The Commission selects the inspiring submission by StudioEIS and the 1717 Design Group.
Nominations for the Wall of HonorPrintable Nomination Form
The Virginia Women’s Monument, Voices from the Garden, will be the first monument of its kind in the nation recognizing the full range of women’s achievements. Voices is designed as an oval shaped garden, which encompasses twelve bronze statues of significant women from the state, representing four centuries of Virginia history. A glass panel, etched with the names of other noteworthy Virginia women, will enclose one side of the monument, while a bench, listing milestones in Virginia women’s history, will make up the other side.
Now is the time to make your voices heard! The Virginia Women’s Monument Commission seeks nominations, from across the Commonwealth, of women who warrant having their names inscribed on the Wall of Honor. The women memorialized here should have demonstrated notable achievement during their lifetime, made a significant contribution to their community or set an enduring example at the regional, state or national level. Specific criteria for the selection process approved by the Commission appear below, along with the names of 12 women, chosen by the Commission, to be featured in bronze within the monument.
Fundraising for the $3.7 million needed to create the Monument is ongoing; more information on the Monument is available by calling (804) 786-1010. Please submit your nominations.
Criteria for Inclusion on the Wall of Honor
Must have been a native Virginian or have lived a great portion of her life in Virginia, and be known and recognized as a Virginian, or have achieved or contributed in a significant manner while living in Virginia. Must no longer be living and have died at least ten years prior to consideration.
Must have demonstrated notable achievement, made a significant contribution, or set an important example, within her chosen field of endeavor, her region or at the state or national level.
Significance will be assessed within the context of what was customary for a woman to have achieved or contributed in the context of the particular time, place and circumstances in which she lived and worked.
Consideration will be given to representation from each century of Virginia history and each region of the state, and to the full range of backgrounds from which women came and the many of the fields of endeavor in which they were involved.
The names inscribed on the wall will not form a comprehensive list of Virginia’s most notable women, but rather offer a representative and inspiring sample of women of achievement and contribution.
The MonumentVoices from the Garden acknowledges the genius and creativity of Virginia’s women and their presence and contributions to both the Commonwealth and the nation, across four centuries of recorded history. The monument will be a thought-provoking and interactive experience, complementing the more traditional monuments on Capitol Square. The monument, as a whole, is meant to engage the visitor, by walking among the statues or by using a mobile app to learn more about these women’s achievements and hear their stories.
Virginia Women’s Monument: The Bronze FiguresPrintable Version
The twelve women selected for Voices from the Garden, representing over 400 years of Virginia history, reflect various spheres of influence and geographic areas within the state:
Ann Burras Laydon (c. 1594-after 1625) Jamestown. -Ann Burras, a 14-year-old maid to Mistress Forrest, arrived in Jamestown in 1608 aboard the Mary and Margaret. Ann and Mistress Forrest were the first two female settlers in the colony. When Mrs. Forrest died, Ann married carpenter John Laydon, in what is believed to be the first wedding held in the colony. She and John had 4 daughters—Virginia, Alice, Katherine and Margaret. She was employed as a seamstress and at one point Gov. Thomas Dale is reported to have ordered her beating because of the unsatisfactory quality of the shirts she had made. As a result of the punishment, she suffered a miscarriage. Ann survived both this harsh treatment and the winter of 1609-1610, known as the “starving time”, demonstrating her resilience and fortitude.
Cockacoeske (fl. 1656- d. 1686) Jamestown. -Cockacoeske, (pronounced Coke a cow ski) was a Pamunkey chief, and descendant of Opechancanough, brother of the paramount chief Powhatan. Upon the death of her husband Totopotomoy, chief of the Pamunkey circa 1649-1656, Cockacoeske became queen of the Pamunkey. In 1676, a few months before Bacon's Rebellion, the insurrection's leader Nathaniel Bacon and his followers attacked the Pamunkey, killing some of Cockacoeske’s people and taking others captive. An astute politician, Cockacoeske signed the Treaty of Middle Plantation on May 29, 1677, reuniting, under her authority, several tribes that had not been under Powhatan domination since 1646, as well as establishing the Pamunkey Reservation. Cockacoeske ruled the Pamunkey for 30 years until her death in 1686.Mary Draper Ingles (c.1732-1815)-Southwest Virginia. Moved as a teenager to Virginia as a part of the Scots- Irish migration. In July 1755, Mary was taken captive by Shawnee Indians during the French and Indian War. She escaped, travelling 600 miles back to her home. She established the Ingles Ferry which was vital to her rural community.
Martha Dandridge Custis Washington (1731-1802)-Fairfax. While she was not referred to as First Lady, she was the first woman to hold the position, during George Washington’s presidency, and will serve as the representative for the wives of all eight Virginia-born presidents.
Clementina Bird Rind (1740-1774)-Williamsburg. Took over the editorship and management of the Virginia Gazette, after the death of her husband; under her leadership the newspaper remained official printer of the colony.
Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley (1818-1907)-Dinwiddie. A slave who bought her freedom, she became Mary Todd Lincoln’s seamstress and confidant during the White House years. She established the Contraband Relief Association, which provided support for recently freed slaves and wounded soldiers.
Sally Louisa Tompkins (1833-1916)-Mathews Co. Captain Sally Tompkins established Robertson Hospital in Richmond to treat wounded soldiers when few, if any, women held the top administrative position. Her hospital had the lowest death rate of any during the Civil War due to her skill and standards.
Maggie L. Walker (1864-1934)-Richmond. The first woman to charter a bank in the United States, with the founding of the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank in Richmond.
Sarah G. Boyd Jones (1866-1905)-Richmond. One of the first women to pass the Virginia Medical Examining Board's examination. She helped found a medical association for African-American doctors, opening a hospital and nursing school in 1903 which ultimately became Richmond Community Hospital.
Laura Lu Copenhaver (1868-1940)- Smyth Co./Marion. Expanded southwestern Virginia’s agricultural economy, as director of information for the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, by emphasizing cooperative marketing of farm products to improve the standard of living for farm families. She established Rosemont Industries.
Virginia Estelle Randolph (1875-1958) – Henrico. Virginia developed a nationally-recognized approach to education, creating a successful formula based on practicality, creativity, and involvement from parents and the community.
Adele Goodman Clark (1882-1983)-Richmond. Active suffragist who became president of the League of Women Voters in 1921. Adele was instrumental in the establishment of the Virginia Art Commission, She is considered to be one of the founders of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.