Lives of four women celebrated at Whitman Center

The lives of four women who made an impact on the history of our region were discussed Tuesday in a program at the Whitman Center.

The program celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Women Alive! Coalition.  Biographies from the 11th edition of “In Search of Our Past: Women of Northwest Ohio,” were shared.


Video of Women’s History presentation at Whitman

The purpose of the books is to inspire young women everywhere, according to the authors, who included Linda Timpe Baker, James Marshall, and Joyce Lane.

They discussed the stories of Millie Benson, Joe Ann Cousino, Joyce Mahaney, and Rusty Monroe.

Marshall told the story of Monroe, former owner of Rusty’s Jazz Café in Toledo.  Rusty had a strong love of Jazz, and made it her mission to carry out the legacy of Jazz, Marshall said.

In 2002, Rusty’s Jazz Café was named one of the 50 best Jazz clubs by Men’s Journal.

“When legend becomes fact, print the legend,” Marshall said, referring to the importance of sharing the stories of these women is.

Lane discussed the life of Joe Ann Cousino, a sculptor she described as a “force to be reckoned with.”

Not only does she have sculptures all around Ohio, she had a studio for over 50 years, and designed a very unique house in the 1950s.  Joyce Lane noted that it wasn’t common for a women to be an architect or an artist in that era.

Native American activist Joyce Mahaney was also discussed by Lane.  Joyce Mahaney brought awareness to the community about Native Americans and their contributions.  In 1988 she founded the American Indian Intertribal Association.

Timpe Baker spoke on Millie Benson, author of many Nancy Drew books.  Millie Benson started writing as a child, and at one time wrote under 13 different names for a syndicate.

“She had a nose for news,” said Timpe Baker, who once worked with her at the City Hall where Millie wrote the City Hall Beat.

All of the work done by the Women Alive! Coalition is volunteered.

“Many history books talk about the men; we want to remember the women who never got the recognition they deserved,” Timpe Baker said.

Sandy Kosmyna, Whitman director and a member of the Women’s Alive! Coalition, said she was impressed by the presentations.

“I really thought they brought the women’s lives to life and told us a lot of insight of each person. You felt like you knew them a little better afterwards,” Kosmyna said.

Kosmyna also noted that next month is sexual assault awareness month. The Whitman Center will be having two police offers from the University of Toledo present techniques of self defense and discuss preventive measures.

The program, “Avoid being a Victim,”  will be at 6 p.m. April 6.