Women of the Whites

April 6th, 2016 by Amanda

In preparation for the exhibit, “Taking the Lead: Women in the White Mountains,” students in the 2014 Plymouth State University history course, American Women’s History, interviewed women associated with the White Mountains. The women who were interviewed graciously granted students and exhibit-goers access to their memories and thoughts about their connections to the White Mountains. Students learned much from this project: ethics associated with interviewing, independent responsibility for their work, and deeper critical thinking skills, as well as indomitable role models for their future.

In 2016, June Hammond Rowan, Associate Director and Research Assistant Professor at PSU, conducted two additional interviews with Jane Difley and Marianne Leberman to use the exhibition.


Rebecca Oreskes

Photo courtesy of Rebecca Oreskes

Highlighted Story

Rebecca Oreskes started working at the AMC’s base lodge in Pinkham Notch in 1979 and became manager for Lakes of the Clouds hut in 1983. Later, she turned to the Forest Service for her career and was surprised to find sex discrimination there. She was the only woman on a timber marking crew. “One day [we had]… bad weather…. our boss brought us all together and said ‘ok, we have tools that need to be worked on over at the equipment depot so all the guys can go there.’ And then he looked at me and said, ‘Rebecca, why don’t you go work with the girls in the office?’” The Forest Service adapted, and she remained and was promoted.


Rebecca Brown

Rebecca Brown founded the Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust, the North Country’s first locally-based, grassroots land conservancy and served as its first board president. Today, she is ACT’s Executive Director. Rebecca’s book, Women on High: Pioneers of Mountaineering  was honored by the National Outdoor Book Awards.

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Jane Difley

Jane A. Difley is the fourth President/Forester to lead the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests since it was founded in 1901. Jane was the first woman elected President of the Society of American Foresters, and serves on the Leadership Council of the Land Trust Alliance, the President’s Council of New Hampshire Audubon, and as a Director of the Merrimack County Savings Bank.

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Margaret (Peggy) Dillon

Peggy Dillon worked at Pinkham Notch Camp and at AMC huts from 1979 to 1984. Peggy has almost 30 years’ combined experience as a newspaper reporter and photographer; magazine writer, editor and designer; speechwriter; historian; inner-city charter high school teacher; and college professor. She is currently a professor in the Department of Communications at Salem State College.

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Jane English

Jane English is a physicist, photographer, journalist and translator. Jane received her B.A. in Physics from Mount Holyoke College in 1964 and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison for her work in high energy particle physics. She taught courses in Oriental thought and modern physics at Colorado College.

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Judith Hudson

Judith Maddock Hudson is a longtime member and former president of the Randolph Mountain Club. Today, she serves as the Club’s historian. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the RMC in 2010, she published Peaks and Paths: A Century of the Randolph Mountain Club.

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Marianne Leberman

Marianne Leberman serves as the Recreation and Wilderness Program Leader for the White Mountain National Forest, U.S. Forest Service. A skier who worked on ski patrols out west, her first work for the Forest Service includes serving as the first female Snow Ranger in for the WMNF.

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Rebecca More

Rebecca Weeks Sherrill More, Ph.D., holds appointments as Visiting Scholar in the department of History at Brown University and Lecturer in History in the Division of Liberal Arts: HPSS, Rhode Island School of Design. Her lectures include colonial settlement in New Hampshire and the 1911 Weeks Act, which her great-grandfather Congressman John Wingate Weeks sponsored to further development of the Federal National Forest Reserves.

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Jayne O’Connor

Jayne O’Connor is President of the White Mountain Attractions Association, marketing the State’s most active tourism region to domestic and international travelers. She has been awarded the Mildred Beach Travel Person of the Year Award, Travel Person of the Year, and the Governor’s Export Achievement Award for her work in international marketing. A New Hampshire and White Mountains native, O’Connor grew up at her family’s country inn in Franconia.

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Rebecca Oreskes

Rebecca Oreskes retired from the US Forest Service in 2013 after 25 years in various positions. Her last position was overseeing a wide range of programs, including recreation, wilderness, public affairs, conservation education and heritage as part of the White Mountain National Forest leadership team.  Other assignments included working with International Programs in their Disaster Assistance Support Program and serving as Chair of the Chief’s Wilderness Advisory Group.

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Alice Pearce

In 2015, Alice Pearce was named Executive Director of NH MADE. Prior to that, Alice served as executive director of NH Granite State Ambassadors and before that, for 21 years as president of Ski NH. In recognition of her efforts at Ski NH, Alice received Ski NH’s Whitney Award for outstanding contribution to the state’s ski industry and a commendation from the governor for service and commitment to one of New Hampshire’s most important industries.

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Penny Pitou

Penny’ Pitou is a former United States Olympic alpine skier, who in 1960 became the first American skier to win a medal in the Olympic downhill event. In 2001, Penny was inducted into the New England Women’s Sports Hall of Fame. Today, Penny owns a full service travel agency in Laconia, Penny Pitou Travel.

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Lindsey Rustad

Lindsey Rustad works as a Team Leader / Research Ecologist at the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station in Durham, NH and associate research professor at the University of Maine. For more than 20 years, Lindsey has worked with a multidisciplinary team of researchers to assess the impacts of human-induced disturbances on forested ecosystems of northeastern North America, with particular emphasis on acidic deposition and climate change.

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Mary Sloat

Mary Sloat has long-term and active connections to the White Mountains, having lived and worked in the mountains.  Her first trip to the White Mountains was at age eleven to visit her uncle who managed the Crawford House.  She currently serves on the Board of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, the Citizen’s Advisory Committee for Nash Stream, the White Mountain Garden Club, and the Connecticut River Joint Commissions. Formerly vice-president of the board of directors of the North Country Council and chair of its Northern Forest Lands Committee, Sloat has taken leadership roles in the North Country League of Women Voters and 4-H.

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Barbara Wagner

In 1983 Barbara Wagner became the first female Appalachian Mountain Club hut manager and went on to become a Facilities Manager at the AMC. Today, Barbara serves as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the Energy Foundation.

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Laura Waterman

Laura Waterman is co-author of several books with her husband, Guy Waterman on the mountain history and environmental issues of the Northeast. In 1980, she and her husband undertook the trail maintenance and stewardship of the Franconia Ridge in New Hampshire’s White Mountains formed a close attachment to the Alpine areas of the Northeast.
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Taking the Lead: Women and the White Mountains