Hall of Fame of Delaware Women

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The Hall of Fame of Delaware Women was established in 1981 by the Delaware Commission for Women, a division of the Secretary of State of Delaware. The hall of fame recognizes the achievements and contributions of Delaware women in a variety of fields and includes activists, artists, athletes, military personnel and scientists.[1]

The Delaware Commission for Women is a state agency with members appointed by the Governor representing Wilmington and each of Delaware's three counties (New Castle, Kent and Sussex). In making its selections for the Hall of Fame, the Commission prioritizes civil rights, economic empowerment, violence prevention, women's health, work, family, recognition and celebration. Eligible women must have been born in Delaware or resided in the state for a minimum of ten years.[2]


Delaware Women's Hall of Fame
Name Image Birth–Death Year Area of achievement Ref(s)
Allen, Kim L.Kim L. Allen 2015 Educator who works with at-risk youth [3]
Arsht, Roxana CannonRoxana Cannon Arsht (1915–2003) 1986 First female judge in the State of Delaware [4]
Bachman, Martha G.Martha G. Bachman (1924–1998) Chair of the Delaware State Advisory Council on Vocational Education
Bair, Myrna L.Myrna L. Bair 2001 Member of the Delaware Senate, Policy Advisor and Assistant Professor, Public Management Faculty, Institute for Public Administration, University of Delaware [5]
Balick, Helen S.Helen S. Balick U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge [6]
Banegas, Sister AscensionSister Ascension Banegas 2010 Advocate for immigrants and co-founder of La Esperanza Community Center in Georgetown [1]
Bartell, Joy AnnJoy Ann Bartell Beebe School of Nursing instructor
Battell, Elizabeth EmpsonElizabeth Empson Battell 2008 Delaware's "godmother," ran the Golden Fleece Tavern between 1777 and 1792 [7]
Batten, Grace RuthGrace Ruth Batten 1999 First African American woman mayor in Sussex County [8]
Battle, DarleneDarlene Battle 2015 Social activist [3]
Beaman, Renee PalmoreRenee Palmore Beaman 2008 Created the Bethel AIDS Task Force in 1994 with six other women [7]
Beck, Grace PierceGrace Pierce Beck (1926–2008) 2008 Leading Delaware environmentalist [7]
Ben, SandraSandra Ben 2015 Pastor and community organizer [3]
Bhatia, Sujata KumariSujata Kumari Bhatia 2007 Earned three bachelor's degrees and a master's degree in four years [9]
Biggs, Neda P.Neda P. Biggs 2011 Bilingual immigration attorney
Bissell, Emily P.Emily P. Bissell Emily Bissell.jpg (1861–1948) American social worker and activist who introduced Christmas Seals to the United States [10]
Blevins, Patricia M.Patricia M. Blevins 2004 Majority Leader of the Delaware Senate, Senator Blevins official site
Boehmer, Cynthia M.Cynthia M. Boehmer Domestic Violence Coordinating Council member
Boozer, Julie K.Julie K. Boozer Chair of the Division of Nursing at Wesley College
Brady, M. JaneM. Jane Brady 2006 42nd Delaware Attorney General [8]
Buchanan, Madaline ElliotMadaline Elliot Buchanan (1908–1995) President of the Delaware Board of Education
Burger, Carolyn S.Carolyn S. Burger 2007 First woman in the US to head a telecommunications company; CEO of Bell Atlantic-Delaware [9]
Burkle, Evelyn P.Evelyn P. Burkle
Burnett, Marguerite HillMarguerite Hill Burnett (1885–1966) State director of adult education
Cain, Eleanor L.Eleanor L. Cain 1994 Director of the Delaware Division of Services for Aging and Physical Disabilities [11]
Cannon, Annie JumpAnnie Jump Cannon Annie Jump Cannon 1922 Portrait.jpg (1863–1941) Astronomer whose cataloging work was instrumental in the development of contemporary stellar classification [12]
Carey, Claire La MarClaire La Mar Carey Director of the Walnut Street YMCA's Black Achiever program
Cary, Mary Ann ShaddMary Ann Shadd Cary Mary Ann Shadd.jpg (1823–1893) Anti-slavery activist, journalist, publisher, teacher and lawyer. She was the first black woman publisher in North America and the first woman publisher in Canada. [13]
Carter, Mae RiedyMae Riedy Carter Program specialist in the University of Delaware's Division of Continuing Education, first Chair of the Commission on the Status of Women
Cashman, Sister JeanneSister Jeanne Cashman Founder of Sojourner's Place [14]
Chandler, Imogene F.Imogene F. Chandler 2011 Supporter of early childhood education programs
Chick, Linda L.Linda L. Chick Chair of the Youth Philanthropy Board Advisory Committee for the Delaware Community Foundation
Chowdhry, UmaUma Chowdhry Uma Chowdhry 2008.JPG 2008 Research scientist at DuPont who specialized in ceramic materials, including catalysts, proton conductors, superconductors and ceramic packaging for microelectronics [7]
Coker, BeatriceBeatrice Coker 2013 Public education and literacy advocate
Coleman, Alice Marie SmithAlice Marie Smith Coleman Therapist and volunteer
Conner, Louise T.Louise T. Conner (1918–1983) Member of the Delaware House of Representatives, representing Brandywine Hundred [15]
Cook, Nancy W.Nancy W. Cook Member of the Delaware Senate
Cooke, VickyVicky Cooke 2012 Executive Director of the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition [16]
Daniels, Pearl HerlihyPearl Herlihy Daniels (1910–1994) Collector of historical maps [17]
Davis, HildaHilda Davis (1905–2001) First African American woman to hold a full-time faculty position at the University of Delaware
Davis, Vera GilbrideVera Gilbride Davis (1894–1974) First woman elected to the Delaware Senate
De Armond, Anna JanneyAnna Janney De Armond (1910–2008) First woman to become a full professor at the University of Delaware [18]
Del Pesco, Susan C.Susan C. Del Pesco 2011 First woman elected as President of the Delaware Bar Association and the first women appointed to the Delaware Superior Court [19]
del Tufo, Theresa L.I.Theresa L.I. del Tufo 2009 Established three centers for displaced homemakers [20]
DeLuz, Lozelle JenkinsLozelle Jenkins DeLuz President of DeLuz Management Consultants [21]
Doberstein, Audrey K.Audrey K. Doberstein 2011 Former President of Wilmington University [22]
Dorman, Felicia A.Felicia A. Dorman 2006
Dyson, PaulinePauline Dyson (1891–1970) Teacher and community leader [23]
Eckman, JeanetteJeanette Eckman (1882–1972) 2010 Political leader, historian and editor [1]
Edelsohn, MickiMicki Edelsohn 2012 Founder of the Homes for Life Foundation, a non-profit providing housing for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities [16]
Esterly, Katherine L.Katherine L. Esterly Worked to establish the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Christiana Hospital
Frear, Esther SchauerEsther Schauer Frear (1909–2000) Wife of Senator J. Allen Frear, Jr., member of the Senate Ladies Red Cross Unit
Freebery, Sherry L.Sherry L. Freebery Police chief and chief administrative officer [24]
Frink, Lynne S.Lynne S. Frink (1946–1998) Environmentalist; founded Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research [25]
Gildea, Sister Ann MargueriteSister Ann Marguerite Gildea (1919–2005) Founder of the Mary Mother of Hope House I [26]
Gilman, Muriel E.Muriel E. Gilman (1923–2011) Executive with the United Way of Delaware [27]
Ginns, Sallie TopkisSallie Topkis Ginns (1880–1976) Member of the National Woman's Party, suffragist [28]
Gore, Genevieve W.Genevieve W. Gore (1913–2005) Founded W. L. Gore and Associates with her husband, Wilbert (Bill) Lee Gore
Griffin, Patricia W.Patricia W. Griffin State Court Administrator in the Delaware Administrative Office
Haman, TeresaTeresa Haman Painter [29]
Handloff, Norma B.Norma B. Handloff (1913–2002) Newark's first woman mayor, 1966–1973
Handy, Margaret I.Margaret I. Handy (1889–1977) Pioneering doctor who was one of the first to specialise in paediatric medicine. In 1945, she established the first mothers' milk bank at Delaware Hospital (now Wilmington Hospital) in Wilmington, Delaware. [30][31][32][33]
Harris, Marian L.Marian L. Harris Founder and volunteer executive director of The House of Pride
Hazeur, Kathryn YoungKathryn Young Hazeur (1923–2011) 2010 First African American to earn a graduate degree from the University of Delaware in 1951 [1]
Hawkins, Sally V.Sally V. Hawkins 2009 Radio journalist at WILM [20]
Henry, Margaret RoseMargaret Rose Henry Member of the Delaware Senate, Majority Whip
Herr, Barbara ChaseBarbara Chase Herr
Hilles, Florence BayardFlorence Bayard Hilles (1865–1954) One of the Silent Sentinels, a group of women in favor of women's suffrage who protested in front of the White House during Woodrow Wilson's presidency [34]
Hoffecker, Carol E.Carol E. Hoffecker Chair of the University of Delaware Department of History [35]
Homer, Gloria WernickiGloria Wernicki Homer Chief Administrative Officer of Governor Executive Office
Johnson, Henrietta R.Henrietta R. Johnson (1914–1994) First African American woman elected to the Delaware General Assembly [36]
Klopfenstein, Moonyeen L.Moonyeen L. Klopfenstein 2011 Child birth educator
Knox, Sally J.Sally J. Knox (1925–1995) Headed the Delaware Commission for Women; pay equity advocate [37]
Kwolek, Stephanie LouiseStephanie Louise Kwolek 2014 Inventor of Kevlar [38]
Landgraf, RitaRita Landgraf 2015 Secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services [3]
Leone, Lucile PetryLucile Petry Leone Photo Lucile Petry Leone (1902-1999).jpg (1902–1999) American nurse who was the founding director of the Cadet Nurse Corps in 1943 [39]
Laws, Ruth MitchellRuth Mitchell Laws (1912–2010) Educator; Vice President of the Delaware Technical Community College [40]
Lowell, Gertrude M.Gertrude M. Lowell (1901–1994)
Lopez, Lolita A.Lolita A. Lopez 2006 President and CEO of YWCA Delaware [41]
Maichle, PatriciaPatricia Maichle 2013 Executive Director of the Delaware Developmental Disabilities Council
Manning, Margaret R.Margaret R. Manning Member of the Delaware Senate
Maroney, Jane P.Jane P. Maroney Member of the Delaware House of Representatives
Mather, Mary AskewMary Askew Mather (1861–1925) President of the New Century Club
McDermott, Christine MargaretChristine Margaret McDermott (1947–2007) 2008 Attorney who fought domestic violence and was the first woman to be Executive Director of Delaware Volunteer Legal Services [7]
McKay, Catherine DevaneyCatherine Devaney McKay 2014 Founder of Connections Community Support Programs [38]
Minner, Ruth AnnRuth Ann Minner Ruth Ann Minner.jpg 1995 72nd Governor of Delaware [8]
Mishoe, WilmaWilma Mishoe 2013 Dean at Delaware Technical & Community College
Mitchell, Jane E.Jane E. Mitchell (1921–2004) First African American registered nurse to be hired in a Delaware hospital
Mitchell, Jane T.Jane T. Mitchell
Morris, Emily G.Emily G. Morris (1934–2001)
Neal, ElizabethElizabeth Neal Deputy Warden of New Castle County Community Corrections
Newton, Edith JacksonEdith Jackson Newton (1905–1996)
Nutter, Jeanne D.Jeanne D. Nutter Compiled Growing Up Black in New Castle County [42]
Oates-Graham, RuthRuth Oates-Graham National Association of State EMS Directors
O'Leary, Renee G.Renee G. O'Leary Early childhood science teacher
Peterson, Karen E.Karen E. Peterson Member of the Delaware Senate [43]
Pitts, JacquelinJacquelin Pitts 2010 Lacrosse player and coach; led the U.S. Women's Lacrosse Team to their first World Championship [1]
Purcell, Patricia H.Patricia H. Purcell 2014 First African American pediatrician in Delaware [38]
Rapposelli, VivianVivian Rapposelli 2012 Secretary of the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families [16]
Rawls, BetsyBetsy Rawls (b. 1928) 2006 Professional golfer [44]
Ridgely, Mabel L. FisherMabel L. Fisher Ridgely (1872–1962) Preservationist and suffragist [45]
Robinson, Winifred J.Winifred J. Robinson (1868–1962) First dean of the Women's College of the University of Delaware [46]
Roth, Jane RichardsJane Richards Roth (1935–) 2013 Federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
Ryan, Elizabeth H.Elizabeth H. Ryan
Sawin, Nancy ChurchmanNancy Churchman Sawin (1919–2008) Author and Lacrosse and field hockey player [47]
Simonds, Beatrice "Bea"Beatrice "Bea" Simonds (1914–2006) Advocate for the visually impaired [48]
Smith, IleanaIleana Smith 2015 Vice president and campus director for the Delaware Technical Community College's Owens Campus [3]
Windsor, Harriet N. SmithHarriet N. Smith Windsor 1997 First woman from Sussex County to be appointed Secretary of State [8]
Soles, Ada LeighAda Leigh Soles (1937–2010) Member of the Delaware House of Representatives [49]
Sorenson, Liane McDowellLiane McDowell Sorenson 2007 Director of Women's Affairs at the University of Delaware, member of the Delaware House of Representatives and Minority Whip [9]
Steele, Cecile LongCecile Long Steele (1900–1940) Pioneer of Delaware's broiler chicken industry
Stewart, Beverly LouiseBeverly Louise Stewart 2010 Educator and founder of the Back to Basics tutoring business [1]
Stuart, Mary Ann SordenMary Ann Sorden Stuart Mary ann sorden stuart.jpg (1828–1893) Suffragist, "Delaware's first feminist" [50]
Swensson, Evelyn DickensonEvelyn Dickenson Swensson 2008 Conductor, composer, lyricist, pianist, singer, playwright and musical lecturer [7]
Tarrant, Shirley M.Shirley M. Tarrant (1935–2003) 2007 Founder and President of the Suburban County Hospital Task Force [9]
Tatnall, Frances D. SwiftFrances D. Swift Tatnall (1874–1966) Founder of the Tatnall School in Wilmington
Theisen, Mary JornlinMary Jornlin Theisen (1927–2007) First woman elected New Castle County executive [51]
Thomas, Helen R.Helen R. Thomas Women's rights activist [52]
Timmons, Carol A.Carol A. Timmons Brigadier General of the Delaware Air National Guard [53]
Tobin, Judith GedneyJudith Gedney Tobin 2010 Pioneer in forensic pathology, performed over 5000 autopsies [1]
Hightower-Vandamm, Mae D.Mae D. Hightower-Vandamm Exec. Dir Delaware Curative Workshop [54][55]
Vernon, MabelMabel Vernon Mabel Vernon 1910s.jpg (1884–1975) One of the Silent Sentinels, a group of women in favor of women's suffrage who protested in front of the White House during Woodrow Wilson's presidency [56]
Vincent, Edith P.Edith P. Vincent School nurse and advocate for children's health [57]
Walsh, Loretta F.Loretta F. Walsh 2006 Wilmington, Delaware city council member [58]
Ward, Mary SamMary Sam Ward (1911–2000) Author, educator and historian; 1979 Delaware Mother of the Year; co-founder of the Delaware Press Women in 1977 [59]
Warner, Emalea PuseyEmalea Pusey Warner (1853–1948) Successfully campaigned for public vocational education and has a local elementary school named in her honor. [60]
West, FrancesFrances West 2012 Treasurer of the National Consumers League and Delaware's first woman director of Consumer Affairs, former president of Delaware's Better Business Bureau and Delaware Highway Commissioner [16]
Whiting, ValerieValerie Whiting 2007 Professional basketball player [9]
Williams, H. RuthH. Ruth Williams (1915–1999) Delaware State University [61][62]
Williams, Lynn W.Lynn W. Williams 2009 Conservationist and founder of the Delaware Nature Society; rescued the Brandywine Creek State Park from development [20]
Woodruff, Valerie A.Valerie A. Woodruff 2005 Delaware Secretary of Education [63]
Wright, Latricia OdetteLatricia Odette Wright 2014 Nanticoke elder and educator [38]
Wright, Mary AnnMary Ann Wright (1920–2006) Cerebral palsy victim who in 1948 teamed with polio victim Agnes Peronne to co-found the Mancus Foundation, an organization to assist the handicapped. Wright was president of the organization for 58 years. [64]
Young, Pauline A.Pauline A. Young (1900–1991) 1982 Teacher, librarian, and lecturer [65]


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