Civil War Nurse and Occasional Journalist

Harriet Ward Foote, the oldest child of George Augustus Foote, was born June 25, 1831 in Guilford, Connecticut, on a New England farm - one of those rocky hillsides of which the natives say a man must own two hundred acres at least, or he will starve to death. Harriet was a first cousin of the famous Beecher family, her father being the brother of Roxana Foote Beecher, Lyman Beecher's first wife.

Joseph Russell …

The U.S. Government and the Sea Island Slaves

In August 1861, at Fortress Monroe in Virginia, Union General Benjamin Butler declared that the slaves who escaped and came into his lines for protection were contraband of war, a term commonly used thereafter to describe this new status of slaves, which meant that the Army would not return escaped slaves to their masters. This would set the stage for a much larger undertaking at Port Royal a few months …Read More...

Writer and Advocate for Women's Education

Catherine Esther Beecher was a nineteenth century champion of education for women at a time when even wealthy women received minimal education. She educated herself through independent study, and established schools devoted to training women as teachers. Beecher believed that having women teach their own families was the basis for a well-ordered society.

Childhood and Early Years
Catherine (also spelled Catharine) Esther Beecher was born September 6, 1800 at East Hampton, Long Island, …Read More...

First African American Woman to Graduate from College

Mary Jane Patterson was the first African American woman to earn a bachelor's degree (Oberlin College, 1862). She became a successful teacher and was later appointed as the first black principal at America's first public high school for blacks (Preparatory High School for Colored Youth, Washington, DC, 1871). Patterson spent her career creating new educational opportunities for African Americans after the Civil War.

Early Years
Mary Jane Patterson was born on …

First Woman Medical School Dean

Ann Preston (December 1, 1813–April 18, 1872) was a doctor and educator of women in Pennsylvania. One of the most notable achievements of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in the 19th century was the role it played in the entrance of women into medicine. Ann Preston was one of those pioneer Quaker women doctors.

Through her leadership and her persuasive influence, Dr. Preston promoted educational, professional and social changes that eventually established the right …Read More...

Founded First School for Children of All Races

Laura Haviland (1808-1898) was an American abolitionist, suffragist and pioneer social reformer who operated a station on the Underground Railroad in southeastern Michigan. Haviland also established Michigan's first school for children of all races. This post includes direct quotes from her autobiography, A Woman's Life-Work.

Early Years
Laura Smith was born on December 20, 1808, in Kitley Township in what is now eastern Ontario, Canada to American parents, Daniel and Sene …Read More...