Jennie Powers Mural
Brattleboro, VT-born Jennie Powers was a humane society agent in Keene, NH, from 1903-1936, while also assisting the society in Brattleboro, VT. Jennie was known across the country as The Woman Who Dares, cited by the Boston Post newspaper as having arrested more men than any other woman in America in 1906.
In 1903, the Keene Humane Society hired Jennie on a trial basis. Soon the company grew to rely on her as Jennie investigated and worked to prosecute hundreds of cases of animal abuse. She was known to march in to work sites such as logging camps, mill yards, farms, and train yards. By 1910, the Cheshire County sheriff deputized her and Jennie Powers became the second woman in New Hampshire to serve that role.
In the mural you will also notice an image of a mother and child. In an age when animal cruelty laws were more defined than laws against family violence, much of Powers’ work led her to protect the rights of children and wives who were abused and neglected.
Jennie Powers died in 1936 at the age of 72 from complications from pneumonia. In 1967, the Keene Humane Society their present 250 acre site the Jennie B. Powers Memorial Shelter in her honor. Jennie Powers was a heroic agent of change during a time when women were just beginning to push for rights to vote, to control property and to have a legal say over the welfare of their own children.
In Our Collections
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Although largely classified as ‘restricted’ to the public, the Jennie Powers collection at the Historical Society of Cheshire County includes her papers from her work, including correspondence and photographs. A portion of this collection has been digitized and is available for onsite use at the Historical Society only.
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A packet of primary sources is available for classroom use with accompanying lessons.
Packet One: contains Keene Sentinel and other local newspaper articles on Progressive Era topics- both national and local.
Packet Two: contains historic documents and photographs related to Jennie Powers and her work as a female humane society agent in NH and VT.