These days in Arizona, if you say Sharlot Hall, most think of the fine museum of that name in Prescott. However, Sharlot Hall was a real woman with a fine legacy.
Sharlot was the first woman in the entire nation to hold a government paid job when she was named Arizona Territory’s official historian in 1909. She was a writer and poet and is credited with saving Arizona’s bacon when Congress passed the Hamilton bill in 1905—declaring that the territories of Arizona and New Mexico would come into the nation as ONE state, named for the latter.
Sharlot was so mad, she penned a poignant and defiant poem entitled “Arizona” that was reprinted by Arizona Republic publisher Dwight Heard (namesake with his wife for the acclaimed Phoenix museum devoted to Native American arts) and given to every member of Congress. The poem was read into the Congressional Record and many believe it saved the day. Arizona and New Mexico were admitted as separate states in 1912—New Mexico on Jan. 6, Arizona on Valentine’s Day.