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Celebrating 100 Years of Women’s Achievements

Pratt High School’s Women’s Athletics Program paved a new road of physical activity and personal confidence for young women. This 1916 Women’s Basketball Team photo lists the last names of its players: Bushnell, Gleason, Burdick, Coach Ed Weig, Paulau, Arkin, Hunt, Nelson.


In 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provided women with the right to vote, opening up new avenues for them politically, economically, and socially.

During the Suffrage Centennial Year of 2020, the Chester, Deep River and Essex historical societies have sought to document 100+ years of women’s achievements in the three towns.

We reached out to the general public to submit photographs and stories, seeking to expand our collections about women’s history, which often goes undocumented. The project exceeded our expectations with over 250 submissions, prompting the need to create three presentations arranged chronologically, so that we can include all of these remarkable women.

Trailblazers in a New Century, 1900-1950, is the first presentation.View video.

We are still accepting photos and stories for the next two presentations, covering the years from 1951 through today. You can email us at or 860-767-0681 for more information.

Thank you for sharing your stories with us!

Anne Kelsey Hayden was one of many women and men who volunteered in the Ground Observer Corps during WWII, seen here at Essex’s Aircraft Spotting Station, 1940s. Trained in identifying foreign aircraft, volunteers maintained over 14,000 coastal outposts as part of America’s Civil Defense.