Franklin County's Female Firsts

February 16, 2020  •  1 Comment

In the past months I have been photographing women in Franklin County, Pennsylvania who have made historical contributions to our community. I wanted to create something that focuses on and celebrates their achievements as female leaders
who have made a positive impact on Franklin County.

Below: Lavinia Reid, founder, Chambersburg Ballet Theatre School,
calls herself “a composer/choreographer who teaches ballet.”
Lavinia advises young women to “Be brave enough to not
worry about failure. Go for it. Believe in yourself

How did this project come about? Long story short: The one and only Pam Anderson! Participant, genealogist, friend, connector,
my inspiration to do this project; and writer of all of the participants biographies.

Fun Fact: Pam has three Female Firsts. In 1986, she became
Chambersburg Hospital’s first full-time speech pathologist.
Switching careers to construction in 1991, she was elected
Franklin County Builders Association’s first female president in 1999,
and chosen as the Pennsylvania Builders Association’s first female
Small Contractor of the Year in 2000. In 2016, she became
Franklin County’s first certified professional genealogist. 

Pam’s advice for young women: "Do what scares you. I’m
always in awe of young people who try new things, not
worrying about what will happen if they fail or what others
might think of them. Have the courage to be your true self,
even if it’s not what others think is traditional.”

Below: Pam Anderson in her home in front of her wall of ancestors.

Pam photographed in front of her ancestor wall.Pam photographed in front of her ancestor wall.

My Hope for young ladies and, honestly, everyone who comes to view this exhibit: I hope they see local women working wonders! I hope they are just as inspired as I was when I had the privilege to get to know and photograph them. But most importantly, I hope seeing this kind of positive local representation creates a confidence and sense of pride for women of all ages who call Franklin County home.


Below: Linda L. Thomas Worthy, Ph.D., describes herself as
a first generation college student who has defied many odds.
She is also the first and only in her family to earn a
Doctor of Philosophy degree.

Linda’s advice to young women today: “There is freedom in
knowing who you are and being comfortable with that self-
realization. Being your authentic and imperfect ‘self’ cultivates
self-acceptance which gives you the confidence to be the best
version of you.”

Donations to support Franklin County's Female Firsts Art Exhibit, held at Coyle Free Library, will go towards books for the participants of Go Girls Go and their mentors, as well as an ongoing program entitled Girl Power at all Franklin County Library System libraries. Girl Power will help empower girls ages 12-18 with quarterly programs that focus on self-esteem, leadership, body image and life choices. They will watch podcasts, read books and articles, promote healthy eating, exercise, create art, and in general create a safe place were teen girls can come, talk, and be themselves. This program will be piloted at Coyle Free Library and will be available to be replicated easily at other libraries and in other community organizations. This program will be led by Senior Director of Information Services, Jill Ann Yaich, and will start in late spring of 2020. If successful and well attended they will branch out to similar programs for boys ages 12-18 and co-ed options to promote gender equality and understanding.

Please donate here.

Portraits will be displayed during Women’s History Month, March 2020 at the Coyle Free Library,
with an opening reception on February 28, 2020.


Sue McMurtray(non-registered)
So very proud to have been chosen as one of your Female Firsts. Thank you for that honor. As always it was a pleasure to work with you and the added pleasure of Pam Anderson was a treat. Thank you for what you do for Franklin County Mr. Phab Whitley.
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