TIME!

Agnes May Driscoll – Coder/Mathmetician

Annie Oakley – Sharp shooter

Belle Sherwin – Activist

Berenice Abbott – Photographer

Bernice Pyke – First woman to be a delegate for the Democratic Nat’l Convention

Betsy Mix Cowles – Activist Abolition

Betty Zane – American Revolution Heroine

Charity Edna Earley – First AA woman to be an Army Officer

Dorothy Fuldheim – Journalist

Eliza Bryant – Humanitarian

Ella P. Stewart – First AA woman Pharmacist

Emma “Grandma” Gatewood – First woman to walk the Appalachian Trail

Erma Bombeck – Comedian

Evelyn Ryan – Prize winner of Defiance, Ohio (movie made about her life)

Florence Harding – First Lady

Florence Ellinwood Allen – First woman on the state Supreme Court

Florence Z. Melton – Shoe Manufacturer

Frances Jennings Casement – Suffragist

Frances Bolton – First woman to Congress/House of Rep.

Hallie Brown – Educator/Activist

Harriet Beecher Stowe – Writer

Henrietta Buckler Seiberling – Founder of AA/Oxford Group

Jane Scott – Journalist/Musicians

Jerrie Mock – First woman to fly solo around the world

Judith Resnik – Astronaut

Lillian Wald – Nurse

Lillian Gish – Silent film star

Lucy Stone – Suffragist

Lucy Webb Hayes – First Lady

Maude C. Waitt – One of the First women to the state Senate

Mildred Wirt Benson – aka Carolyn Keene (or Nancy Drew’s writer)

Nettie Cronise Lutes – First woman admitted to state bar as a Lawyer

Phyllis Diller – Comedian

Ruby Dee – Actress

Ruth Lyons – Radio/TV

Sarah Worthington – Philanthropist and daughter of Governor

Sharon Ann Lane – Vietnam Nurse

Sojourner Truth – Suffragist/Activist

Victoria Woodhull – First woman to run for President of the US

Victoria Woodhull Documentary

Eden Valley Enterprises is seeking donations for their documentary on Victoria Woodhull. As you can see by this trailer, it is going to be a great success! They have already created a wonderful documentary on Emma “Grandma” Gatewood, which I got a chance to see at a screening at the Ohio History Connection. The film entitled “Trail Magic: The Grandma Gatewood Story,” was nominated for an Emmy! So you know your donations are in good hands. Both Grandma Gatewood and Victoria Woodhull’s stories are available in a storytelling program for presentations.

Senate Bill 30 – Suffrage Centennial Commission

When I went to Ohio’s Statehood Day in February, I learned that they were putting together a bill for an Ohio Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission. The good news is that it was passed on April 11th and is now awaiting Governor DeWine’s signature. This bill was sponsored by both a Republican (Stephanie Kunze – Hilliard) and a Democrat (Sandra Williams – Cleveland), which is a good thing in and of itself. I say this because it is nice to bring back some balance in politics which is how the journey for women’s suffrage began. Women from all different backgrounds came together in support of this cause. Unfortunately, there was a lot of drama between these women which caused the groups to split up into different factions as well. This would result in our suffrage taking much longer (approximately 70 years) before being ratified in 1920. Now, we have had 100 years of being able to vote in the elections and create an impact on who will serve in office.

The established date is 1848, at Seneca Falls, New York, for when women’s suffrage “began.” However, in order for them to get to New York and have this convention, there were many more years of going door to door and speaking to women locally. Women met in their homes or other local establishments that might allow them to hold a public meeting. Women’s suffrage meetings were going on all over the United States and the United Kingdom prior to Seneca Falls.

The main suffrage group established, in the United States, was (NAWSA) National American Women’s Suffrage Association. NAWSA became the League of Women Voter’s after women gained the right to vote in 1920. Alice Paul had created the National Women’s Party. Victoria Woodhull had formed the Equal Rights Party, as her short lived party when she ran for president in 1872.She also spoke to the House Judiciary Committee, a year prior to argue that women already had the right to vote (the Constitution did not say women could not). This was trumped by a lot of drama within the women’s suffrage factions that did not want Ms. Woodhull to go down in history for bringing us the right to vote. She had a lot of controversy surrounding her. One of the issues of concern was outing an affair, in her newspaper, of a highly revered minister; who was the brother of one of the top women in NAWSA.

President Woodrow Wilson is the leader who finally gave in, under duress from his wife and signed this bill once it was approved in the House and Senate. He was no more in favor of suffrage than President Lincoln originally was of ending slavery. In the end, they were swayed by a majority of their constituents and realizing it was the popular thing to do.

Thusly, a century later, our state is forming a commission to hold events and raise awareness about the importance and historical significance of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Stay tuned to learn more!

Honor the Ladies!

I felt it was important to put something together, as a memorial for women in Ohio’s history. I have been working on this for the last couple of months and then met up with a graphics artist that I was referred to. Samantha Vickers is in Cleveland and runs a company called Intentions Studio Design. We spoke on the phone and I explained how I wanted the emblem to look. I wanted something that would be formal and elegant as this was the style in our history when these women would have been around. It was important to get a design that these women would be proud of. She had it in one take and I was really surprised. You never really know if you are explaining yourself correctly until you see the finished product.

The women on this design have all passed. They are not ALL of the women in history in Ohio because you wouldn’t have been able to read the names if we did this. These are not even ALL of the women who have passed. This sample is based on women that I have written about or are preparing to do so. The names that are highlighted are women were “First” to achieve in the state of Ohio or wherever they became famous. The women that are considered for an Ohio Women’s History list are women who were either born in Ohio or those who made history here. For example, Mildred Wirt Benson (aka Carolyn Keene) was born in Ladora, Iowa and grew up there until she graduated college. When she came to Ohio, she began to write and eventually penned the “Nancy Drew Series,” or at least the majority of the stories. There are other women, like Natalie Clifford Barney who born here and lived here only 10 years. However, she went to boarding school in France and eventually stayed in Paris and ran a “Salon,” which was an intellectual gathering place for forty years. (She is not on the emblem but written about here on my blogposts).

If you click on Women’s History Store, above, you will see this emblem featured on products for men, women, youth and toddlers. This online store is based in Ohio. When you click on the products in the store, it will take you to the “EnlightenedGal” store that I created and this is through the manufacturer (CustomizedGirl). Whatever you purchase, Ohio Women’s History gets a commission from this. This is going to be set aside to pay for setting up Ohio Women’s History Project. This will be a non-profit geared toward educating and bringing awareness to our young people but also to adults. I have already given a lecture for the Westerville Kiwanis on four of the women in Ohio’s History. I would like to have contests for students, that we can feature here on the blog and will be an assignment for their history classes (If you are a teacher, please get in contact with me at ladyjatbay @ gmail.com to discuss). My way of educating will be focused on writing and lectures. The direction of this business will be based on what funds are able to be collected from the sales of these shirts in the store here.

Thank you for taking the time to peruse Ohiowomenshistory.com. Feel free to contact me about contributing an article or telling me a story about an Ohio Women in your history. They don’t need to be famous, just a remarkable person who transformed the people around her.

Jeannine Vegh, Founder of Ohio Women’s History Project

Ohio’s Remarkable Women

If you are like me, you have a collection of women’s history books on your shelves. My most recent find is, Ohio’s Remarkable Women, written by Greta Anderson (Columbus School for Girls Alumni) and Revised by Susan Sawyer (2015). I have several women’s history collections and now one that focuses exclusively on Ohio women or women who’s contributions were specific to or began in Ohio. Here are the ladies you will find in this book:

Frances Dana Gage – Social Reformer

Harriet Beecher Stowe – “The Little Lady Who Made a Big War”

Eliza Jane Trimble Thompson – Mother of a Crusade

Mary Ann Ball Bickerdyke – The Nurse Who Outranked General Sherman

Victoria C. Woodhull – Avatar of Free Love and the Vote

Hallie Quinn Brown – A Builder of Schools

Annie Oakley – Little Sure Shot

Helen Herron Taft – White House Bound

Lillian D. Wald – Founder of Public Health Nursing

Jane Edna Hunter – A beacon for the Black Working Woman

Florence Ellinwood Allen – A Woman of Justice

Ella P. Stewart – Trailblazing Toledoan

Lois Lenski – Collaborator with Children

Dorothy Fuldheim – Cleveland’s Media Doyenne

On the first few pages, there is a map of Ohio which shows the cities that will be mentioned in the book so you can see where some of these smaller towns are and have a sense of what part of the state they are in. This is a very small 155 page book so it doesn’t come close to all of the women from Ohio who have made history in or from our great state. My intent is to bring to life so many more valuable contributions on here. I believe this book is part of a series of other books on women from other states. The series itself are titled “More than Petticoats,” Remarkable [insert State] Women.

My favorite new story, from this collection, would have to be Dorothy Fuldheim or the best which was saved for last. Dorothy was a Jewish woman who faced Adolph Hitler, as a journalist, and before the concentration camps had begun. He was just rising to power and beginning to speak on anti-Semitism at his lectures. Dorothy, who spoke German, was in Germany and out of curiosity travelled to Munich to get a chance to interview him. She was struck by the comments made by several Germans she had met while travelling in Europe about all the jobs Hitler was going to bring for the people. Naturally she wanted to know who such a person was. She used flattery at his office, to get him to talk to her and then was taken aback, once more by what he had to say, not knowing she of course was Jewish. When she returned to Ohio, she tried explaining to people the concerns she saw in this new leader but everyone she spoke to decided she was being overly dramatic. She went on to host “The One O’Clock Club” on the radio and continued her journalistic career through several other media outlets as well. What fascinated me the most was her respect for freedom of speech. This was shown by a quote she put over her guests chair (on the radio station) which read “I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” This is certainly not shared by journalists of today and it is quite sad considering it follows as our first amendment rights in the constitution. Instead we see emotionally damaging words against people who are merely standing up for what they believe in.

If you have a chance, be sure to pick up a copy of this wonderful little collection and add it to your women’s history shelves. I think you will be glad you did.


Trail Magic: The Grandma Gatewood Story – Event

Long before Reese Witherspoon made the movie Wild about the adventures of Cheryl Strayed, there was  Emma “Grandma” Gatewood. You can now see the full documentary, Trail Magic: The Grandma Gatewood Story as it will be coming to the Ohio History Museum on Sunday, October 16th, 2016 from 1-3pm. Emma who, at 67 years old was the first woman ever to hike the entire Appalachian Trail. A survivor of three decades of domestic violence and in the meantime raised 11 children, she finally found the courage to walk away. Inspired by an article in National Geographic, she then decided she would like to, as a woman walk the trail. Later she became a celebrity and appeared on a couple of guest spots on national television. After the film, the producers will be there to answer questions.

Also on Sunday, October 30th from 2-2:30 pm will be another interesting women’s history event. Woodhull for President! will be presented by a staff member at the Ohio History Museum.

Victoria Woodhull – Homer, Ohio

Victoria Woodhull – September 23, 1838 – June 9, 1927 (Libra and Aphrodite archetype)

A woman who was seen as a controversial figure in her time, was of course way ahead of her peers. She began her start in life with a family who had less than good intentions or you could spin the story by saying their way of surviving wasn’t exactly ethical or legal. She was a spiritualist, polyamorous, started a commune, in fact lived a pretty wild life. You can imagine that as a women’s suffragist, she would eventually be ostracized by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s world. Today, she would have just been a normal modern day woman.

What is significant about Victoria Woodhull is that she was the first woman to run for President announcing her candidacy in 1870. Her party was known as the Equal Right’s Party and she was accepted by them as a candidate in 1872. Frederick Douglass, a former slave and abolitionist leader, was her candidate for Vice President. What is also significant is that Victoria Woodhull spoke before the House Judiciary Committee and argued that women had the right to vote, under the demand that the constitution did not say women were excluded. There was nothing new to write, they just needed to realize this. Of course by this point she had already been ostracized by the suffragist’s who certainly did not want her going down in history for something they had worked so hard for. As a result of this, while the men were in favor of Victoria’s speech and thought her argument made perfect sense to them, they were deluged with an onslaught of wives and sisters who were telling them that she was nuts and they should not listen to what she had to say. Before too long they were laughing at her instead.

This last fact is the most difficult to fathom, in this time period, as it would be 47 years, from when she spoke, before women actually did get the right to vote. It also shows how women can be vindictive and ruthless toward other women and certainly are not the “better” sex for any position of authority as they are no better than men. What you can also see is that the suffragists had developed quite a large ego. What difference would it have made who got us the right to vote, as long as we had it?

Other amazing feats are that Victoria and her sister Tennessee were the first women stockbrokers to open shop on Wall Street. She ran a newspaper, which was how the suffragists ended up going against her. Victoria ran an expose on the brother of Harriett Beecher Stowe about his infidelity. She focused on him because he was a minister preaching to his flock against her beliefs on free love. What she was doing was showing the hypocrisy of his lifestyle, no different than say a Jim and Tammy Faye Baker story (or plenty of other ministers, priests, and other spiritual men you can think of in history).

Interestingly, while she had these fiercely liberal attitudes, she did no believe in abortion. However, she felt people needed to be responsible which is not something you can really disagree with. She believed in sex education and like Margaret Sanger, in this same time period, were both talking about family planning. Also like Margaret Sanger, believed in eugenics which has to do with improving the quality of human beings. Many people will fault both of these women for this thought process however, it is not wrong to believe in something that was popular in your era. From an intellectual standpoint it makes sense and for these brilliant women, who had good intentions to feel this way, you really want to know more about why they felt this was a good idea.

My introduction to Victoria Woodhull came in my Women’s History class in the early 1990’s. I was so fascinated by her because she had accomplished so much in her time period, yet was scorned by many women for her beliefs. I could relate to her story and wrote her name down so that I would remember it while out shopping for books. The book I read was Notorious Victoria by Mary Gabriel. Of course I was quite fascinated to learn that her life began right here in Ohio, not too far from where I myself grew up and went to High School. There is a non-profit organization now that is set up to continue her beliefs for family planning, education and other topics she might have been interested in called Woodhull Freedom Foundation.

**A new documentary is being made that has come to my attention via Twitter. Check out this website Clarinet Marmalade.

7/20/16 Guardian article: Notorious Victoria: The First Woman to Run for President

Women’s History

It is very important that we look at both women and men of history. If not, we are only getting a one sided approach to the story. When I first took Women’s History it was at Santa Barbara City College in the early 90’s. The first thing our teacher had us do was to write down 10 women in history who were not celebrities or first ladies. She knew this would make our job much harder. This was very important because very few people in the class could think of 10 women. Aside from the typical names such as Clara Barton, Betsy Ross, Florence Nightingale, this was really what we knew, nurses or seamstresses. Each week, we began to learn so much more about our history, surprises that women were involved in major historical events and yet we had never heard of them.

One of the most fascinating to me was Victoria Woodhull. I want to write a little bit more about her in the future but I thought I’d get a head start here. Victoria was the first woman to ever run for President. She is from Homer,Ohio but no one has ever heard of her. Not unless they are a woman and a professor of history. What is even more important about Ms. Woodhull is that she spearheaded a campaign in front of the House Judiciary Committee. She was very convincing when she pointed out that we didn’t need to “re-invent the wheel,” so to speak because the constitution did not say women could not vote. Things were turned upside down though because the heads of the Women’s Suffrage Movement, were pretty upset with her because she had been outspoken about one of their brothers who had cheated on his wife and happened to be a minister. This bit of history gets me so upset more than anything else because it is where you see that women have big ego’s, just like men do. These women made sure to overturn the minds of the already convinced men of the House Judiciary Committee and turned Ms. Woodhull’s appearance into a joke. What is the cliché? Wagging the Dog? Ms. Woodhull was also very very much ahead of her time. She was  what we would call today a hippie mindset. Back then, it was un-mannerly, not very lady-like. She believed in free-love, was a psychic and ran a commune for some time.

It is amazing when you think about the fact that it took us almost 100 years from the beginning of the suffrage movement until the 19th Amendment was passed in 1920. Ms. Woodhull would have decreased this substantially. It is this story I like to share with women when they say that we are better at being leaders and running countries and so forth and so on. No gender is better at anything, except what they are only physically capable of doing due to their gender. You can learn more about Victoria Woodhull in the book “Notorious Victoria,” by Mary Gabriel. Lots of photos in here too as well as being a compelling read.

My question next is with all these wonderful books out there that are focused on women’s history, why is it that society, here in America only seems to know about the Suffragette Movement? The movie industry seems to re-hash the concept of women’s right to vote over and over again as if this is the only thing we have ever accomplished in this country. Actresses continue to complain about no good roles out there for older women or even younger women, though are there good roles for men? Being a movie aficionado myself, I can’t even bare to watch American movies anymore because they are so ridiculous. Either focused on a super-hero, chic flicks or just really poor writing. Meanwhile, the rest of the world has no problem featuring women, young and old, in very good storylines. Not only are they doing this, they do not have Actresses who look like a Victoria Secret model either. In fact, Actresses abroad come in all shapes and sizes, just like real people. I have often questioned why these American Actresses, who make millions of dollars aren’t spending their money making good quality films with females in the lead? Telling Women’s History would be a good place to start. We can be very shallow over here. This is why I wanted to do my part in remembering some of these ladies locally, before they are forgotten by a society who seems hell bent on focusing on modern technology and cheap labor in China.

Women worked hard, alongside men to bring us where we are today and we have ruined so much of what we fought for here in this country. At the same time our history is being ruined by the politically correct studios who are catering now to this mindset that we should alter history to make sure someone gets a part so that some group won’t be offended. This means our children are not learning the truth about the past. This is wrong because there is no integrity here. It is very sad and pathetic when we lie about the past.

There is integrity in what I write because I am not trying to spare anyone’s feelings. I am going to write a person’s story in here, based on the facts that I am aware of from the research I have done. Sometimes I will point out, like I did above, that my gender has screwed up their own history and made life miserable for themselves. This is meant to be honest, not anti-women and I also don’t want to be biased. What I would like to do on this website is feature women, past and present that I have been able to relate to and who have really inspired me to put this together in the first place. It is subtitled Transformed Women in respect to my own book that is helping women to become transformed. To become women who are able to have the life they want. A life that can be theirs when they learn to ask for what they want in a wise way vs. a bitchy/Diva way and when they learn to set boundaries for themselves in the same manner. I help teach women in my book how to do this. The women I will write about here have already done their best to make this happen and have made history as a result, whether it was good or bad. Mistakes and all because no one is perfect.

I hope you will enjoy reading some of these stories. I will also gather items off the Internet, such as YouTube videos and photos when I can find them. The cover photo for this website is a cropped version that came from the Ohio Historical Society. This is a photo of women who went to work during WWII and consequently had to go back home and become unemployed when the men came home.

If you are aware of stories of Ohio Women, please let me know about them. If you have any good books you would recommend, I’d love it if you would share this with me as well (no matter where the women came from). I am always looking for a good book to read. Thank you and welcome to my chapter of Women’s History, stories of ladies from here in my home state of Ohio.