Since March is Women’s History Month, it is most appropriate to examine Connecticut’s venue to honor the achievements of some of its most notable residents.
Conceived as an outgrowth of the Connecticut Forum in the fall of 1993, the idea of establishing a venue for honoring the considerable achievements of Connecticut women rapidly gained momentum, thanks largely to the efforts of Geena Clonan, then managing director of the Connecticut Forum. On May 19, 1994, 46 Connecticut women were inducted — 36 of them posthumously. Since then there have been annual inductions. This year’s induction ceremony will be held in October.
The displays honoring the inductees have been placed in various venues and have also been part of a traveling exhibition. It is estimated that over 300,000 residents have viewed the exhibition. Today its permanent home is at Southern Connecticut State University at 320 Fitch Street in New Haven — the bottom of Schwartz Hall. An offshoot of the program is the Connecticut Women’s Heritage Trail, which includes 14 sites around the state that are dedicated to preserving and interpreting women's history.
Test your knowledge of the achievements of Connecticut’s most famous women by taking the following multiple-choice test. (The answers may be found in the endnotes.)
1. What longtime Metropolitan Opera diva and Meriden resident said the following: "I love to be wild. I can hold a stiletto between my teeth and let you have it when you deserve it."
A. Rosa Ponselle B. Anni Albers C. Evelyn Long Batchelder D. Jody Cohen
2. This talented songwriter and performer from Danbury is perhaps best known for writing hits such as “Wedding Bell Blues” and “Stoned Soul Picnic” for the Fifth Dimension, “Eli’s Coming” for Three Dog Night, and “Stoney End” for Barbara Streisand. Sadly, she died of ovarian cancer in 1997. Who is she?
A. Mary J. Akeley B. Dollie McClean C. Laura Nyro D. Dotha Hillyer
3. This actress with strong Connecticut connections starred in the TV series “Kate and Allie,” “McMillan and Wife,” and has worked tirelessly to promote and support Special Olympics. She is the only woman ever to win the Walter Camp Football Foundation Award. Who is she?
A. Rosalind Russell B. Martha Coolidge C. Helen Feeney D. Susan St. James
4. This patron of art said the following: "So you see, first the artists adopted Lyme, and then Lyme adopted the artists, and now, today, Lyme and art are synonymous."
A. Florence Griswold B. Susanne Langer C. Laura Waring D. Margo Rose
5. This Hartford resident, comedic actress, and frequent guest on the Ed Sullivan show once said this: "From birth to age 18, a girl needs good parents. From 18 to 35, she needs good looks. From 35 to 55, she needs a good personality. From 55 on, she needs good cash." Who was she?
A. Martha Coolidge B. Sophie Tucker C. Mae West D. Dollie McClean
6. This longtime New Canaan native overcame multiple obstacles to become a distinguished medical doctor. June Allyson played her in a 1952 movie based on her life.
A. Jewel Cobb B. Alice Hamilton C. Emily Barringer C. Martha Franklin
7. This native of northeastern Connecticut became the first woman in the United States to practice dentistry. She worked as a dentist for over six decades!
A. Emeline R. Jones B. Dorrit Hoffleit C. Alice Hamilton D. Martha Fish.
8. This economics major was once Connecticut’s secretary of state and a 2nd district Congresswoman. Who was she?
A. Ella Grasso B. Clare B. Luce C. Barbara Kennelly D. Chase Going Woodhouse
9. This Greenwich resident won figure skating gold at the 1976 Olympics in Innsbruck.
A. Joan Joyce B. Dorothy Hamill C. Dorothy Goodwin D. Donna Lopiano.
10. This Norwich native and longtime Hartford resident was one of the first published female writers in the United States.
A. Mary G. Jenson B. Beatrice Auerbach Fox C. Lydia Sigourney D.Harriet Allyn
Notes, Sources, and Links:
2. Answers: 1. A 2. C 3. D 4. A 5. B 6. C 7. A 8. D 9. B 10. C
3. Ratings: 8 correct or higher — Ace Historian — congratulations!
5 correct or higher — Historian Cum Laude — way to go!
3 or 4 correct — visit the website above for tutorial.
0, 1, or 2 — take a field trip to New Haven!
4. This year's inductees are Faith Middleton and Anne Garrells of NPR and internationally known photographer Annie Leibovitz. The ceremony will be held on Thursday 10/18/12 at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford from 6-9 p.m.
Correction: An earlier version of this story stated the Connecticut Women’s Hall Of Fame had 95 inductees.