New York Women of Change honored in state exhibit

Mary Anne Krupsak


A Women's History Month exhibit honoring New York State female trailblazers and public servants runs through the end of March.

The exhibit, which is free and open to the public, is located in the Governor’s Reception Room on the second floor of the New York State Capitol.

While some became well-known figures, others were simply forgotten over time, and this exhibit helps serve as a reminder of their work, according to a release from the governor’s office.

The 28 women in the exhibit are:

— Murray Hall: A Tammany Hall political figure, Hall had an active behind-the-scenes role in 19th-Century New York politics. Realization that Hall was born biologically as a woman named Mary Anderson, did not come until Hall's death in 1901;

— Marguerite “Missy” LeHand: She began to work with Franklin D. Roosevelt as a secretary in 1920 on his vice-presidential campaign, then remained working for him in the private sector and continued to serve as a valued aid during his tenure as governor and president;

— Belle Moskowitz: A champion of worker protections, she served as a close advisor to Governor Al Smith while he was in office and as campaign manager during his campaign for president;

— Rhonda Fox Graves: She was the first woman elected to New York State Senate and the first woman to preside over the senate. She sponsored legislation that allowed women to serve on juries;

— Besse Buchanan: The first African-American woman elected to the State Assembly, she was the Human Rights Commissioner under Governor Nelson Rockefeller;

— Constance Baker Motley: She was the first African-American state senator and federal judge;

— Marie T. Bates: A veteran Capitol reporter for United Press International, she was admitted to the Legislative Correspondents Association in 1967;

— Isabelle Dolores Wedemeyer: One of the first women to be admitted to the Legislative Correspondents Association when the organization began admitting women in 1967., she was a reporter for The Albany Knickerbocker News;

— Shirley Chisholm: The first African-American woman elected to the United States House of Representatives;

— Elizabeth Flood Morrow: The longest-tenured female correspondent in the LCA, covering the Capitol starting in the 1950s;

— Elsie Wood: A longtime member of the LCA covering the Capitol for over 50 years, first as a telegrapher for the Postal Telegraph and Western Union, she then became a member of the LCA in 1969;

— Mary Anne Krupsak: A state senator, she was the first female lieutenant governor of New York;

— Elizabeth A. Buechner: A reporter for Gannett News Service, she was named the first female Legislative Correspondents Association president in 1978;

— Olga Mendez: She was the first Puerto Rican woman elected to the State Legislature;

— Geraldine Ferraro: She was the first woman to chair her party’s 1984 platform committee and the first female vice-presidential nominee;

— Mary Ann Crotty: She was the first female director of State Operations;

— Deborah Glick: She was the first openly lesbian member of the State Legislature;

— Judith Kaye: She was the first woman to serve as Chief Judge in New York State;

— Zenia Mucha: She was the director of communications and senior policy advisor to New York State Governor George Pataki;

— Hillary Rodham Clinton: She was the first female New York State Senator and the first woman nominated by a major party to run for president of the United States. She was also Secretary of State and First Lady;

— Grace Meng: She was the first Asian woman elected to State Legislature;

— Melissa DeRosa: She was the first woman to serve as secretary to the Governor of New York;

— Barbara Underwood: She was the first woman to hold the position of New York State Attorney General;

— Louann Ciccone: Secretary for Program and Policy for Speaker Carl E. Heastie, she is the first woman to serve in this role for the New York State Assembly;

— Shontell Smith: She is the majority conference chief of staff and majority counsel;

— Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes: She is the first African-American to be elevated to serve as majority leader of the New York State Assembly;

— Andrea Stewart-Cousins: She is the first woman and first black woman to lead a legislative house in New York’s Capitol; and

— Letitia James: She is the first woman of color to hold statewide office in New York and the first woman to be elected Attorney General.

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