Courageous, risk-taking women have long shaped the ongoing struggle for gender equality in the United States. While Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) is most widely known as the resting place of many male military heroes, it also includes the graves of numerous prominent, pioneering women who were heroes in their own right. One such woman was Helen Hamilton Gardener (Section 3).
An intellectual, activist and champion of women’s rights, Helen Hamilton Gardner used her life experiences as inspiration for the social change she strongly advocated. Born Mary “Alice” Chenoweth, she sought independence early on by training at the Cincinnati Normal School to become a schoolteacher. At the time, teaching was one of the few acceptable paid professions for young women to pursue. She graduated in 1873 and took a position as a teacher in Sandusky, Ohio, where she quickly rose to become the principal of Sandusky’s new teacher training school.