The Exposition was a magnet for all kinds of people, particularly women. As the Buffalo Evening News observed in August 1901, "Every railroad station in the city was crowded nearly to the limit yesterday...Many women were in the crowds. They exceeded the men by a large majority, probably because the latter could not leave their occupations to attend the Exposition. The women, it appears, cannot be kept away."
The American scene in 1901 was one of great activity regarding women as business owners, growing members of the clerical workforce, suffrage activists, civil rights activists, social activists. Women in New York state could own real estate which their husbands had no rights to; this was not the case elsewhere. Women could vote in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and Idaho, but universal women's suffrage was another 16 years away. Social rules regarding manadatory marriage were being challenged by graduates of the women's colleges who found their education could bring them a living wage, freeing them of the necessity of marrying in order to have shelter and food.
Those whose lives intersected with the Pan-American Exposition represent a fascinating survey of American women at the beginning of the 20th century. The Exposition women entertainers, exhibitors, or celebrity visitors have been forgotten by history, remembered continually as cultural icons or, in some cases, were forgotten and re-discovered in the last 30 years.
But let Pan-American women illustrate history
with their lives...
Beckwith- "living, sleeping, and eating in the water"
Nellie Bly- exhibitor in the Manufactures & Liberal Arts Building
Calamity Jane- American frontierswoman, participant in the Indian Congress Midway concession
Evelyn Rumsey Cary - [coming]
Josephine Wright Chapman- only woman architect of an Exposition building, the New England Building
Chiquita- Midway performer whose act consisted of being herself, a 26" dwarf of sophistication and charm
Nancy Columbia- Labrador "Esquimaux", of the "Esquimaux Village" Midway Concession
Marion deForest- Secretary of Women's Board of Managers
Fatima- Midway couchee-couchee dancer
Frances Benjamin Johnston- professional photographer
Belva Lockwood- Western New York native, nationally known lawyer and presidential candidate, Exposition visitor
Ida Saxton McKinley- First Lady of the United States until September 6, 1901
Nina Morgana- 9 year-old performer in the Midway concession, "Venice in America"
Carrie Nation- temperance crusader, Exposition visitor and erstwhile Midway vendor/entertainer
Annie Taylor Edson- first person to deliberately go over Niagara Falls and survive, Exposition exhibitor on November 2
Janet Scudder- one of only three female sculptors invited to contribute a piece to the outdoor Exposition sculpture plan
Adelaide Thorpe - in charge of the interior decoration of the major Exposition buildings
Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney- this Vanderbilt's first large sculpture was selected for the outdoor Exposition sculpture plan
Winona- "Sioux crack shot" of the Indian Congress Midway
Maude Coleman Woods- the North American face on the Pan-American logo
National Association of Colored Women (NACW) [coming]
National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) [coming]