Did you know that March is National Women’s History Month? The origins of Women’s History Month can be traced back to the first International Women’s Day in March 1911. Still, women’s history was virtually unknown in K-12 education until the 1970s. In 1978, the Educational Task Force of Sonoma County (California) initiated a “Women’s History Week” during the week of March 8th, International Women’s Day.
Two years later, President Carter issued a proclamation naming the week of March 8th “National Women’s History Week.” Carter stated that “too often the women were unsung and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed. But the achievements, leadership, courage, strength and love of the women who built America was as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well.” In 1987, Congress declared March as National Women’s History Month in perpetuity.
In honor of Women’s History, the Greenbrier Historical Society would like to highlight one of many women who helped to build the Greenbrier Valley. Elizabeth Coffman Rodgers was born in 1815 on Davis Stuart Road near Lewisburg, in what was at that time the Commonwealth of Virginia. Elizabeth grew up learning the crafts of spinning, dyeing and weaving from family members. She even made a living selling her distinctive bed coverings long before she married at the age of 29.
Elizabeth was quite a prolific coverlet maker at a time when only men were expected to be professional weavers. Many examples of her work are to be found around the Greenbrier area and the Greenbrier Historical Society has six in its collection.
This Elizabeth Coffman Rodgers Coverlet is currently on display at the Greenbrier Historical Society’s North House Museum, located at 301 West Washington Street in Lewisburg, West Virginia.
Share with us your thoughts and stories of extraordinary women in our history!