The historical impact of women on the world runs deeper than most people today can imagine. Countless women have contributed to where society is today throughout history, often thanklessly or with their work going without credit.
March is Women's History Month, wherein we celebrate the contributions women have made to society, science and major events throughout history, along with unique mugs that honor their work. To kick off this month highlighting women's contributions, here are four pioneering women whose legacies we honor and support through our stoneware, both directly and indirectly.
Women's Rights National Historical Park
Sunset Hill Stoneware has highlighted Women's Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, N.Y. before. In this unassuming building on Falls Street, hundreds of women gathered in 1848 to outline the need for women's voting rights and equality under the law. This marked the beginning of a 72-year struggle for women's suffrage in the United States.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, an early leader of the women's rights movement, organized the Seneca Falls Convention as result of her frustration with the subservient role women played in society at the time. The two-day convention resulted in the drafting and signing of the Declaration of Sentiments, modeled after the Declaration of Independence. This new declaration aired the grievances women had with being denied the right to vote, taxed while being oppressed under the law, and treated as part of her husband's property after she was married.
The sentiments listed in the original declaration are viewed as common sense now, but at the time they sparked an uproar. The Oneida Whig, a newspaper based in nearby Oneida, N.Y. even branded the Declaration as "the most shocking and unnatural event in the history of womanity. If our ladies will insist on voting and legislating, where, gentleman, will be our dinners and our elbows? Where our domestic firesides and the holes in our stockings?"
Whether the author of that article ever overcame his holey socks or the invention of central heating remains unknown. However, equal voting rights on the basis of gender were ultimately enshrined in the U.S. Constitution in 1920. Measures toward equal rights in the workplace followed years later, ensuring that women and men would be treated equally in the eyes of American law.
Visitors who come to see where it all started at Women's Rights National Historical Park can find mugs depicting sunflowers, which were an early symbol of the suffragist movement. These mugs are available in a host of different colors and styles including Imperial Purple and Stormy Blue, all of which feature historical facts about the park, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the suffragist movement.
Everglades National Park
Although Everglades National Park might not be the first thing that comes to mind regarding women's history, the connection is far deeper than it seems at first glance. Were it not for the groundbreaking work of Marjory Stoneman Douglas, this beloved national park might not exist today.
A prominent feminist, journalist and civil rights activist, Douglas spent the majority of her very long life protecting the Florida Everglades from real estate and agricultural development. Starting as early as the 1920s, Douglas was involved in the conservation and preservation of the marshland and its fragile ecosystem. She made enemies with sugarcane growers, real estate tycoons, the Army Corps of Engineers and Richard Nixon, all of whom threatened the misunderstood region in south Florida and saw it as a waste of unused land. To improve public perception of the Everglades, Douglas spent five years researching the region in intimate detail and published her book, Everglades: River of Grass.
The book was an overnight success, selling out of its first edition within a month and driving Florida residents to see the Everglades as a vital part of their lives and culture worthy of protection. Douglas went on to ardently oppose the drainage of the eastern regions of the Everglades for a Miami suburb, the development of a new Miami airport and other projects, all to preserve what remains of the Everglades.
Were it not for Marjory Stoneman Douglas, one of the world's most complex ecosystems and largest national parks in America might not exist today. Her legacy is seen throughout south Florida in the hundreds of square miles of wilderness and wildlife refuges, plus the ongoing efforts to protect the park from development.
To support the conservation of the Everglades, Sunset Hill Stoneware provides unique coffee mugs at the park's visitor centers. These mugs might include our Morning Rambler and Happy Soul styles in multiple glaze colors, featuring one of the park's resident alligators on the medallion. Each mug helps support the park and its preservation as a part of Douglas' ongoing legacy.
Madam C. J. Walker
Highlighted at the CupTalk Café in Hemingway, N.C., the first woman in the United States to become a self-made millionaire, Madam C. J. Walker came from poverty and went on to become a revered philanthropist who made a fortune during her lifetime. The child of sharecroppers who were emancipated after the Civil War, Walker was born in Louisiana and became a domestic worker by the time she was 10 years old.
Before Walker produced and sold her beauty products, most black women were forced to use harsh chemicals like lye to wash and style their hair. Walker was no exception to this, suffering skin disorders in her scalp and baldness after using these harsh products regularly and leading a stressful life while she tried to get her business off the ground. However, her luck began to improve when she moved to St. Louis, where her brothers trained and worked as barbers.
Throughout her life, Walker advocated for black women's economic independence and developed her own line of hair care products to follow suit. She trained thousands of women to become beauty culturists and build their own businesses, all while amassing her fortune and donating large sums to civil rights organizations such as the NAACP. Her net worth is currently estimated at $10 million.
CupTalk, a store selling coffee mugs with a focus on black history, has mugs dedicated to Walker's legacy. These historic coffee mugs feature Walker's detailed likeness on our Wide Mouth and Straight Shot mugs in Mulberry Blush and Midnight Black.
Pioneer Woman Museum
Located in Ponca City, Okla., the Pioneer Woman Museum is dedicated to the contributions that women of all races made to the history and development of Oklahoma into what it is today. Hand in hand with the museum is the Pioneer Woman statue, depicting a woman wearing a sunbonnet and leading a child by the hand.
In the late 19th century, millions of pioneers from countless nations and walks of life made their way west toward newly acquired U.S. territory to make their fortunes or develop land to call their own. Among these were women who had the enduring spirit to give up everything they knew in search of better lives and work. The Pioneer Woman Museum is dedicated to these women and the sacrifices they made each and every day in their journey on the frontier.
Inside the museum, the Oklahoma Historical Society has recreated the life of a pioneer woman in multiple exhibits. Each exhibit shows the back-breaking labor women performed so their families could survive a trek across hundreds of miles, along with their daily activities and contributions to society on the frontier and within Oklahoma specifically. There are also exhibits on Native American history within Oklahoma, famed sharpshooter Annie Oakley and temporary exhibits about life in the 19th century.
To support its preservation of Oklahoma's history, the Pioneer Woman Museum sells unique mugs depicting its famous statue on the medallion. These Renaissance Voyager and Potbelly mugs are available in the museum gift shop in some of our most rugged colors, including Copperhead Run, Brick Red and more.
Listing every contribution women have made throughout the history of the United States and the world would mean this blog post would be the length of an encyclopedia. While there are still issues women must face today before true equality is achieved, supporting women-owned businesses is a good place to start. Sunset Hill Stoneware is proud to support these organizations with the premium promotional product for businesses across America. To get your own handmade coffee mugs to promote your brand, ask about putting your logo on a mug today.