This publication contains information about women's achievements in North Carolina, trivia, and articles on how women serve the United States today.
The North Carolina Council for Women presents: Women of the Century
This commemorative program has biographies of memorable North Carolina women.
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During March, the Government & Heritage Library at the State Library of North Carolina is celebrating Women's
History Month. From Virginia Dare, the first child born to English parents in
America on the North Carolina coast; to the hundreds of women who have served in our state's Generaly Assembly; to Bev Perdue, the first female governor of North
Carolina, we recognize the vital place that women and their accomplishments
have in our history.
Strong women have gained notoriety throughout the state's past. Here are
just a few prominent North Carolina women:
1804 - Winifred Marshall Gales writes and publishes
Matilda Berkely; or, Family Anecdotes, which becomes the first
novel ever published in North Carolina written by a resident of the
1809 - Dolley Madison is the first North Carolinian to
become first lady.
1862 - Mary Jane Patterson, from Raleigh, is the first
African American woman to receive a bachelor of arts degree in the United
1878 - Tabitha Ann Holton is the first licensed female
lawyer in North Carolina.
1887 - Dr. Annie Lowrie Alexander is the first
licensed female doctor in North Carolina.
1902 - Dr. Charlotte Hawkins Brown founds the Alice Freeman Palmer Memorial Institute.
1921 - Lillian Exum Clement is the first woman to serve in the North Carolina General Assembly.
1946 - Eliza Jane Pratt is the first female to
represent North Carolina in the US Congress.
2009 - Beverly Perdue is North Carolina's first female
For every woman who has gained a place in the history books, numerous
female tar heels have helped build and sustain the state in so many ways.
From working in the burgeoning textile industry, to forwarding higher
education and research, to documenting their Civil War
experiences, these women are an integral part of our culture.
Please join us as we celebrate the contributions that women
have made to the history of our state, and the United States.
Government and Heritage Library Resources
The Government and Heritage Library has many resources about women in
North Carolina in the
NC Digital Collections
The Government & Heritage Library and NC State Archives have a number of digital resources about women in the North Carolina Digital Collections. Try an advanced search on "Women" in the title or subject fields.
The first book published in North Carolina was written by a woman,
Winifred Marshall Gales. This book is entitled Matlida Berkely; or,
Family Anecdotes and a digitized version is available through the North Carolina Digital Collections.
Elizabeth Keckley, Behind
the Scenes, or, Thirty years a Slave, and Four Years in the White
Elizabeth Keckley's autobiography recounts her life as a slave living
near Hillsborough, NC. She purchases her freedom and then goes on to
become a close friend of first lady Mary Todd Lincoln. http://docsouth.unc.edu/neh/keckley/keckley.html
Flora MacDonald: "The
Bright and Particular Star" (1722-1790)
"Although Flora MacDonald lived in North Carolina only a short time,
her legend took strong hold within the Scottish population here and has
continued as an important symbol of North Carolina’s Scots
history." Her name was adopted for the Flora MacDonald College in 1916,
an insitution which was dedicated to the higher education of women. It
still exists as the Flora Macdonald Academy. In addition, images of students from the early 20th century can be
found at the North Carolina State Archives. http://ncpedia.org/biography/macdonald-flora
The Dolley Madison Project
Dolley Payne, born and raised in Guilford County, NC, grew up to
become the wife of James Madison, the fourth President of the United
States. This site contains letters, maps, essays, and other resources
related to Dolley Payne Todd Madison. http://www2.vcdh.virginia.edu/madison/
Alice Person: Good Medicine and
Good Music (1840-1913)
"Professional musician, patent medicine entrepreneur, women's rights
advocate—all are appropriate titles for colorful North Carolinian
Alice Morgan Person (1840-1913). This digital collection, ... celebrates
Alice’s unique life by presenting digitized versions of her
published folk tune arrangements in both audio and visual formats along
with a broad range of other images collected by Alice’s biographer
and ECU music librarian, David Hursh." http://digital.lib.ecu.edu/collection/person.aspx
Bayard Wootten (seen right), a native of New Bern, NC, traveled around
the state as an "activist photographer," with some of her most
significant documentary photographs coming from the North Carolina
Fred Seely's Women: Early Entrepreneurship and Male
This online exhibit describes turn-of-the-century entrepreneurship and
the women who worked for Fred Seely, an important civic leader and
businessman in Asheville, NC. http://tiny.cc/lV5KZ
Green 'N' Growing: The History of Home Demonstration and 4-H
Youth Development in North Carolina
"4-H and Home Demonstration, dating from the early twentieth century,
were established to instruct children and women in agricultural practice
and home economics." From North Carolina State University Libraries, this
site features images, historical essays, and a bibliography. http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/specialcollections/greenngrowing/index.html
Library of Congress, American English Dialect Recordings
The Library of Congress holds a number of oral history interviews
conducted with women in North Carolina between 1941 and 1984. These
interviews can be heard online, as part of the American English Dialect
Recordings site. Simply search using the term "North Carolina female" to
locate these interviews. (NOTE: Load time may be slow.) http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/linguistics/index.html
The North Carolina Experience: Topical Access to Women
This list links to digitized materials in the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill's North Carolina Collection related to women in
North Carolina. http://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/women.html
Women Veterans Historical Collection
This project "documents the contributions of women in the military and
related service organizations since World War I. The collection offers a
wide range of source material, including photographs, letters, diaries,
scrapbooks, oral histories, military patches and insignia, uniforms, and
posters, as well as published works." http://library.uncg.edu/dp/wv/about.aspx
Transforming the Tar Heel State: The Legacy of Public Libraries in
North Carolina contains many historical photographs of individuals,
including women and children, using or working in various public libraries
across the state.
Born in Brogden, NC, a small rural community near Smithfield, Ava
Gardner went on to become an international film star. She starred in over
60 movies throughout her career, including Show Boat and
Night of the Iguana. This museum, located in Smithfield,
features a large collection of Gardner memorabilia. http://www.avagardner.org/
Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum (Palmer Memorial
"Founded in 1902 by Dr. Charlotte Hawkins Brown, Palmer Memorial
Institute transformed the lives of more than 2,000 African American
students. Today, the campus provides the setting where visitors can
explore this unique environment where boys and girls lived and learned
during the greater part of the 20th century." http://www.nchistoricsites.org/chb/chb.htm
The idea for the Elizabethan Gardens, located in Manteo, NC, was first
proposed in 1951 to the Garden Club of North Carolina, a non-profit
organization of 17,000 women. Since then, through the efforts of a number
of women, this extraordinary monument to the first English settlers of
Roanoke Island has grown and flourished. http://www.elizabethangardens.org
Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture, Duke
"The Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture in Duke
University’s Special Collections Library acquires, preserves and
makes available to a large population of researchers published and
unpublished materials that reflect the public and private lives of women,
past and present." http://library.duke.edu/rubenstein/bingham/index.html
"Because tradition and law have until recently focused recordkeeping
on male heads-of-household, the details of our female ancestors' lives
are often more difficult to find. One possibility for research is the
diary, and Sharon DeBartolo Carmack shows you how to find and use these
precious documents in your family's history." http://www.genealogy.com/87_carmack.html
A growing joint project of the State Library and State Archives of
North Carolina, you can search for your female ancestors from North
Carolina within numerous Bible Records, and an index of marriage and
death notices. http://statelibrary.ncdcr.gov/digital/ncfamilyrecords/
DID YOU KNOW?
You can discover a number of places of historical statewide significance
commemorated by historical markers in the Highway Historical Marker
Program. Click here for a list of markers related to women.
Grooming in 1930s North Carolina (grades 8,
"Using primary source materials, this lesson plan provides a glimpse
into the lives of girls and women from the 1930s and will give students
the opportunity to study what was considered attractive for the time, how
the Depression affected grooming practices, and the universal concept of
healthful living." http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/1327
North Carolina in the Early 20th Century: Women's