Washington State She-roes

Last week I learned that one of my friends has been selected as the new president of Washington State University. That, of course, made me wonder about the women associated with the Evergreen State through its history. Match the woman with her accomplishment:

____ 1. The first woman in the U.S. to buy and run a television station.
____ 2. The first science fiction writer to be named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow.
____ 3. Campaigned actively for women's right to vote in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.
____ 4. First woman to serve as governor of the State of Washington.
____ 5. One of the first two white women to cross the U.S. continent overland, one of the ways in which she is remembered is from the many letters she wrote to her family and friends in New York.

A. Narcissa Prentiss Whitman
B. Abigail Scott Duniway
C. Dorothy Stimson Bullitt
D. Octavia Butler
E. Dixy Lee Ray

Growing up in New York State, Narcissa Prentiss Whitman became interested in serving as a missionary. After her marriage in 1836, she and her husband left their family and friends and established a mission near what is today Walla Walla, Washington. Through this endeavor, Whitman became one of the first two white women to cross the U.S. continent overland, paving the way for the many families that came after. She taught Native American women and her adopted children and wrote many letters home to her family and friends back home. After an outbreak of measles decimated the Native American population, she and her husband were among the residents of the mission who were killed. Later, Whitman College was established in their honor and since 1883 has been a four-year degree-granting institution.

Although she settled in Oregon, during the fight to get women the right to vote, Abigail Scott Duniway focused her efforts on the three states formerly known as Oregon Country - Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. From 1871 to 1884, she gave about 70 speeches each year in Washington. In 1883, Washington State passed a measure, that she had drafted, that granted women the right to vote. In 1887, the Territorial Supreme Court overturned that law. Women would not become fully enfranchised in Washington State until 1910.

A prominent Seattle, Washington businesswoman and philanthropist, Dorothy Stimson Bullitt, took over the family's real estate holdings after the deaths of her husband, father, and brother in rapid succession. In the 1940s, she ran a successful radio station that previous had been unprofitable. She was also successful when she turned her attention to television and ran the first television station in Seattle, the first woman in the U.S. to buy and run a TV station. As a philanthropist, she is remembered for helping to establish Children's Hospital, the Seattle Symphony and the Cornish School for the Arts. Her legacy also includes the Bullitt Foundation.

Called the "grand dame of science fiction" Octavia Butler won the Hugo and Nebula Awards (among others) for her science fiction writing and was the first science fiction writer to receive a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. She relocated to Washington State after many years in California. Inducted into Chicago State University's Black Writers Hall of Fame, Butler is remembered as one of the best known women writers of science fiction.

The first female governor of Washington State, zoologist Dixy Lee Ray chaired the Atomic Energy Commission, the predecessor organization to today's Nuclear Regulatory Commission. When elected governor, she was only the second female in the U.S. to be elected as a governor without succeeding her husband into office. Ray was born in Tacoma, climbing Mount Rainier when she was 12 years old (the youngest girl to do so), and earning her Ph.D. from Stanford University. Unconventional most of her life, Ray served one term as governor. After her death, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers established an award in her name given annually to recognize achievements and contributions in the area of environmental protection.

Learn about more she-roes and celebrate amazing women. These women associated with the State of Washington are among the more than 850 women profiled in the book Her Story: A Timeline of the Women Who Changed America. We celebrate their accomplishments and are proud to stand on their shoulders.

(Answers 1-C, 2-D, 3-B, 4-E, 5-A)