Inducts Three Women into Historic Women of Distinction Exhibit
ALBANY – To celebrate Women’s History Month, the New York State Senate today announced an exhibit honoring historic New York women whose achievements in arts, science, government, military, labor, education, and social reform has earned them recognition as Women of Distinction.
This exhibit includes three new honorees: America’s first trained nurse Linda Richards of Potsdam, (1841-1930), women’s advocate Mary Wiltsie Fuller of Troy and the Glens Falls area (1862-1943) and the first African-American female doctor in New York, and the third in the nation Susan Smith McKenney Steward (1847-1918) of Brooklyn.
The New York State Senate today celebrated Women’s History Month by announcing an exhibit honoring historic New York women whose achievements in arts, science, government, military, labor, education, and social reform have earned them recognition as “Women of Distinction.”
Police Officer Moira Smith was among the first to respond to the September 11 attack at the World Trade Center on and was last seenevacuating people out of Tower Two, saving hundreds of lives. Described by the Daily News as having “the face of an angel and the heart of a lion,” Officer Smith was posthumously awarded the NYPD’s Medal of Honor, the department’s highest honor.
Emergency Medical Technician Yamel Merino of Yonkers was among the first rescue workers on the scene at the World Trade Center tragedy on September 11, 2001. A 24-year-old EMT for MetroCare Ambulance of Westchester County, Merino volunteered to enter the burning towers, displaying that day the compassion and courage she had shown throughout her short but admirable life.
Born to Dominican immigrants, Yamel Merino completed her EMT certification at Westchester Community College, where she received aChancellor’s Award from the State University of New York in recognition of scholastic excellence and extraordinary dedication to self-improvement.
Capt. Kathy Mazza of Farmingdale, Long Island, was the first female Port Authority Officer killed in the line of duty. She died in the World Trade Center tragedy, along with 36 of her Port Authority Police Department (PAPD) colleagues — 3 percent of the entire force that is dedicated to patrolling the New York Metro area’s airports, bridges, tunnels and railways. No police department in U.S. history lost more officers in a single incident as the PAPD on September 11.
Mazza was killed while evacuating people from Tower One of the World Trade Center. Her body was recovered exactly five months after the attack.
A native of Potsdam, Linda Richards became the fi rst professionally trained American nurse. Credited with establishing nurse training programs in the United States and Japan, she is also recognized for creating the fi rst system for keeping individual medical records for hospitalized patients. The system she created was widely used in the United States, as well as in England where it was adopted by St. Thomas’s Hospital, the institution founded by Florence Nightingale.
Dr. Susan Smith McKinney Steward was the fi rst African American woman to earn a medical doctorate (M.D.) in New York State and the third in the United States. Though her early education was musical, Susan Smith entered the New York Medical College for Women in 1867. She earned her M.D. in 1870, graduating as valedictorian.
Mary Wiltsie Fuller, a progressive activist for women’s rights, established Wiawaka, an Adirondack retreat for women. The daughter of a Troy industrialist, Ms. Fuller became aware of the need for respite for the working women in shirt-collar factories, mills and laundries of Troy and Cohoes. Vacations and recreation were beyond the means of these hardworking women. When it offi cially opened in 1903, Wiawaka (Indian name for the “Great Spirit of Women”), the retreat could accommodate up to 38 women for a weekly rate for room and board of $3.50.