How Women Have Shaped the State

Weaving the Web of Minnesota Society

Expert Essay: Rhoda R. Gilman, a founding member of Women Historians of the Midwest and a former candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota, considers the influence of women in Minnesota: the Willmar 8, the Schubert Club, the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association, and much more.

Black and white photograph of Sarah Elizabeth Gordon Chubb, c.1870.

Sarah Elizabeth Gordon Chubb

Sarah Elizabeth Gordon Chubb, c.1870.

Photograph of Smith and a client at the Olive Hair Store, 1913.

Lena Olive Smith and client at Olive Hair Store, Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis

Smith owned the Olive Hair Store, before becoming an attorney, 1913.

Black and white photograph of Lena O. Smith, first female African American lawyer in Minnesota, undated.

Lena O. Smith

Lena O. Smith, first female African American lawyer in Minnesota, undated.

Smith, Lena Olive (1885–1966)

Lena Olive Smith was a prominent civil rights lawyer and activist during the 1920s and 1930s. She made major contributions toward securing civil rights for minorities in the Twin Cities. Smith began fighting for the rights of others when she became the first African American woman licensed to practice law in Minnesota in 1921. She was the only African American woman to practice law in the state until 1945.

Tinted cabinet photograph of Charlotte Ouisconsin Clark Van Cleve taken by Floyd and Power c.1875.

Charlotte O. Van Cleve

Tinted cabinet photograph of Charlotte Ouisconsin Clark Van Cleve taken by Floyd and Power c.1875.

Van Cleve, Charlotte Ouisconsin Clark (1819–1907)

Charlotte Ouisconsin Clark Van Cleve was the child of a military family and a crusader for the rights of disadvantaged people in Minnesota and beyond. Born during her parents' journey to help build the future Fort Snelling, she lived to see a fledgling community grow into an urban center.

Black and white photograph of the Chapel of St. Paul, c.1855.

Chapel of St. Paul, St. Paul

The first Chapel of St. Paul, c.1855.

Sisters of St. Joseph, St. Paul Province: Origins and Foundations

In 1851 Bishop Joseph Cretin needed help to preach the Catholic faith to the growing St. Paul community. In July of that year he asked the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in Missouri to assist him. Mother St. John Fournier and three Catholic sisters traveled to the city in the fall and quickly influenced the health and welfare of the region.

Black and white image of a pinback button created to support Rosalie Wahl's first campaign for election to the Minnesota Supreme Court in 1978.

Rosalie Wahl Supreme Court campaign button

Pinback button created to support Rosalie Wahl's first campaign for election to the Minnesota Supreme Court in 1978.

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