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Prominent Women


Carol H. Arndt (1919-1980) — Carol Arndt was a journalist and women's editor of Army Times. She is interred with her husband, Lt. Cmdr. Edward J. Arndt, U.S. Navy. (Columbarium Court 1, Section F-10, Niche 2)

Fay Bainter (1893-1968) — A film and Broadway actress during the era of silent film, Fay Okell Bainter won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1938, for "Jezebel." The same year, she was nominated as Best Actress for "White Banners" — making her one of only 11 dual Academy Award nominees, and the first to receive two nominations. Bainter has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She is buried with her husband, Lt. Cmdr. Reginald Venable, U.S. Navy. (Section 3, Grave 2456-1)

Beatrice V. Ball, U.S. Coast Guard (1902-1963) — Cmdr. Beatrice Ball served as a senior officer in SPAR, the U.S. Coast Guard women's reserve, created in November 1942 to help alleviate manpower shortages during World War II. She was the first SPAR member assigned to intelligence work. The name of the unit is a contraction of the Coast Guard motto, "Semper Paratus — Always Ready." (Section 8, Grave 115-RH)

Constance Bennett (1904-1965) — One of the most popular and highest-paid actresses in Hollywood during the 1920s and 1930s, Constance Bennett starred in more than 50 films. Her best-known films include "What Price Hollywood?" (1932), "Topper" (1937) and "Topper Takes a Trip" (1939). Her fifth husband, to whom she was married for nearly 20 years before her death, was Brig. Gen. Theron John Coulter, U.S. Air Force. During their marriage, she provided entertainment to U.S. troops stationed in Europe. (Section 3, Grave 2231-A-RH)

Ollie Josephine B. Bennett, U.S. Army — Lt. Ollie Bennett was the first female medical officer commissioned in the U.S. Army, which she joined during World War I as a contract surgeon with the rank of first lieutenant. She was told that the Army did not have uniforms for female surgeons and she was to design one herself. (Section 10, Grave 10938-LH)

Gravestone of Jane Delano, founder of the American Red Cross Nursing Service

Jane Delano, U.S. Army (1862-1919) — A distant relative of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jane Delano served as superintendent of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps from 1909 to 1912, and in 1909 founded the American Red Cross Nursing Service. By the outbreak of World War I, the American Red Cross Nursing Service had more than 8,000 registered and trained nurses ready for emergency response. Delano was on a Red Cross mission in France when she died in 1919; her last words reportedly were, "I must get back to my work." She was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Medal and reinterred a year later in the "Nurses' Section" of the cemetery. (Section 21, Grave 6)

Seraph Young Ford (1846-1938) — On February 14, 1870, Seraph Young became, according to many accounts, the first woman in the United States to vote under a women’s equal suffrage law. Two days earlier, Utah (then a U.S. territory) had passed legislation granting women the right to vote. Young, a schoolteacher and the grand-niece of Brigham Young, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) and Utah’s first governor, became the first woman to cast a ballot when she exercised her newly-granted franchise in a Salt Lake City local election. A few months later in August 1870 during Utah’s general election, approximately 2,000 women voted. In 1872, two years after she voted for the first time, Seraph Young married Seth L. Ford, who had fought for the U.S. Army during the Civil War. He is buried alongside his wife, a pioneering figure in American history in her own right. (Section 13, Grave 89-A)

Elizebeth Smith Friedman (1892-1980) — Elizebeth Smith Friedman was one of the leading cryptologists of the 20th century — and one of the first women employed as a U.S. government codebreaker. After graduating from Hillsdale College with a degree in English literature, she was working at the Newberry Research Library in Chicago when she was recruited to work at Riverbank, a private think tank that served as the U.S. government's unofficial cryptologic laboratory during World War I. At Riverbank, she met her husband, William F. Friedman, also known for his work in cryptology. During the 1920s through 1940s, she worked for numerous U.S. government agencies, including the Treasury Department, where she cracked the codes of international alcohol and drug smugglers' messages during Prohibition. In the 1950s, she applied her cryptanalytic skills to the work of William Shakespeare, authoring the award-winning book "The Shakespeare Ciphers Examined." Elizebeth and William Friedman are buried together; their epitaph states, "Knowledge is power." (Section 8, Grave 6379-A)

Joy Bright Hancock, U.S. Navy (1898-1986) — Commissioned as a lieutenant in the Navy's Women's Reserve (commonly known as WAVES, Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) in 1942, Capt. Joy Bright Hancock became one of the first women to be sworn into the regular Navy following the Women’s Armed Service Integration Act of 1948. She served in both world wars and became the director of the WAVES in 1946 and was promoted to captain shortly thereafter. When Capt. Hancock retired from active duty in 1953, she received the Legion of Merit for her contributions to the WAVES. The following year, she married Vice Admiral Ralph A. Ofstie (with whom she is buried) and accompanied him on his 1955-'56 tour as commander of the Sixth Fleet. She published her autobiography, "Lady in the Navy," in 1972. (Section 30, Grave 2138-RH)

Marcelite Jordan Harris, U.S. Air Force (1943-2018) — Major General Marcelite Jordan Harris retired in 1997 as the highest-ranking female officer in the Air Force and the highest ranking African American woman in the Department of Defense. A graduate of Spelman Academy, she was commissioned in 1965, rising through the ranks to become, in 1991, the first African American female brigadier general in the Air Force. Many of her assignments also represented "firsts" for women in the Air Force. Her medals include the Bronze Star and the Legion of Merit. (Section 30, Grave 621) 

Marguerite Higgins (1920-1966) — Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Marguerite Higgins covered World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. One of the first reporters in Korea after hostilities broke out in 1950, and the only woman reporter on the front lines, she received the Pulitzer for international reporting in 1951. Born to expatriates in Hong Kong, Higgins graduated from the University of California, Berkeley and then received a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University. From 1942 to 1963, she was an international correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune, interviewing numerous world leaders and receiving an award for her coverage of the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp in 1945. She also wrote a syndicated column for Newsday and several books. While in Vietnam in 1965, Higgins contracted a parasitic disease and died on January 3, 1966, at age 45. She is buried with her second husband, Lt. Gen. William Evens Hall, U.S. Air Force. (Section 2, Grave 4705-B)

Juanita Hipps, U.S. Army (1912-1979) — During World War II, Lt. Col. Juanita Hipps served as a U.S. Army nurse in the Philippines and chronicled her experiences in a bestselling book, "I Served on Bataan" (1943). Reaching the rank of lieutenant colonel, Hipps also helped to establish the Army Air Corps flight nurse program. (Section 21, Grave 769-1)

Jeanne M. Holm, U.S. Air Force (1921-2010): The first woman to serve as a major general in the U.S. armed forces, Maj. Gen. Holm had a long and distinguished career in the Air Force. She enlisted in the Army in 1942, soon after the establishment of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAC). She transferred to the Air Force in 1949 and was appointed director of Women in the Air Force (WAF) in 1965. During her tenure as director, policies affecting women were updated, WAF strength more than doubled and job and assignment opportunities greatly expanded. Her awards include the Distinguished Service Medal and the Legion of Merit. (Section 45, Grave 245) 

Anna Etheridge Hooks, U.S. Army (1839-1913): For her service as a U.S. Army nurse in the Civil War, Anna Etheridge was one of only two women to earn the Kearny Cross, awarded to Union soldiers who had displayed meritorious, heroic or distinguished acts while in the face of an enemy force. She participated in 32 battles, including First and Second Bull Run, Williamsburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. She was noted for removing wounded men from combat. (Section 15, Grave 710)

Juliet Ann Opie Hopkins (1818-1890) — Known as the "Florence Nightingale of the South," Juliet Opie Hopkins helped coordinate medical care for the Confederacy during the Civil War. Her husband, Alabama politician and lawyer Arthur Hopkins, was appointed to oversee Confederate hospitals, and Juliet converted three Virginia tobacco farms into hospitals. She also cared for Confederate troops and their families, sustaining an injury while attending to wounded soldiers at the Battle of Seven Pines (1862). Her efforts were so admired that she was buried with full military honors, with the procession including several Alabama congressman and former Confederate Gen. Joseph Johnston. (Section 1, Grave 12-A)

Grace Hopper, U.S. Navy (1906-1992) — Rear Admiral Grace Hopper was a mathematician and a pioneer in computer science. At a time when few women pursued science or engineering degrees, Hopper earned her Ph.D. in mathematics from Yale University in 1934. She was a professor of mathematics at Vassar College (her undergraduate alma mater) until 1943, when she joined the U.S. Naval Reserve as a lieutenant. Assigned to the Bureau of Ships Computation Project at Harvard University, Hopper worked on Mark I, the first large-scale automatic calculator (a precursor of the computer). After the war, she remained at the Harvard Computation Lab for four years as a research fellow. In 1949, she joined the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation, where she helped to develop the UNIVAC I, the first general-purpose electronic computer. Throughout her postwar career in academia and private industry, Hopper retained her naval commission. From 1967 to 1977, she directed the Navy Programming Languages Group in the Navy's Office of Information System Planning. When Rear Adm. Hopper retired from the Navy in 1986 at the age of 79, she was the oldest officer on active U.S. naval duty. (Section 59, Grave 973)

Kara Spears Hultgreen, U.S. Navy (1965-1994) — Lt. Kara Spears Hultgreen was the first female carrier-based fighter pilot in the U.S. Navy, and the first woman to qualify as an F-14 combat pilot. She died on October 25, 1994 when her F-14 Tomcat crashed into the Pacific Ocean while making a final approach to the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln. (Section 60, Grave 7710)

Gravestone of General Hazel Johnson-Brown, the first African American woman general in the U.S. military

Hazel W. Johnson-Brown, U.S. Army (1927-2011) — The first African American woman general in the U.S. Army, Johnson-Brown became chief of the Army Nurse Corps, and received a promotion to brigadier general, in 1979. She joined the Army as a nurse in 1955, and served as a staff nurse in Japan and chief nurse in South Korea. From 1976 to 1978, she directed the Walter Reed Army Institute of Nursing. (Section 60, Grave 9836)

Helen Warren Langley — Langley edited the National Basic Intelligence Factbook, published by and for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). She is interred with her husband, Lt. Col. Robert E. Langley, a U.S. Army World War II veteran who served in the CIA for 34 years. (Section 59, Grave 2598)

Katherine Tupper Brown Marshall (1882-1978) — Marshall's 1946 book "Together: Annals of an Army Wife" chronicled her life with General George C. Marshall, whom she married in 1930 when he was a lieutenant colonel. She accompanied Marshall on his nearly year-long trip to China in late 1945-1946, when he was attempting to negotiate an end to the country's civil war. The five-star general died in 1959, but Katherine Marshall lived to be 96 years old, passing away on December 18, 1978. (Section 7, Grave 8198)


Dr. Anita Newcomb McGee, U.S. Army (1864-1940) — McGee received her medical degree from Columbian College (now George Washington University) in 1892. Her organizing ability led to her appointment, during the Spanish-American War of 1898, as the only woman acting assistant surgeon in the Army, placed in charge of the Army's nurses. She strongly advocated a permanent nursing corps, and in 1901 Congress authorized the creation of the Army Nurse Corps. Dr. McGee also led efforts to erect the Spanish-American War Nurses Monument at Arlington National Cemetery, dedicated in 1905. (Section 1, Grave 526B)

Maureen O'Hara (1920-2015) — The "legendary Maureen O'Hara," as the inscription on her gravestone describes her, was an Irish-born actress known for her fiery red hair and equally fiery personality. In a career spanning the 1930s through 1990s, she appeared in several dozen films, most memorably starring in westerns opposite John Wayne. O'Hara is buried with her husband, Brig. Gen. Charles F. Blair Jr., U.S. Air Force. They met when O'Hara was a passenger on a flight to Ireland piloted by Blair, then a chief pilot for Pan Am. After he died in a 1978 plane crash, she took over as president of his airline, Antilles Air Boats — becoming the first woman president of a U.S. airline.  (Section 2, Grave 4966)

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis (1929-1994) — Although John F. Kennedy's presidency (1961-1963) was cut short by an assassin's bullet, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis became an enduring cultural icon. Born to an elite New York family, she worked as a photojournalist before marrying Kennedy, then a senator from Massachusetts, in 1953. Over 700 guests attended their Newport, Rhode Island wedding, considered the social event of the season. As First Lady, her unflappable poise and impeccable sense of style helped foster the glamorous, "Camelot" image of the Kennedy presidency. Mrs. Kennedy also undertook a major restoration of the White House and earned acclaim on her many foreign trips as an emissary of the United States. After JFK's assassination on November 22, 1963, she played a key role in planning her husband's state funeral and selecting Arlington National Cemetery for his gravesite. In 1968, she married Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, a longtime friend. Kennedy Onassis died from cancer on May 19, 1994 and was interred next to John F. Kennedy a few days later. President Bill Clinton delivered her eulogy. (Section 45)

Barbara Allen Rainey, U.S. Navy (1948-1982) — The first woman pilot in the Navy, Lt. Cmdr. Rainey was commissioned in 1970 and accepted into flight training school in 1974. She resigned her commission in November 1977, while pregnant with her first daughter, but remained active in the Naval Reserves. She was recalled to duty as a flight instructor in 1981. On July 13, 1982, she was killed in an aircraft accident while training another pilot. (Section 6, Grave 5813-A-7)

Mary Randolph (1762-1828) — Mary Randolph was the first recorded person buried on the grounds that became Arlington National Cemetery. Her cousin George Washington Parke Custis, the step-grandson of George Washington, owned the property and built Arlington House. Randolph was born in 1762 on a plantation in Chesterfield County, Virginia. She married her cousin, David Meade Randolph, and their Richmond home became a center of Federalist Party social activity. In 1824, Randolph compiled her culinary and housekeeping expertise into a book, "The Virginia House-Wife," which became an immediate success and went through many editions. "The Virginia House-Wife" has been described as the first truly American cookbook, which popularized the use of several dozen native vegetables. But, reflecting the demographics of 19th-century Virginia, its recipes also showed influences from African, American Indian and European cultures. Randolph was revising the book for the third time at the time of her death. (Section 2, Grave S-6)

Vinnie Ream's statue of Sappho stands over her gravesite

Vinnie Ream (1847-1914) — Sculptor Lavinia "Vinnie" Ream created the sculpture of the poet Sappho that stands atop her gravesite (pictured, left). In 1866, she received a commission to design a sculpture of Abraham Lincoln for the U.S. Capitol Rotunda — becoming, at the age of 18, the youngest artist, and the first woman artist, to receive a commission from the U.S. government. The Lincoln statue was unveiled in 1871. Ream's artistic career stalled after she married U.S. Army Lt. Richard Hoxie in 1878; he did not approve of her working as a sculptor. Later in her life, however, she received commissions to create two additional works which now stand in the Capitol: a statue of Iowa Senator Samuel Jordan Kirkwood and a statue of Sequoyah, creator of the Cherokee alphabet. The bronze statue of Admiral David G. Farragut in Washington, D.C.'s Farragut Square is also a Ream sculpture. (Section 3, Grave 1876)

Mary Roberts Rinehart (1876-1958) — One of the first female American war correspondents, Mary Roberts Rinehart reported from the Belgian front during World War I. She also wrote dozens of novels, plays and short stories. Sometimes called the "American Agatha Christie," she is best known for her mystery novels, including "The Circular Staircase" (1908), "The Bat" (1926) and "The Door" (1930). At the time of her death, Rinehart's books had sold more than 10 million copies. She is interred with her husband, Maj. Stanley Marshall Rinehart, U.S. Army. (Section 3, Grave 4269-B)

Marie Therese Rossi, U.S. Army (1959-1991) — During the Persian Gulf War (1990-1991), Maj. Rossi became the first American female combat commander to fly into battle. A helicopter pilot, she commanded a CH-47 Chinook helicopter company deployed to Saudi Arabia. She was killed in a helicopter crash on March 1, 1991, the day after a ceasefire agreement ended Operation Desert Storm. (Section 8, Grave 9872)

Helen Herron “Nellie” Taft (1861-1943) — Helen Taft, who went by the nickname "Nellie," was the wife of President William Howard Taft and First Lady of the United States from 1909 to 1913. Raised in a prominent Ohio political family, Taft visited the White House as a teenager and vowed that she would one day live there. As First Lady, Taft took a keen interest in current events and reportedly had as much influence on her husband as a cabinet member. She implemented safety and sanitary standards for federal workplaces, opened the White House to a wider range of visitors and became the first First Lady to ride in the inaugural parade. Nellie Taft's most visible legacies are the more than 3,000 cherry trees that grace Washington, D.C.'s Tidal Basin; she personally planted the first saplings in March 1912. After President Taft died in 1930, she commissioned noted sculptor James Earle Fraser to design the monument for his gravesite, where she too was buried in 1943. (Section 30, Grave S-14)