14 March 2014

Women's History Month: Newsmakers

March is Women's History Month and as such GeneaBloggers' prompt today is: Newsmakers? Did you have a female ancestor who made the news? Why? Was she famous or notorious? Did she appear in the social column?

My first thought is of my Aunt Helen! I speak of her often here. She was so helpful in my genealogical quests! That's her below here - isn't she beautiful? This was taken in 1990.

A little background: Aunt Helen was born Helen Still on 24 August 1903 to Franklin and Sarah Jennie VanHorn in East Fallowfield, Chester County. She was the youngest of six children. On 30 December 1924 she married Elwood James Webster. They had two daughters: Gloria Elaine and Janet Leona. She attended West Chester State Normal School (now West Chester University) to teach in a rural school but she said she hated teaching so she ended up doing odd jobs. She finally got a job at Unionville High School where she remained for 13 years. Everyone loved her - everyone! One year the students even dedicated to yearbook to her.
To actually answer today's prompt ... the above photo was from the 7 February 1990 issue of the now-defunct Village News. It was a small weekly paper based out of Coatesville. The "Meet your neighbor" section basically selected a well known community member and highlighted them with a small interview. The column on her that day was written by Caroline Burns. (I have no clue what has become of Ms. Burns). Anyway the article mentions that Aunt Helen was, in her own words, "a talker!" It mentions that she lived in the same house that she was born in 86 years (at that time) prior. It mentions her marriage and family life and her occupations over the years.
One special note of interest from that article was the recognition that she was the "oldest living former correspondent for The Record in Coatesville." This is special to me because a year and a half later when I graduated Lock Haven State University (a SSHE school like West Chester), my first writing job (after college - I had already written for the Village News during senior year of high school) was at The Record!

Locations listed are located in Pennsylvania (USA), unless otherwise noted in post.