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St. Ann’s Women’s History Month Tradition

Honoring Unsung Heroines

March 2023 marks the eighth year that St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church has celebrated Women’s History Month by showcasing greatly accomplished, but largely unrecognized, women in a program called Unsung Heroines. Parishioner Nancy Nicolette led the initiation of the program in 2016 and has been instrumental in the effort each year. Parishioners submit profiles of unknown or unfamiliar women whose achievements deserve broader recognition, which are compiled and presented at a special event. This year, we are posting individual profiles of some unsung heroines each week during the month of March. The profiles, along with those of previous years, are available below.

In-Person Events

St. Ann’s also hosts public events in March that feature locally and nationally recognized women. On Sunday, March 19, 2023, we invited the public to an in-person presentation, welcoming Martha Foley, archivist and historian for the Brooklyn Women’s Exchange (BWE). She talked about the volunteer-run, neighborhood operation that has supported local craftspeople, initially immigrant women and widows, since 1854. The BWE recently moved near to St. Ann’s on Montague Street from its longtime location on Pierrepont Street. Ms. Foley was be joined in conversation by Ann Aurigemma, President of the BWE. Many of the exchange’s volunteers and leadership were present at the well-attended gathering. The event was livestreamed, and the recording may be viewed here. Photos are available here.

In 2020, Beth Flynn and Elizabeth D. Herman, two New York Times photojournalists behind the 2019 book The Women of the 116th Congress: Portraits of Power, who  discussed their project. One of their subjects, U.S. Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), was a guest presenter. In addition, New York State Attorney General Letitia James was the featured presenter at a Sunday Forum speaking on the theme “Suffrage at 100 and Women’s Power Today.”

In 2021, St. Ann’s presented the program in Zoom during the Covid-19 pandemic, and featured a slideshow.

In 2022, preservationist architect, Lisa Easton, was the special guest at a an event entitled “Landmark Architecture, Restoration and Sustainability.” Ms. Easton is the principal architect of one of the few women-owned firms in New York City specializing in historic preservation, adaptive reuse, and new design. She offered a view of women in her field and recognized a few “unknown heroines.”

2023 Unsung Heroines

Elizebeth Smith Friedman (1892-1980), Cryptographer




Gloria Ford Gilmer (1928-2021), Mathematician, Educator, Pioneer in Ethnomathematics




Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910), Writer, Lecturer, Abolitionist, Suffragist




Katharine Wright (1874-1929), Right Hand to Brothers Wilbur and Orville, Suffragist




Shabana Basij-Rasikh (1990- ), Educator, Champion of Women’s Rights




Margaret Schutte-Lihotzky (1897-2000), Architect, Pioneer of Public Housing

Previous Celebrations of Unsung Heroines

2016 Unsung Heroines
2017 Unsung Heroines
2018 Unsung Heroines
2019 Unsung Heroines
2020 Unsung Heroines
2021 The Unsung Women of S.T.E.M. (slideshow)

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