When thinking of noteworthy women from the Berkshires, a handful immediately come to mind: Mum Bett, Susan B. Anthony, Edith Wharton, Stephanie Wilson, Stacy Schiff, Elizabeth Banks, Jane Swift and Martha Coakley.
Look a little deeper and you'll find dozens of women from the Berkshires who have left their marks on the world. But these women, and their contributions, are often overlooked, forgotten or reduced to historical footnotes. In honor of Women's History Month, we've chosen 21 women — some pioneers, others creators and all change-makers in their own rights — we believe are worthy of being remembered, of being more than a footnote.
Section editors: Jennifer Huberdeau, Lindsey Hollenbaugh
Design: Becky Drees
Writers: Katherine Abbott, Meggie Baker, Heather Bellow, Margaret Button, Benjamin Cassidy, Jenn Smith
A pioneer develops or is the first to use or apply a new method, area of knowledge, or activity. These women were "firsts" in many fields. From architecture to medicine, they changed not only the landscapes of their professions, but often did so in fields mainly dominated by men.
Change-makers get it done. From building institutions from the ground up for future generations to enjoy, to taking the fight against sexual discrimination out of the boxing ring and into the courtroom, these women stormed conventional wisdom and didn't take "no" for an answer.
A creator is a person who brings something into existence. These women created with words and fabrics to give life to something new and beautiful that had a lasting affect on society, whether through the standardization of how a dancer's tutu is made to the slicing words of an abolitionist's call to action.
Being devoted is dedicating yourself to a cause, enterprise or activity, often with complete conviction. And conviction, often in the face of extreme adversity, is something all of these women share.