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Michigan Women's Hall of Fame Director Seeks More Farmington Area Nominations

Emily Fijol says her organization honors a group of women at an annual dinner, held in October.

Two women, one from Farmington and the other from Farmington Hills, have been honored by the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame.

Director Emily Fijol told members of the Farmington Historical Society Wednesday that she'd like to see more outstanding local women honored. "We don't know about them unless you tell us," she said. 

Speaking at the , Fijol said Michigan was the first state to create a museum dedicated solely to women. Housed in the historic Cooley-Haze House in Lansing, the Michigan Women's Historical Center opened in 1987, after the Michigan Women's Studies Association (MWSA) raised $250,000 to renovate a historic home the City of Lansing had acquired through tax forfeiture. 

She said the MWSA was formed in 1973 at Michigan State University "to change what is thought and taught about women in public education in Michigan." The organization launched the Hall of Fame with 18 inductees in 1983, as a fundraiser. Since then, 259 women have been honored.

Among them are Farmington native Emily Butterfield (1884-1958), Michigan's first woman to be licensed as an architect, and Janet K. Good of Farmington Hills (1923-1997), who reportedly worked with Dr. Jack Kervorkian. 

Fijol also spoke about honorees Patricia Hill Burnett, a Bloomfield Hills resident who is a former Miss Michigan and Miss America runner-up, as well as a noted artist and chair of Michigan’s first National Organization for Women (NOW) chapter, among other accomplishments. She said the Hall of Fame's oldest honoree is Marie-Therese Guyon Cadillac, born in 1671 and the first white woman to come to Detroit. The youngest is the country's most decorated female professional wrestler, Tricia Saunders, born in Ann Arbor in 1966. 

Fijol said nominations closed March 21 for this year's Hall of Fame. Judges will sift through 53 historical and contemporary women's lives and rank them; the top 25 go through a second round of judging. The winners will be honored Oct. 18 at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center, East Lansing.

Nomination forms are on-line, along with more information about current exhibits and an on-line gallery of Hall of Fame honorees, at michiganwomenshalloffame.org.

Full disclosure: Editor Joni Hubred-Golden is a member of the Farmington Historical Society. Her husband, Brian Golden, serves as the organization's president. 

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