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Inductees A-Z


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A

   
Jari Askins

Aragon, LaRita
Born in Shawnee, Oklahoma and raised in Dale, Oklahoma. She became the first woman to hold the rank of Brigadier General in the Oklahoma Air National Guard and the first female commander of the Air National Guard. Before her military career she was an elementary school teacher and principal. After retirement from the military in she returned to education and served as Director of Advanced Programs at the University of Oklahoma’s College of Continuing Education. Since January 2011 she has served as Secretary for Veterans Affairs for the State of Oklahoma under Governor Mary Fallin. She is the first female to hold this position. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2009.

   
   
Jari Askins

Askins, Jari
Born in Duncan, Oklahoma in 1953. She is the first woman to serve as Democratic Leader of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and has the unique distinction of having served in all three branches of government. She served as Special District Judge for the District Court of Stephens County from 1982 to 1990 and was then appointed to the Pardon and Parole Board. She served in the House from 1994 to 2006. She was then elected Lieutenant Governor, becoming the first Democratic woman to serve in this position. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2001. See also the Women of the Oklahoma Legislature Oral History Project collection.

   
   
Hannah Atkins

Atkins, Hannah Diggs
Born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in 1923; died June 17, 2010 in Maryland. She was the first African American woman elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives where she served from 1968 to 1980. She was the first woman to serve as chair of a committee. Atkins also served as Assistant Director for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, Oklahoma Cabinet Secretary for Social Services, Oklahoma Secretary of State and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1982. See also the Women of the Oklahoma Legislature Oral History Project collection.

   
   
Mae Boren Axton

Axton, Mae Boren
Born in Bardwell, Texas in 1914; died April 9, 1997 in Nashville, Tennessee. A major influence in the Nashville music industry, she is best known for co-writing Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel” along with Tommy Durden, Elvis’ first track with RCA and one that made him quite famous. Axton also taught English in numerous schools. She wrote Country Singers as I Know ‘Em. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1985.

   

B

 
Isabel Keith Baker

Baker, Isabel Keith
Born in Row, Oklahoma in 1929. She has been a professor at Oklahoma State University and Northeastern State University, and she works with Native American children and bilingual educations. She has served on the Oklahoma State University Board of Regents. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1997.

   
   
Kate Barnard

Barnard, Kate
Born in Geneva, Nebraska in 1875; died February 23, 1930. She was the first woman in the United States elected to a state office in 1907. She served as Oklahoma Commissioner of Charities and Corrections for eight years, and a life-size bronze sculpture of Miss Kate sits on a bench in the east gallery of the Oklahoma State Capitol. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1982.

   
   
Wanda Bass

Bass, Wanda L.
Born in Ewing, Texas in 1927; died February 12, 2008. Chairman of the Board of McAlester Bank and Trust Company, her philanthropic efforts paved the way for a better future for Oklahomans. She received worldwide acclaim with her gift of 105 Steinway pianos to the Bass School of Music at Oklahoma City University. She and her husband also donated the Fine Arts Center at McAlester High School. She was dedicated to education, economic development, music, and banking. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2005.

   
   
Shirley Bellmon

Bellmon, Shirley
Born in Billings, Oklahoma in 1927; died July 24, 2000 in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She served as First Lady of the State of Oklahoma for two terms, from 1963 to 1967 and from 1987 to 1991. Along with being a clothing designer, stained-glass artist and collectible-doll maker, she was active promoting Oklahoma’s Main Streets, Made in Oklahoma products, craft items and events, an anti-drug campaign, and keeping the state litter-free. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2001.

   
   
June Tompkins Benson

Benson, June Tompkins
Born in 1915; died September 15, 1981. She became the first female mayor in Oklahoma in 1957 when she was elected Mayor of Norman. She was also an educator and women’s suffrage advocate. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1985.

   
   
Jessie Thatcher Boss

Bost, Jessie Thatcher
Born in Guthrie Center, Iowa in 1875; died in 1963 in Cleveland, Oklahoma. When she graduated from Oklahoma A&M College in 1897 she became the first woman to graduate from any college in Oklahoma. She enrolled at the school as soon as it opened in December 1891 when she was sixteen years old, and taught school until 1946. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1997.

   
   
Betty Boyd

Boyd, Betty
Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1924; died January 6, 2011 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She began appearing on television in 1955 and was considered a journalism pioneer due to the lack of women in broadcasting at the time. She was a Tulsa TV personality until 1980 when she became the Director of Information Services for Tulsa County Area Vocational-Technical School District. She served in the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 1991 to 2000, becoming the first great-grandmother to do so. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1996. See also the Women of the Oklahoma Legislature Oral History Project collection.

   
   
Laura Boyd

Boyd, Laura
Born in Charlottesville, Virginia in 1949. She served in the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 1992 through 1998. She was the first woman in Oklahoma to run for Governor on a general election ballot in 1998, and in 2004 she was a nominee for Lieutenant Governor of the State of Oklahoma. She is owner and CEO of Policy and Performance Consultants, Inc., a counselor, and professor at the University of Oklahoma. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2011. See also the Women of the Oklahoma Legislature Oral History Project collection.

   
   
Zelia N. Breaux

Breaux, Zelia N.
Born in Jefferson City, Missouri in 1880; died October 31, 1956 in Guthrie, Oklahoma. She was a music teacher and music school director in the African American schools in Oklahoma City. The Douglass High School band she organized in 1923 became one of the greatest bands in the United States and influenced musicians such as Charlie Christian, Jimmy Rushing, and Duke Ellington. Beginning in 1915 she co-owned the Aldridge Theater in Oklahoma City, which became an important venue of this era. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1983.

   
   
June Brooks

Brooks, June
Born in 1924; died August 29, 2010. She headed June Brooks Oil and Gas Company in Ardmore and served on the Interstate Oil Compact Commission as well as the American Association of Petroleum Landmen. In 1975 she was the only delegate to the World Petroleum Congress in Tokyo. She was awarded the Pioneer Woman of the Year Award in 1984 and a Lifetime Achievement Award from International Energy Advocates in 2005. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1982.

   
   
Chloe Brown

Brown, Chloe
She is founder of The Chloe House, a transition home for women that provides housing, training for employment, and resources to help them reintegrate into society. She is assistant principal at Kendall Whittier School in Tulsa and volunteers as a tutor to homeless children in Tulsa. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2011.

   

C

 
Sherri Coale
Coale, Sherri
Born in Healdton, Oklahoma in 1965. She has been the head coach of the University of Oklahoma Women’s basketball team since 1996. Her OU team went 16-0 in Big 12 play in the 2005-2006 season, and the team has consistently been doing the best in its history under her coaching. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2007.
   
   
Nancy Coats

Coats-Ashley, Nancy L.
Born in Ohio. In 1972 she became the first female hired as an attorney for Southwestern Bell Telephone Company in a five-state area consisting of Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma. She served as District Court Judge for Oklahoma County from 1995 to 2004. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2005.

   
   
Sara Cohen

Cohen, Sara Ruth
Born in 1920; died July 12, 1986. She was a teacher in Oklahoma City and an advocate of the arts in the Jewish community. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1986.

   
   
Marie Cox

Cox, Marie
Born in 2005; died May 24, 1994. She founded the North American Indian Women’s Association and served on the National Action for Foster Children Committee. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993.

   
   
Vinita Cravens

Cravens, Vinita
Born in 1909; died in 1994. She was a part-Cherokee theater promoter from Shawnee who succeeded in bringing world renowned performers to Oklahoma. Due to her tenacity, 64,000 people saw Hello, Dolly! at the Oklahoma City Civic Center during its ten-day run, setting a national record for indoor theater attendance. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1986.

   
   
Ginny Creveling

Creveling, Ginny
Born in Manila, Philippines. She currently serves as President and Chief Operating Officer of the Folds of Honor Foundation, Inc. She served as Executive Director of ONEOK Foundation, Inc. from 2000 to 2009, and from 1993 to 2000 she served as manager of ONEOK’s corporate responsibility program. She helped found Rainbow House, one of Tulsa’s earliest organizations to address child abuse by providing an at-risk nursery and she is involved in numerous community organizations in Tulsa. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2007.

   
   
Joy Culbreath

Culbreath, Joy
She worked with TRIO programs at Southeastern Oklahoma State University for twenty-seven years and was then hired by the Choctaw Nation to create an adult education program. She then became Executive Director of all Choctaw Nation Education Services. In 2010 she was appointed by President Obama to serve on the No Child Left Behind Negotiated Rulemaking Committee. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2011.

   

D

 
Angie Debo

Debo, Angie
Born in Beattie, Kansas in 1890; died February 21, 1988 in Enid, Oklahoma. Known as “Oklahoma’s greatest historian” she researched and wrote primarily about Native American and Oklahoma history. She published many books and articles regardless of the prejudices she endured due to her gender and the content of her research, and was also a teacher and museum curator. She was the subject of a 1988 PBS documentary, Indians, Outlaws, and Angie Debo, and her portrait, painted by Charles Banks Wilson, hangs in the rotunda of the Oklahoma State Capitol. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1984. See also the Angie Debo collection.

   
   
Dorothy Moses DeWitty

DeWitty, Dorothy Moses
Born in Bristow, Oklahoma in 1926. A native of the Tulsa Greenwood Community, she wrote the book Tulsa: Tale of Two Cities. She is an educator, librarian, and community activist. In 1990 she became Tulsa City Council’s first African-American female Councilor, and she was the first African-American female to serve as principal of a Tulsa public school, a position she held from 1969 to 1985. She was also the first African-American female to serve as president of the League of Women Voters. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2001.

   

E

 
Norma Eagleton

Eagleton, Norma
Born in Wewoka, Oklahoma in 1934. She is a lawyer at the Tulsa firm Eagleton, Eagleton & Harrison, Inc. In 1976 she was the first woman elected to a voting position on the Tulsa City Commission when she was elected Finance and Revenue Commissioner. She also served on the Board of Regents for Rogers State College. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1997.

   
   
Suzanne Edmonson

Edmondson, Suzanne
Born Moline, Illinois in 1945. In 1996 she began volunteering as a tutor in literacy at Eddie Warrior Correctional Center. She created programs such as Tales for the Rising Moon and is the founder of Friends of Eddie Warrior (FEW) Foundation, which provides scholarships for female inmates to take college courses. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2009.

   

F

 
Mary Fallin

Fallin, Mary
Born in Tecumseh in 1954. She currently serves as Governor of Oklahoma and is the first female to do so. Elected in 2006 to represent the Fifth District of Oklahoma in the U.S. House of Representatives, she was the first woman from Oklahoma to serve in Congress since 1920. She was also the first woman and first Republican elected as Lieutenant Governor for the State of Oklahoma in 1995, prior to which she served in the House of Representatives from 1991 to 1994. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2005. See also the Women of the Oklahoma Legislature Oral History Project collection.

   
   
Gloria Steward Farley

Farley, Gloria Stewart
Born in Heavener, Oklahoma in 1916; died March 18, 2006 in Heavener, Oklahoma. A historian and researcher in her hometown of Heavener, Oklahoma, Farley was able to recognize the Heavener Runestone as the product of ancient Vikings. She authored sixty-six articles and presented over fifty lectures across the United States. Her book In Plain Site: Old World Records in Ancient America was published in 1994. She also taught and served as a caseworker for the state health system. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1982.

   
   
Nancy Feldman

Feldman, Nancy Goodman
A Tulsa attorney, she is dedicated to civil rights and rights of the disabled. She founded Tulsa Center for the Physically Limited and co-founded the Tulsa Global Alliance. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1995.

   
   
Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher

Fisher, Ada Lois Sipuel
Born in Chickasha, Oklahoma in 1924; died October 18, 1995. She successfully challenged the University of Oklahoma Law School’s segregation policy, becoming the first African American student to attend an all-white law school in the South. She was later appointed to the Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma. There are two paintings in the Oklahoma State Capitol of her: one hangs in the north Senate hallway, and the other hangs in the fourth floor rotunda area. Unveiled in 2007, hers was the first portrait of an African American woman to be hung in the State Capitol. In 2002 she was inducted in the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1996.

   
   
Lela Foreman

Foreman, Lela
A civil rights pioneer and professor, she was the first woman member of the Touchdown Club in 1979. In 1978 she organized the first National Women’s Conference. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1996.

   
   
Kate Frank

Frank, Kate
Born in Muskogee in 1890; died in 1982. A retired teacher, she was the first female president of the Oklahoma Education Association. She was an advocate of senior citizens rights and education. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1983.

   

G

 
Barbara Gardner

Gardner-Anderson, Barbara J.  
She was the first woman to chair the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce and served as vice president of Metropolitan Life. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1995.

   
   
Sandy Garrett

Garrett, Sandy
Born in Muskogee, Oklahoma in 1943. She was the first woman elected Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction, a position she held for twenty years, and was the second most-tenured chief state school officer in the nation. In 2000 she was inducted in the Oklahoma Educator’s Hall of Fame. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2001.

   
   
Kay Goebel

Goebel, Kay
Born in Glendive, Montana. She has been a professor of psychiatry at OU Health Sciences Center for more than thirty years and has run a private practice as a counseling psychologist since 1972. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1997.

   

H

 
Rubye Hibler Hall

Hall, Rubye Hibler
Born in 1912; died on November 9, 2003. She was the first African-American appointed to the State Regents for Higher Education, where she served from 1974 to 1980. In 1978 she was elected chair of this organization. She spent forty-three years in public education as a teacher, speech pathologist, psychometrist, diagnostician, and consultant. She and her husband were co-founding directors of the Oklahoma City Urban League. She was also the founder and executive director of the National Grandparents Academy. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1986.

   
   
Ruth Hardman

Hardman, Ruth
Born in Holdenville, Oklahoma in 1914; died January 11, 2004. A Tulsa philanthropist, she served on the boards of the Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa Philharmonic, Gilcrease Museum, the Children’s Medical Center, and the Tulsa Opera. The Ruth G. Hardman Adult Literacy Center at the Tulsa City-County Library offers tutoring services for adults who cannot read. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1997.

   
   
Edna Hennessee

Hennessee, Edna
Born in Ryan, Oklahoma in 1919. She founded Cosmetic Specialty Labs, a family-owned and operated company, in 1973 and helped it grow to serve more than 10,000 customers in all fifty states and thirty countries. The business is one of the largest employers in the Lawton area. She was the first woman inducted into the Oklahoma Commerce and Industry Hall of Fame in 1993. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2009.

   
   
Kim Henry

Henry, Kim
Born in Norman, Oklahoma. She served as First Lady of the State of Oklahoma from 2002 to 2011. She taught at her alma mater Shawnee High School for ten years and is currently serving as Executive Director of Sarkeys Foundation. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2009.

   
   
Joe Anna Hibler

Hibler, Joe Anna
Born in Shattuck, Oklahoma in 1939. She was the first female president of Southwestern Oklahoma State University where she served from 1990 to 2001. She spent thirty-six years at Southwestern in administrative positions as well as teaching business courses. She was only the second woman in the history of Oklahoma to lead an institution of higher education, and the first to be appointed by a Board of Regents in Oklahoma. She served on the Board of Regents of Oklahoma Colleges and as chair of the board for the Women’s Foundation of Oklahoma. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2007.

   
   
Anita Hill

Hill, Anita Faye
Born in Lone Tree, Oklahoma in 1956. A law professor at the University of Oklahoma from 1986 to 1996, she then joined the faculty of the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University where she still teaches. She testified under oath at former colleague Clarence Thomas’ Senate confirmation hearings in 1991 that he had made provocative and harassing sexual statements, raising awareness of sexual harassment in the workplace in the United States. She has written an autobiography Speaking Truth to Power. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993.

   
   
Elizabeth Holmes

Holmes, Elizabeth Ann McCurdy
She worked in Continuing Education and Public Service at the University of Oklahoma and in the President’s office at the University of Central Oklahoma. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1986.

   
   
Maxine Horner

Horner, Maxine Cissel
Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1933. She served in the Oklahoma State Senate from 1987 to 2004, making her the first African-American woman to be elected to the Oklahoma State Senate, and was the first African-American and first woman to serve as chair of the Oklahoma Senate Democratic Caucus. During her time in the Senate she played a crucial rule in founding the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame as well as establishing the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2007. See also the Women of the Oklahoma Legislature Oral History Project collection.

   
   
Beverly Horse

Horse, Beverly
A Kiowa educator and advocate for human rights as well as women’s rights, she served as the director of the Displaced Homemaker/Single Parent Organization in Lawton, Oklahoma. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1997.

   
   
Esther Houser

Houser, Esther
Born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She has served as State Long-Term Care Ombudsman in the Aging Services Division of the Department of Human Services since 1979. She built the program, which provides advocacy services for persons over the age of sixty in long-term care facilities, from a one-person staff to thirty paid staffers and 200-plus volunteers today. Her work has been published in various publications and manuals related to Ombudsman practice and elderly care. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2003.

   
   
Grace Elizabeth Hudlin

Hudlin, Grace Elizabeth
Born in Morris, Oklahoma in 1908; died January 2, 1995. She served as General Manager of Lake Region Electric from 1955 to 1986, making her the first woman to head an electric cooperative in Oklahoma. She served as co-chair of the Oklahoma Democratic State Central Committee and was a delegate to the 1956 Democratic Convention. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1986.

   

I

 
Sandy Ingraham

Ingraham, Sandy
Born in California in 1947. She is an attorney at Ingraham and Associates of McLoud, Oklahoma and a social policy consultant. She co-authored the book Rural Kids Count: Sharing the Stories and Statistics from Oklahoma and Arkansas and in 1993 was named Child Advocate of the Decade.  She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1996.

   

J

 
Moscelyne Larkin Jasinski

Jasinski, Moscelyne Larkin
Born in Miami, Oklahoma in 1925. A world famous ballerina, she is of Shawnee/Peoria and Russian descent. In 1941 she debuted with the original Ballet Russe and joined the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1948. In 1956, she and her husband, dancer Roman Jasinski, founded the Tulsa Ballet Theater. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993.

   
   
Lynn Jones

Jones, Lynn
She began as a Tulsa police officer in 1972. She rose through the ranks, serving as Training Supervisor for the Tulsa Police Academy in 1978, and was promoted to Major of the Uniform Division East in 1997. She is a community voluntary leader and has worked with the Department of Corrections, Community Service Council, and numerous child abuse prevention organizations in Oklahoma. She developed the first Officers’ Street Survival course in Oklahoma, and has been recognized by many groups for her dedicated efforts to the Tulsa community. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2001.

   
   
Ruthe Blalock Jones

Jones, Ruthe Blalock
Born in Claremore, Oklahoma in 1939. She is a Delaware-Shawnee Native American artist and Director Emeritus and Associate Professor of Art at Bacone College. In 1979 she served as the first female art director for Bacone College. Her art has been included in many collections across the country. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1995.

   

K

 
Yvonne Kauger

Kauger, Yvonne
Born in Cordell, Oklahoma in 1947. In 1984 she became the second woman ever appointed to the Oklahoma Supreme Court. She served as Chief Justice for the Supreme Court from 1997 to 1998, and was the first woman to do so. She founded the Gallery of the Plains Indian in Colony, Oklahoma, is co-founder of Red Earth and has served as symposium coordinator of the Sovereignty Symposium. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2001.

   
   
Jeane Kirkpatrick

Kirkpatrick, Jeane Duane
Born in Duncan, Oklahoma in 1926; died December 7, 2006. She was the first woman appointed to serve as permanent representative of the U.S. to the United Nations, where she served from 1981 to 1985. She served on President Ronald Reagan’s cabinet, was a Political Science professor at Georgetown University, and a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1984.

   

L

 
Mona Salyer Lambird

Lambird, Mona Salyer
Born in 1938; died August 25, 1999. An attorney with Andrews, Davis, Legg, Bixler, Milsten and Price, she was the first woman to serve as president of the Oklahoma Bar Association in 1996. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1995.

   
   
Gloria Grace Langdon

Langdon, Gloria Grace
Born in Henryetta, Oklahoma in 1927; died November 28, 2003 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She ran Tonkawa News for forty-three years with her husband. In 1977 she was named Mother of the Year. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1995.

   
   
Aloysius Larch-Miller

Larch-Miller, Aloysius
Born in 1886; died February 2, 1920 in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Considered to be Oklahoma’s leading suffragist, she was editor for Oklahoma Supreme Court. She was declared a martyr for the women’s suffrage movement because after delivering a speech in support of suffrage in the rain, she caught pneumonia and died. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1982.

   
   
Jackie Longacre

Longacre, Jackie
Born in Robeline, Louisiana, she grew up around Wewoka, Oklahoma. She founded Rural Health Projects, Inc. and helped establish the Tulsa Perinatal Coalition. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993.

   
   
Mrs. Lamar Looney

Looney, Mirabeau Lamar
Born in Talladega, Alabama in 1871; died September 3, 1935. In 1920 she became the first woman elected to the Oklahoma State Senate. She was also elected registrar of deeds in Harmon County in 1912 and served as County Treasurer and County Clerk. After serving in the Senate she planned to run for Lieutenant Governor but did not because according to the Oklahoma Constitution women were not allowed to run for this position. At age fifty-two she was admitted to the Oklahoma Bar. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2009. See also the Women of the Oklahoma Legislature Oral History Project collection.

   
   
Shannon Lucid

Lucid, Shannon
Born in Shanghai, China in 1943 and raised in Bethany, Oklahoma. In 1979 she became an astronaut. At one time, she held the record for the most non-flight hours in orbit by any non-Russian as well as by any woman in the world. She was the Chief Scientist of NASA from 2002 to 2003 and has served as the capsule communicator for numerous space missions. She was the first woman to receive the Congressional Space Medal of Honor. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993.

   
   
Clara Luper

Luper, Clara
Born in Okfuskee County, Oklahoma in 1923. She was the first African American student to enroll in the History Department at the University of Oklahoma. She is a civil rights activist that led America’s first “sit-in” at lunch counters in Oklahoma City in 1958. She was arrested twenty-six times and has received nearly 500 awards and honors in her lifetime. She taught in the Oklahoma City area for forty-one years and was the senior advisor for the NAACP Youth Council in Oklahoma City. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993.

   

M

   
Lorena Males

Males, Lorena
Born in Forgan, Oklahoma in 1909; died on January 3, 2006. A community leader and piano teacher, she was known as the “first lady of music in Western Oklahoma.” She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1996.

   
   
Wilma Mankiller

Mankiller, Wilma
Born in Tahlequah, Oklahoma in 1945; died April 6, 2010 in Adair County, Oklahoma. She was the first woman Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, where she served from 1985 to 1995. She was also the first woman Deputy Chief of the Cherokee Nation. She was inducted in the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993 and in 1998 President Clinton awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She has co-authored a number of books, including Mankiller: A Chief and Her People and Every Day is a Good Day: Reflections of Contemporary Indigenous Women. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1986.

   
   
Jewell Russell Mann

Mann, Jewell Russell
Born in 1903; died in 1987. She became an attorney in 1928. She played a major role in getting the Oklahoma Constitution amended in 1942 to grant women the right to hold state offices, including that of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Secretary of State. She joined three other Tulsa attorneys and successfully challenged the Oklahoma Legislature’s ruling that the Oklahoma Constitution prohibited women from serving on juries; in 1951, Oklahoma women were finally allowed to serve on juries. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1984.

   
   
Kay Martin

Martin, Kay
Born in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. She served as CEO and superintendent of Francis Tuttle Technology Center from 1997 to 2010, making her the second female Superintendent to lead an Oklahoma Technology Center District. She served in various administrative positions at Francis Tuttle since 1982. She serves on numerous boards in the Oklahoma City area and is dedicated to helping Oklahomans advance. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2007.

   
   
Bessie McColgin

McColgin, Amelia Elizabeth “Bessie”
Born in Minneapolis, Kansas in 1875; died July 9, 1972. A republican from Rankin, Oklahoma, she was the first woman to serve in the Oklahoma House of Representatives where she served from 1920 to 1921. Her portrait hangs in the State Capitol on the fourth floor near the Rotunda. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2005.

   
   
Mazola McKerson

McKerson, Mazola
Born in Bluff, Oklahoma in 1921. She settled in Ardmore in 1929. In 1946 she began a catering company out of her home. She then operated The Gourmet Restaurant in Ardmore from 1964 to 1997. In 1977 she was elected to the Ardmore City Commission, making her the first African-American and first female to serve on the City Council. In 1979 she became the first African-American female mayor of Ardmore. She was the first chair of the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1997.

   
   
Vicki Miles-LaGrange

Miles-LaGrange, Vicki
Born in Oklahoma City in 1953. She was the first African-American woman to be elected to serve in the Oklahoma State Senate in 1986. She served until 1993 and was then appointed U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma, making her the first female U.S. attorney in Oklahoma and among the first in the nation. In 1994 she was appointed by President Clinton as Federal Judge to the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma. She is the first African-American Federal Judge in the six states that make up the Tenth Circuit, which are Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. She became Chief U. S. District Judge in 2008. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2003. See also the Women of the Oklahoma Legislature Oral History Project collection.

   
   
Bernice Mitchell

Mitchell, Bernice Compton
Born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1939. When she was elected Payne County Commissioner in 1986 she became the first African-American and the first woman ever elected to this position in Payne County, Oklahoma and only the second woman to ever serve in this position in the state of Oklahoma. She served as County Commissioner until 1996. She has served as Chair of the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women, President of the Oklahoma Women’s Political Caucus, and Chair of the Payne County Democrats. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1995.

   
   
Leona Mitchell

Mitchell, Leona
Born in Enid, Oklahoma in 1949. On December 15, 1975 she made her Metropolitan Opera debut. She performed for eighteen consecutive seasons at the Metropolitan Opera. In 2004 Governor Henry named her cultural ambassador for the State of Oklahoma. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1983.

   
   
Marcia Mitchell

Mitchell, Marcia
Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She is the co-founder and CEO of The Little Light House, a tuition-free developmental center for children with special needs, and has been since its inception in 1972. The school was recognized by the Christian Accrediting Association as Outstanding School of the Year in 2003 and was deemed President George H. W. Bush’s 536th Point of Light. She is also author of the book Milestones & Miracles. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2011.

   
   
Ardina R. Moore

Moore, Ardina R.
She has been involved in tribal government with the Quapaw and Osage Tribes, and has worked to preserve the Quapaw language through educational programs. She is a professional consultant and educator, providing her services throughout the United States. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2011.

   
   
Linda Morrissey

Morrissey, Linda
Born in Washington, D.C. in 1953. She serves as Tulsa County District Judge and has presided over a Felony Criminal Docket, Drug Court Docket, Mental Health Docket, Domestic Violence Docket, and the Child Support Enforcement Docket. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2003.

   

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Terry Neese

Neese, Terry
Born in Walters, Oklahoma and raised in Cookietown, Oklahoma. She is founder and CEO of the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women, past president and co-founder of the Women Impacting Public Policy Institute, Inc., a non-profit dedicated to the economic empowerment of women worldwide, and is founder of Terry Neese Personnel Services, a company that was formed in 1975 and has helped over 24,000 Oklahomans find jobs. She has served as a Commissioner to the National Advisory Council on Indian Education as well as on the Small Business Advisory Council. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2007.

   
   
Donna Nigh

Nigh, Donna
Born in Oklahoma City in 1933. She has served as First Lady of the State of Oklahoma as well as First Lady of her alma mater, the University of Central Oklahoma. At UCO the Student Union is named after her and her husband and the campus houses the Donna Nigh Art Gallery. In 1984 the Donna Nigh Foundation was formed to award grants to those with developmental disabilities. The Donna Nigh Group Home Program is now part of the annual state budget. She was appointed by President Clinton in 1997 as a member of the President’s Committee on Retardation and in 2008 she was inducted in the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1995.

   

O

 
Pam Olson

Olson, Pam
Born in Midwest City, Oklahoma. While at KWTV Channel 9, she became the first woman to anchor a primetime newscast in Oklahoma. She worked for Oklahoma Journal, Midwest City Monitor, CBS News, Tulsa World and was a CNN Congressional and White House correspondent. She has received many journalism awards and was nominated for an Emmy. She was also instrumental in organ donation legislation in Oklahoma through her documentary The Gift of Life. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1985.

   

P

 
Zella Patterson

Patterson, Zella J.
Born Langston, Oklahoma in 1909; died in 1986. She was head of the Home Economics Department at Langston University from 1965 to 1971. She co-authored the books Langston University: A History and Churches of Langston. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1984.

   
   
Zella Patterson

Peters, Susan Ryan  
Born in 1873; died in 1965. She founded the Kiowa Indian School of Art and was a major figure in encouraging a traditional style of art in Native Americans. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1982.

   
   
Edna Phelps

Phelps, Edna Mae
Born in Tulsa in 1920; died January 6, 2001. She was the first woman to serve on the Oklahoma State Election Board where she served six years. She was a member and chair of the Oklahoma State University Board of Regents and founder of Friends of the OSU Library. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1986.

   
   
Evelyn La Rue Pittman

Pittman, Evelyn La Rue
Born in 1910; died December 15, 1992. She taught music in Oklahoma City from 1935 to 1956. After this she focused on composing and telling the African-American story through music. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1986.

   
   
Jean Pitts

Pitts, Jean
Born in 1945 in Chickasha, Oklahoma. She is a cardiovascular surgeon and medical researcher who pioneered procedures to remove artery blockages. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1983.

   
   
Betty Price

Price, Betty Durham
Born in Booneville, Arkansas, raised in Muskogee, Oklahoma. She served as Executive Director of the Oklahoma Arts Council from 1983 to 2007. During this time she played a critical role in advising the State Capitol Preservation Commission and bringing public art into the Capitol as well as supporting the arts in public schools. She is an accomplished visual artist, taught art in public schools and at Rose State College, and gave private piano lessons. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1985.

   

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Jeanine Rhea

Rhea, Jeanine
She is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Management at Oklahoma State University where she taught from 1976 to 2004. She gained national attention when she developed a college course from her research called Administrative Strategies for Women in Business, later called Managing Diversity in the Workplace. She is co-founder of a Women’s Business Leadership Program and has the Jeanine Rhea/Oklahoma International Women’s Forum Endowed Professorship in the Spears School of Business at OSU dedicated in her name. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2005.

   
   
Cynthia Ross

Ross, Cynthia
She is the first female president of Cameron University and the third female to serve as president of a college or university in Oklahoma. She is also the first and only woman to serve as Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs with the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. She has focused her career on creating a better educational environment for students and teachers. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2011.

   
   

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Christine Salmon

Salmon, Christine
Born in Audenried, Pennsylvania in 1916; died October 10, 1985. An architect and professor of housing and interior design at Oklahoma State University, she was the first female elected mayor of Stillwater, Oklahoma. She was also the first woman admitted to the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Institute of Architects. She was an advocate for handicap accessibility in buildings. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1982.

   
   
Susan Savage

Savage, Susan
Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1952. She served as the first female mayor of Tulsa from 1992 to 2002 and was also the most tenured mayor of Tulsa. In 1996 she was voted by Newsweek magazine one of the top twenty-five mayors in the United States to watch. She served as Secretary of State for the State of Oklahoma from 2002 to 2011. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2009.

   
   
Lynn Schusterman

Schusterman, Lynn
Born in Kansas City, Missouri, she was raised in Oklahoma City. A Tulsa philanthropist, she is one the nation’s top Jewish leaders. She is president of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Foundation and is involved in many community organizations both locally and internationally. In 2006 she was inducted in the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2003.

   
   
Stephanie Kulp Seymour

Seymour, Stephanie Kulp
Born in Battle Creek, Michigan in 1940. In 1965 she was one of twenty-three women to graduate from Harvard Law School in a class of 550 students. She was nominated to the Tenth Circuit by President Jimmy Carter in 1979 where she served until 2005. She served as Chief Judge of the Tenth Circuit from 1994 to 2000, making her the first female judge to serve on the Tenth Circuit as well as the first female Chief Judge of the Tenth Circuit. She was also the first woman to serve as chair of the United States Judicial Conference. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2005.

   
   
Bernice Shedrick

Shedrick, Bernice
Born in 1940 in Chickasha, Oklahoma. She served in the Oklahoma State Senate from 1981 to 1996. In 1994 she was a candidate for Governor. She is a part-time administrative law judge in Payne and Logan counties and a member of the Ethics Commission. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1996. See also the Women of the Oklahoma Legislature Oral History Project collection.

   
   
Donna Shirley

Shirley, Donna
Born in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma in 1941. She earned her engineering degree from OU despite the fact she was told women were not engineers. When she began working for NASA in 1966 she was the only female with an engineering degree out of 2,000 engineers. She managed NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, becoming the first woman to manage a NASA program, and led the team that flew the Pathfinder and Sojourner to Mars in 1997. She retired from NASA in 1998, served as Assistant Dean of Aerospace Mechanical Engineering at the University of Oklahoma, and became Director of the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in Seattle until 2004. She currently serves as President of Managing Creativity. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2003.

   
   
Juanita Kidd Stout

Stout, Juanita Kidd
Born in Wewoka, Oklahoma in 1919; died on August 21, 1998. She was the first African-American woman elected to any bench in the nation in 1959, and the first African-American woman to sit on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which she did in 1988. In 1963 she was appointed by President Kennedy as special ambassador to the Kenya Independence Celebration. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1983.

   

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Jill Zink Tarbel

Tarbel, Jill Zink
Died in January 2009. She was an advocate for better conditions for the mentally and physically disabled, serving on numerous boards in the Tulsa community. She was a trustee for the University of Tulsa since 1983 and involved with the Girl Scouts. She worked to ensure a better life for all Tulsans. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2001

   
   
Claudia Tarrington

Tarrington, Claudia
Died in 2003. A political consultant, government relations specialist, and advocate for the advancement of women, she was working as a lobbyist and fundraiser for Tulsa’s Expo Square at the time of her death. She helped create the 1994 legislation that established a permanent Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women. She chaired the Commission from 1994 to 1998 during which time the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame was reestablished, the Oklahoma Women’s Summit was created, and legislation was coordinated that eliminated gender bias in state legislation. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2007.

   
   
Carolyn Taylor

Taylor, Carolyn
Born in Norman, Oklahoma. She served in the Oklahoma State House of Representatives from 1984 to 1992, during which time she served as principal author on legislation establishing a statewide prenatal care program, family medical leave policy act, and other laws affecting women and their families. She has been an associate professor of political science at Rogers State University since 1992. Her book Voices from the Heartland was an Oklahoma Centennial Project. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2007. See also the Women of the Oklahoma Legislature Oral History Project collection.

   
   
Kathryn Taylor

Taylor, Kathryn
After serving as mayor of Tulsa from 2006 to 2009, she was appointed by Governor Henry to serve as Chief of Education Strategy and Innovation for the State of Oklahoma from 2010 to 2011, and in 2003 to serve as Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce, Tourism, and Workforce Development. Before this she was president of the Lobeck-Taylor Foundation, a charitable foundation she and her husband formed which supports education and social issues. She also has extensive experience as a lawyer, business owner, and senior executive. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2011.

   
   
Bertha Teague

Teague, Bertha Frank
Born in Carthage, Missouri in 1906; died June 13, 1991. A basketball coach from 1927 to 1969 at Byng schools where she achieved a record of 1,152-115, she was the first woman inducted in the National Basketball Hall of Fame in 1985. In 1989 she was inducted in the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1985.

   
   
Helen Thompson

Thompson, Helen Harrod
Having focused her career on the welfare of children, domestic violence and abuse prevention, and sheltering those forced to leave their home, she has sought to improve the quality of life for Oklahomans. She helped found the Family Shelter for Victims of Domestic Violence in Ardmore, served as executive director of the C/SARA [Crisis Support and Resource Association] Foundation, a non-profit that trains adults in schools to help students dealing with tragedies. In 2006 she created “Senior University,” which has received national recognition, on behalf of the Ardmore Higher Education Center. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2011.

   
   
Dana Tiger

Tiger, Dana
Born in 1961. She is a Creek artist of Creek/Seminole and Cherokee descent and a women’s rights, minority rights and AIDS advocate. Her father, acclaimed Native American artist Jerome Tiger, is who she took much of her inspiration from initially. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2001. 

   

W

 
Opaline Wadkins

Wadkins, Opaline Deveraux
Born in 1912; died April 12, 2000. She organized the first school in Oklahoma City to train black nurses, worked to desegregate the College of Nursing at the University of Oklahoma in the 1950s, and established the School of Nursing at Langston University in the 1970s. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993.

   
   
Edyth Thomas Wallace

Wallace, Edyth Thomas
Born in 1880; died in 1975. She was a nationally syndicated columnist with The Daily Oklahoman and hosted a radio show on WKY. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame in 1982. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1982.

   
   
Della Warrior

Warrior, Della
Born in Pawnee, Oklahoma. In 1989 she became the first woman to serve as chairperson and chief executive officer of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe where she served until 1992. She served as president of the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe from 1998 to 2006 where she redeveloped the school, turning it into a four-year baccalaureate college, securing funds for a permanent campus and expanding the curriculum. In 2008 she was named Chief Operating Officer for the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation of California. She served on the Board of Trustees of the National Museum of the American Indian. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2007.

   
   
Carolyn Whitener

Whitener, Carolyn
The suit she filed in the 1970s to challenge sexual discrimination in Oklahoma led to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling unconstitutional all laws that give advantage to one sex. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2009.

   
   
Penny Williams

Williams, Penny Baldwin
Born in New York City in 1937. She served in the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 1981 to 1987 and in the Oklahoma State Senate from 1992 to 2004. She is a dedicated supporter of the arts and the importance of art education in public schools. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1997. See also the Women of the Oklahoma Legislature Oral History Project collection.

   
   
Alma Wilson

Wilson, Alma
Born in Pauls Valley in 1917; died July 27, 1999 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In 1982 she became the first female appointed to the Oklahoma Supreme Court and the first female Chief Justice. In 1941 she earned her JD from the University of Oklahoma Law School when less than three percent of the nation’s lawyers were women. In 1996 she was inducted in the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1983.

   
   
Pat Woodrum

Woodrum, Pat
Born in Hutchinson, Kansas in 1941. She served as Executive Director of the Tulsa City-County Library System and helped establish Tulsa’s Daycare for the Homeless. She also served as president of the Oklahoma Library Association and the national Public Library Association. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993.

   
   
Valree Fletcher Wynn

Wynn, Valree Fletcher
Born in Rockwall, Texas in 1922, she grew up in Sentinel, Oklahoma. She is Professor Emeritus at Cameron University, where she taught from 1966 to 1985. She was the first African American to teach at Lawton High School, to teach at Cameron University, and to serve on the Board of Regents of Oklahoma Colleges. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1996.

   

 

Photo Credits

  • Mae Axton, June Brooks, Marie Cox, Vinita Cravens, Mona Lambird, Gloria Langdon, Mazola McKerson,
    Opaline Wadkins, Edyth Wallace - Copyright, The Oklahoma Publishing Company
  • Kate Barnard, Zelia Breaux, Norma Eagleton, Kate Frank, Sandy Garrett, Shannon Lucid,
    Clara Luper, Lorena Males, Zella Patterson, Suzie Peters, Alma Wilson - Oklahoma Historical Society
  • Wanda Bass, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Moscelyn Larkin Jasinski, Juanita Stout - Oklahoma Heritage Association
  • Lela Foreman - Communication Workers of America
  • Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher - Langston University
  • Christine Salmon - Sheerar Museum of Stillwater History (www.sheerarmuseum.org)
  • Grace Hudlin - Cherokee County Central Committee Program, 10 May 1958
  • Ruth Hardman - Tulsa City-County Library
  • June Benson - Western History Collections, University of Oklahoma Libraries
  • Shirley Bellmon, Jessie Bost, Anita Hill, Rubye Hall,Wilma Mankiller, Edna Mae Phelps,
    Evelyn Pittman, Angie Debo - Oklahoma State University Library
  • Jari Askins, Hannah Atkins, Betty Boyd, Mary Fallin, Penny Williams, Jill Zink Tarbel -
    Legislative Service Bureau, Photo Division