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Search under way to find women's firsts

March 25, 2002|BY ANDREW SCHOTZ

The Washington County Commission For Women wants to know which local women were the first to cut hair, to drive a bus and to pound a gavel.

The Commission's 15th anniversary sparked a discussion about legacies, said Commission President Catherine Cushwa Schoen.

This led to a book idea: "Working Women of Washington County: First in Their Fields."

Cushwa created an off-the-cuff list of 50 professions. She's reasonably sure of some answers, such as:

- First orchestra conductor: Elizabeth Schulze.

- First New York Times best-selling author: Nora Roberts.

The names of the first bottler, the first county commissioner and the first congresswoman should be easy to track, Schoen said.

Women must have lived in Washington County, even briefly, to be eligible.

She thinks two of her relatives might make the list: her grandmother, Mildred Teague Schoen, as a journalist, and her great-aunt, Madre Ramacciotti, as a college president.

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Other firsts are up in the air, such as dentist, attorney, pastor and restaurateur.

"There probably will be no astronaut, but maybe a dentist," Schoen said.

Commission members have signed up to write profiles in different categories. Schoen will edit them.

The compilation might be published as a book, or it could end up as a pamphlet; that hasn't been decided.

A lot will depend on the number of entries, and how well they can be documented.

"We'd like to have the community collaborate with us," Schoen said.

Nominations may be mailed to: Washington County Commission For Women, County Administration Building, 100 W. Washington St., Room 226, Hagerstown, MD 21740.

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