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.

Credit: Lisa Powell / Dayton Daily News

Credit: Lisa Powell / Dayton Daily News

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.

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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.

Credit: National Annie Oakley Center

Credit: National Annie Oakley Center


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.


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.

Credit: Dayton Daily News Archive

Credit: Dayton Daily News Archive


The Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (DCDC) is Ohio’s oldest modern dance company. It has mesmerized audiences both local and worldwide, and developed countless dance stars since 1968. And none of it would have happened without the talent and passion of Jeraldyne Blunden.


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.

Credit: Lisa Powell

Credit: Lisa Powell


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.


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.

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