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Seeking voices for Montana's Year of the Woman


February 3, 2014

The Montana Historical Society has declared 2014 “The Year of the Woman” and for good reason. One hundred years ago, Montana joined a small handful of other states by giving women the right to vote in the state. Women’s suffrage wouldn’t go countrywide for another six years, with the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.

We’ve all read about the great — or not so great — accomplishments of men in Montana, those who came here with Lewis and Clark, the fur trappers, those seeking their fortunes in the gold fields, ranchers bringing sheep and cattle to the state’s rich grasslands, the copper kings, the homesteaders, the railroaders, and the community and state builders.

We didn’t really hear too much about the women’s accomplishments outside of being a wife, mother, laundress, schoolteacher or prostitute. In recent years, however, great strides have been made in bringing women’s stories to the forefront, blowing the notion that “if you were a single woman 100 years ago, you were a mail-order bride or a prostitute” into smithereens, with research on women homesteaders, doctors, ranchers, business owners, community activists and other trailblazing women. It is those trailblazing women I will be focusing on for this year’s theme exhibit at the High Line Heritage House Museum, and I am hoping some of you can help make this a great exhibit.

I am looking for information on the following women. Please keep in mind that these are their maiden names, but if you know who they are and can provide information, I would be grateful: Hazel Anderson, Esther “Ole” Skylstead, Veva “Veve” Brewer, Helen Emery, Josie “Jo” Anderson, Alta Boynton, Corrine “Corin” Loranger, Janet MacKenzie, Josephine “Jo” Broadwater, Kathryn “Pete” Mathews, and Virginia Olsen.

I am also looking for people who have information about Signe Sedlacek and former Hingham Mayor Ella Amdahl.

In addition, I am seeking women who work for the railroad, women pilots (particularly those involved with the Civil Air Patrol), ranch women, women in construction and other occupations that are normally not considered “women’s work.” And, if someone could tell me how to contact Lisa Kudrna, I would appreciate that as well.

Work on this important theme exhibit started two years ago, and will be kicking into high gear with interviews, organizing information and framing pictures. It will be a very busy three months, but with your help and cooperation it will be a great exhibit.

Please contact me at thecottage8@gmail.com, or call me at 399-5225.

I’m also on Facebook at High Line Heritage Resources, if you prefer that method. Either way, thank you in advance for your time and information.

Warmest wishes,

Emily Mayer,

executive director and curator

High Line Heritage House Museum


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