Alexis Stump of Union City, Indiana, compares her own height to a life-sized cutout of Annie Oakley at The Annie Oakley Center in Greenville, Ohio. 
Photo: Lisa Powell / Dayton Daily News
Photo: Lisa Powell / Dayton Daily News

Meet 7 local women who changed the world around them with cameras, voices, grit — and rifles

March is Women’s History Month and March 8 is International Women’s Day. There is no better time to commemorate the contributions women have made throughout history. The Miami Valley has no shortage of women who have made their mark. 

>>The perfect place to learn about the life of famous sharpshooter Annie Oakley

Annie Oakley shot apples off her dog Dave’s head. The photography of Jane Reece garnered international recognition, and the Sisters of Notre Dame founded a school that gave girls an opportunity to continue their educations past elementary school. 

Here is a look at seven notable women from the Dayton region who have helped make Dayton —and the world — a better place.

>> Meet the Ohioian who became the nation's first female presidential candidate

Hallie Quinn Brown was widely known for her elocution skills. She traveled the world lecturing on civil rights and temperance. REPRINTED BY PERMISSION OF CENTRAL STATE UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES, WILBERFORCE, OH

A VOICE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Hallie Quinn Brown, an elocutionist, author and activist, was a revolutionary figure for her time. Brown’s oratory skills were not only entertaining, but a voice for social change. She lectured about temperance and advocated for African-American civil rights and women’s suffrage, incorporating equal access to education and political access for all in her oration. 

>> READ MORE: Booming voice for social change: The life of Hallie Q. Brown

Annie Oakley takes aim at an apple sitting on top of her dog’s head. The English setter, named “Dave,” grew so accustomed to the sound of gun fire while hunting with Oakley and her husband Frank Butler he became part of their show. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL ANNIE OAKLEY CENTER AT THE GARST MUSEUM
Photo: National Annie Oakley Center

AIMING FOR SUCCESS

The life of Annie Oakley — known as “Little Miss Sure Shot” while celebrated in books, on stage and on screen — began and ended in Darke County. Buffalo Bill Cody learned of Oakley’s and her husband’s shooting skills and recruited them to join his Wild West Show. Oakley had such great aim she took to shooting an apple off of her dog Dave’s head during performances. 

>> READ MORE: Annie Oakley: From Darke County farm to worldwide fame

>> PHOTOS: A look at the life of Annie Oakley, “Little Miss Sure Shot”

Lillian and Dorothy Gish, sisters who came to fame on the silver screen, had their roots in the Miami Valley. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
Photo: Staff Writer

STARS OF STAGE AND SCREEN

Lillian and Dorothy Gish, sisters who rose to fame in the early age of the silver screen, came from roots in the Miami Valley. The sisters made scores of movies during their early careers, playing innocent wide-eyed beauties. Black and white photographs capture the sisters in costume together and in individual promotional portraits. 

>> READ MORE: Dayton’s first movie stars: The Gish sisters, silent film idols in Hollywood’s infancy

Jeraldyne Blunden founded the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company in 1968. DAYTON DAILY NEWS ARCHIVE
Photo: Dayton Daily News Archive

MOVING INSPIRATION

The Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (DCDC) is Ohio’s oldest modern dance company. It’s mesmerized audiences both local and worldwide, and developed countless dance stars since 1968, and it wouldn’t have happened without the talent and passion of Jeraldyne Blunden.

>> READ MORE: Dayton visionary creates dance company

Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur gather at a statue of Virgin Mary in an undated photograph taken at Notre Dame Academy in Dayton. PHOTO COURTESY OF CHAMINADE JULIENNE CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL

ADVOCATING FOR EDUCATION

Five Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur who arrived in Dayton from Cincinnati on a canal boat in 1849, founded Notre Dame Academy for Young Women. That school was the foundation for Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School.  

>> READ MORE: Notre Dame Academy: a leap in female education

The Plant, Flower and Fruit Guild Luncheon at the Dayton Woman's Club. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE DAYTON WOMAN'S CLUB
Photo: Lisa Powell

A CENTER FOR LITERARY ACTIVITIES

For more than 100 years, the Dayton Woman’s Club has been a home for social, charitable and professional growth. After the flood waters receded in 1913, a group of civic-minded ladies saw the need to form an organization for women that would be a center for civic and literary activities. 

>> READ MORE: Dayton Woman’s Club marks 100 years

>> PHOTOS: See the Dayton Woman’s Club, decked out for the holidays

Jane Reece was one of the world's finest pictorial photographers.

STRIKING COMPOSITION

Jane Reece, known as Dayton’s most important artist and photographer of any generation, combined dramatic poses with striking lighting to create images that garnered international recognition. “I don’t photograph – I use my camera as an artist uses his brush – to make the picture I already see in my mind,” she told the Monterrey Peninsula Herald in 1945. 

>> READ MORE: Dayton photographer creates evocative visions

>> PHOTOS: See Jane Reece’s stunning photographs

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