Women have been an integral part of life in Virginia since the earliest days of recorded history, yet their contributions have often been overlooked in the history books. Until well into the twentieth century, women could not serve in the military, vote, or hold public office, and written histories tended to focus on the deeds of great warriors and famous statesmen, ignoring women’s roles as wives, mothers, teachers, nurses, farmers, artists, pioneers, laborers, and community builders.
Today, we recognize and celebrate women’s accomplishments in all walks of life, particularly in March each year, which has been designated by Congress as National Women’s History Month. The Library of Virginia, in partnership with the Virginia Foundation for Women, presents the 2007 Virginia Women in History poster to honor eight women—past and present—who have made important contributions to Virginia and America. We encourage you to learn more about these fascinating women who saw things differently from their contemporaries, developed new approaches to old problems, strove for excellence based on the courage of their convictions, and initiated changes in Virginia and America that continue to have an impact on our lives today.