Belle da Costa Greene

The Morgan Library, which occupies a large complex on New York’s Madison Avenue, is known internationally as one of the finest collections of books and manuscripts in the world. It was founded in 1906 to house the private library of legendary financier J. P. Morgan, who began to accumulate rare books, illuminated manuscripts, incunabula and examples of fine bookbinding at an almost aggressive rate in the 1890s. Morgan himself, however, was no scholar or connoisseur in the world of bibliophilia, and the expertise and passion which largely shaped the enormous collection belonged to his remarkable personal librarian, a woman of colour named Belle da Costa Greene. Continue reading Belle da Costa Greene

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Patsy Takemoto Mink

Patsy Takemoto Mink was a Japanese-American politician who spent decades fighting sexism and racism. She broke many barriers during her life, especially when she was elected to the House of Representatives in 1965 to represent Hawaii, which had become a state in 1959. Mink was not only the first non-white, but also the first Asian-American Pacific Islander (AAPI) woman, in addition to being the youngest person to represent the youngest State of the nation in Congress. Continue reading Patsy Takemoto Mink

Louise Arner Boyd (1887-1972)

Born in San Rafael, California in 1887, Louise was the only daughter of mining magnate John Franklin Boyd and the well-bred Louise Cook Arner. As a young woman, she became a prominent socialite like her mother and was groomed to assume control of her father’s financial empire.  Upon the death of her parents, Louise Arner Boyd became a millionairess in her early thirties. Unmarried and with no living relatives, she was freed from the gilded cage that had constrained her for so long. Continue reading Louise Arner Boyd (1887-1972)

Madeleine L’Engle: A New Perspective on Science and Girls

Madeleine L’Engle, author of the groundbreaking children’s novel A Wrinkle in Time, was a clumsy girl, born to older parents who loved her and wanted her but weren’t sure quite what to do with her after twenty years of childless marriage. Her father, Charles Camp, was a journalist who had been exposed to mustard gas during WWI and caught pneumonia frequently. Her mother was often in frail health. When Madeleine was born in New York City in 1918, antibiotics hadn’t been discovered. Madeleine was over-protected and sent off to boarding school for most of her lonely childhood. Continue reading Madeleine L’Engle: A New Perspective on Science and Girls