Virginia Women in History

Online biographies are not currently available for women honored between 2000 and 2006.

Mollie Holmes Adams (1881–1973), King William County
Upper Mattaponi Leader
Mollie Holmes Adams helped preserve the Upper Mattaponi heritage by passing on the almost-lost art of feather weaving and recording her herbal remedies.

Pauline Adams (1874–1957), Norfolk
Suffragist

Clara Leach Adams-Ender

Rebecca Adamson

Lucy Addison (1861–1937), Roanoke
Educator
A pioneering educator, Lucy Addison developed the first accredited high school for Roanoke's African American community.

Ella Graham Agnew

Mary C. Alexander (March 2, 1893–April 16, 1955), Lynchburg
Aviator
One of the first women licensed pilots in Virginia, Mary C. Alexander owned and operated a scheduled air service between Norfolk and Washington, D.C., during the 1930s.

Susie May Ames (1888–1969), Accomack County
Historian
Susie M. Ames's writings made major contributions to understanding the social and cultural life of seventeenth-century Virginia.

Louise A. Reeves Archer (October 23, 1893–April 1, 1948), Vienna
Educator
A highly respected teacher and principal, Louise Reeves Archer inspired her students through her dedication and commitment to their education.

Grace Arents

Nancy Langhorne Astor

Pearl Bailey

Mary Julia Baldwin

Janie Porter Barrett

Katherine Harwood Waller Barrett (January 24, 1858–February 23, 1925), Stafford County
Reformer

Monica Beltran, Prince William County
Bronze Star Medal recipient
As a result of her heroic actions while under attack in Iraq, Monica Beltran became the first woman in the Virginia National Guard to receive a Bronze Star Medal for Valor.

Sister Marie Majella Berg (July 7, 1916–April 5, 2004), Arlington County
College President

Mary Berkeley Minor Blackford (December 2, 1802–September 15, 1896), Fredericksburg
Antislavery Activist
Appalled by the violence of slavery and its effect on society, Mary Minor Blackford became a vocal antislavery supporter.

Anna Whitehead Bodeker

Eleanor Bontecou (1891–1976), Arlington County
Attorney
Eleanor Bontecou overcame debilitating illness to combat discrimination against Japanese Americans during World War II, study the treatment of conscientious objectors, and counsel federal government employees accused of subversive activities.

John-Geline MacDonald Bowman (March 30, 1890–April 14, 1946), Richmond
Business Executive

Rosa Dixon Bowser

Margaret Brent

Lucy Goode Brooks (1818–1900), Richmond
Civic Leader
Having experienced as a slave the devastation of separated families, Lucy Goode Brooks founded the Friends’ Asylum for Colored Orphans.

Mary Willing Byrd (1740–1814), Charles City County
Planter

Christiana Burdett Campbell (ca. 1723–1792), Willamsburg
Innkeeper
Christiana Campbell became one of Williamsburg's most prominent and successful tavern keepers during the Revolutionary era.

Elizabeth Pohl Campbell

Elizabeth Ambler Brent Carrington (March 11, 1765–February 15, 1842), Richmond
Civic Leader
Concerned about the plight of orphaned girls, Elizabeth Ambler Brent Carrington helped establish the Female Humane Association of the City of Richmond at a time when women rarely played a role in public affairs.

Maybelle Addington Carter (1909–1978), Scott County
Musician

Willa Cather

Betty Sams Christian (1922–2006), Richmond
Business executive and philanthropist
A president of Central Coca-Cola Bottling Company for more than twenty years, Betty Sams Christian enriched her community through philanthropy.

Patsy Cline

Cockacoeske

Naomi Silverman Cohn (April 15, 1888–October 20, 1982), Richmond
Civic Activist
Activist Naomi Silverman Cohn advocated social legislation to improve the lives of women and children.

Ann Compton (b. 1947–), Roanoke
News Correspondent
An award-winning journalist, Ann Compton broke new ground as the first woman White House correspondent for a national news organization.

Caroline Bradby Cook (ca. 1839–), King William County
Pamunkey leader and unionist

Laura Lu Scherer Copenhaver (1868–1940), Smyth County
Entrepreneur and Lutheran Lay Leader

Hannah Lee Corbin

Katie Couric

Christine Mann Darden

Caitlyn Day

Jennie Dean

Elizabeth Ashburn Duke (b. 1952–), Virginia Beach
Banker
As a member of the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors, banker Elizabeth Duke helped implement the Federal Reserve System's response to the financial panic of 2008.

Mary Ann Elliott

Claudia Emerson (1957–), Fredericksburg
Poet

Sarah Lee Fain

JoAnn Falletta (b. 1954–), Norfolk
Musician
A dynamic and compelling conductor, JoAnn Falletta is an advocate for contemporary music.

Drew Gilpin Faust (1947–), Clarke County
Historian and President of Harvard University

Rachel Findlay (ca. 1750–after August 17, 1820), Wythe County
Principal in a Freedom Suit
The granddaughter of an illegally enslaved Indian woman, Rachel Findlay successfully sued for her freedom and ensured the freedom of many of her descendants.

Emily White Fleming (1855–1941), Fredericksburg
Preservationist
Emily White Fleming preserved numerous Fredericksburg landmarks for future generations.

Pearl Fu, Roanoke
Civic Leader
By directing the annual Local Colors festival, Pearl Fu celebrates the ethnic and cultural diversity of the Roanoke area.

Ethel Bailey Furman (1893–1976), Richmond
Architect
Ethel Bailey Furman was one of the earliest African American women to work as an architect in Virginia.

Mary Alice Franklin Hatwood Futrell (1940–), Lynchburg
Educator

Mary Jeffery Galt (1844–1922), Norfolk
Preservationist

Ellen Glasgow

Providencia Velazquez Gonzalez (1917–), Dale City
Community activist
By striving to improve the lives of those around her, Providencia "Provi" Velazquez Gonzalez serves as an example to her community.

Joann Hess Grayson (1948–), Harrisonburg
Psychologist and Advocate for Abused Children

Bessie Blount Griffin

Edythe C. Harrison (1934–), Norfolk
Civic Leader
Edythe C. Harrison's love of music led her to help found the Virginia Opera Association.

Anne Makemie Holden

Grace Brewster Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906–January 1, 1992), Arlington County
Computer Science pioneer and Rear Admiral

Nora Houston

Mary Draper Ingles

Annabelle Ravenscroft Gibson Jenkins

Sheila Crump Johnson (1949–), Loudoun County
Entrepreneur and Philanthropist

Frances Benjamin Johnston

Mary Johnston

Sarah Garland Boyd Jones

Thomasina Jordan

Elizabeth Keckley

Christine Herter Kendall (August 25, 1890–June 22, 1981), Bath County
Artist and Patron of the Arts
An accomplished artist and musician, Christine Herter Kendall cofounded the Garth Newel Music Center in Bath County.

Elizabeth Bermingham Lacy (1945–), Richmond
Judge
The first woman to serve on the State Corporation Commission and on the Supreme Court of Virginia, Elizabeth Bermingham Lacy opened doors for Virginia women in the legal profession.

Lillian Lincoln Lambert, Mechanicsville
Entrepreneur and Author
Overcoming racial and gender prejudices, Lillian Lincoln Lambert became the first African American woman to earn an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Mildred Delores Jeter Loving (July 22, 1939–May 2, 2008), Caroline County
Principal in a 1967 Civil Rights Turning Point
As a plaintiff in the 1967 Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia, Mildred Jeter Loving helped legalize interracial marriage in Virginia and the United States.

Frances Culpeper Stephens Berkeley Ludwell (bap. 1634–ca. 1695), James City County
Political leader
As a leader of the Green Spring faction, Frances Culpeper Stephens Berkeley Ludwell influenced the politics of seventeenth-century Virginia.

Dolley Madison

Bessie Niemeyer Marshall (1884–1960), Petersburg
Botanical Illustrator
Bessie Niemeyer Marshall created detailed watercolors of plants as part of a federally funded project that rescued a Petersburg park.

Janis Martin (1940–2007), Danville
Singer and Composer
Known as the "Female Elvis," Janis Martin was a pioneer rockabilly star.

Mary Tyler Freeman Cheek McClenahan (April 6, 1917–January 16, 2005), Richmond
Civic Leader

Sharyn McCrumb (1948–), Roanoke County
Writer
The award-winning novels of Sharyn Elaine Arwood McCrumb celebrate the richness and variety of Appalachian culture.

Lillian Ward McDaniel

Elizabeth Peet McIntosh, Woodbridge
Intelligence agent
As an intelligence agent with the Office of Strategic Services, Elizabeth Peet worked in the China-Burma-India theater during World War II.

Benita Fitzgerald Mosley (b. 1961–), Haymarket
Media Executive and Olympic Gold Medalist

Patricia Buckley Moss (1933–), Waynesboro
Artist and philanthropist
Patricia Buckley Moss uses the considerable commercial success she has earned as an artist to aid child-related charities and promote the use of the arts to help children with learning disabilities succeed in school and in life.

Mary-Cooke Branch Munford

Opossunoquonuske (d. 1610), Chesterfield County
Appamattuck Leader

Anne Dobie Peebles

Pocahantas

Theresa Pollak

Barbara Johns Powell

Cleo Elaine Powell (b. 1957–), Brunswick County
Judge
The first Afircan American woman to serve on the Supreme Court of Virginia, Cleo Elaine Powell encourages young people to create a culture of diversity and respect for the law.

Elizabeth Inez Parks Pruitt (b. 1962–), Tangier Island
Physician Assistant
Elizabeth Inez Pruitt fills a vital need in the isolated community of Tangier by serving as its primary health care provider.

Orleana Hawks Puckett (d. 1939), Patrick and Carroll Counties
Midwife
Living in a rural mountain region with few doctors, Orleana Hawks Puckett became a midwife and successfully delivered more than 1,000 babies in her community.

Mary Randolph (1762–1828), Chesterfield County and Richmond
Writer

Virginia Estelle Randolph (1874–1958), Henrico County
Educator

Jessie Manfield Rattley

G. Anne Nelson Richardson (b. 1956–), King and Queen County
Rappahannock Chief

Clementina Rind

Felicia Warburg Rogan, Albermarle County
Vinter
Felicia Warburg Rogan's efforts to promote Virginia's wine industry have earned her the title "the First Lady of Virginia Wine."

Isabel Wood Rogers (1924–2007), Richmond
Presbyterian educator
As an educator and author, Isabel Wood Rogers advocated that Christians take an active and responsible interest in the secular world.

Kate Mason Rowland (1840–1916), Richmond
Writer
Kate Mason Rowland is best known for her biography of her great-great-granduncle George Mason.

Elizabeth Henry Campbell Russell (1749–1825), Saltville
Methodist Lay Leader
Setting a charitable example, Elizabeth Henry Campbell Russell fostered the fledgling Methodist Church in southwestern Virginia as a devoted adherent and through material and compassionate support of the church.

Deborah A. "Debbie" Ryan (b. 1952–), Albemarle County
Basketball Coach and Cancer Treatment Advocate
Debbie Ryan turned the University of Virginia women's basketball team into a national power and currently campaigns for research into pancreatic cancer.

Eva Mae Fleming Scott (b. 1926–), Amelia County
Legislator
A pharmacist, Eva Fleming Scott was the first woman elected to the Senate of Virginia.

Judith Shatin, Charlottesville
Composer
Judith Shatin champions music that blurs the line between acoustic and digital.

Jean Miller Skipwith (1748–), Mecklenburg County
Book Collector
Jean Miller Skipwith, Lady Skipwith, assembled one of the largest libraries owned by a Virginia woman early in the nineteenth century.

Lee Marshall Smith

Elizabeth “Annie” Snyder

Anna Bannister Spencer

Queena Stovall (1888–1980), Lynchburg and Amherst County
Artist
Taking up painting early in her sixties, Queena Stovall created works that recalled her life in rural Virginia and earned her the title the "Grandma Moses of Virginia."

Alice Jackson Stuart (1913–2001), Richmond
principal in a 1935 civil rights turning point
By applying to the University of Virginia to pursue graduate studies, Alice Jackson challenged Virginia's laws of segregation.

Mary Virginia Hawes Terhune (December 21, 1830–June 3, 1922), Amelia County
Writer

Mary Sue Terry (1947–), Patrick County
Attorney General

Sally Louise Tompkins

Edith Turner (Wané Roonseraw) (ca. 1754–1838), Southampton County
Nottoway (Cheroenhaka) chief
Edith Turner, chief of the Nottoway, successfully navigated nineteenth-century Nottoway and Anglo-American societies while she strove to keep the tribe’s children on the reservation.

Lila Meade Valentine

Marian A. Van Landingham (1937–), Alexandria
Civic Leader
Marian A. Van Landingham founded a one-of-a-kind art center in Alexandria.

Elizabeth Van Lew

Mary Belvin Wade

Maggie Walker

Martha Washington

Camilla Ella Williams (1919–), Danville
Singer

Edith Bolling Galt Wilson

Stoner Winslett (b. 1958–), Richmond
Artistic Director and Choreographer
As artistic director and choreographer, Stoner Winslett has built the Richmond Ballet into a nationally recognized professional dance company.


Library of Virginia
Dominion