|The 40 display boards of the State Senate's Women of Distinction exhibit, mounted on the walls (two views shown above) in the main corridor of the NYC Correction Academy on March 27, remained through the week.|
New York Correction's own suffragist leader, Katharine Bement Davis, is among more than three dozen Women of Distrinction being honored by a New York State Senate historical exhibit traveling the state. The New York Correction History Society has arranged for its New York City debut the week of March 27-April 1 at the Correction Department Academy in Middle Village, Queens.
Miss Davis, who served as the first superintendent of Bedford Hills reformatory from 1900 before being named the first woman to head any major New York City agency, the Department of Correction, in 1914, was one of three names added March 14th to the State Senate Women of Distinction list, bringing the number to 39.
The other two added were Lucille Ball, the Jamestown-born star of stage, film and television, and Barbara McClintock, whose experiments on the genetics of Indian corn won her international acclaim and the Nobel prize in Physiology at age 81.
Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno, in announcing the additions to the list, said all 39 historic honorees are being celebrated as part of the Senate's commemoration of Women's History month for "their personal and professional accomplishments and the examples they set for all New Yorkers."
The Senate announcement concerning Miss Davis read, in part:
"Katherine Bement Davis (1860-1935) was born in Buffalo, and spent much of her early life as an active suffragist, but it was her appointment in 1914 as New York City's Correction Commissioner -- the first woman ever named to run a major municipal agency -- that first brought her international attention.
"'From fighting for women's right to vote to battling for reforms to benefit women inmates, Katherine Bement Davis was a woman dedicated to change,' said Senator Frank Padavan who sponsored her inclusion on the list. 'Her accomplishments were trailblazing, and her legacy lives on not just in the suffragist work she performed, but also in her associations and the various civic organizations she helped found.'"
The Senate's "Women of Distinction" program was created in 1998 to honor great New York women. Past honorees include 19th Century suffragists and women accomplished in sciences, academics, business and the arts.
In addition to historic figures, the Women of Distinction program also honors present day women whose achievements merit them special recognition. These honorees are selected from nominations submitted from across the state and are the focus of a State Senate contemporary "Women of Distinction" traveling display slated for May.
"New York's Women of Distinction program honors the unique contributions of women from our history who shattered barriers and set new standards for personal excellence, selflessness, courage, and achievement," said Senator Mary Lou Rath of Williamsville, the program's founder.
The Women of Distinction exhibit with the three new additions was displayed March 13-17 in the Concourse of the Empire State Plaza, near the Legislative Office Building, in Albany.