Margaret Fogarty Rudkin (1898-1967) of Fairfield founded Pepperidge Farm after looking for a natural bread that would not aggravate her son's allergies. She began baking and selling bread out of her home in the 1930's. A member of the CT Women's Hall of Fame, Rudkin is one of the many fascinating women included in the Wonder Women of Fairfield exhibition, opening February 27th at the Fairfield Museum and History Center. (contributed photo)
FAIRFIELD, CT - The Fairfield Museum and History Center announces the opening of a new exhibition, Wonder Women of Fairfield, highlighting the fascinating lives of notable women who helped build and shape our community, including Pepperidge Farm founder Margaret Rudkin and Connecticut Audubon Society founder Mabel Osgood Wright. The exhibition, on view through April 28th, is made possible by the generous support of Bankwell, Pepperidge Farm, Bigelow Tea, and Pascale Communications.
Irene Chang Britt, President, Pepperidge Farm, will host the Wonder Women of Fairfield Museum After Dark opening February 27th from 6-8 pm. The evening, sponsored by Moffly Media Fairfield Living magazine, will include a welcome by Britt and an opportunity to network and preview of the exhibit before it opens to the public.
Britt’s career has included executive positions with Kraft Foods, Nabisco and Kimberly-Clark. She joined Campbell Soup Company in 2005 and was named President of Pepperidge Farm, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Campbell Soup, in 2012. Pepperidge Farm takes its commitment to investing in its female employees and leaders seriously and has in place an active women’s affinity group, Women of Pepperidge Farm, and a mentoring/sponsorship for program for emerging women leaders.
“We are honored to have Irene help us kick off Women’s History month in March and open the Wonder Women of Fairfield exhibit,” says Museum Executive Director Mike Jehle. “Pepperidge Farm’s founder, Margaret Rudkin was a trail-blazing business leader, and the company has continued the legacy of encouraging female leaders. This ‘women forward’ approach is the legacy of the inspirational women represented in our exhibit, whose work and dedication are a significant part of what has built Fairfield County into the dynamic community it is today.”
The exhibition, on view through April 28th, will provide a look into the lives and the efforts of these women and their achievements through portraits, biographical information, objects and documents. Among the fascinating women from Fairfield highlighted in the exhibition are:
Margaret Rudkin, founder of Pepperidge Farm. Looking for natural bread that would not aggravate her son’s allergies, Rudkin started baking and selling her bread out of her Fairfield home in the late 1930’s. The business quickly grew into one of the country’s largest baking companies, and we still enjoy their delicious products today.
Ann Shaw Carter, pilot. The first woman to obtain a helicopter pilot’s license and fly a commercial helicopter in the United States. Using the money she saved up working in a Bridgeport factory during World War II as part of the war effort, she took aviation lessons and trained as part of the Women’s Air Force Service Pilots (WASP) in 1944.
Annie B. Jennings, philanthropist. Born into wealth, Jennings became a pillar of Fairfield’s community in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Dedicated to preserving history, she helped form both the Fairfield Historical Society and the Daughters of the American Revolution. She also donated the land that became Jennings Beach, land for the Birdcraft Sanctuary, and a building for the first high school, and opened the extensive gardens at her Sunnie-holme estate to the public during her lifetime.
Mabel Osgood Wright, naturalist. Wright developed her love of nature into a career as a writer, publishing books for children and adults which she illustrated with her own photographs. She founded the Connecticut Audubon Society and helped to revive the national organization, serving as writer and editor of Bird-Lore magazine. The Birdcraft Sanctuary she created in Fairfield attracted thousands of visitors and was the first preserve of its kind.
Several special programs and events are planned throughout the duration of the Wonder Women of Fairfield exhibition, including:
Museum After Dark: Women’s Networking event featuring Pepperidge Farm President Irene Chang Britt
Thursday February 27 from 6-8 pm
Members $5; Non-Members $10
Kick off Women's History Month coming up in March with the opening of our Wonder Women of Fairfield exhibition, honoring women whose amazing contributions helped to build and shape our community. Enjoy wine, cheese, exhibit preview and a welcome by Irene Chang Britt, President, Pepperidge Farm.
Sponsored by Moffly Fairfield Living magazine.
Adult Lecture Series
The Personal is Political: Women’s Activism in the 1960s by Elizabeth Hohl of Fairfield Univ.
Sunday, March 2 from 2:30 – 4 pm
Co-sponsored with the League of Women Voters
Discover the depth and range of women's grass roots activism as well as the features of a social movement; from differing ideologies to creating a focused message.
Sponsored by Fairfield University
Mother / Daughter Tea
Sunday, March 16 from 2 – 4pm
Share some quality time and a cup of tea with your favorite girl while celebrating women in history. Visit the Wonder Women of Fairfield exhibition, learn about the great contributions local women have made to our community, and enjoy a talk on the health benefits and history of tea, by Betty Johnson of Bigelow Tea. Sponsored by Pepperidge Farm and Bigelow Tea.
Lunch & Lecture: The Wonder Women of Connecticut with Bambi Mroz of the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame
Thursday, March 20 from 12 - 2pm
Co-sponsored with the League of Women Voters
$20 per person, includes lunch. RSVP by March 17 by calling 203-259-1598.
This presentation gives a panoramic view of the Hall of Fame’s inductees, including Margaret Rudkin, founder of Pepperidge Farm.