top of page

Anonymous: Unsung Hoosier Heroines- First Lady, Caroline Scott Harrison

I remember going to the movies on June 6th, 2017 to see Wonder Woman. I was so excited to see a female super hero who wasn’t just played for laughs, a strong woman, the first woman super hero to have her own movie dedicated entirely to her story. I was excited, but I was not prepared.

I watched in awe as not only was Wonder Woman amazing, but all of the women in the movie– from the other Amazons to the women who were introduced as secretaries. Every single one was depicted as strong and capable. Then a scene came on that took my breathe away. I promise this is not a spoiler, but if you haven’t seen the movie yet, you should.

The movie takes place during World War 1. There is a scene where Wonder Woman is in the trenches, outside of a German City, with Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) and the Wonder Men. She sees and hears the pain of the men in both trenches and hears the screams of the women and children located in the city that is in the crosshairs in no mans land. She, for the first time in our world, dawns her uniform and unflinchingly climbs out of the trench and starts crossing the muddy battlefield. She deflects the shots of the opposing military, but doesn’t fire back. Instead, steely, she walks to defend the city.

I cannot put into words the enormous feelings that I had witnessing that moment on the big screen. In my entire life, I had not felt that feeling. The pride, the strength, the resolve she showed as a hero, left me verklempt. In that moment, I deeply understood why representation mattered.

I realized, as I left the theater, that I had grown up with that on the tv and in other media consumed it would have greatly impacted my life. It also lead me to think about how many real, non-super hero, women have existed and still exist. This started me down the path of figuring out how I can help every woman have that feeling. The experience of seeing women triumph.

Running the Propylaeum is my dream job. I inherited many great programs when I started, but I saw the opportunity to start a program where women leave feeling that triumph of womanhood. That’s where the idea of the Anonymous series came from.

We do not need to look to comic books or the big screens for our heroes, they are among us. It is just that women’s stories are not told with the fervor of men’s. The goal of the series is to introduce women you may or may not be familiar with and tell their stories.

I am excited that the first woman featured is Caroline Scott Harrison. She is often referred to as the Lady in the Yellow Dress, but she was far more than just a piece of arm candy to be admired for her clothes. She was instrumental in making Indianapolis a world class city.

On March 7th, from 5:30-7, one of our members, Elaine Sholty, a subject matter expert on Caroline Scott Harrison, will present her story.

The event is intentionally a low cost event with tickets $5 for members and $10 for nonmembers. We do not want to gatekeep our shared history, so please encourage as many nonmembers as you can to attend.

You can register for the event at

Future topics for the Anonymous series are The Women of Indiana Avenue Beyond Madame Walker, The Women Behind the ERA, Indiana’s Women Labor Leaders, The Indigenous Women of Indiana, The Women who Drove Title IX, and more. If you have a suggestion for a woman or group of women we should highlight, please send me an email at

Yours in Sisterhood,

Ali Brown

Executive Director, Propylaeum Historic Foundation, Inc.

Featured Posts