The Commission selects the inspiring submission by StudioEIS and the 1717 Design Group.

press release

First-in-the-Nation Monument to the Achievements of the Women of Virginia to be Installed on Virginia's Capitol Square.

Media contact information

For all media inquries, please contact:

The Honorable Mary Margaret Whipple
3556 North Valley Street
Arlington, VA 22207-4445
(703) 538-4097

Twelve Women selected for bronze statues

Last year during Women's History Month, the Virginia Women's Monument Commission announced their unanimous selection chosen from more than 30 submissions for the design for the monument Voices from the Garden, which will honor the immeasurable contributions Virginia women have made throughout the centuries. After the design was chosen, the commission began the difficult task of choosing the women who would be depicted in bronze, standing or sitting in the garden.

A group of eminent historians, consulted by the Library of Virginia, made recommendations to the commission of women who were worthy of this honor and whose stories had the potential to inspire the women and girls of today. Of course, the problem was that there are many more deserving women than it is possible to include as statues — many others will have their names etched in glass on the wall of distinction, enclosing the garden plaza; their stories shall also be told through a virtual experience.

Over a period of many months, in a long and careful process, the commission members considered the choices, met, debated, advocated for their favorites and finally voted — first as the executive committee, and then the recommended list came to the full commission who approved these 12 women. More information on their compelling stories of survival, achievement, pioneering spirit, and triumph over diffcult circumstances will be shared in the coming months.

(1) Anne Burras Laydon (circa 1595 – circa 1637) Jamestown. Settler.
(2) Cockacoeske (circa 1640 - 1686) Pamunkey Reservation. Chief of Pamunkeys.
(3) Mary Draper Ingles (1729-1813) Southwest Virginia. Pioneer.
(4) Martha Dandridge Custis Washington (1731-1802) Fairfax. First Lady.
(5) Clementina Bird Rind (1740-1774) Williamsburg. Virginia Gazette publisher.
(6) Sally Louisa Tompkins (1833-1916) Mathews Co. Civil War hospital administrator and officer (7) Elizabeth Keckley (1818-1907) Dinwiddie Co., Petersburg. Triumph over slavery as entrepreneur.
(8) Sarah G. Boyd Jones (1867-1905) Richmond. First Virginia woman physician to pass state medical boards.
(9) Maggie L. Walker (1867-1934) Richmond. First Woman President of Bank.
(10) Adele Goodman Clark (1865-1921) Richmond. Suffragist and Arts Leader.
(11) Estelle Randolph (1875-1958) Henrico. Education Pioneer and Leader.
(12) Laura Lu Copenhaver (1868-1940) Smyth Co/Marion. Leader in religious community and southwestern Virginia who helped rural farming community through the depression by establishing Rosemont Industries to sell handicrafts.

Women's Monument Commission initiatives

Based on Senate Joint Resolution No. 11

Agreed to by the Senate, March 11, 2010
Agreed to by the House of Delegates, March 10, 2010

The Need for a Tribute: 

From the Founding of the Commonwealth, the genius and creativity of women and their presence and contributions have been evident in every aspect of Virginia history and the life of people in the Commonwealth; however, they have received little appreciation, recognition, or official acknowledgement.


The Purpose of the Monument is: History, Education, Importance, Appreciation

  • Monument to Virginia Women That Signals the importance of their contributions and achievements
  • Honors them and expresses appreciation
  • Teaches the history of their important contributions


The Monument is to Honor: Virginia Women who Contributed to Virginia's History Over Four Centuries

Through Individual, Collective and/or Symbolic Interpretations That May Include:
Their ideals, visions and spirit of sacrifice that illuminates the path today for all those who follow them Their accomplishments in spite of restrictions Their legendary achievements in many fields Their noble and heroic deeds indispensible to the founding of the Commonwealth (and the nation)Their vital role in public and private lifeTheir unique contributions in nurturing and protecting their families and contributing to the quality of life in their communities