Women's group writing history book of firsts

March 06, 2005|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

A book project to document famous female firsts in Washington County is being revived.

It's been three years since the Washington County Commission for Women first solicited nominations from the public. The commission wanted to find out who the first women were in various professional roles, from politicians to writers to musicians.

There were no set categories.

Catherine Cushwa Schoen, the commission's chairwoman at the time, created a rough list of 50 professions that she wanted to document. Still, people could suggest their own if they knew of the woman who was the pioneer in that field.

About 40 nominations came in.

Some had documentation, including news stories, letters and photos.

Others were more vague and less certain. One nominator put a question mark next to his or her suggestion.

Schoen hoped the names could be turned into a book or pamphlet.

But, for a while, little happened.


Then, Schoen couldn't continue on the commission.

Commission member Kelly Wilhelm took over as chairwoman last July.

Wilhelm said she loves to write and is looking forward to working on the project after her term as president runs out in July.

"I'd like to see it as a book and (have) each person get a page," she said.

She has a few ideas of her own for additional women who should be included.

Wilhelm said she expects to have her husband, Robert Bla Wilhelm, help with the editing.

Other commission members probably will contribute, too, Wilhelm said.

The commission again is accepting submissions from the public for the book, which tentatively is titled "Working Women of Washington County: First in Their Fields."

Nominees must have lived in Washington County at some point.

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

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