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Harriet B. Jones

Harriet B. Jones

Compiled by the West Virginia State Archives
Harriet B. Jones was the first woman licensed physician in West Virginia and one of the first women to serve in the West Virginia Legislature. She was born in Edensburg, Pennsylvania, in 1856, but was raised in Terra Alta. After attending the Wheeling Female College, Jones graduated from the Women's Medical College of Baltimore. She pursued additional studies in New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago, specializing in gynecology and abdominal surgery. In 1886, Jones opened a private medical practice in Wheeling. She became assistant superintendent of Weston State Hospital in 1888 and returned to Wheeling to establish a women's hospital in 1892. Jones advocated better health care through numerous public speaking engagements and served as secretary of the West Virginia Anti-Tuberculosis League.

Jones was also a leader in the area of women's rights. She was outspoken about her beliefs that women should be able to attend West Virginia University, where women were not admitted as students until 1889. Jones worked tirelessly for women's right to vote and belonged to the West Virginia Equal Suffrage Association, the West Virginia Federation of Women's Clubs, and the Women's Christian Temperance Union. She combined her interest in health care issues and politics as a lobbyist to the legislature. Jones was instrumental in securing the establishment of the West Virginia Tuberculosis Sanitarium, the West Virginia Children's Home at Elkins, and the West Virginia Industrial Home for Girls. After women won the right to vote in 1920, Jones became even more active in politics. She was elected to the House of Delegates from Marshall County in 1924, serving two terms.

Jones authored several pamphlets, including "What You Should Know About the Government of West Virginia," "Parliamentary Laws," and "How We Got Our English Bible." She also wrote a history of women's suffrage in the state. Harriet B. Jones died in 1943.

Biographies of West Virginia Women

West Virginia History Center

West Virginia Archives and History