BROOKSVILLE, Fla. — Mable Sims was part of the first African American family in Brooksville. Annie Joe was Florida’s first female county attorney. Over 40 exceptional women are being recognized during founders week in downtown Brooksville for who they were and what they’ve done.

Spectrum Bay News 9’s Katya Guillaume sat down with Hernando resident Beth Ashbrook. Walking down memory lane, she said, “She was a strong independent woman, she came from a family of strong independent women.”

Ashbrook talked about the women she will always look up to — her grandmother, Mrs. Bertha Handcock Ashbrook. 

“My grandmother would make little bookcases with a sort of a handle on it,” Ashbrook continued to say, “And she’d travel with the books and she’d tuck it behind the front seat of a little Ford Coupe she drove.”

In the early 1900’s, she was known as ‘The Book Lady.'  “We come from a family of readers, there were always lots of books in our home.”

Her story and the ones of others who’ve paved the way is being put on display for many to know.

Organizer, Natalie Kahler said, “I had taken out a book that was published in 1976 of Hernando County history and it’s this book, this thick of Hernando County history, and there was not a single women listed in the index.”

For the past year and a half, Kahler has searched for them. “These women’s stories need to be told,” and she’s telling them and making it visible for anyone who is walking or visiting the downtown area to learn a little more about ‘The Book Lady’ and everyone else with a story.

Ashbrook finished by saying, “When I came in here and found her name on the list, my daughter was here, it was Saturday, and we rode all over town looking at these because I knew a lot of these people.”