Anna Ella Carroll is not remembered as a giant of the Civil War era, but the Maryland resident was a military strategist who worked closely with President Lincoln and his Cabinet to win the war against the rebelling Confederate states.
The Maryland Commission for Women and other women's organizations in the state want to see Carroll and other women included in the annals of history.
They got one step closer to that goal last Wednesday, when Governor Harry Hughes proclaimed this week the third annual Maryland Women's History Week.
"We want to make history more accurate--to reflect the roles that both women and men have played," said Jill Moss Greenberg, coordinator of Maryland Women's History Week for the Maryland Commission for Women. Women's organizations supporting Women's History Week believe all women--whether homemakers, sweatshop workers, career women or political activists--should be included in recorded history.
This week is a tribute to both well-known Maryland women--including Harriet Tubman, a Dorchester County resident who helped slaves escape the South via the underground railroad, and Clara Barton, founder of the Red Cross, who lived in Glen Echo--and to the "unsung heroines," women whose names will probably never get into print, but who have contributed much to society, individually and collectively.
"We're trying to make an awareness of contributions--recognized and unrecognized--that women have made," Greenberg said.
One reason women are not included in many history books is because history is usually defined in military and political terms, said Virginia Beauchamp, professor of English at the University of Maryland.
"My point always is that we need to look at ordinary women's lives. It's crucial and invaluable," Beauchamp said. Although most women were never paid or rewarded for their work in the home and in the community, Beauchamp believes that without their contributions society would have collapsed.
This year's theme is "The Maryland Mosaic"--the many ethnic and racial backgrounds of Maryland women.
Congress has passed a bill declaring this week national Women's History Week for the second consecutive year. The bill was sponsored by two legislators with often divergent views, Rep. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) and Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah).
In Maryland, the state Department of Education has provided resource packets to public and private schools on a number of notable women. Among them:
Anna Ella Carroll (1815-l894). Although undeniable proof that Anna Ella Carroll served as an unofficial member of President Lincoln's Cabinet is not available, many historians believe that she had influence in both planning and executing military efforts during the Civil War.
The daughter of Thomas King Carroll, governor of Maryland in 1830 and 1831, Carroll inherited an interest in politics from her father.
In 1848, she became active in the Whig Party and later became a friend of President Millard Fillmore.
When Abraham Lincoln was elected president in 1860, Carroll celebrated the victory by freeing her household slaves.
Maryland was on the brink of secession in early 1861, and Carroll worked to stop the state from joining the Confederacy. She also wrote pro-Union pamplets, some of which the government published.
But perhaps Carroll's largest contribution to the war effort was a keen eye for military strategy, according to a profile of her in "Notable Maryland Women," a compilation of essays edited by Winifred G. Helms. In September 1861, President Lincoln sent Carroll on a tour of the western theater of the war to report on conditions there. Carroll developed a plan to take the Tennessee River, which was unfortified, instead of the heavily guarded Mississippi. Her strategy was carried out, cutting off the Confederacy's east-west communication--an event some historians mark as the beginning of the South's downfall.
The maneuver made General Ulysses S. Grant famous, but only Lincoln and his Cabinet knew the author of the plan.
Anna Ella Carroll died an invalid in 1894 without ever gaining the proper recognition for her role in the war, Bradley wrote.
Henrietta Szold (1860-1945). The founder of today's adult education classes, Szold was also a Zionist who is credited with saving 13,000 children from extermination during World War II.
With the great influx of immigrants into Baltimore during the late 19th century, Szold, an excellent student and teacher, saw the need to educate the new Maryland residents. Her one-room school opened in November 1889, and was such a success that the city opened night schools in 1907.
Szold moved to Philadelphia in 1893 to work as the editor of the Jewish Publication Society. For the next 22 years she edited, translated and proofread manuscripts.
After a trip to Palestine in 1909, Szold returned to New York and formed Jewish societies to improve health conditions in Palestine. Seventeen years later she resigned all her positions in the United States, moved to Palestine and became a prominent political leader in the Jewish community.
As director of the Department of Youth Immigration from 1935 to 1943, she is credited with saving 13,000 Jewish European children from the Hitler extermination camps by bringing them to Palestine, according to "Notable Maryland Women." Her picture is now on a five-pound note in Israel.
Other Maryland women to note:
Margaret Brent (1601-1671). A lawyer, landholder and entrepreneur, Brent was the first woman to ask for the right to cast a vote in the General Assembly. In 1648 she sought a vote as a landowner and as business agent of Lord Baltimore. At the time she was sole executor of Governor Leonard Calvert's estate. The assembly denied her the votes, but later praised her actions to avert a possible mutiny in the colony.
Anna Lloyd Corkran (1858-1937). Her active participation in many Maryland women's and civic organizations during the era of the Industrial Revolution resulted in social reforms of state child labor laws, compulsory school attendance in Baltimore and Allegany counties, public health measures and the 10-hour workday for women.
For more information on this week's activities, contact the Maryland Commission for Women in Baltimore, or county commissions for women.