Series: Women's History in the Pacific West - Columbia-Pacific Northwest Collection

Biographies of women from parks in Washington, Oregon Idaho and far western Montana

  • San Juan Island National Historical Park

    Article 1: Shirley Williams

    Shirley Williams smiling at the camera next to a painting.

    Pacific Northwest Indigenous activist Shirley Williams has been a force in using the ancestral homelands of the San Juan Island National Historical Park as a site for community healing through preservation of the Straits Salish culture. Read more

  • Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area

    Article 2: Christina McDonald McKenzie Williams

    An old photo of Christina McDonald McKenzie Williams sitting in a chair, 1861.

    Christina McDonald McKenzie Williams was a multi-ethnic and multi-lingual fur trader, interpreter, rancher, and businesswoman who gained skills growing up in what is now the Lake Roosevelt Recreation Area that served her for a lifetime. She was born on September 20, 1847 to Angus McDonald, a Scottish fur trapper, and Catherine Baptiste, a Nez Perce woman who was related to the chief Eagle-of-the-Light. Read more

  • Nez Perce National Historical Park

    Article 3: Ida Blackeagle

    Two women smiling and holding beading implements

    Ida Blackeagle was a Cultural Demonstrator at the Nez Perce National Historical Park who was instrumental to the revitalization of Nimíipuu cornhusk weaving in the mid-twentieth century. Her efforts showcasing the craft and mentoring the next generations of Nimíipuu weavers has preserved this art form, which uses dried and folded husks to create baskets and other vessels, traditionally used for storing food. Read more

  • Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument

    Article 4: Julie A. Meachen

    Woman rappelling into a cave

    Julie A. Meachen is a pathbreaking vertebrate paleontologist and morphologist who studies mammalian carnivores and megafauna from the late Pleistocene period (10,000 years ago) to the present day. Read more

  • Minidoka National Historic Site

    Article 5: Kimiko Kaye Tambara

    11 Japanese women and 3 men pose for on the front steps of wooden building, sign reads

    Journalist and activist Kimiko “Kimi” Tambara was born in 1919, in Washington state to Seichiro and Kino Tambara, both of whom were first-generation Japanese immigrants. Read more

  • Oregon Caves National Monument & Preserve

    Article 6: Agnes Baker-Pilgrim

    Woman with gray hair speaking into a microphone in front of black background

    Before her death on November 27, 2019 at the age of 95, Agnes Baker-Pilgrim was the oldest living member of the Takelma Tribe.1 Better known as Grandma Aggie, Baker-Pilgrim was deeply committed to her role as a tribal elder. Read more

  • City Of Rocks National Reserve

    Article 7: Margaret Frink

    A black and white photo of Margaret Frink from the chest up as she looks off to the side.

    Margaret Frink, who joined the Californian Gold Rush in the mid-nineteenth century, provides a glimpse of what life was like on the journey west through her meticulously kept diary. Read more

  • John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

    Article 8: Elizabeth Cant

    White shingled house with grass lawn

    Elizabeth Cant was part of a prominent ranching family who from 1918 to 1973 lived in the ranch house that currently sits on the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. Drawing on her farming and domestic skills, she journeyed thousands of miles to create a sustainable life for herself and her family. Read more

  • Crater Lake National Park

    Article 9: Elizabeth L. Horn

    Smiling older woman with white hair, white shirt and pink jacket in front of green trees.

    For nearly six decades Elizabeth L. Horn, a plant ecologist, has been connected to Crater Lake National Park. She began what she called her “long love affair with this fascinating landscape” during the 1960s. Read more

  • Article 10: Annie Hall Strong

    Woman in Victorian dress with large sleeves and hat stands next to two men on her right.

    The life of Annie Hall Strong, a white woman who spent decades in Seattle before pursuing wealth in Alaska with her husband, highlights the connection between those two places during the Klondike Gold Rush. Read more

  • Manhattan Project National Historical Park

    Article 11: Karen Dorn Steele

    Woman in white lab coat and cap stands in the middle of five journalists inside the PUREX Plant.

    Karen Dorn Steele is an environmental journalist known for breaking the story of nuclear experiments causing potential public health damage at the Hanford Nuclear Site. Read more

  • Manhattan Project National Historical Park

    Article 12: Leona Woods Marshall Libby

    Professional woman in coat and scarf speaks to man in suit, showing piece of paper

    Dr. Leona Woods Marshall Libby was the only female member of the team that built the world’s first nuclear reactor—the Chicago Pile—and the only woman present when the reactor went critical. Read more

  • North Cascades National Park

    Article 13: Lucinda J. Davis

    Older woman in plain dress leans against wooden fence at family homestead with her dog in foreground

    The life of Lucinda J. Davis and her family is intertwined with the North Cascades region. Her love of the wilderness and desire for independence drew her to the region in the late nineteenth century. Read more

  • North Cascades National Park

    Article 14: Irene, Harriet and Elizabeth Joy Buckner

    Black and white photo of three young women wearing coats

    Sisters Irene, Harriet, and Elizabeth Joy Bucker grew up on a family homestead in the Stehekin Valley in Chelan County, Washington, which became part of the Lake Chelan National Recreation Area. Their early lives at the northern end of Lake Chelan exemplify the family labor system essential to rural homesteads in the first part of the twentieth century. Read more

  • Whitman Mission National Historic Site

    Article 15: Maria Keawea Maki

    Green landscape filled with green trees, a small lake, and a cloudy blue sky.

    Maria Keawea Maki was among the Native Hawaiians who participated in nineteenth-century Anglo-led missionary efforts in Oregon Territory. Read more

  • Article 16: Nez Perce Women and the War of 1877

    Indigenous woman in dress and headband stands with arms around an older seated woman and young child

    In the face of tremendous loss and suffering, Nez Perce women demonstrated resilience during the Nez Perce War of 1877. After the Battle of Big Hole, as the Nez Perce fled their homes and embarked on the Lolo Trail to reach the reservation in Montana, it was the women of the tribe who kept their people strong. Read more

  • Fort Vancouver National Historic Site

    Article 17: Catherine O'Byrne

    Sketch of small rustic village from above, surrounded by evergreen forest and snow peak in distance

    Catherine O’Byrne made her way halfway across the world to find her home, like 2 million other Irish women from 1850-1900. Escaping the massive death tolls of the Great Famine and dire prospects, young women were like Catherine had to support themselves. Read more

  • Article 18: Wetxuwiis

    Sweeping mountains recede into distance. In foreground, dead tree and rocks serve as marker

    Wetxuwiis, a Nez Perce woman, played a significant diplomatic role that led to the opening of trade with white settlers and provided the Corps of Discovery with critical information to help them reach the Columbia River and the Pacific coast, the location of the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park. Read more

  • Mount Rainier National Park

    Article 19: Anna Louise Strong

    Young woman in large hat and high-necked shirt with large button smiles at camera

    Anna Louise Strong, a prolific writer and journalist, brought socialist politics to the mountains when she co-founded Cooperative Campers of the Pacific Northwest in 1916. As the outdoor club’s first president, Strong strove to make Mount Rainier National Park accessible to Seattle’s working class by providing affordable transportation, lodgings, food, and supplies to campers. Read more