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Boback Honors Legacy of Hannah Callowhill Penn

House Resolution 217 honors first woman who governed Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives today unanimously passed House Resolution 217, authored by state Rep. Karen Boback (R-Luzerne/Columbia/Wyoming), which honors the legacy of Hannah Callowhill Penn, the first woman who governed Pennsylvania.

“As a woman leader in Pennsylvania, it’s an honor and a privilege to recognize the leadership, achievements and contributions to the Commonwealth by the first woman who governed Pennsylvania,” said Boback, co-chair of the Ladies of the House Caucus.

House Resolution 217 recognizes that as William Penn’s second wife, Hannah, played an important role in the development of Pennsylvania. When Penn was disabled by a stroke in 1712, Hannah governed the Province of Pennsylvania in his name and handled all of his financial and legal affairs for the next six years until his death in 1718.

At the time of Penn’s death, the colony was in financial debt.  However, through her strong leadership and fiscal management, Hannah was successful in restoring financial stability to the colony before her death in 1726.

In observance of Women’s History Month last month, Gov. Tom Corbett marked March 12, 2013, as “Hannah Callowhill Penn Day” across Pennsylvania.

“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” marked 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, the Pennsylvania Commission for Women and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

Boback’s floor remarks regarding House Resolution 217 can be found on her YouTube page at For more legislative information, visit Boback’s website at

Representative Karen Boback
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact:  Lauren Whetzel
717.260.6451 /
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