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.

Color photograph of Jane Smith Williamson’s gravestone at the Greenwood, South Dakota Cemetery.

Jane Smith Williamson’s gravestone at the Greenwood, South Dakota Cemetery

Jane Williamson’s tombstone in the cemetery on the former Yankton Reservation in Greenwood, South Dakota bears a Daughters of the American Revolution marker identifying her as a descendant of a Revolutionary War veteran. Photograph by Lois Glewwe.

Black and white photograph of Dakota Indians at Williamson home (Pajutazee Mission) near Yellow Medicine, 1862.

Dakota Indians at Williamson home (Pajutazee Mission) near Yellow Medicine

Dakota Indians at Williamson home (Pajutazee Mission) near Yellow Medicine, 1862. Jane Williamson is the third from the right in this photograph taken on Sunday, August 17, 1862, the day before the U.S. Dakota War broke out across the Minnesota prairies. The photo was taken by visiting photographer Adrian Ebell in front of the Williamson house at the Pajutazee mission. Others identified include, left to right: Margaret Poage Williamson, unknown child, Sarah Hopkins (Wanyahiyawin), Thomas Smith Williamson, unknown woman with child, Robert Hopkins (Caskedan), Jane Williamson, Samuel Hopkins, unknown woman.

Photogravure of Jane Williamson, undated.

Jane Williamson

Photogravure of Jane Williamson, undated. Reproduced in “What Israel Ought to Do,” a Sermon on Home Missionary Work in Minnesota, by Rev. Wm. C. Covert, October 12, 1899. Jane Williamson is the only woman pictured in this overview of Presbyterian missionaries in the early years of the Dakota Mission. The photograph from which this photogravure was made has never been located and its date is unknown.

Williamson, Jane Smith (1803–1895)

Jane Williamson was a schoolteacher and anti-slavery activist in Ohio before coming to the Presbyterian Dakota Mission at Lac qui Parle in 1843. She spent the remaining fifty-two years of her life working with the Dakota people.

Black and white photograph of Catheryne Gilman, 1945.

Catheryne Gilman

Catheryne Gilman, 1945.

Black and white portrait of Mary Gibbs, commissioner of Itasca State Park and the first woman in the U.S. to hold the position of park commissioner, 1903.

Mary Gibbs

Mary Gibbs, commissioner of Itasca State Park and the first woman in the U.S. to hold the position of park commissioner, 1903. Photographer unknown.

Carrie, Mary, and Laura Ingalls

Photograph of (left to right) Carrie, Mary, and Laura Ingalls taken c.1881. Image supplied by and used courtesy of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Home Association, Mansfield, Missouri.

Black and white photograph of Clara H. Ueland, 1918.

Clara H. Ueland

Clara H. Ueland, 1918.

Black and white photograph of the University of Minnesota's women's suffrage club, 1913.

University of Minnesota's women's suffrage club

University of Minnesota's women's suffrage club, 1913.

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