Senator Farley Announces Rose Knox Inducted In State Women Of Distinction Honor

Hugh T. Farley

March 01, 2007

As part of New York State's celebration of Women's History Month, State Senator Hugh T. Farley (R,C - Schenectady) is proud to announce Johnstown business woman Rose Knox was inducted into the Senate's historical "Women of Distinction" exhibit.

"Last year, I asked students to participate in a Women's History Month project that I hosted where they would create posters, essays and collages of famous local historical women," Senator Farley said. "Many of the children wrote about Rose Knox. There was so much support for this woman that I lobbied to have her inducted into this prestigious exhibit."

The "Women of Distinction" exhibit features information on some 40 historic New York women, from suffragists to geneticists, labor organizers to entertainers, whose contributions are still felt today and who stand as an inspiration to the next generation of inventors, explorers and achievers. The display includes biographical information on several women with local connections -- such as Susan B. Anthony, Leonora Barry, Katharine Burr Blodgett, Shirley Muldowney, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Kateri Tekakwitha -- as well as other persons with New York links such as Lucille Ball, "Grandma Moses" Robinson, Harriet Tubman and Emma Willard. The "Women of Distinction" program was created by the Senate in 1998 to recognize the contributions of historic New Yorkers in celebration of National Women's History Month, held each March.

Rose Knox's husband, Charles, was an aspiring entrepreneur who watched his wife prepare homemade gelatin, and who believed there would be a market for prepared gelatin. When he decided to go into business, he involved Rose in every aspect of running the company. When he died in 1908, she took over the business. Her first move was to close the back door to the plant and issue a statement saying that, because she considered everyone who worked there to be equal, none of the workers would ever be treated as second class by having to come in through the back door. Within years, Rose totally revamped her husband's sales campaign, built a new factory, instituted a revolutionary new five-day work policy with two-week paid vacations, and survived the Depression without having to lay off any employees.

As Rose established herself in business, she wanted to be deeply involved in the American Grocery Manufacturers Association, a group that was not ready to accept a woman into their fold. With much persistence and a strong reputation, she eventually became the first woman to serve on the board of directors of the American Grocery Manufacturers' Association in 1929, and she stepped aside as the company's president only when she reached her 90th birthday.

Rose's biography, as well as those of other honorees, can be viewed at the upper level of the Riverfront Center in Amsterdam throughout the month of March. Starting Monday, March 5th, this display will be open to the public Mondays through Fridays during regular business hours. It will also be on display at the Legislative Office Building in Albany, from March 5th through March 16th. An online version, also highlighting Rose, is available by logging on to Senator Farley's website at, or by clicking here. A free booklet version of the display is also available by calling Senator Farley's office at 455-2181 (Albany), 843-2188 (Amsterdam), 762-3733 (Johnstown) or toll-free at (800) 224-5201.

"It was a joy to read and view the students' work from my Women's History Month project and now it is a real treat to tell these children they are responsible for Rose receiving this high State honor," Senator Farley said.

"Women's History Month is a time to take stock of the enormous contributions of great women from our past. The 'Women of Distinction' exhibit singles out just a few of these extraordinary people as an example of women's achievements that continue to this very day," said Senator Farley.