March is Women’s History Month and March 8 is International Women’s Day. There is no better time to commemorate the contributions women have made throughout history. The Miami Valley has no shortage of women who have made their mark.
Annie Oakley shot apples off her dog Dave’s head. The photography of Jane Reece garnered international recognition, and the Sisters of Notre Dame founded a school that gave girls an opportunity to continue their educations past elementary school.
Here is a look at seven notable women from the Dayton region who have helped make Dayton —and the world — a better place.
A VOICE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
Hallie Quinn Brown, an elocutionist, author and activist, was a revolutionary figure for her time. Brown’s oratory skills were not only entertaining, but a voice for social change. She lectured about temperance and advocated for African-American civil rights and women’s suffrage, incorporating equal access to education and political access for all in her oration.
AIMING FOR SUCCESS
The life of Annie Oakley — known as “Little Miss Sure Shot” while celebrated in books, on stage and on screen — began and ended in Darke County. Buffalo Bill Cody learned of Oakley’s and her husband’s shooting skills and recruited them to join his Wild West Show. Oakley had such great aim she took to shooting an apple off of her dog Dave’s head during performances.
>> READ MORE: Annie Oakley: From Darke County farm to worldwide fame
STARS OF STAGE AND SCREEN
Lillian and Dorothy Gish, sisters who rose to fame in the early age of the silver screen, came from roots in the Miami Valley. The sisters made scores of movies during their early careers, playing innocent wide-eyed beauties. Black-and-white photographs capture the sisters in costume together and in individual promotional portraits.
The Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (DCDC) is Ohio’s oldest modern dance company. It’s mesmerized audiences both local and worldwide, and developed countless dance stars since 1968, and it wouldn’t have happened without the talent and passion of Jeraldyne Blunden.
>> READ MORE: Dayton visionary creates dance company
ADVOCATING FOR EDUCATION
Five Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur who arrived in Dayton from Cincinnati on a canal boat in 1849, founded Notre Dame Academy for Young Women. That school was the foundation for Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School.
>> READ MORE: Notre Dame Academy: a leap in female education
A CENTER FOR LITERARY ACTIVITIES
For more than 100 years, the Dayton Woman’s Club has been a home for social, charitable and professional growth. After the flood waters receded in 1913, a group of civic-minded ladies saw the need to form an organization for women that would be a center for civic and literary activities.
>> READ MORE: Dayton Woman’s Club marks 100 years
Jane Reece, known as Dayton’s most important artist and photographer of any generation, combined dramatic poses with striking lighting to create images that garnered international recognition. “I don’t photograph – I use my camera as an artist uses his brush – to make the picture I already see in my mind,” she told the Monterrey Peninsula Herald in 1945.
>> READ MORE: Dayton photographer creates evocative visions
>> PHOTOS: See Jane Reece’s stunning photographs