Concord has been the home of many incredible women.
Visit our stairwell exhibit during the month of March to learn more about these prominent local figures:
- Sarah Thompson, Countess Rumford, was born in 1774 in Concord, the daughter of Benjamin Thompson and wealthy local socialite Sarah Walker Rolfe. She inherited her title from her father, Count Rumford (a British loyalist born in colonial Massachusetts) and was the first American to ever use the title “Countess." Sarah used her fortune to fund many charitable endeavors. In 1852, she died and left her estate “to a charitable purpose, namely the forming and maintaining of an institution for the poor and needy, particularly young females without mothers…” The Rolfe and Rumford Asylum (orphanage), named for Sarah's parents, was founded inside Sarah's childhood home, and operated until the 1980s.
- Armenia White supported abolition, women's suffrage, temperance, Universalism, and other social and cultural reform movements that were sweeping the nation in the 19th century. Her farm was even a stop on the Underground Railroad! Armenia White may be best remembered as the founder of Concord's White Park.
- Sarah Pillsbury worked alongside her husband, Parker Pillsbury, to advance social causes including abolition and women’s suffrage. Sarah was a member of the Concord Female Anti-Slavery Society. In our Concord Room archives, CPL has an original letter written to Sarah from renowned activist and suffragist Susan B. Anthony!
- Mary Baker Eddy was born in 1821 and lived in New Hampshire and Massachusetts throughout her life. She founded the Church of Christ, Scientist, in 1879, as well as the Christian Science Monitor newspaper which is still published today. In 2014 Smithsonian Magazine named Eddy one of the 100 Most Significant Americans of All Time.
- Grace Blanchard Grace Blanchard was a lifelong librarian, and served as the Director of the Concord Public Library from 1895-1935. In 1896 she was appointed to the Executive Committee of the New Hampshire Library Association (NHLA). In 1901 she became the first woman president of the NHLA.
above: Sarah Thompson, Countess Rumford, in 1797 (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
above: Grace Blanchard working at the CPL Summer Branch, at the turn of the last century (photo credit: Concord Public Library)
Above: Mary Baker Eddy, 1916 (photo credit: Library of Congress)