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Historical Women in the Finger Lakes

By: Staff

March is the perfect month to celebrate the innovative, creative women who live in our area as well as the strong fearless women who carved out a future for us all.   We are lucky to live an area that was an epicenter for women’s rights.

Let’s take a up close look at a few of the trail blazing women from history. I think you will be amazed at their bravery, their sacrifices, their struggles, and their incredible impact.

Let meet a few of these amazing women…

Frances Seward (1805-1865)
Original influencer, fierce antislavery advocate, women’s rights activist.
She was integral to the effort to secure property-rights protections for married women, which was a key first step in winning the right to vote. She fought for equality in all of its forms, working tirelessly to advance the twin causes of abolition and women’s rights, even turning her girlhood home at 33 South Street, Auburn, NY into a stop on the Underground Railroad. To learn more about Frances Seward and explore her home visit the Seward House Museum in Auburn NY.

Emily Howland (1827-1929)
Dedicated teacher of those formerly enslaved, world’s first female bank director, ardent suffragist.
She believed that education was the key to equality, devoted much of her life to teaching freed slaves to read and write. Emily organized women’s rights lectures and meetings with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, gave speeches to convention crowds and to members of Congress, and even took tea with Queen Victoria. Oh, did we mention she was also the first female bank director in the world? From what we can tell about this brave woman, Emily did not waste a single day of her 102 years. To learn more about Emily Howland visit the Howland Stone Store Museum.

Harriet Tubman (1822-1913)
Civil war hero, self-made entrepreneur, philanthropist.
She is the most well-known of all the Underground Railroad’s conductors. In all of her journeys, as she once proudly pointed out to Frederick Douglass, she “never lost a single passenger.” Harriet became a self-made entrepreneur, a philanthropist, an ardent suffrage supporter, and the first woman to lead an armed expedition during the Civil War. March is also her birthday and this year we celebrate her bicentennial with many activities planned in her honor. To learn more visit the Harriet Tubman Home.

2022 marks the bicentennial birthday of Harriet Tubman. In celebration, Auburn, NY and the surrounding communities of Cayuga County will be celebrating her life and legacy with special events, activities and programming.
Learn more about the bicentennial celebration at:

To learn more about these women and about more amazing women trailblazers, visit Be sure to check out our list of women-owned breweries, wineries, restaurants, and boutiques and add some to your itinerary!