[Academy hallway]
[Academy showcases]
The 40 display boards of the State Senate's Women of Distinction exhibit, mounted on the walls (two views shown above) in the main corridor of the NYC Correction Academy on March 27, remained through the week.

[NYCHS Shield]
[NYS Senate]
Women of Distinction
Exhibit Honors

Correction's Suffragist
[NYS seal]

[K.B. Davis]


  • First superintendent of Bedford Hills reformatory.
  • First NY woman to run a major municipal agency.
  • NYC DOC Commissioner & Parole panel chair.
  • First woman to run for statewide office in NY.
  • Vice-president of national suffragist movement.
[NYS Senate]
NYC DOC Bureau Chief Sheila Vaughan discusses Davis display with Senator Maltese and his wife, Constance.

New York Correction's own suffragist leader, Katharine Bement Davis, is among more than three dozen Women of Distrinction being honored by a New York State Senate historical exhibit traveling the state. The New York Correction History Society has arranged for its New York City debut the week of March 27-April 1 at the Correction Department Academy in Middle Village, Queens.
The 38 Other Women of Distinction
The other historical Women of Distinction honorees included in the New York State Senate exhibit are:
  • Susan B. Anthony
  • Lucille Ball
  • Louise Blanchard Bethane
  • Elizabeth Blackwell
  • Katharine Burr Blodgett
  • Amelia Jenks Bloomer
  • Nellie Bly
  • Mary Clark
  • Mary Donlon
  • Charlotte Friend Juliane Gallina
  • Kate Gleason
  • Clara Hale
  • Grace Brewster Murray Hopper
  • Mary Shotwell Ingraham.
  • Mary Putnam Jacobi
  • Ann Lee
  • Margaret Leech
  • Sybil Ludington
  • Barbara McClintock
  • Lady Deborah Moody
  • Grandma Moses
  • Lucretia Mott
  • Shirley Muldowney
  • Kate Mollaney
  • Ruth Nichols
  • Eve Rabin Queler
  • Charlotte Ray
  • Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Mollie Sneden
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton
  • Kateri Tckakwitha
  • Sojourner Truth
  • Harriet Tubman
  • Madame C.J.Walker
  • Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney
  • Emma Hart Willard
  • Women of the Buffalo Pan American Exposition.
[Senator Maltese]
Senator Serphin R. Maltese addresses Franklin K. Lane HS law studies class that viewed the Women of Distinction exhibit at the Correction Academy. The senator, whose district includes Middle Village, Queens, where the NYC Correction Academy is situated, assisted the New York Correction History Society's initiative to have the exhibit shown there the last week of Women's History Month.

Prior to his Senate service, Senator Maltese served as Queens Assistant District Attorney and Deputy Chief of its Homicide Bureau. This background led to his chairing the Senate Committee on Crime Victims, Crime and Correction during his third term. He currently chairs the Senate Committee on Elections and is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council's Task Force on Criminal Justice.

The senator's wife, Constance, a portrait artist, is well regarded for her award-winning "Age of Discovery" and "American Women" portrait series, the latter exhibited at Women's History Month celebrations.

Miss Davis, who served as the first superintendent of Bedford Hills reformatory from 1900 before being named the first woman to head any major New York City agency, the Department of Correction, in 1914, was one of three names added March 14th to the State Senate Women of Distinction list, bringing the number to 39.

The other two added were Lucille Ball, the Jamestown-born star of stage, film and television, and Barbara McClintock, whose experiments on the genetics of Indian corn won her international acclaim and the Nobel prize in Physiology at age 81.

Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno, in announcing the additions to the list, said all 39 historic honorees are being celebrated as part of the Senate's commemoration of Women's History month for "their personal and professional accomplishments and the examples they set for all New Yorkers."

The Senate announcement concerning Miss Davis read, in part:

"Katherine Bement Davis (1860-1935) was born in Buffalo, and spent much of her early life as an active suffragist, but it was her appointment in 1914 as New York City's Correction Commissioner -- the first woman ever named to run a major municipal agency -- that first brought her international attention.
[KBD Bio cover]
The Women of Distinction display write-up on Katharine Bement Davis was based, to a significant extent, on the mini-history of her life and times authored by New York Correction History Society general secretary Thomas McCarthy. He also provided photos for the Davis display board.

The book, New York City's Suffragist Commissioner: Correction's Katharine Bement Davis, is posted on this web site in the Chronicles section with a choice of formats:

The former superintendent at the Bedford Hills reformatory for women, Davis was an ardent prison reformer and she won her post even before women were granted the right to vote. She later became the first woman to run for statewide office as a Progressive party candidate and was a founder of the Women's City Club, which was dedicated to social welfare and municipal reform and counted among its members such other contemporary luminaries as Frances Perkins, the former U.S. Labor Commissioner.

"'From fighting for women's right to vote to battling for reforms to benefit women inmates, Katherine Bement Davis was a woman dedicated to change,' said Senator Frank Padavan who sponsored her inclusion on the list. 'Her accomplishments were trailblazing, and her legacy lives on not just in the suffragist work she performed, but also in her associations and the various civic organizations she helped found.'"

The Senate's "Women of Distinction" program was created in 1998 to honor great New York women. Past honorees include 19th Century suffragists and women accomplished in sciences, academics, business and the arts.

In addition to historic figures, the Women of Distinction program also honors present day women whose achievements merit them special recognition. These honorees are selected from nominations submitted from across the state and are the focus of a State Senate contemporary "Women of Distinction" traveling display slated for May.

"New York's Women of Distinction program honors the unique contributions of women from our history who shattered barriers and set new standards for personal excellence, selflessness, courage, and achievement," said Senator Mary Lou Rath of Williamsville, the program's founder.
[Senator Maltese]
Captains Ralph Greenberg, left, and John Guagliardo explain Correction Academy training role to Franklin K. Lane HS students.
"These are just some of the many great women who have helped build our society. Their examples are a source of pride and inspiration to us all," said Senator Rath.

The Women of Distinction exhibit with the three new additions was displayed March 13-17 in the Concourse of the Empire State Plaza, near the Legislative Office Building, in Albany.

Go to: NYS Senate Women's History Exhibit Text, Photos

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