'Notable Pittsburgh Women' Newspaper Clipping Research compiled by Gloria Forouzan


'Notable Pittsburgh Women' Newspaper Clipping Research compiled by Gloria Forouzan


PDF of research available for download through the link at the bottom of this page.

Gloria’s research includes mention of the following individuals:
Dr. Emma Farrar -- Pittsburgh-based Physicians and graduates of the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Edla Sperry -- Pittsburgh-based Physicians and graduates of the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania.
Pauli Murray -- Nationally recognized Civil Rights and Women’s Movement Thinker. See also Simon D. Elin Fisher’s article “Pauli Murray’s Peter Panic” on Murray’s work as ‘trans-of-color’ critique, published in Transgender Studies Quartlery 3 (1-2) p. 95-103.
Edna Schoyer and Anne Richardson -- Pittsburgh-based Suffragists
Janet DeCoux -- Pittsburgh-based Sculptor.
Eliza Miller -- Pittsburgh-based Sculptor.


Gloria Forouzan


January 2020


Gloria Forouzan


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Research File Text:

Hi Harrison,

These are the lgbt women who I’ve found while researching Pgh’s history. Note that none of the (very limited) sources I found on Drs. Farrar & Sperry said that they were a couple, but once you read their stories I’d be interested to see if you agree with my conclusion that they were lifelong, loving partners.

I’ve included the stories of Edna Schoyer, suffragist, Pauli Murray and two artists

FYI: I am retiring at the end of January, this is my personal email: [contact information removed]

Pittsburgh’s first female physicians

SOURCE: Pittsburgh Press * March 28, 1897 * reporter: Jeannette Barbour
Pittsburg’s Pioneers in Woman’s Progress

Their office locations:
Pittsburgh Press 14 Mar 1896, Page 2

Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette 08 Jul 1873 Page 1
Dr. Emma’s sister was insane:
Pittsburgh Press 18 Nov 1889 Page 5



One of the ‘lost alums’


1876-77 Directory of Pittsburgh and Allegheny Embracing a General Directory of the
Dr. Edla & Dr. Emma shared office at 24 Fifth

1895 – Emma’s office at 31 6th St.

Pittsburgh Daily Post 09 Jun 1895 Page 5

DOCTORS WHO WEAR SKIRTS AND MAKE A SUCCESS OF THEIR PROFESSION. THEIR SKILL IN MEDICINE. Male Practitioners Hove Very High Opinion of Them. FAIR MARTYRS TO SCIENCE. Without any blare of trumpets or the shout of heralds to announce her coming, the woman physician, with a strong, healthy dislike to being called a lady doctor," arrived some years ago in this city, and now there are about a dozen of her in good repute in Pittsburg and Allegheny. The exact date of the arrival of the pioneers, Drs. Sperry and Farrar, is not ascertainable, but it was some time in the early '70s that they hung out their shingles here, and began to make inroads into the practice of their brethren.

Dr. (Edla) Sperry has since died, but Dr. Emma Farrar is still attending to patients, her present location being 31 Sixth Street (in today’s Cultural District). The number of women physicians will be seen not to have grown with startling rapidity. There are various reasons advanced for this. Some of the ladies who have been established for a number of years say the prejudice against them was strong at first, and the securing of a practice was up hill work. Then, those people who were not prejudiced against them did not take them seriously, while others were afraid to trust them with the duty of attending to the sick. These feelings, however, have pretty well died out by this time (in just 20 yrs?), and the doctors are not a little proud that they have killed prejudice, levity and mistrust, while not doing their patients any mortal injury, Pittsburg is now considered a very promising field for women physicians, and it is growing more so, though it is the desire of several veterans to warn newly-made medicos that they must not descend upon the town in hordes, expecting to find large, ready-made and profitable practices awaiting each one of them. They will have to work, and work hard, but their efforts will not be so arduous as were those of the women who arrived here earlier. The practice of the women physicians of this city is mostly among those of their own sex and children, though all the doctors aim at a general practice, some of them numbering many men among their patients. Their practice, too, is not confined to the city, one of them, Dr. S.
Transactions of the ... Annual Meeting of the Alumnae Association of the ...
By Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania. Alumnae Association


The wonder and mystery that is Pauli Murray
Pauli Murray was the best of us. In her lifetime, she became a poet, a writer, a feminist, a labor organizer, a civil rights lawyer, and then finally, an Episcopal priest.
However, not many knew of her or her contributions, whether fighting for women’s rights or the civil rights movement.

Born in 1910 in Baltimore, Murray was orphaned after the separate death of her parents and went to live with her aunt and grandparents in Durham, North Carolina.
She wrote articles and poems in a number of magazines, as well as a novel, Angel of the Desert, that the Carolina Times serialized. She had a collection of her work published in 1970.
She became friends with the poet Langston Hughes when she was younger, had a long-term friendship (23 years!) with Eleanor Roosevelt, and then helped found the National Organization for Women with noted feminist Betty Friedan.
She later was involved in the fight against segregation in public transport when she was arrested and imprisoned in March 1940 for her refusal to sit at the back of a bus in Richmond, Virginia. 

In 1941, Murray went to law school to become a civil rights lawyer. During that time, she helped articulate the intellectual foundations for two of the most important social justice movements of the 20th century.
In 1960, President John F. Kennedy appointed her to the Committee on Civil and Political Rights. In 1977, she became the first African American woman to become a Episcopal priest…

“She, at the end of her life, lived as a lesbian, because by the time we had the language for trans identity, she was a civil rights attorney, she was very well-respected, and respectability politics wouldn’t have allowed her at that late stage of her life to go back and adopt the trans performance that she was so searching for in the 1930s and ‘40s,” Cooper said.
In 1985 the Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray passed away due to pancreatic cancer in Pittsburgh, PA where she lived with a lifelong friend, Maida Springer Kemp.”

Maida & Pauli co-owned the house they lived in during Pauli’s last years in Pittsburgh


August 13, 1987 The Pittsburgh Press Detailed autobiography tells broader civil rights tale
Doug Rice BOOH REVIEW i. SONG IN A WEARY THROAT: An American Pilgrimage by Pauli Murray. . Harper & Row. (23.95. By Wilma B. Smith r. . Long before the sit-ins of the 1960s, or the case of Rosa Parks, or a Montgomery boycott, Pauli Murray challenged and combatted segregation and ) inequality. "Song in a Weary Throat" is a detailed chronology for black Americans of mid-20th century efforts that ultimately set the civil rights movement in motion. 5" A member of the Pittsburgh community recently referred to Ms. Murray as the "Renaissance Woman" as she introduced and welcomed this posthumously Sublisbed autobiography. While not a Pittsburgher by birth, Ms. Murray developed lifelong friendships here, notably Maida Springer Kemp, to whom the book is dedicated. "A life filled with "firsts" dominated Ms. Murray, including first black female Episcopal priest and the first Negro to be awarded the J.S.D. from Vale University Law School. She mastered careers as an author, teacher, lawyer, journalist and civil rights activist. Boundless energy, a constant striving for excellence and a tireless fight against inequality characterized her pathway to mastery.
Edna met her partner, Anne Richardson, & they both lived out their lives in CT They were activists on a number of issues, including Women’s Suffrage. Edna’s nephew owned Schoyer Books in Squirrel Hill.

Edna participated in suffragist actions at Ft. Pitt hotel, link: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/2901791/woman_suffrage_bazar_1913/
Pittsburgh Daily Post
11 May 1913 • Page 25

Edna Schoyer
Born 5 Dec 1880 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny, PA
Daughter of Samuel Chadwick Schoyer and Eliza D. (Preston) Schoyer
Sister of Barclay Preston Schoyer and William Edgar Schoyer

Died 4 Aug 1946 in New York, New York, New York, USA
Edna shares her burial stone with Anne Richardson. In the US Census, they shared a residence in Redding, CT and called their relationship "Partner." They also traveled the world together.
Edna Schoyer: Civic Leader
As an advocate of suffrage, of education, and of community service, Edna Schoyer was a leader in Ridgefield. A native of Pittsburgh and a longtime companion of Miss Anne Richardson (q.v.), Miss Schoyer came to Ridgefield around 1915 and immediately became active in the woman’s suffrage movement. She then led the organization of the League of Women Voters, serving as its president from its beginning in 1921 until 1933. She and Miss Richardson were twice elected together to the school board, serving from 1936 to 1942. She was also head of the Ridgefield Garden Club from 1939 to 1941, and had been long active in the club’s Village Improvement Committee. Her brother, novelist Preston Schoyer, who often stayed at her home, spent much time in China and Miss Schoyer was involved in raising money for China relief before the war. She also chaired the United War Fund, served as the Red Cross home nursing chairman, sang with the Ridgefield Choral Club, and, as The Press put it in her 1946 obituary, “participated in a multitude of community affairs, serving on committees and working for the betterment of Ridgefield.”

In 1939, Richardson, a Republican, and Schoyer, a Democrat, were elected to the Board of Education, serving three years. (Ridgefield High School and Scotts Ridge Middle School stand on part of her farm; the land was purchased by the town from her estate for a relatively small price.)
JANET DECOUX – aunt of Barbara Luderowski/Mattress Factory
Post-Gazette 06 Dec 1999 Page 32

This steel structure depicts figures swimming and diving. It is installed over the inside entrance of the Highland Park pool, offset from the cement structure supporting it. This protrusion allows for shadows of the cut steel to change dependent on the position of the sun and time of day.
Public sculptures in this period tended to be made of highly durable materials (such as steel) to mitigate maintenance issues. At this time, most civic public art programs were invested in establishing a permanent relationship between the artwork and it's site, both in content and material.
Steel was a natural material for artist Eliza Miller, who also did work in ceramic, bronze, wood, and stone. Her grandfather was Julian Kennedy, an engineer who was notable for designing many steel-mills in the Greater Pittsburgh area, and who named the Eliza Furnace mill after his granddaughter.


Gloria Forouzan, “'Notable Pittsburgh Women' Newspaper Clipping Research compiled by Gloria Forouzan ,” PQHP Online Archives, accessed July 21, 2024, http://www.pittsburghqueerhistory.com/omeka/items/show/4633.
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