Old map of Southeastern Ohio
Women Promoting Education in Southeast Ohio

Women Promoting Education in Southeast Ohio

Both within and beyond the university, women have played a vital part of promoting education in the region.

The exhibit—"Women Promoting Education in Southeast Ohio"—tells the stories of notable women who have promoted the educational mission of Ohio University, the Athens community, and the state, from the 1840s to the 1980s.

Among these legendary women, you can find a singer and actress, the first woman to join Ohio University's faculty, and an early advocate for women's education. Enjoy materials such as Margaret Boyd’s diary and a Women’s History Tour (online or on foot) that help document the diverse ways in which women have promoted education in the region, both within and beyond the university.


Their Times: So Different from Today

These women, so important to the history of Southeast Ohio, lived and worked in different times. 

They lived during times of war—the Civil War, the world wars, the Vietnam War, and even the Cold War.

They were early parts of social movements that still ring true today—women's rights, civil rights, peace. 

Historical pictures of women in SE Ohio, on old map overlay

Teachers and Reformers, Advocates and Allies...

Elizabeth Baker

  • First Lady of Ohio University (1945-1961), who purchased the Monomoy Theater in Chatham, Massachusetts and transformed it into a training facility for Ohio University theater students

Catharine Beecher

  • Advocate for women to enter the teaching profession to fulfill their “natural” role as nurturers 

Martha Blackburn

  • First Black woman graduate from Ohio University (in 1916)

Margaret Boyd

  • Ohio University’s first female graduate (in 1873)

Francine Childs

  • First tenured Black professor in the relatively new Afro American Studies program

Olivia Davidson

  • Married Booker T. Washington in Athens in 1876 and promoted the education of Black girls as the “hope of the race”

Beverly Jones

  • Author of the 1972 “Report on the Status of Women at Ohio University,” which set the stage for implementing Title IX at the university

Anne Keating

  • First female librarian at OHIO (in 1925)

Irma Voigt

  • Ohio University’s first Dean for Women (1913-1949), who empowered young women to seize their education and to serve their communities

Cynthia Weld

  • Ohio University's first female faculty member (in 1883)