The “Women of Tulare County” exhibit opening Tuesday at the Visalia branch of the Tulare County Library honors 10 local women for impressive achievements.
Timed to coincide with Women’s History Month, the exhibit highlights their unique contributions to the world from 1855 to the present.
Each is featured in the exhibit with a poster displaying a photograph and biography.
Reference librarian Lisa Raney coordinated the project with assistance from Sheryll Strachan, the volunteer coordinator in the Annie R. Mitchell History Room, and history room volunteers.
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Although many women were considered, “the final selection came down to who stood out and who we could find information about,” Raney said.
The gallery of honored women are:
• Josephine Allensworth, wife of the founder of Allensworth, the only town in California founded and run by blacks. She made sure Allensworth had a library.
• Anna Mills Johnston, the first woman to climb Mt. Whitney in 1878 despite a physical handicap, accomplishing the feat with three other women and five men.
• Eleanor Calhoun, a well-connected actress of the late 1800s who married a Serbian prince and has been dubbed “the princess of Visalia.”
• Mary Garcia Pohot, a Wukchumni basket weaver, singer and Native American story teller. Her basketry is on display at the Tulare County Museum in Mooney Grove Park.
• Ina Stiner, a Porterville high school teacher and school librarian who wrote books about Porterville history, especially pioneers.
• Annie Mitchell, a Visalia historian and educator who wrote several books about Tulare County history.
• Rose Ann Vuich of Dinuba, the first female state senator. She famously rang a bell if colleagues made the mistake of opening their remarks with the phrase “gentlemen of the Senate.”
• Jean Shepard, a country and western singer born in Oklahoma and raised in Visalia. She was inducted into the County Music Hall of Fame in 2011.
• Lali Moheno, founder of the annual Farmworker Women’s Health, Safety, Education and Environment Conference. It began in 2002 and draws more than 1,000 people.
• Ester Hernandez, an artist originally from Dinuba who is a leader in the Chicano civil rights arts movement. Her art includes the unsettling“Sun Mad”
print decrying the use of pesticides in grape growing.
The latter three women are still alive.
A public reception will be held Wednesday evening. The exhibit will be open until June 4.
A journal will be available for visitors to record their impressions.