Mar 29, 2023 - News

Hardly any statues honor Arizona women, but many are deserving

Illustration of a stone sculpture of a woman, with a large crack running through it.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

There are few statues of women in Arizona, but there's no shortage of women who are deserving of the honor.

The big picture: To celebrate Women's History Month, we asked local historians, and our readers, to tell us who should be immortalized in bronze, marble or other materials.

Nellie Cashman: A prospector and businesswoman, Cashman was known as the Miner's Angel among other similar nicknames.

  • A native of Ireland who emigrated to the U.S. in 1845, she was a prospector who moved to Tucson in 1879 and Tombstone a year after.
  • There, she was known for the help she provided to people who were injured or sick.
  • She also raised money to build Tombstone's first Catholic church and organized support for the town's first schools.

Ana Frohmiller: First elected in 1926, she served as Arizona's auditor — previously an elected position — for 24 years.

  • Frohmiller was also the first woman nominated to run for governor, and was the Democratic nominee who lost to Republican Howard Pyle in 1950.
  • Frohmiller "challenged anybody she felt was incorrectly using the state's money," according to the Arizona Women's Hall of Fame.

Sharlot Hall: Hall dedicated much of her time to preserving pioneer and Native American materials and was Arizona's official territorial historian from 1909-1912, making her the first woman to hold a salaried office in the territory, according to the Sharlot Hall Museum in Prescott.

  • She also wrote a 1906 poem called "Arizona," lobbying for it and New Mexico to enter the union as separate states.

Dolores Huerta: The legendary labor rights and civil rights activist doesn't live in Arizona but has been active here throughout her decades-long career, cofounding the National Farm Workers Association with Cesar Chavez.

Isabella Greenway: She became the first woman to represent Arizona in Congress after winning a special election to fill a vacant seat in 1933. Greenway won two more terms thereafter.

Polly Rosenbaum: After her husband died in 1939, Rosenbaum was appointed to his seat in the Arizona House, which she held until 1994.

  • Her 45 years in office makes her the longest-serving state lawmaker in Arizona history, earning her the nickname of "First Lady of the Arizona Legislature."

Of note: We were able to identify two statues of real-life women in Arizona — one of Sandra Day O'Connor in the federal courthouse in downtown Phoenix, and one of Sedona Schnebly, for whom the town of Sedona was named.


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