Who Should Be Featured on the Semiquincentennial Bell?

Plans are well underway to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States this July 4, 2026. Across the nation, individuals and organizations are dusting off the history books and hoisting up the Stars and Stripes to prepare for the grand celebration. Whether organizing community block parties, historical reenactments, educational programming, service projects, fireworks displays, or other festivities, Americans are coming together to mark the occasion in grand style. 

To help the quarter millennium observance resonate ever louder and wider, the National Bell Festival has established the U.S. Semiquincentennial Bell Committee to plan the casting of a new grand American bell, following in the tradition of the Liberty Bell, to ring at moments of national significance. This bell will be a gift to future generations of Americans, while commemorating 250 years of American history, innovation, and achievement. 

The bell will take as its theme Abigail Adams' plea to “Remember the Ladies”  by highlighting 250 years of women's contributions to the American story – featuring one woman from each decade (25 women total) who pushed forward American service, diplomacy, rights, arts, sciences, business, philanthropy, sports, and more. True visionaries and changemakers across the arc of our nation’s history, these women will continue to ring out and inspire for the next 250 years.

But this begs the question: Who will be featured on the bell? Which women will be selected from our nation’s rich history? To answer that question, the U.S. Semiquincentennial Bell Committee narrowed the focus to women who epitomized any given decade by being a catalyst or fulcrum for change – a change that resulted in a better America. 

From the American Revolution through the Civil War, from the campaign for the abolition of slavery to the movement behind women’s suffrage, from the Moon landing to the fight for the environment here on Earth, and across so many other moments of inflection in our shared history, the U.S. Semiquincentennial Bell Committee is identifying women who were true changemakers, and whose story helps illuminate the significance of women’s impact on America, past and present.

Have your say

Our work to identify which women to feature on the U.S. Semiquincentennial Bell has just begun! Do you have a suggestion for our team? What incredible American women come to mind for you? Give us a ring or drop us a note to share your ideas with the National Bell Festival. We’ll be collecting, discussing, critiquing, and finalizing submissions over these next few months. Send in your thoughts today!

Connecting the nation: America250

America250 is a multiyear effort to commemorate the U.S. Semiquincentennial, or 250th anniversary, of the United States. This effort is being led at the national level by the non-partisan U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission, created by Congress, and its supporting nonprofit America250 Foundation, with a mission to catalyze a more perfect union by designing and leading the most comprehensive and inclusive celebration in our country’s history. 

America250 represents a coalition of public and private partners all working to create initiatives and programs that honor our first 250 years and inspire Americans to imagine our next 250. The commemoration period began in 2020, culminates on July 4, 2026, and officially concludes in 2027. Learn more by visiting the official America250 website.

Cover image: Vintage black-and-white and sepia-toned photographs of women are collected in a box.