Women carved important paths in Carroll's history

March represents Women's History Month, first established as National Women's History Week in 1980, but soon growing to encompass an entire month of honoring the historical contributions of women. To honor the occassion, The Times looked back to Carroll's early history to find women who made an impact on local, and in some cases, world history.

Emily J. Rippard 1828-1905


Women have long been an integral part of the field of journalism, from Anne Green and the Maryland Gazette's reporting on the Revolutionary War to Sarah Updike and the Maryland Journal. In the 1800s, Carroll County's Republican newspaper, The American Sentinel, was run by Emily J. Rippard who served as the paper's proprietress for 27 years.

Rippard bought the Sentinel in 1878, following the death of its former owner and her former husband William Grammer, though she had been steadily involved with its production since the time of her and Grammer's marriage in 1855. Edited by various family members, Rippard controlled the paper until 1905, the time of her death. According to documents from the Historical Society of Carroll County, Rippard served as a prominent political voice in Carroll County, growing the paper in esteem. In 1912, when visiting Carroll County on the campaign trail for a third term, president Theodore Roosevelt gathered at the Sentinel building to give his speech.


Mary Bostwick Shellman 1849-1938

Mary Shellman was the daughter of Westminster's first mayor, and an ardent supporter of the Union soldiers in the Civil War. Shellman organized the first Decoration Day parade in 1868, a tradition that would soon evolve into a Memorial Day celebration. An active social crusader, Shellman worked for political reform, supported the Red Cross and worked with the Women's Christian Temperance Union, with a particular emphasis on aiding the residents of the Alms House, a place for the impoverished. Shellman was most passionate about her drive to ensure local Union soldiers could have proper burials, and her work to provide spiritual assistance to those in the Alms House. In the 1930s, Shellman moved to Texas, but returned for a brief visit in May of 1937 to lead another Memorial Day parade before her death in 1938.

Sadie Kneller Miller 1867-1920

Sadie Kneller Miller, born in Westminster in 1867, gained renown, and an introduction to the Maryland Women's Hall of Fame, by becoming the first woman war correspondent and one of the earliest female baseball reporters, according to the Maryland State Archives. Miller attended Western Maryland College and began her career at the Westminster Democratic Advocate upon graduation.

Soon, Miller's career took her to Baltimore where she began covering the Baltimore Orioles, writing under the initials S.K.M., effectively hiding her gender for several years. After photographing captive Spanish officers from the Spanish-American War in Annapolis, Miller joined the staff of Leslie's Illustrated, a newspaper which ran from 1852 to 1922. Throughout her career, Miller photographed the construction of the Panama Canal, reported on earthquakes in Jamaica, went to the front lines of the Balkan War and the battlefields in Morocco, and is largely recognized as the first woman war correspondent.

Dorothy Elderdice 1882-1979

Born in Westminster in 1882, Dorothy Elderdice traveled the country and the world before settling in her hometown in 1927. A playwright, speaker, teacher and advocate for peace, Elderdice began her theatrical career in 1918, when she wrote and directed "In the Cause of Freedom," a pageant featuring more than 100 local residents, during the final days of World War I.

Further advocating for peace, she wrote and produced the show "We Have Spoken for World Without War," in 1965, a production that was presented at Scheveningen, Holland and featured participants from more than 23 countries. In addition to her peace advocacy, Elderdice was a passionate local historian, writing "Carroll Caravan" for the centennial anniversary of the county.

In between theatrical productions, she taught speech and drama at Westminster Theological Seminary and directed the Westminster Community Players -- now the Carroll Players.

Reach staff writer Jacob deNobel at 410-857-7890 or jacob.denobel@carrollcountytimes.com.

Women's History Events

Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab "Girl Power"


This expo, focused on encouraging interest in STEM, features hands-on activities, demonstrations and take-home materials for middle and high school girls.

When: 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 8

Where: Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, 11100 Johns Hopkins Road, Laurel

For more information: Call 443-778-7836 or email APLSTEM@jhuapl.edu.

"The Oral/Living History of Women's Organizations in Baltimore"

Hosted by the Baltimore City Women's Bar Association, this event will feature speakers from the Maryland Women's Heritage Center, the Women's Law Center of Maryland, the Women's Bar Association, the Towson Women's Club and the Alliance of Black Women Attorneys.

When: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 11

Where: The Bar Library, Mitchell Courthouse, 110 N. Calvert St., Baltimore

For more information: Call 410-332-8586 or email DCB@nqgrg.com.

Girls Education and Leadership Day

This event, for girls between the ages of 9 and 14, features hands-on activities focused on STEM and leadership, including a Build and App workshop and planetarium tour, and is sponsored by the Younger Women's Task Force.

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 14

Where: Towson University, 8000 York Road, Towson

For more information: Visit http://www.ywtf-baltimore.aauw.net.

The Maryland Women's Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Governor's Reception

This event, free and open to the public, will feature the induction of the 2015 members of the Maryland Women's Hall of Fame.

When: 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, March 19

Where: The President's Conference Room, Senate Office Building, 11 Bladen Street, Annapolis

For more information: Visit http://www.dhr.state.md.us.

Music of Women Composers

This presentation features music by composers from the 19th and 20th century, including Clara Schumann, Fanny Mendelssohn and more.

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, March 21

Where: Columbia Pro Cantare, 5460 Trumpeter Road, Columbia

Cost: $23

For more information: Visit http://www.procantare.org or call 410-916-0744.

Women of Faith Working for Social Justice

This presentation is hosted by Maryland Women's Heritage Center and Maryland NOW.


When: 12:30 p.m. Sunday, March 22


Where: 39 W. Lexington St., Baltimore

Cost: $35 general admission, $25 members. Reservations are required.

For more information: Visit http://www.marylandnow.org/womenshistory.

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