Governor Tom Corbett today honored Hannah Penn's legacy and
contributions to the commonwealth by proclaiming "Hannah Callowhill Penn Day" across Pennsylvania.
As William Penn's second wife, Hannah Callowhill Penn played an important role in the development of Pennsylvania.
Raised to believe that men and women were created equal, Hanna Callowhill Penn ruled the Pennsylvania colony for six years after her husband was incapacitated by a stroke in 1712.
After William Penn died, she ruled for another eight years in her own name. She governed from England with the help of her agent, James Logan, who lived in Pennsylvania.
At that time, no other woman in Britain, aside from Queen Mary II and Queen Anne had held direct political power of this kind. Although Hannah managed Pennsylvania with the help of Logan, she had the final word on all decisions.
"Every day when I enter the governor's office, I am surrounded by the paintings of my predecessors, men such as William Penn and Thomas Mifflin." Corbett said.
"Hannah Penn's portrait belongs there as well, so that our daughters and
granddaughters can see clearly that even in an era when women lacked full rights, one of them led."
"Hannah Callowhill Penn Day" also marks the beginning of a yearlong project to examine Hannah Penn's legacy in Pennsylvania. First Lady Susan Corbett will lead a team that includes The Capitol Preservation Committee, State Museum of Pennsylvania, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Pennsbury Manor and the Pennsylvania Commission for Women and the Pennsylvania Historical Museum Commission.
The team will work together to feature a series of programs and events throughout the next year acknowledging the work of Hannah Callowhill Penn.
"Although she is not widely known and seems to have disappeared from our
history books, it is time to give Hannah Penn her proper place in our
commonwealth's history," Susan Corbett said, "What better way to commemorate Women's History Month than to recognize the woman who first governed Pennsylvania."
Her legacy will also be honored with the annual Hannah Penn Leadership Award to be administrated by the Pennsylvania Commission for Women. The goal of the award is to inspire leadership among the women of Pennsylvania.
Gov. Corbett also announced that Hannah Callowhill Penn will be named
posthumously a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania. The award recognizes women whose outstanding accomplishments through their professional careers and/or their volunteer service have reflected honor on their community, the commonwealth and the nation.
In honor of Hannah Callowhill Penn, The State Museum of Pennsylvania has opened an exhibit entitled "Hannah Penn: blest with a strong judgment and excellent good sense." The exhibit features a unique collection of artifacts and items associated with Hannah and William Penn. It will be open through April 7, 2013.