March is Women's History Month, an ideal time for springtime visits across the state and discovering more about notable women in Maryland history. A Maryland Women's Heritage Trail identifies more than 150 locations in the state where women have made unique contributions. One is the Baltimore Museum of Art, home of a prominent collection of modern art acquired by Baltimore's Cone sisters. Plenty of options to choose from in Maryland, a land of charm.
Notable women, exciting getaways
Here are trip ideas that tie to prominent women in Maryland history:
- Discover the Bethesda and Silver Spring arts and entertainment districts in Montgomery County after you visit the national park site that honors Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross.
- See the 22 early- to mid-19th-century Bridges of Washington County in Western Maryland. Hagerstown was the home of Mary Titcomb, developer of the bookmobile.
- Enjoy the Chesapeake Wine Trail on the Eastern Shore and view a variety of sites linked to Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad.
Prominent Maryland Women
Schrock was the first Mennonite woman in the U.S. to receive a doctoral degree. She taught biology at Frostburg State University during the 1960s and 1970s. To showcase and preserve Appalachian culture, Schrock established Penn Alps Restaurant and Craft Shop in the late 1950s in Garrett County.
After coming to Hagerstown from New England in 1902, Titcomb -- a professionally-trained librarian -- developed an idea she had for making library books more accessible. In 1904, the Washington County Free Library became the first library in the U.S. to operate a book wagon, which brought books to Marylanders in remote areas.
The woman who made the huge (30 ft. x 42 ft.) American flag that flew above Fort McHenry during the British attack in 1814 still lives and works at what is now 844 E. Pratt St. in Baltimore (near Little Italy) through the magic of a living-history museum, the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House.
Anne St. Clair Wright
Dedicated to the preservation of Annapolis' historic district, Wright was the founder and leader of what became the Historic Annapolis Foundation, an organization that operates tours and special events.
Best known as founder of the American Red Cross and the National First Aid Society, Barton was also active in various reform movements during the mid-19th century. She supported free public schools and she was also connected to civil rights and women's rights campaigns -- she worked with Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony.
This Frederick native was the inspiration for John Greenleaf Whittier's poem Barbara Frietchie, in which the title character confronts Gen. Stonewall Jackson and his invading Confederate troops during the Civil War: "Shoot, if you must, this old gray head, But spare your country's flag," she said.
Surratt House Museum, built in 1852, was the Surratt family's plantation home. John Wilkes Booth kept weapons and supplies at Surratt's country home in connection with his plan to kidnap President Lincoln. Following the assassination, Mary Surratt was arrested and convicted of conspiring with Booth. She became the first woman executed by the U.S. government.
A British noblewoman who settled in Maryland in 1638, Brent is known for a statement she made before the General Assembly: "Taxation without representation is tyranny." The General Assembly was not ready to allow women voting privileges. She had petitioned for the right to vote -- one vote as a landowner and one as an attorney for Lord Baltimore.
A native of Dorchester County, this prominent "conductor" of the Underground Railroad brought 70 slaves to freedom prior to the Civil War. She also gave instructions to another 70 slaves for making their own escape.
When the British invaded the Eastern Shore during the War of 1812, they torched communities close to the shoreline. They encountered Knight after setting flames to most of Georgetown. Knight pleaded for the safety of an elderly woman and convinced the British leader, Admiral Cockburn, to spare the area.