University of Cincinnati Is Seeking a Photograph of Its First Woman Graduate

cincinnatiIn 1878 Winona Lee Hawthorne became the first woman to graduate from the University of Cincinnati. The university has no photograph of her and is hoping that it can locate one in time for the university’s bicentennial celebration in 2019.

Hawthorne was born on November 30, 1856 in Newport, Kentucky. She was the only woman in the 1878 graduating class at the University of Cincinnati. At the graduation ceremonies at Pike’s Opera House, Hwthore read her baccalaureate essay entitled, “Plea for the Classics.”  An article about the graduation in the Cincinnati Post, read, she was a “young lady already possessing more than the average share of knowledge and talents bestowed on those of her sex.”

Three years after graduation, she married an Army lieutenant and the couple and their three daughters moved frequently to various military installations. While her husband was in command of Fort St. Michael in Alaska, Hawthorne applied for a passport. The travel document listed her as five feet, six inches tall, with a high forehead, small nose, oval chin, and “medium” mouth. She had a dark complexion and black hair.

Her husband died in 1912 and she moved to San Diego. All three of her daughters were college graduates.

Winona Lee Hawthorne Buck died in San Diego in 1933 at the age of 78. She is buried next to her husband in Arlington National Cemetery.


Filed Under: Women's Studies


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