Some of my most exciting photographic discoveries have been portraits of women who were pioneers in their professions or who dedicated themselves to societal reform. These women usually received less recognition during their lifetimes than they should have. Even if their accomplishments were praised while they were alive, their stories have often been largely forgotten in subsequent decades. A perfect example would be Dr. Amanda Sanford, who in 1871 became the first woman to graduate from the University of Michigan Medical School, doing so with highest honors.
In the Women’s History category, I’ll continue to highlight stories of individual accomplishment. At the same time, it’s worth noting that pioneering women have often been mentored and encouraged by other women, and that cultural change usually comes from a combination of individual and collective action. The Women’s History category will therefore include both individuals and groups, most unidentified.
Top: Female students at Seattle Seminary demonstrating for women’s suffrage, about 1911. From the estate of Hazel Alberts Peterson, Seattle Pacific College class of 1919. To see the blog post about this image in a separate tab, click here.