Celebrating Women's History Month

The rich history of the Fox Cities was shaped with the help of some exceptional women. Read their stories here to learn how they paved the way for future Fox Cities generations.

Francena Medora Kellogg Buck 1836-1925

During her lifetime, Francena was a pioneer, bookkeeper, nurse, and advocate.  One of three women to graduate from Lawrence University’s first graduating class, she was also the first woman bookkeeper in the city of Chicago.  She served as a nurse in the Civil War and in later years was a lecturer and advocate for women’s suffrage.   

Eliza Pierce Kimball Smith

Pioneer Eliza Pierce Kimball Smith, along with her husband, Reeder Smith, ultimately made the decision that Appleton would be the home of Lawrence University.  Eliza also founded the First Congregational Church in Appleton. Kimball Alley in downtown Appleton has been named after her.

Edna Ferber (1885-1968)

A news reporter turned novelist, Ferber is perhaps one of the Fox Cities' most acclaimed historic female residents.  Ferber won a Pulitzer Prize for her novel So Big.  She also had several novels adapted to Hollywood films, including the Academy Award winning Cimarron.  Ferber has an elementary school and a downtown alley in Appleton named in her honor.  

Carrie E. Morgan (1864 - 1964)

Elected superintendent of Appleton schools in 1894, Carrie established a kindergarten program and a school for deaf and handicapped students.  Under her supervision, new buildings were erected and the school system was unionized.  She has an alley named after her in downtown Appleton.


Bercina Corbin Artis (1847-1909)  Bercina and her husband, Horace Artis, were Appleton’s first black residents.  They escaped slavery in Virginia and settled in Wisconsin as farmers in the Shiocton area after the civil war.  They would eventually move to Appleton in the late 1870s.  The newly named Artis Alley in Appleton is in honor of Horace and Bercina.  

Ellen Tangen Kort (1936-2015)  Known as the Godmother of Wisconsin poetry and Wisconsin's first poet laureate, Ellen was a teacher at the Renaissance School for the Arts at Appleton West High School.  She published several collections of poetry, winning multiple awards for her work.  She was an advocate for at risk youth, domestic abuse victims and those suffering from AIDS and cancer.  She founded the Fox Cities Book Festival.  A lifelong resident of Appleton, Kort has a downtown park named after her.    

Each one of us can make a difference. Together we make change.
Barbara Mikulski
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