Women from Olean’s Past

When you visit the Olean Public Library currently, in the lobby you will find a wall filled with pictures of women.  These women are some of the women who helped shaped Olean over the years. Below are brief summaries of the women.  Please take a moment the next time you come in and read more about these notable women of Olean, NY.


 Annie Conyne Wood Franchot

(1859-1928)

Mrs. Franchot directed several benefits for Olean men serving in World War I.  She also wrote several children’s books which were widely sold.

Mary Fitzgerald

(1870-1937)

Miss Fitzgerald was a beloved Olean High School Math teacher who co-authored a book on algebra.

Ailene Eaton Norton   

(1901-1988)

Mrs. Norton was founder of the former Olean Civic Music Association.  She was also concert mistress of the Olean Community Symphony Orchestra.

Henrietta D. Stowe    

(1902-1975)

Mrs. Stowe founded Olean’s Welcome Wagon in 1939 and the Newcomer’s Club in 1941.

Dr. Ruth Mountain

(1905-1993)

Dr. Martin was one the United States first female dentists.  She practiced for over 60 years at Olean’s Mountain Clinic Hospital.

Dolly Brown

(1907-2002)

Mrs. Brown was supreme royal matron of the Amaranth from 1971-1972.  She represented the organization during tours to various foreign countries.

Nancy Donovan  

(1924-2003)

Mrs. Donovan was a renowned band singer who performed with Danny Kaye and Bob Hope in the 1950s.

Gloria Bilotta  

(1933-1991)

Mrs. Bilotta was a business owner and Cattaraugus  County Clerk from 1974-1990.  She also founded Trees for Everyone, Inc.

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The International Sweethearts of Rhythm: Observations on Black History, Feminism, and Jazz

In celebration of Women’s History Month the Olean Public Library will feature Dr. Richard Frederick, Director of the History & Political Science Program, University of Pittsburgh at Bradford on Wednesday, March 23, 2010 at 7:00 pm in the Art Gallery.

The presentation is entitled “The International Sweethearts of Rhythm: Observations on Black History, Feminism, and Jazz.”

The International Sweethearts of Rhythm was one of the great… “all-girl swing bands” of the 1940s. The band’s roots in rural Mississippi provide an overview of education for African-Americans in the Deep South early in the 20th Century. In addition, jazz was generally considered an all-male enterprise, but several swinging female groups arose in the period just prior to World War II, which may illuminate the changing role that some women played as a result of the depression and, later, World War II.

Dr. Frederick is the author or co-author of books on President Warren G. Harding, President William Howard Taft, Ellis Island and Theoretical Concepts in Biology. Dr. Frederick has received the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of Pittsburgh and the Teaching Excellence Award from the Pitt-Bradford Alumni Association.

Dr. Frederick was born and raised in Fort Wayne, IN. He received his Ph.D. from Penn State University; M.A. from St. Mary’s University, and B.A. from Indiana University. Dr. Frederick has worked at Pitt-Bradford since 1979. He taught as an adjunct at St. Bonaventure University in the late 80s-early 90s.

Something Which Fires the Imagination Podcast

This lecture was presented as a Big Read Event & a Women’s History Month Event on Tuesday March 23, 2010 at the Olean Public Library. The presenter was Dr. Jeff Slagle of St. Bonaventure University.

The west is often mythologized as a place of men and of masculine pursuits, but Willa Cather’s My Ántonia depicts a west populated and animated by women. This talk examines Cather’s western women in the context of Cather’s own western immigrant experience and the imaginative possibilities for a narrative of western settlement in which women play a significant, even a central, role.

Dr. Jeff Slagle is an Assistant Professor of English at St. Bonaventure University, where he teaches courses in American literature, literary theory, and composition. His research explores the development of western narratives in text, film, photography, and live performance.

Download Something Which Fires the Imagination.mp3 from FileFactory.com (Scroll down past the advertisement to find the download link.)

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Something Which Fires The Imagination by Dr Jeff Slagle is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.