Washington DC – Day Trip 4 – Baltimore 4

This time I am sharing some Baltimore sites for those interested in Baltimore’s progressive historical stance on behalf of women and work, as well as its esteemed medical heritage.

333 North Charles St, Baltimore, Maryland 21202
phone: 410-685-4388

After the Civil War, for decades, when it was deemed not quite proper for middle class women to “go out to work,” women activists from some of Baltimore’s oldest families: Hopkins, Garret, Gilman, Tyson and Thomas, founded the Women’s Industrial Exchange (WIE) in 1880.

It’s purpose was to help needy women earn financial independence. Indeed, the WIE became well known for its beautiful, one-of-a-kind handmade merchandise produced by women who were in need of income.

Items sold at the WIE included Victorian needlework and edible favorites (like labor-intensive calves foot jelly and favorites like White Mountain cake). Their lunchroom has been a favorite Baltimore gathering spot for five generations.

The WIE was part of the Women’s Exchange movement which had nearly 100 similar enterprises around the country. Amazingly, the Baltimore WIE is still located in its nineteenth century building.

A century ago, the WIE managers also provided 25 boarding rooms (on the upper floors for young women who came to Baltimore to work in the factories).

The WIE today stands as a living monument to women’s labor and serves as an everyday reminder of the obstacles women overcame in supporting themselves and their families.


109 West Melrose Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland 21210
phone: 410-323-8800

It was Martha Carey Thomas and her cousin Elizabeth King Ellicott along with three other female founders, who opened the school in 1885 as a college preparatory establishment for girls, at a time when few women attended college.

The school was originally located on Cathedral Street. Both women were also also instrumental in opening the Medical School of Johns Hopkins University to women. Ms. Thomas found time for these projects even while teaching and running Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.

Maryland Pharmacists Association
650 W. Lombard Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21201
phone: 410-727-0746

This museum is named in honor of Dr. Bessie Olive Cole who was one of the pioneering women pharmacists in Maryland. Born in 1887, she earned her degree in 1913, after becoming interested in Pharmacy while working as a stenographer at the Baltimore pharmaceutical company which became Merck.

Olive has been called the “First Lady of Pharmacy in Maryland.” She served as a professor at the School of Pharmacy at the University of Maryland for 27 years.

Continuing as a pace-setter, Olive became the first female graduate from the University of Maryland School of Law.

In 1949 she became the first woman in the U.S. to hold a full professorship in pharmacy. Then she became Acting Dean of the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy.

It is women such as Dr. Cole who blazed the way for women today to be able to shed the strictures society unfairly placed upon women. When you go to Baltimore, pay homage, and learn more about this remarkable person!


Johns Hopkins University – directions.

Started as a private university in 1878, and it has been home to many Nobel Laureates and academics and researchers who have made great accomplishments in many fields, but especially in Medicine. For art events at Johns Hopkins.

Washington, DC Travel – Archived Articles

©2011 mystic at Travel Vacation Review

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