Women of Note 2014

December 29, 2014­ – In 1866 Vassar College fielded the first two women’s amateur baseball teams.

December 28, 2014­ – Josephine Smith graduated from the New York City Fire Academy last month, the first daughter of a 9/11 firefighter to become a firefighter. Her father died while carrying out his duties.

December 27, 2014­ – The first woman faculty member at Texas A&M University was Betty Miller Unterberger in 1968. She was also the first president of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.

December 26, 2014­ – Lady Deborah Moody was the first woman landowner in the New World, making her eligible to vote.

December 25, 2014­ – PEACE to women everywhere and to all those they love.

December 24, 2014­ – In 2008 Stephanie Meyer was the first person ever to have four books on USA Today’s year-end bestseller list. She was also the best-selling author of the year.

December 23, 2014­ – Clara Barton was probably the first woman to hold a government job in the United States, as temporary copyist in the patent office. She was also first president of the American Red Cross, which she founded in 1881.

December 22, 2014­ – In 1984 Diane Sawyer became the first female correspondent on 60 Minutes, the CBS News investigative-television newsmagazine.

December 21, 2014­ – Today is Chris Evert’s birthday. In 1989 she had 1,000 wins, the first tennis player, male or female, to accomplish that feat in her career.

December 20, 2014­ – In 1965, Irene Dunne became a board member of Technicolor, Inc. the first woman ever elected to the board of directors.

December 19, 2014­ – In 1900 Frances Warren of Wyoming became the first woman to serve as a delegate to the Republican National Convention.

December 18, 2014­ – Kathleen Nolan achieved fame as the first female President of the Screen Actors Guild (1975–79, two terms).

December 17, 2014­ – Deborah Sample has been called “America’s First Woman Warrior.” Disguised as a man she fought in the Revolutionary War. When she was discovered, she re-enlisted in another unit using another man’s name.

December 16, 2014­ – In 1976, Margaret Mead was a key participant at UN Habitat I, the first UN forum on human settlements.

December 15, 2014­ – Donna Brazile was the first African American to direct a major presidential campaign, acting as campaign manager for Al Gore in 2000.

December 14, 2014 – Patty Duke holds two firsts. As an actor, she was the first female to portray the President of the United States. As a humanitarian, she was the first celebrity to publicly recognize her bipolar disorder diagnosis.

December 13, 2014 – Taylor Swift is the first and only person to have three albums sell more than one million copies during their first week of release.

December 12, 2014 – Katherine Sui Fun Cheung was the first Asian American woman pilot. A music student, she was a member of Amelia Earhart’s “99 Club.”

December 11, 2014 – Ada Comstock Notestein (1876-1973) served as the first dean of women at the University of Minnesota. Later she was the first full-time president of Radcliffe College.

December 10, 2014 – Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) is known as the world’s first computer programmer as she wrote the first algorithm for a machine to execute. Note that she is not the first woman computer programmer, nor the first computer programmer for the United states, but the first computer programmer in the world. Her name is sometimes buried, but recently she has been receiving more recognition.

December 9, 2014 – Eula Scott was the youngest pilot in the United States in 1929. Born in 1915 she was later inducted into the Chickasaw Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma Aviation and Space Hall of Fame, and the International Women’s Air and Space Museum Hall of Fame.

December 8, 2014 – History to Celebrate: Spalding Sports created the first baseball glove specifically designed for a woman’s hand. History to Bemoan: This did not happen until 1996.

December 7, 2014 – In 1948 Congress passed a law making women a permanent part of the U.S. military services.

December 6, 2014 – This year, in Utah, Mia Love was the first black female Republican elected to the House—ever, in the history of the Republican Party. She will be part of the 10% of Republicans in the Congress who are women. Today is her birthday.

December 5, 2014 – Virginia Hall was the only American woman and the first civilian to receive the Distinguished Service Cross. Disguised as an old woman peddling cheese, Virginia Hall worked in France for the OSS (now the CIA) during World War II.

December 4, 2014 – In 1972 two women were promoted to Brigadier General in the United States Army: Anna May Hayes and Elizabeth P. Hoisington.

December 3, 2013 – In 2004 the Seattle Storm beat the Connecticut Sun to earn the WNBA Title. Their coach, Anne Donovan became the first female coach to win WNBA title.

December 2, 2014 – Bess Furman was born on December 2 in 1894. She was the first woman reporter to cover the House of Representatives for a news syndicate. She had this beat from 1929 to 1936.

December 1, 2014 – The first athletic games for women were held in 1882 at the YWCA in Boston.

November 30, 2014­ – In 1968 Shirley Chisholm of New York was the first African American woman elected to Congress. In 1972 she was the first African American woman in a major political party to be a candidate for President of the United States. She was born on November 30.

November 29, 2014­ – Today is Janet Napolitano’s birthday and she is The First Woman To. . .do many things: serve as Attorney General of Arizona; become President of the University of California System; be elected Governor after another woman; and serve as United States Secretary of Homeland Security.

November 28, 2014­ – In 1992 girls won all three divisions of the All-American Soap Box Derby.

November 27, 2014­ – Today is Kathryn Bigelow’s birthday. She was the first woman to receive an Academy Award for directing.

November 26, 2014­ – Saint Katherine Drexel founded the first university for black people in the United States: Xavier University in New Orleans. There is now a prep school in New Orleans with her name. I took this photo of their marching band at one of the Mardi Gras parades last year.

November 25, 2014­ – President Obama nominated Loretta Lynch to be Attorney General of the United States. If she obtains the post she will be the first African-American woman to hold the post, following the first African-American man to serve as Attorney General.

November 24, 2014­ – The first known woman firefighter in America was Molly Williams, a slave in New York City who volunteered to pull the engines through the streets and worked as hard as any of “the boys.”

November 23, 2014­ – Luci Tapahonso is the first Poet Laureate of the Navajo Nation.

November 22, 2014­ – It’s hard to believe it took until 2014, but Iowa just elected its first woman to serve in Congress. Joni Ernst won her seat by casting herself as a “farm girl” who was comfortable castrating pigs.

November 21, 2014­ – This month General Electric spun off Synchrony Financial. Its CEO, Margaret Keane, became the first woman to lead a top-tier bank. She joined KeyCorp’s Beth Mooney as one of two women heading independently traded U.S. banks valued at more than $10 billion. It is interesting to note that women make up more than half of the employees in financial services but only 12.4% of the executives.

November 20, 2014­ – Dominique Dawes was the first black person of any nationality or gender to win an Olympic gold medal in gymnastics and the first African-American woman to win an individual Olympic medal in artistic gymnastics. This is her birthday.

November 19, 2014­ – Today is Lt. Col. Eileen Collins’ birthday. In 1999, she was the first woman astronaut to command a space shuttle mission.

November 18, 2014­ – Wilma Mankiller was born on the 18th of November in 1945 and became the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation.

November 17, 2014­ – You could say that Grace Abbott, born on November 17, 1878, was not successful in her bid to be first as she was not confirmed for the Presidential cabinet position for which she was nominated. However, she was the first woman to be nominated–by Herbert Hoover. The nomination for Secretary of Labor was a testament to her promotion of the rights of workers and children.

November 16, 2014­ – Minnie Davenport Craig (1883-1966) was the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House in a State legislature. She was elected to the position in 1933 in North Dakota.

November 15, 2014­ – MOMA, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, held a retrospective in 1946 for Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986). It was the first for a woman artist. Today is the date of her birth.

November 14, 2014 – Today is Condoleeza Rice’s birthday. She was the second woman to serve as Secretary of State and the second African-American, but when you combine those two she becomes the first female African-American to serve as Secretary of State.

November 13, 2014 – Virginia Mae Brown (1924-1999), born on this date, was the first woman to head an independent administrative agency of the federal government. In 1969 she was appointed as chairman of the Interstate Commerce Commission.

November 12, 2014 – Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902) was born on November 12th. She has been credited with initiating the women’s suffrage movement in the United States with her Declaration of Sentiments presented at the first women’s rights convention in 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York.

November 11, 2014 – Florence Sabin (1871-1953) was the first woman to hold a full professorship at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the first woman elected to the National Academy of Sciences, and the first woman to head a department at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research.

November 10, 2014 – In 1994 Roseanne Barr became the first female comedian to host the MTV Video Music Awards on her own. She remained the only to have done so until comedian Chelsea Handler hosted in 2010.

November 9, 2014 – Florence Prag Kahn (1866-1948) was an American teacher and politician who in 1925 became the first Jewish woman to serve in the United States Congress. She was born on November 9.

November 8, 2014 – Because the U.S. Army refused to allow female correspondents to serve on the front lines, Martha Gellhorn stowed away on a hospital ship so that she could report on D-Day landings and became the first woman reporting on the invasion. She was also among the journalists who reported on the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp. She had covered the Spanish Civil War and went on to cover the Vietnam War. She was born on November 8, 1908.

November 7, 2014 – Eleanor Josephine Medill “Cissy” Patterson (1881-1948) was born on this date. She was an American journalist and newspaper editor, publisher and owner. Patterson was one of the first women to head a major daily newspaper, the Washington Times-Herald in Washington, D.C.

November 6, 2014 – Today is Maria Shriver’s birthday. She is famous for being the daughter of a Kennedy and First Lady of California, but she also has an impressive resume in media. On her Facebook page she describes herself as “a journalist, producer, author, and mother. My mission is to inform, inspire and ignite people to be Architects of Change in their own lives and communities.” One way she did this was by establishing the first online peer-to-peer microlending program in the U.S.

November 5, 2014 – They say that Ida Tarbell’s (1857-1944) exposé of John D. Rockefeller was the first investigative CEO profile written. It was certainly the first corporate coverage of this depth. Her work appeared in McClure’s Magazine over nineteen issues. The term “muckraker” was coined during this period to describe in-depth journalism. Tarbell, who was born on this date, preferred the term “historian.”

November 4, 2014 – Mary Sherman Morgan (1921-2004) is sometimes called the first female rocket scientist. When she worked at North American Aviation in the Rocketdyne Division, she was the only woman among the 900 engineers. Morgan invented the liquid fuel that boosted the Explorer I satellite. She was born on this date.

November 3, 2013 – Mazie Herono was the first elected female Senator from Hawaii, the first Asian-American woman elected to the Senate, the first U.S. Senator born in Japan, and the nation’s first Buddhist Senator. And today is her birthday.

November 2, 2014 – Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb applied to run in the Boston Marathon in 1966. She was told that women were physically incapable of running a marathon and that she could only run in the 1-1/2 mile sanctioned event for women. She hid at the starting line and ran the full marathon, finishing ahead of two-thirds of the men. Another woman joined her in 1967, a few more in 1968. In 1972 there was an officially-sanctioned women’s division of the full marathon and Nina Kuscsik was the first woman to win.

November 1, 2014 – Jessie Daniel Ames (1883-1972) was one of the first Southern white women to speak out and work publicly against lynching of blacks. In 1916 she organized a local women’s suffrage association in Texas and helped the state become the first one to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment.

October 31, 2014­ – Lena Jordan was the first person to execute a triple somersault on the trapeze in 1897. Ernest Clarke did the same in 1909 but he was credited with the record until the Guinness Book of World Records corrected the error in 1975.

October 30, 2014­ – It took 39 years for a woman to move up the ranks to be a pilot on a regularly scheduled airline. Helen Richey was hired as a co-pilot in 1934, but it wasn’t until 1973 that Emily Howell was hired as a pilot. Three years later Howell became the first female U.S. airline captain.

October 29, 2014­ – Vonetta Flowers was the first black athlete, male or female, to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics. Originally a sprinter and long jumper, she switched to bobsledding for the 2002 Olympics. She, the brakeswoman, and Jill Bakken, the driver, won the two-woman event. This was the first year this event was included in the Olympics, 70 years after it was included for men. Vonetta’s birthday is tomorrow.

October 28, 2014­ – Anna Elizabeth Dickinson, born October 28, 1842, was the first woman to speak before the United States Congress. An advocate for women’s suffrage and the abolition of slavery, she was a gifted orator. She was also the first white woman to climb Colorado’s Longs Peak, in 1873. She shocked everyone by doing it in trousers.

October 27, 2014­ – Margaret Hardenbroeck Phillips owned ships and engaged in the fur trade in the 1600’s. She was the wealthiest woman in New Amsterdam.

October 26, 2014­ – Doris Stevens (1892-1963) organized the first convention of women voters. The convention later grew into the National Woman’s Party. She was born on October 26.

October 25, 2014­ – Today is Hanna Holborn Gray’s birthday. When she was inaugurated as president of the University of Chicago in 1978, after serving as acting President of Yale, she became the first woman to serve as president of a major American university.

October 24, 2014­ – Annie Taylor, (1838 – 1921) although she couldn’t swim, was the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a custom-built barrel, in 1901. She was 43 at the time and, after being retrieved from the water, said, “Nobody ever ought to do that again.” This is the date of her birth.

October 23, 2014­ – Anna Maria Lederer Rosenberg (1901-1983) was the only woman to serve as assistant secretary of defense. She was appointed by President Truman at the request of Defense Secretary George C. Marshall.

October 22, 2014­ – The first woman licensed as a boxing judge in the U.S. was Carol Polis, in 1973.

October 21, 2014­ – Celia Cruz, born in Cuba, was the queen of salsa music. When she was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal posthumously, she was the first Hispanic woman to receive the honor.

October 20, 2014­ – Sarah Thomas was the first woman to officiate an NCAA football game, a bowl game and a game in a Big Ten stadium. In 2013 she qualified as a candidate for a permanent position with the National Football League but, to date, she has not officiated any NFL games.

October 19, 2014­ – Wyoming Territory was formed in 1869 and in 1870 Eliza A. “Grandma” Swain of Laramie was the first woman to cast a vote in Wyoming.

October 18, 2014­ – In 1990 Martina Navratilova won at Wimbledon. She was the first woman to win Wimbledon nine times. Today is her birthday.

October 17, 2014­ –Brittney Griner was first WNBA player to dunk the ball and first to do it twice in the same game. Tomorrow is her birthday.

October 16, 2014­ – Polly Letofsky walked around the world (14,000 miles across 4 continents, starting and ending in the same place) in 2004.The journey took five years and was a fundraiser for breast cancer.

October 15, 2014­ – Fanny Jackson Coppin was the first black woman to run a university in the United States. In 1869 she headed what is now Cheyney University in Pennsylvania.

October 14, 2014 – Norma Marshall, the mother of Thurgood Marshall, was the first black woman to earn a degree at Columbia Teachers College. Her commitment to education was apparent when she sold her engagement and wedding rings to provide for her son’s schooling.

October 13, 2014 – Virginia Cecile Blomer Nordby was the first woman delegate to the Council on Legislation for Rotary International. She was a Michigan attorney who drafted legislation labeling rape as a violent crime.

October 12, 2014 – On the 12th of October, in 1977, the first five women navigators in the Air Force and one woman in the Coast Guard, received their wings.

October 11, 2014 – In 1991 NCAA elected Judith Sweet as its first woman president. She had already served as secretary treasurer, the first woman to hold this position as well.

October 10, 2014 – Iola Johnson (born in 1950 on October 10) was the first African-American television news anchor in the Southwest.

October 9, 2014 – In 2004 Annika Soremstam was the first woman to win over $20 million playing golf. A member of the LPGA, in 2003, she was invited to play at the Colonial Tournament for the PGA, the first woman to be invited to play since Babe Zaharis was invited in 1945 in Los Angeles. Soremstam is the only (and hence the first) woman to shoot a 59. She has won four major championships.

October 8, 2014 – The year 2000 was the first time women competed for the same number of team sports as men in the Olympic Games.

October 7, 2014 – Tania Aebi, who was born on October 7, was the first US woman to sail around the world solo in a trip that took 27 months.

October 6, 2014 – Ellen Powell Thompson was the first person to catalogue plants at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. It is interesting to note that she appears in Wikipedia and other sites only under the listing for her husband, explorer John Wesley Powell.

October 5, 2014 – Emma Russell Yearian (1866-1952) brought the first sheep to Lemhi County, Idaho. Hers was the largest western sheep ranch owned by a woman and earned her the title “Sheep Queen of Idaho.”

October 4, 2014 – Ruth Muskrat Bronson, born October 4, 1897, was the first guidance and placement officer of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. She was Cherokee and Irish.

October 3, 2013 – The first family sitcom created, written and produced by a woman, was The Goldbergs, created by Gertrude Berg in 1949. She won the first Emmy Award for a Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for her role in the show. (NOTE: This does not appear to be related to The Goldbergs show that is on T.V. now.)

October 2, 2014 – After becoming the first African-American member of the DAR in 1977, Karen Batchelor co-founded the Fred Hart Williams Genealogical Society in order to help other African-Americans families research their genealogy.

October 1, 2014 – It was in October of 1862 that the Department of Treasury hired its first female clerk, Miss Jennie Douglas, making her the first female government worker in United States history. Seventy women were hired in all that year in order to free men up to carry muskets in the Civil War.

September 30, 2014­ – In January of this year, Diane Humetewa was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate to be the first Native American woman ever to serve as a U.S. federal judge. A member of the Hopi Tribe, she graduated in law from the Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law at Arizona State University. She is only the third Native American federal judge and the only one currently practicing.

September 29, 2014­ – In 1819 Mms. Adolphe was the first woman to perform on a tightrope in the US in New York City. Information about this feat, her future feats, or her full name do not seem to be readily available.

September 27, 2014­ – Maria Elizabeth Zakrzewska, a German/Polish immigrant, was a pioneering woman doctor in the United States in the 1800’s. She founded the New England Hospital for Women and Children, the first hospital in Boston, and the first with a school for nurses. This was the second hospital in America to be run by women physicians and surgeons. She also opened the nursing profession to black woman, and the first black nurse graduated from the nursing school in 1879.

September 26, 2014­ – in 1886 Alice Jordan Blake, after applying using her initials, was the first woman to graduate in law from Yale. She was the only female graduate until 1920 and did not practice long, as she died at age 29.

September 25, 2014­ – Mercy Otis Warren, born September 25, 1728, wrote the first history of the American Revolution authored by a woman. In three volumes, History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution was also one of the earliest histories of the war for independence.

September 24, 2014­ – Frances Harper, born September 24, 1825, was the first woman to teach sewing at Union Seminary. She published her first book of poetry at age 20 and her first novel at age 67.

September 23, 2014­ – Dot Richardson hit the first home run in Olympic softball history in 1996. The U.S. softball team went on to win the gold medal.

September 22, 2014­ – Alma Thomas, born September 22, 1891, was the first graduate of Howard University’s art department.

September 21, 2014­ – Ellen Church (1904-1965) was the first airline stewardess. She was trained as a nurse.

September 20, 2014­ – There may be a question about whether Capt. Connie Engel, a former nurse who trained as a pilot, was the Air Force’s first woman pilot, as there were ten women who trained in her class. She was, however, the first woman Air Force officer to complete a solo flight in pilot training.

September 19, 2014­ – Foreign news correspondence was a “man’s world” in 1937 when Anne O’Hare McCormick won a Pulitzer Prize for correspondence. She was the first woman to receive a Pulitzer in any major category.

September 18, 2014­ – Sybil Bauer was the first woman to break a swimming world record held by a man. In 1924 she finished the 100-meter backstroke in 1:23.2 at the Olympic Games. She was born on September 18.

September 17, 2014­ – Daphne Watkins, a Professor of social work at the University of Michigan is the first women to lead the American Men’s Studies Association. Her field of interest is depression among black men.

September 16, 2014­ – In 1955 Louise Boyd flew over the North Pole. She was the first woman to do so. Her date of birth is September 16.

September 15, 2014­ – Grace Langdon was the first head of a federal agency designed for the care of children of working mothers. She was director of the Works Progress Administration, which served poor women, from its beginning in 1933.

September 14, 2014 – Margaret Sanger, who was born on September 14, organized the first birth control clinic staffed by all-female doctors. She also established a clinic in Harlem with an African-American staff.

September 13, 2014 – Constance Baker Motley became the first black woman federal judge in 1966.

September 12, 2014 – LaVern Parmley was the first woman to serve on a national Boy Scout committee. In 1976, she was the first woman to receive the prestigious Silver Buffalo Award.

September 11, 2014 – When Arlene Violete was appointed to the position of Attorney General in Rhode Island in 1984, she was the first woman elected to this position in any state.

September 10, 2014 – In efforts to create the state of Oklahoma, President Harding appointed Alice Davis the first female chief of the Seminole people, believing she would sign over a property deed. She was dismissed when she demanded payment for the land, then refused to sign. This is the date of her birth.

September 9, 2014 – When Judith Rodin was named president of the University of Pennsylvania in 1994, she became the first woman president of an Ivy League University.

September 8, 2014 – Serena Williams won the finals match of this year’s U.S. Open tennis tournament. One of her predecessors, Ellen Hansel, was crowned the first Women’s Singles tennis champion in 1887.

September 7, 2014 – Anna Mary Robertson Moses, known as “Grandma Moses” was a folk artist. She was the first person to receive an honorary doctorate degree from Philadelphia’s Moore College of Art. When she was 88 years old she was named “Young Women of the Year” by Mademoiselle magazine. She was born on September 7.

September 6, 2014 – In 1856 Catherine Beecher published the first fitness manual for women, Physiology and Calisthenics for Schools and Families. This is the date of her birth.

September 5, 2014 – In 1974 Lanny Moss was the first woman to manage a professional men’s baseball team. She was hired by the minor league Portland Mavericks.

September 4, 2014 – In 1970 Shannon Eastin became the first woman to officiate a National Football League game (in the pre-season at a game between Green Bay and San Diego).

September 3, 2013 – Dixy Lee Ray, born September 3, 1914 was the first female governor in the State of Washington (1976-1980). A marine biologist by profession, her contributions to science and engineering were more outstanding than her one term as governor.

September 2, 2014 – Christa McAuliffe was the first teacher in space. Born on September 2, 1948, she was a teacher in Concord, New Hampshire when she was selected for the Space Shuttle Challenger flight. The launch rocket broke apart 73 seconds into flight and disintegrated into the Atlantic Ocean. All seven crew members perished.

September 1, 2014 – Today is Labor Day. Let us honor all women who labor: in the home, in the workplace, or giving birth.

August 31, 2014­ – Regina Jacobs was the first woman to break the four-minute mile in the indoor 1,500 meters. She accomplished this feat in 2003.

August 30, 2014­ – In the late 1980’s Phyllis Holmes was the president of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. She was the first woman to lead a national organization that governed both men’s and women’s intercollegiate athletics.

August 29, 2014­ – Who was the first woman in the United States to hold a patent? Hannah Slater, in 1793. She was granted her patent for a type of cotton thread. Her invention helped her husband build a successful textile business.

August 28, 2014­ – The first black woman Poet Laureate in the United States was Rita Dove (1993–1995).

August 27, 2014­ – Helen Gibson (1892-1977) was a versatile entertainer: vaudeville performer, film actress, radio performer, film producer, trick rider and rodeo performer. She was also the first professional American stuntwoman.

August 26, 2014­ – Using skills she had honed as a leader in the Women’s Trade Union League in Chicago, Illinois, Mary Anderson (1872-1964) was the first director of the Women’s Bureau in the U.S. Department of Labor.

August 25, 2014­ – Ruby Keeler (1910-1993) was first tap-dancing movie star.

August 24, 2014­ – Blanche Armwood (1890–1939), was the first African-American woman to graduate from an accredited law school in Florida. She was also the first Executive Secretary of the Tampa Urban League. Her father was Tampa’s first black policeman.

August 23, 2014­ – In 1920 Marjorie Voorhies won the first national tournament for female horseshoe pitchers.

August 22, 2014­ – Ashley Stroup, a NASA engineer was first woman to “drive” a rover on Mars.

August 21, 2014­ – In 1928 Nellie Zabel Willhite (1892-1991) became South Dakota’s first licensed woman pilot and may have been the first pilot who was completely deaf. She was an air show performer excelling in tight maneuvers.

August 20, 2014­ – In 1993 Sherry Davis became the first woman public address announcer in major league baseball, working for the San Francisco Giants.

August 19, 2014­ – Jennie Kelleher of Wisconsin was the first woman to bowl a perfect 300 game–in 1930.

August 18, 2014­ – In 1848, at a convention held in Seneca Falls, New York to discuss women’s rights, 100 citizens (68 women and 32 men), signed a Declaration of Rights and Sentiments. It began, “ When in the course of human events. . .” and continued with the language of our founding fathers, with a slight modification: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal. . .” Seventy-two years later, when the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified and women received the right to vote, Charlotte Woodward Pierce (1829-1921) was the only woman among the original signers who was still living.

August 17, 2014­ – When Arlene Violet was elected Attorney General of Rhode Island in 1984, she was the first woman elected to the position of Attorney General in any state.

August 16, 2014­ – Ann Pamela Cunningham (1816-1875) saved Mount Vernon from ruin by founding the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association and serving as its first regent. She raised funds by appealing to women of the South and the North.

August 15, 2014­ – Virginia Dare, born on August 15, 1587, was the first English child born in America, in Roanoke Colony.

August 14, 2014 – Halle Berry was the first and, as of this date, the only woman of African-American descent to win an Oscar for a leading role. Her birthday is today.

August 13, 2014 – The first woman paid as a labor investigator and organizer was Leonora Barry (born August 13, 1849). She was the only woman to hold national office in the Knights of Labor.

August 12, 2014 – LaVern Parmley was the first woman to serve on a national Boy Scout committee. In 1976, she was the first woman to receive the prestigious Silver Buffalo Award.

August 11, 2014 – Was Henrietta Johnston (ca. 1674–1729) the first professional artist in America? She is certainly the first recorded female. In 1707 she began work as a portrait artist in Charles Town, South Carolina.

August 10, 2014 – Fay Fuller climbed Mount Rainier in 1890 and reached the peak on August 10.

August 9, 2014 – Josephine Perfect Bay (born August 10, 1900) was the first woman to head a member firm of the New York Stock Exchange. She was elected without opposition in 1956.

August 8, 2014 – Lucy Giovinco was the first American woman to win the AMF Bowling World Cup. She won in Tehran, Iran in 1976.

August 7, 2014 – Belle Martel of Van Nuys, California, became the first woman boxing referee when she officiated at eight bouts in San Bernardino, CA in 1940. In 2006, 66 years after she passed the referee exam, she was finally inducted posthumously into the California Boxing Hall of Fame.

August 6, 2014 – After chairing the credentials committee for the Democratic National Convention in 1924, Lena Springs was the first woman to receive votes by a major political party for the position of US Vice-President.

August 5, 2014 – From 1989 to 1993, Julia Chang Bloch was Ambassador to the Kingdom of Nepal. She was the first Asian-American to hold an ambassadorial post for the United States.

August 4, 2014 – Mary Decker (born August 4, 1958) was the first woman to run a mile in under 4 and a half minutes in Philadelphia on Jan. 25, 1980. She was named the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year for track.

August 3, 2013 – Bernadine Healy, M.D. (1944-2011) became the first female director of the National Institutes of Health in 2001.

August 2, 2014 – Kimberly R. Cline is the first woman to serve as President of Long Island University.

August 1, 2014 – Helene Britton (1879-1950) became the first woman owner of a major league baseball team in 1911. She owned the St. Louis Cardinals from 1911-1917.

July 31, 2014­ – Mary Whiton Calkins (1863–1930) was an American philosopher and psychologist. Calkins was also the first woman to become president of the American Psychological Association.

July 30, 2014­ – Doris Gross was the first female commander of an American Legion Department, in 1978.

July 29, 2014­ – Nancy Landon Kassebaum was the first woman to to serve in the Senate without succeeding her husband or being appointed to fill an unexpired term. She was elected in 1978 and today is her birthday.

July 28, 2014­ – When Catherine B. Cleary because the first woman director on the General Motors board of directors in 1972, it was the nation’s largest industrial corporation. Now the CEO of that same company is a woman, Mary Barra.

July 27, 2014­ – Joan Pflueger is the first woman champion in the 52-year history of the Grand American Trapshoot at Vandalia, OH. In 1950, against an all-male field, she outshot contestants from 47 states (and Cuba). She was only 18 years old but broke 100 straight clay pigeons.

July 26, 2014­ – Bertha Kapernick becoms the first woman to give bronco riding exhibitions at the Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo, back in 1904.

July 25, 2014­ – In 1965 Rachel Henderlite (1905-1991) was the first woman ordained by the Presbyterian Church of the United States.

July 24, 2014­ – Julie Krone was the first woman jockey to compete in Belmont Stakes, the first to win a Triple Crown race (riding colonial Affair in the Belmont in 1993) and the first jockey to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Today is her birthday.

July 23, 2014­ – Gwendolyn Brooks was the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry for her book Annie Allen (1950).

July 22, 2014­ – Kay Bailey Hutchison (born on July 22, in 1943), was the first woman U.S. Senator from Texas.

July 21, 2014­ – In 1949 Marcenia Lyle Alberga was the first woman to play a full season in a professional men’s baseball league. She played for the Negro baseball league.

July 20, 2014­ – In 1639 Margaret Brent became the first woman landowner in Maryland. An English immigrant to the Colony of Maryland, she was the first woman in the English North American colonies to appear before a court of the Common Law, as attorney-in-fact for Lord Baltimore.    

July 19, 2014­ – In 1767 Anne Catherina Hoof Green became the first American woman to run a print shop. She was named the official printer for the colony of Maryland.

July 18, 2014­ – Florence Bascom, born on July 14, 1862, was the first woman to receive a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins (the same school that refused to award a degree to Christine Ladd-Franklin in 1882). She was then the first woman to be hired by the United States Geological Survey.

July 17, 2014­ – Clara Shortridge Foltz (1849-1934) was the first woman lawyer admitted to the bar on the West Coast. After being denied admission to Hastings College of Law in California, she sued and WON!

July 16, 2014­ – Violette Anderson (1882-1937) was the first woman to receive a law degree in Illinois. She was also the first black woman admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court. Her birth date is July 16.

July 15, 2014­ – Maggie Lena Walker (1867-1934), an African American businesswoman was the first black woman to charter a bank in the United States and serve as its president. She was born on July 15.

July 14, 2014 – On July 14, 1972 George McGovern named Jean Westwood chair of the Democratic National Committee. She was the first woman to hold this position.

July 13, 2014 –Sheila Widnall became the first secretary of a branch of the U.S. Military in 1993 when she was appointed to head the Air Force. Today is her birthday.

July 12, 2014 –On July 12, 1984, when Geraldine Ferraro was selected by her party to run for Vice-President of the United States, she became the first woman on the national ticket of a major party.

July 11, 2014 –Marjorie Matthews (1916 – 1986) has the distinction of being the first woman bishop of the United Methodist Church.

July 10, 2014 –In 1991 Barbara Kennelly became the first woman to hold the position of US House Democratic chief deputy whip. Today is her birthday.

 July 9, 2014Dorothy Thompson, referred to as the “First Lady of American Journalism,” was the first American journalist to be expelled from Nazi Germany in 1934. In 1939 she was recognized by Time magazine as the second most influential woman in America (after Eleanor Roosevelt).

July 8, 2014 –Oberlin Collegiate Institute (Oberlin College today) was founded in 1833 in Ohio and was the first American college to admit men and women on an equal basis.

July 7, 2014 – On July 7, 1946 Sister Francis Xavier Cabrini was canonized by the Roman Catholic Church. Although born in Italy, she became an American citizen and was the first American to attain sainthood.

July 6, 2014 – Ashley McElhiney was head coach of the Nashville Rhythm in the 2004-2005 season, the first woman to coach a male professional basketball team. Her birthday is tomorrow.

July 5, 2014 – Sisters Adeline and Augusta Van Buren were the first women to ride motorcycles across the country. They left Brooklyn on July 5, 1916 and arrived in San Francisco on Sept. 12. They are also the first women to conquer the 14,100-foot summit of Pikes Peak on motorcycles.

July 4, 2014 – Born July 4, 1885, Lucy Diggs Slowe, became the first female African-American national champion in any sport when she won the singles title at the first American Tennis Association national tournament in 1917. She was also the first Dean of Women at Howard University.

July 3, 2013 – Mary Hirsch was the first woman licensed as a thoroughbred trainer. The Jockey Club in New York refused to license her until after she had already been licensed in Illinois and Michigan. She was the first woman trainer to have a horse in the Kentucky Derby and the first to win the Travers Stake, in 1938.

July 2, 2014 – Genevieve Cline was the first woman to serve as a federal judge in the United States, in New York, at a U.S. Customs House. In spite of opposition from many in the US Senate who objected to her gender, she was sworn in in 1928. This is her birth date.

July 1, 2014 – The first American woman film director was Alice Guy Blaché. Her first of more than 300 films was La Fée aux Choux (The Cabbage Fairy). She was born on July 1, 1873.

June 30, 2014 – On June 30, 1966, the National Organization for Women (NOW) was founded in Washington, D.C., by 28 women and men attending the Third National Conference of State Commissions on the Status of Women.

June 29, 2014 – When President George W. Bush selected Ann Veneman as Secretary of Agriculture, she became the first woman to hold that post. She is still the only woman to have held that position. Today is her birthday.

June 28, 2014 – Julia Clifford Lathrop (1858-1932) was the first woman to head a United States federal bureau. She was director of the United States Children’s Bureau from 1912 to 1922. Tomorrow is the date of her birth.

June 27, 2014 – May Irwin was the first woman to kiss on the screen. After seeing her deliver a lingering kiss in a Broadway performance, Thomas Edison immortalized the kiss on film in 1896. The film’s title was The Kiss.

June 26, 2014 – Pearl S. Buck was the first American woman (and the fourth woman in the world) to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. This is the date of her birth.

June 25, 2014 – Sonia Sotomayor is the first Hispanic woman to serve as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. She was only the third woman appointed in its 224-year history. Today is her birthday.

June 24, 2014 – In 1990 Juli Inkster was the first woman to win a professional golf tournament in which men and woman competed together. She won the Spalding Invitational Pro-Am at Pebble Beach, by one stroke.

June 23, 2014 – In 1934 Anne Morrow Lindbergh (1906- 2001) was the first woman to win the National Geographic Society’s Hubbard Gold Medal for distinction in exploration, research and discovery. She was also the first woman to receive a glider pilot’s license. She wrote Gift from the Sea, a book about women taking time to reflect and be alone.

June 22, 2014 – Dianne Feinstein was the first woman President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and the first woman mayor of San Francisco. She now serves in the United States Senate and today is her birthday.

June 21, 2014 – Helen Keller (1880-1968) was the first deaf and blind person to earn a Bachelor or Arts degree.

June 20, 2014 – In 1972 Sally Jane Priesand was ordained as the first woman rabbi in the United States. She was the second woman in the history of Judaism to be ordained rabbi.

June 19, 2014 – Dorothy Fuldheim was the first woman radio commentator (on ABC Radio) and the first woman in the United States to have her own television news analyst program (at WEWS in Cleveland).

June 18, 2014 – “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias (1911-1956), golfer, basketball player, and track and field competitor, was the first woman to attempt to qualify for the U.S. Open. Her application was rejected.

June 17, 2014 – Wilma Rudolph (1940-1994) was the first American woman to win 3 track and field Olympic gold medals.

June 16, 2014 – The New York Giants instituted the first baseball “Ladies Day” on June 16, 1883. Not only were escorted women admitted to the park free, but unescorted women were as well.

June 15, 2014 – The first woman to head a Fortune 500 company was Katharine Graham, publisher of the Washington Post. Her birth date is tomorrow.

June 14, 2014 – Photographer Margaret Bourke-White (1904-1971) held many firsts. She was the first woman war correspondent, the first woman correspondent allowed in combat zones, the first foreigner permitted to photograph Soviet industry and the first woman photographer to have a photo on the cover of Life magazine. She was born on this date.

June 13, 2014 – Eleanor Holmes Norton was the first woman appointed to chair the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, by President Jimmy Carter. Today is her birthday.

June 12, 2014 – In Boston in 1989, the Reverend Barbara C. Harris was consecrated as the first woman bishop in the Episcopal Church. Today is her birthday.

June 11, 2014 – Montana elected the first woman to the House of Representatives. Jeannette Rankin, born this day in 1880, was a pacifist and the only member of Congress to vote against entry into both world wars.

June 10, 2014 – The movie Gone with the Wind won the best picture Oscar in 1940 and Hattie McDaniel won the best supporting actress Oscar, the first African-American to win an Academy Award.

June 9, 2014 – Rose Cleveland (1846-1918) was never far from a book and was the first First Lady to publish a book. One of her books, published with feminist leader Frances Willard in 1887 was How to Win: A Book for Girls.

June 8, 2014 – The first woman police officer in the United States was Alice Stebbins Wells (1873-1957). She was appointed in 1910 in Los Angeles, after she abandoned her ministry in Kansas.

June 7, 2014 – Virginia Apgar was the first woman to become a full professor at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. She developed the method of assessing the health of newborn babies, now called the Apgar score and used throughout the world.

 June 6, 2014This is the 70th Anniversary of D-Day. Martha Gelhorn was the first woman to report on the invasion.    

June 5, 2014 – In 1996 professional boxer Christy Martin was the first woman fighter to be televised on pay-per-view. Her birthday is next week.

June 4, 2014 – Mary Katherine Goddard (1738-1816) was the first US postmistress. She published the first newspaper in Rhode Island and was the first to print the Declaration of Independence with signatures.

June 3, 2014 – Josephine Baker, born June 3, 1906, was the first African-American woman to star in a major motion picture, Zouzou, in 1934. She was also the first to integrate an American concert hall, and the first American-born woman to receive full French military honors at her funeral.

 June 2, 2014Elizabeth Duncan Koontz (1919-1989) was the first black president of the National Education Association. Her birthday is tomorrow.    

June 1, 2014 – Miriam “Ma” Ferguson (1875-1961) was the first woman governor of Texas. Elected in 1924, she was elected only a few days after Nellie Tayloe Ross of Wyoming, the first woman governor in the United States.

May 31, 2014 – President Jimmy Carter appointed Patricia Roberts Harris as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in 1977. She was the first African American woman to hold a cabinet post and the first woman to hold two cabinet posts.

May 30, 2014 – In 1973 Amy Solomon was the first woman to register as an undergraduate at Yale.

May 29, 2014 – Mary Roberts Wilson, an army nurse (1914 -2001), was the first woman to earn a Silver Star for courage under fire, when her surgical tent was torn by shrapnel in Anzio, Italy. She was awarded the medal in 1944 and appeared in Tom Brokaw’s book The Greatest Generation.

May 28, 2014 – Ashley Stroup, a NASA engineer, was the first woman to drive a rover on Mars.

May 27, 2014 – Amelia Jenks Bloomer, born in 1818, was the first woman to own operate, and edit a newspaper for women. With a circulation of over 4,000 The Lily included moral tracts on topics related to marriage law reform and higher education for women as well as recipes. Today is the date of her birth.

May 26, 2014 – Although some women had been named diplomatic ministers to foreign countries, Eugenie Anderson was the first woman to be officially appointed as American ambassador. She was appointed by Harry Truman and served in Denmark and Bulgaria. Her birth date was the 26th of this month.

 May 25, 2014When Penny Harrington became chief of the Portland Police Bureau in 1985, she was the first female to head a major police department in the United States.    

May 24, 2014 – Margaret Fuller (1810-1850) was the first woman book reviewer in journalism. Her book Woman in the Nineteenth Century may be the first major feminist writing in the United States.

May 23, 2014 – Arabella Mansfield was the first American woman to practice law in the United States after being admitted to the bar in Iowa in 1869. Today is the date of her birth.

May 22, 2014 – Mabel Walker Willebrandt (1889-1963) was called the “First Lady of Law.” She served as U.S. Assistant Attorney General from 1921-1929. She was also the first public defender of women, representing prostitutes without pay. Tomorrow is her birth date.

May 21, 2014 – In 1924 Ruth Law became the first woman to qualify for an international hydroplane license. Her date of birth is May 21.

May 20, 2014 – Antoinette Blackwell was the first American woman to be ordained a minister in an established denomination. Born on this day in 1825, she was a minister of the Congregationalist Church. Her birth date is May 20.

May 19, 2014 – Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, on May 20-21, 1932.

May 18, 2014 – Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, who believed that children’s play had educational value, founded the first English-language kindergarten in the United States. She was also the first to translate and publish a Buddhist scripture in English.

May 17, 2014 – Mary Shane (1945-1987) was the first woman to be hired by major league baseball as a play-by-play commentator. She was hired in 1977 by the Chicago White Sox. Her birthday was May 17.

May 16, 2014 – Joan Benoit won the first Olympic Marathon for women in 1984. Today is her birthday.

May 15, 2014 – Madeleine Albright, the first woman to serve as US Secretary of State, was born on this day in 1937.

May 14, 2014 – When Jacqueline Cochran died in 1980, she held more speed, distance and altitude records than anyone else in aviation history. One of the women who helped form the WAAC and Women Airforce Service Pilots during World War II, she was the first woman to pilot a bomber across the Atlantic.

May 13, 2014 – In 2001 Texas Longhorn coach Jody Conradt was the first women’s basketball coach to coach 1,000 games, a feat accomplished by only 20 men’s coaches. She was also the first women’s coach to reach 700 victories and she has been inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Today is her birthday.

May 12, 2014 – Harriet Quimby (1875-1912) was the first woman in the United States to receive a pilot’s license and the first woman to fly across the English Channel. She was also a movie screenwriter. Yesterday was her birth date.

 May 11, 2014 – Martha Graham (1894-1991) was the first dancer to perform at the White House, the first to travel abroad as a cultural ambassador, and the first to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Her influence on dance has been compared to that of other modern artists like Picasso, Stravinsky and Frank Lloyd Wright.

May 10, 2014 – The first Mother’s Day was celebrated on May 10, 1908. Ann Jarvis (1864-1948) worked to establish the holiday in honor of her mMay 9, 2014 – Evelyn Stevens was the first American woman to win the LaFleche Walloon Femme Cycle Race in Europe. She abandoned her job as a Wall Street trader to pursue racing and today is her birthday.

May 8, 2014 – Mildred Helen McAfee Horton, an academic dean (1900-1994) was the first director of the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) in the United States Navy during World War II. My mother served under her.

May 7, 2014 – Phyllis Wheatley, a slave, was the first African-American published poet. In 1773 Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral was published, bringing her fame in England and the Colonies.

May 6, 2014 – Mabel McFerran Rockwell (1925-1981) was the only woman who worked on the design and instillation of the Hoover Dam. President Eisenhower named her Engineer of the Year because of her contribution to national defense. She designed guidance systems for missiles, underwater propulsion systems and submarine guidance systems.

May 5, 2014 – Linda Eastman was the first woman to head a major library system, at the Cleveland Public Library. She served in that position from 1918 to 1938 and also headed the American Library Association.

May 4, 2014 – Helen Stephens, a former Olympic runner, was the first woman to create, own and manage a semi-professional backetball team.

May 3, 2014 – In 1924 Aileen Riggin became the first athlete to win Olympic medals in both swimming and diving. She went on to become one of America’s first female sportswriters.

May 2, 2014 – On May 2, 1977 1st Lieutenant Christine E. Schott, as a member of the United States Air Force’s Undergraduate Pilot Training program, was the first female student to solo in the T-38.

May 1, 2014 – Cecilia Beaux was the first woman to be hired for a teaching position at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Beaux (as in Beaux Arts?) taught portrait drawing and painting for twenty years.

April 30, 2014

The first athletic games for women were held in 1882 at the YWCA in Boston.

April 29, 2014

Amelia Simmons published the first American cookbook in 1796.

April 27, 2014

In 1929 Elinor Smith set a solo flight endurance record of 13 hours, 16 minutes.

In 1660 Mary Dyer was the first woman in U.S. history to die for religious freedom. She preached about her religious beliefs and defied a law banning Quakers from the Massachusetts Colony.

April 26, 2014

Julia Archibald Holmes (1838-1887) was the first woman to climb Pike’s Peak.

April 25, 2014

In 1958 Ella Fitzgerald was the first African-American woman to win a Grammy Award.

April 24, 2014

Bernadette Locke was the first woman to coach a Division I men’s college basketball team. In 1990, she became assistant coach to Rick Pitino at the University of Kentucky.

April 23, 2014

Appointed by Gerald Ford, Shirley Black, formerly Shirley Temple of movie fame, was the first was the first woman to be chief of protocol for a U.S. President. She died this past February. Her birthday was today.

April 22, 2014

Cathy Hughes, founder of the media company Radio One, was the first African American woman to head a publicly traded corporation on a stock exchange in the United States. Tomorrow is her birthday.

April 21, 2014

Shall we praise her or condemn her? Caresse Crosby (1891-1970), whose birth date was yesterday, was the first woman to patent a brassiere. [She was born Mary Phelps Jacob. The story is her husband persuaded her to take the name Caresse. Bra/Caresse?? Hmmm!]

April 20, 2014

On Easter Sunday, in 1939, with the aid of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and her husband Franklin D. Roosevelt, Marian Anderson performed an open-air concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. She was the first black person, from any country, to perform at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.

April 19, 2014

Anna Lee Aldred (1921-2006), whose date of birth is April 19, was the first woman jockey in the United States.

April 18, 2014

Anne Hutchinson was the first woman to become a female defendant in a Massachusetts court. After finding her guilty of expressing religious viewa not supported by the government, she was expelled from the colony in 1637.

April 17, 2014

Cristeta Comerford was the first woman executive chef in the White House as well as the first person of Asian descent. She assumed the position in 2005 and still holds it today.

April 16, 2014

It is believed that when Mary Garber began reporting about sports in the Winston-Salem Journal in 1946, she became the first woman to be a fulltime staff sports reporter at a daily newspaper. She was definitely the first woman to win the Associated Press Sports Editors award and also the first woman to be inducted into the U.S. Basketball Writers Hall of Fame in 2002. April 16 was the date of her birth.

April 15, 2014

In 2006, twenty-five years after her death, Effa Manley was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, in recognition of her co-ownership of the Negro League team Newark Eagles.

April 14, 2014

In 1975, Karen Stead was the first girl to win the All-American Soap Box Derby. She was 11 years old.

April 13, 2014

Eudora Alice Welty (1909- 2001), author and Pulitzer Prize winner, was the first living author to have her works published by the Library of America. I had the lovely grace to attend a class she taught. April 13 was her birthday.

April 12, 2014

Did you see Cheryl Boone Isaacs at the Academy Awards last month? She is the current President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the first African American woman in that position and only the third woman.

April 11, 2014

Dale Messick (1906-2005) wrote the comic strip Brenda Starr. She was the first female to create and publish a comic strip.

April 10, 2014

Born on this day, the first woman appointed to a presidential cabinet was Frances Perkins who served as Secretary of Labor from 1933-1945.

April 9, 2014

Florence Beatrice Smith Price (1887-1953), was the first black woman to have a symphony performed by a Major American orchestra, in 1933. April 9 is the date of her birth.

April 8, 2014

In 1914 Georgia “Tiny” Broadwick was the first person to make an intentional free-fall parachute jump from an airplane, while teaching air-jumping techniques to the US Army in San Diego, California. She was born on April 8.

April 7, 2014

Merrill Lynch likes to boast that they were the first Wall Street Firm to hire a woman. They hired Annie Grimes in 1919 and she became the first bond saleswoman on Wall Street.

 April 6, 2014

Annie Marion MacLean (1869-19334) was the first woman to receive a Master’s degree in sociology (in 1897) and the second to receive a Ph.D. Both degrees were from the Univeristy of Chicago. Mary Jo Deegan’s biography Annie Marion MacLean and the Chicago Schools of Sociology, 1894-1934 was recently published.

April 5, 2014

Nellie Nielson, born this day in 1873, was the first woman to be President of the American Historical Association.

April 4, 2014

Maya Angelou is known as an author and poet but she was also the first the first black woman to work as a streetcar conductor in San Francisco and the first African American woman to direct a major motion picture, Down in the Delta. Today is her birthday.

April 3, 2014

Sophonisba Preston Breckinridge (1866-1948) was the first woman to graduate from the law school of the University of Chicago, the first to receive a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago, and the first woman admitted to the Kentucky bar.

April 2, 2014

Florence Blanchfield (1884-1971) was the first woman commissioned in the regular army. She was Superintendent of the Army Nursing Corps during World War II and received the Distinguished Service Medal as well as the Florence Nightingale Medal.

April 1, 2014

On March 20th, 1985 Libby Riddles was the first woman to win the Iditarod, five hours ahead of her nearest competitor. Today is her birthday.

March 31, 2014

Suffragette Marie Caroline Brehm was the first legally qualified female candidate to run for the vice-presidency of the United States, which she did in 1924 on the ticket of the Prohibition Party running with Herman P. Faris.

March 30, 2014

When Mary Rice Livermore set up a system for providing nurses during the Civil War, it was the first time women staffed army hospitals.

March 29, 2014

Lou Henry Hoover (1874-1944) was the wife of President of the United States Herbert Hoover. Proficient in Chinese, she was the only, thus first, First Lady to speak an Asian language. This is the date of her birth.

March 28, 2014

In 1992 Nydia Velasquez became the first Puerto Rican woman to serve in the United State Congress, a position she still holds. Today is her birthday.

March 27, 2014

Asa Gray, in 1843, described Jane Colden as the “first botanist of her sex in her country” and today is her birthdate.

March 26, 2014

Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to serve as a United States Supreme Court Justice, was born on this day in 1930.

March 25, 2014

Nancy Pelosi was the first woman Speaker of the House of Representatives. Today is her birthday.

March 24, 2014

Katharine Jefferts Schori was the first woman senior bishop of a national church, the Episcopalian Church. Her birthday is March 26.

March 23, 2014

When President George W. Bush appointed Elaine Chao as Secretary of Labor in 2001, she was the first Asian-American woman to hold a cabinet post. Her birthday is March 26.

March 22, 2014

Frances Jane “Fanny” Crosby (1820-1915) was an American Methodist rescue mission worker, poet, lyricist, and composer. Blind from birth, she wrote The Flower Queen, the first secular cantata by an American composer.

March 21, 2014

Lorna Lockwood was under consideration by President Lyndon Johnson to be the first female justice on the United States Supreme Court. He chose Thurgood Marshall instead. Lorna Lockwood was, however, the first woman justice of a state Supreme Court. She served in Arizona, beginning in 1965.

March 20, 2014

In 1809 Mary Kies, who was born on March 21, became the first woman to receive a patent. She devised a method of weaving straw with silk and thread.

March 19, 2014

Senda Berenson was an advocate for physical education in the schools and was the first person to introduce and adapt rules for women’s basketball at Smith College. This is her birth date.

March 18, 2014

Vanessa Williams won the Miss America title in 1984, the first African-American. Today is her birthday.

March 17, 2014

Alice Cunningham Fletcher (1838-1923.) was an American ethnologist who studied and documented American Indian culture. Active in professional societies, she was elected president of the Anthropological Society of Washington and in 1905 as the first woman president of the American Folklore Society.

March 16, 2014

Harriet E. Wilson may have been the first African-American novelist published. Her novel Our Nig, or Sketches from the Life of a Free Black was published anonymously in 1859.March 15, 2014

Betty Friedan (1921–2006) was an American writer, activist and feminist. She founded and was elected first president of the National Organization for Women.

March 14, 2014

In 1866 Lucy Hobbs Taylor became the first woman to graduate from dental school at the Ohio College of Dental Surgery. Today is the anniversary of her birth.

March 13, 2014

Narcissa Prentiss Whitman (1808-1847) was an American missionary in the Oregon Country of what would become the state of Washington. Along with Eliza Hart Spalding (wife of Henry Spalding), she was the first European-American woman to cross the Rocky Mountains in 1836 on her way to found the Protestant Whitman Mission with husband Dr. Marcus Whitman near modern day Walla Walla, Washington.

March 12, 2014

In 1975, the first nationally televised women’s college basketball game was aired. Immaculata defeated the University of Maryland, 85-63.

March 11, 2014

In 2001 President George W. Bush appointed Gale Norton as Secretary of the Interior, the first woman to hold that position. Today is her birthday.

March 10, 2014

Dorothy Schiff (1903-1989) was an owner and then publisher of the New York Post for nearly 40 years. She was New York’s first female newspaper publisher.

March 9, 2014

My home state of Washington was the first state to have three women in the highest offices of the state when Christine Gregoire served as governor while Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell served as U.S. Senators.

March 8, 2014

Sarah Caldwell was the first woman to conduct the orchestra at the Metropolitan Opera. She later appeared on the cover of Time magazine.

March 7, 2014

Carol Guzy won her first Pulitzer in 2011. A photojournalist, she is the first woman to win four Pulitzers and today is her birthday.

March 6, 2014

Janet Guthrie was the first woman to compete in the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500, in 1977. Her birthday is tomorrow.

March 5, 2014

Mary Teresa Norton (1875-1959) was the first woman elected to the US House of Representatives from the Democratic Party. Five Republican women served before her. She chaired four House committees and, at her retirement, had served longer than any other woman.

March 4, 2014

In 1953 Jerrie Cobb was the first woman in the U.S. admitted to astronaut testing but the women’s program was canceled. It was 1983 before a woman flew into space. Today is Jerrie Cobb’s birthday.

March 3, 2014

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine was the first to admit women on a equal basis with men. The philanthropist Mary Garrett was a driving force behind this initiative. Tomorrow is her birth date.

March 2, 2014

Dame Naomi James was first to circumnavigate the globe, sailing around Cape Horn. Today is her birthday.

March 1, 2014

It was in 1887 that Susanna Medora Salter, of Argonia, Kansas, became the first woman mayor elected in America, 27 years after she was born on this date. She lived to the age of 101.

February 28, 2014

Mary Mason Lyon (1797-1849) was the first president of what is now Mount Holyoke College. She raised funds and established the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in 1837.

February 27, 2014

Alice Hamilton (1869-1970) was the first woman appointed to the faculty of Harvard University. She pioneered studies in toxicology that demonstrated the dangerous effects of industrial metals and chemicals on the human body.

February 26, 2014

In 2003 Sgt. 1st Class Billie Jo Miranda and Sgt. Corenna L. Rouse became the first female drill sergeants to earn the titles of Drill Sergeants of the Year.

February 25, 2014

In 1968, Diana Rhea became the first woman to be a manager within Boeing’s manufacturing engineering operations. She has worked with Boeing for 66 years making her the most senior woman employee at Boeing.

February 24, 2014

Manon Rhéaume was the first (and only) woman to play a National Hockey League exhibition game. She is Canadian, but she played for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Today is her birthday.

February 23, 2014

Florence Ellinwood Allen was the first woman appointed to a federal appellate court (in 1934) and the first Chief Judge for the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

February 22, 2014

Emma Hart Willard 1787-1870) founded the Troy Female Seminary in Troy, New York, the first school to provide higher education for women.

February 21, 2014

Barbara Charline Jordan (1936-1996) was the first African American elected to the Texas Senate after Reconstruction and the first black woman from the south elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. When she died, she was the first African-American woman to be buried in the Texas State Cemetery.

February 20, 2014

Anna Howard Shaw (1847-1919) was the first woman ordained as a Methodist minister in the United States. She was also a leader in the women’s suffrage movement.

February 19, 2014

Mary Davenport Engberg, violinist, composer and conductor, was the first woman to conduct a symphony orchestra, in Bellingham, Washington, in 1914.

February 18, 2014

Toni Morrison was the first African-American woman to receive a Nobel Prize for Literature. Today is her birthday.

February 17, 2014

In addition to bringing the Montessori method of child-rearing to the United States, Dorothy Canfield Fisher (1879-1958) established the country’s first adult education program.

February 16, 2014

On her birth date, we celebrate Mary Ewing Outerbridge who set up the first tennis court in the US in 1874 at the Staten Island Cricket and Baseball Club. She had purchased tennis equipment in Bermuda, but it presented difficulties when she attempted to clear Customs.

February 15, 2014

In 1979, Susan B. Anthony, born this date in 1820, was the first woman whose image appeared on a United States coin (if you don’t count Lady Liberty).

 February 14, 2014

In 1913 Katherine Stinson flew the mail from the fairground outside Helena, Montana into the city. She was the first woman to do this and the first woman to fly the loop the loop in her airplane. She was born on February 14.

February 13, 2014

In 1959 Patty Berg hit the first “hole-in-one” in a woman’s golf tournament. She was a founder and first president of the Ladies’ Professional Golf Association. (The LPGA established the Patty Berg Award for outstanding contributions to women’s golf in 1979.)

February 12, 2014

 OLYMPIC NEWS! – Yesterday Sarah Hendrickson was the first woman to ski jump in the Olympics! EVER! She drew the first slot and went into the history books.

February 11, 2014

Not only was Tammy Baldwin the first woman from Wisconsin to serve in Congress, but she was also the first openly gay or lesbian person elected to Congress as a non-incumbent. Today is her birthday.

February 10, 2014

As early as 1946 Edith Houghton was hired as the first major-league baseball scout. Her birth date is today.

February 9, 2014

Peggy Whitson became the first American woman astronaut to command the International Space Station in 2007. Today is her birthday.

February 8, 2014

Rebecca Lee Crumpler (1831-1895) was the first African American woman to earn an M.D. degree in the United States, from the New England Female Medical College.

February 7, 2014

Diane Crump was the first female jockey to ride in the Kentucky Derby–on February 7, 1969.

February 6, 2014

Lydia Maria Francis Child (1802–1880) published the first monthly periodical for children in the United States, Juvenile Miscellany. She also campaigned for abolition, women’s rights, and Indian rights.

February 5, 2014

On this date in 1931, Maxine Dunlap became the first American woman to earn a glider pilot license.

February 4, 2014

Winifred Goldring (1888-1971) was the first woman to be appointed as a State Paleontologist (in New York State). Her work included a description of stromatolites, fossils formed in water.

February 3, 2014

Elizabeth Blackwell, born this day in 1821, received the first M.D. degree awarded to an American woman from the Medical Institution of Geneva, New York, in 1849.

February 2, 2014

Lydia Taft (1712-1778) may have been the first woman to vote in the United States. She voted in the open town meeting in Uxbridge, Massachusetts in 1756. Her franchise might have been influenced by the fact that she was a significant landholder after the death of her husband and son.

February 1, 2014

In 1932 Hattie Ophelia Wyatt Caraway of Arkansas was the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate. In 1878 she was born on this date.

January 31, 2014

Ida May Fuller was the first American to receive a monthly Social Security benefit. On January 31, 1940, she received a check for $22.54.

January 30, 2014

It was not until 1991 that the first black woman was sworn in as mayor of a major city. Sharon Pratt Dixon served as mayor of Washington, DC until 1995. Today is her birthday.

January 29, 2014

Oprah Winfrey was the first woman and the first African-American to lead Entertainment Weekly’s list of the 101 most powerful people in the entertainment industry. Today is her birthday.

January 28, 2014

Alice Catherine Evans 1881–1975), an American microbiologist, was the first woman to serve as president of the Society of American Bacteriologists.

January 27, 2014

Georgia Neese Clark was the first woman to become Treasurer of the United States, in 1949, under Harry Truman. Since then no man has served in this position. Today is the date of her birth.

January 26, 2014

Bessie Coleman (1892-1926) was the first black licensed pilot in the world. She was born on January 26.

January 25, 2014

In 1890 Nellie Bly (pseudonym for investigative reporter Elizabeth Cochran Seaman), was the first woman to travel around the world alone. In imitation of the fictitious Phineas Fogg, she made the journey in 72 days, returning on January 25.

January 24, 2014

Edith Wharton’s novel won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, a first for an American woman. Her birth date is January 25, 1862.

January 23, 2014

Catherine Elizabeth Brewer (later Benson) was first in the alphabetical listing of women to receive a degree from Georgia Female College (now Wesleyan College) in 1840, becoming the first woman in the United States to receive a bachelor’s degree.

January 22, 2014

Julia Anna Gardner (1882–1960) was a geologist with the United States Geological Survey for 32 years. She was the first woman Johns Hopkins University admitted to the Department of Geology as a full-time student. She earned her Ph.D. in paleontology there in 1911.

January 21, 2014

Harriot Eaton Stanton Blatch (1856-194) was the first American woman to earn a degree in civil engineering, She was the daughter of pioneering women’s rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

January 20, 2014

Pat Mitchell was the first women and the first producer and journalist to serve as President and CEO of Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Currently she serves as President and CEO of the Paley Center for Media (formerly the Museum of Television and Radio) and today is her birthday.

January 19, 2014

Oveta Culp Hobby, born this day in 1905, has three firsts: first woman to serve as Secretary of HEW, first director of the WAAC, and first woman to receive the U.S. Army Distinguished Service Medal.

January 18, 2014

Maud Wood Park (1871–1955) was the first woman president of the League of Women Voters.

January 17, 2014

The first year at least 50% of all women over the age of 16 participated in the labor force? 1978

January 16, 2014

In 1934, Lettie Pate Whitehead was the first American woman to serve as director of a major corporation.

January 15, 2014

In January 1995, Martha McSally became the first woman in U.S. history to fly a combat aircraft into enemy territory when she flew her initial mission into Iraq to help enforce the United Nations’ “no-fly zone.”

January 14, 2014

The first woman to be promoted to four-star general was Ann E. Dunwoody. She retired in 2012 after 38 years in the Army. Today is her birthday.

January 13, 2014

Charlotte E. Ray (1850-1911) holds several legal firsts: first women admitted to the bar in the District of Columbia, first woman permitted to argue cases in the U.S. Supreme Court, and first African-American woman admitted to the bar. This is her birthdate.

January 12, 2014

In 2005 Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester, a Kentucky National Guard soldier, was in a convoy outside Baghdad when it came under attack. She is credited with killing several insurgents and saving members of her convoy. She was the first woman to receive a Silver Star for service in the war on terror.

January 11, 2014

Juanita Kreps (1921-2010, born this date) was the first woman to be appointed Secretary of Commerce and the first woman director of the New York Stock exchange

January 10, 2014

The first voluntary organization for girls was the Girl Guides of America, founded in 1912. Today the organization is called the Girl Scouts of the USA.

January 9, 2014

Alice Mary Robertson, born this day, was the first woman to defeat an incumbent congressman and earn a seat in the United States Congress, from 1921-1923. She was the only women from Oklahoma to serve in Congress until 2003.

January 8, 2014

Mary Kenny O’Sullivan (1864 – 1943, born this date) was the first woman employed fulltime by the AFL on a full salary. She was an organizer in the early U.S. labor movement.

January 7, 2014

Katie Couric was the first solo female anchor of a weekday evening news program on one of the three traditional broadcast networks. Today is her birthday.

January 6, 2014

The Irish, especially in Cork and Kerry, celebrate Nollaig na mban (Women’s Christmas) today. Irish men take over housekeeping chores for the day while women party and celebrate with their female relatives.

January 5, 2014

Olympia Brown (1835 – 1926) was an American suffragist. She is regarded as the first woman to graduate from a theological school, as well as becoming the first full-time ordained minister.

January 4, 2014

Anna May Wong was the first Asian-American movie star (in the 1920’s). She also hosted her own TV series.

January 3, 2014

Dorothy Arzner, in 1947, was the first woman to direct a talking movie

January 2, 2014

Not only was Kay Orr the first Republican woman elected governor of a state, she was the first woman to defeat another woman in a gubernatorial race. Her birthday is today.

January 1, 2014

As the new year begins, I hope that each woman may be a “first woman” in someone else’s heart.

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