The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

March 2, 2014

North House Museum plans ‘History Heroines’


— The Greenbrier Historical Society announces the opening of a special exhibit, “History Heroines,” in honor of Women’s History Month.

Created to celebrate a few of our favorite women in Greenbrier Valley history, the mini-exhibit will open at the North House Museum Friday March 7, from 4 to 7 p.m. As part of the opening, Elizabeth Spangler will also be sharing Louise McNeel’s poems about women on the hour and half-hour from 4 to 6:30 p.m.

Throughout much of history, the efforts, contributions, and successes of women have often been overlooked. Not until the 1970s and 1980s did celebrations of Women’s History begin to make an appearance in the United States. In February 1980, President Jimmy Carter proclaimed the week of March 8 as “National Women’s History Week.” Largely due to the work of the National Women’s History Project, Congress declared the month of March as “Women’s History Month” in 1987. This continued every year from 1988 to 1994 when the president began issuing an annual Women’s History Month proclamation.

West Virginia has had a variety of successful, intriguing, smart, powerful, and courageous women. From war heroines and artists to doctors and politicians, the women of West Virginia have made important contributions to the advancement of the state in a variety of areas.

Since 1974, West Virginia has made an active attempt to document, preserve, and interpret the differing experiences of West Virginian women. Many of these women strayed from traditional gender roles and fought for equality. The women of West Virginia have always played an active role throughout history, and their contributions and sacrifices should be acknowledged.    

The Greenbrier Historical Society’s exhibit “History Heroines” will highlight eight special women in the Greenbrier Valley’s history, from frontier days to the 1900s: Ann Clendenin, an Indian massacre survivor; Elizabeth Coffman Rodgers, a 19th century professional weaver; Ada  “Bricktop” Smith, celebrated singer and jazz club owner; Nancy Hart, a daring Confederate spy with the Moccasin Rangers; Aracoma, daughter of Cornstalk and a Shawnee chief;  Louise McNeill, named West Virginia Poet Laureate in 1979; Pearl Buck, world famous author; and Anne Bailey, who saved Fort Lee (now Charleston) by riding to Fort Savannah in Lewisburg for ammunition.

“History Heroines” will be open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. beginning March 7 and ending April 7. For more information, contact GHS at 3049-645-3398 or info@greenbrierhistorical.org.