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Honoring Women’s History Month with PBS Wisconsin Education

February 29, 2024 Marci Glaus Leave a Comment

Wisconsin women have been making history as community builders, industry innovators, government leaders and more for centuries. Learn about some of the notable women in Wisconsin history during Women’s History Month with the PBS Wisconsin Education Wisconsin Biographies collection.

Milly Zantow

Milly Zantow changed recycling in Wisconsin and the world. When she learned about a problem facing her Sauk County community — a landfill closing much earlier than it should — she took action by focusing on recycling. At that time, no one was recycling plastics, but through her ingenuity, Zantow found a way and developed the idea for the numbering system to identify plastics for recycling.

Electa Quinney

Electa Quinney was Wisconsin’s first-known public school teacher and a notable mentor in the Mohican community. Because of the impactful time in which she lived, Quinney’s story shines a light on the broader story of the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohicans who used non-Native and traditional Native education to preserve their ways of life.

Carrie Frost

Carrie Frost was a fly fishing entrepreneur who paved the way for other female business owners in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Even though women could not vote and in many cases could not own property, Frost created a successful manufacturing company, and she gave more than 150 Stevens Point women a chance to earn their wages at a time when they were not often able to do so.

Elizabeth Baird

Elizabeth Baird was a strong woman with fierce determination living on the Wisconsin frontier. Born a native French speaker, Baird taught herself English and worked as an interpreter in her husband’s law firm, all while operating her family’s farm and recording her memoirs. Her rich descriptions of the fur trade, 1800s Green Bay and the Peshtigo Fire provide a window into life in early Wisconsin.

Vel Phillips

Vel Phillips, alongside Father James Groppi, wrestled with the problem of housing discrimination in Milwaukee. They listened to people and then carried forward the fight for justice, marching through the streets of the city and proposing legislation to the common council. After years of struggle, they were ultimately successful in achieving official recognition of the importance of fair housing in their city and brought people together in the process.

Learn about others making history in Wisconsin at

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