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
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, 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
Have you ever heard the name Kate Warne? Most people haven’t. And yet, she did amazing things – every bit as impressive as household names like Amelia Earhart, Sally Ride and Marie Curie. Not only did she convince the founder of the Pinkerton Detective Agency to hire her as a female operative – in 1856! – she rose through the ranks to head up a Bureau of Female Detectives within the agency, saved Abraham Lincoln’s life en route to his inauguration, and went undercover as a spy for the Union during the Civil War. Continue reading Kate Warne: First Female Detective
Lois Weber was early Hollywood’s original shero. In a career that spanned almost three decades at the beginning of moviemaking, Weber wrote and directed more than 40 features and over 100 shorts. She was the first woman to direct a feature film in the US –The Merchant of Venice in 1914, the first woman admitted to the Motion Picture Directors’ Association in 1916, and in 1917 she became the first woman to run a Hollywood studio.
In her time Weber was considered one of the three “great minds” in early film-making, alongside D.W. Griffith and Cecil B. DeMille. While her male peers have long been celebrated as the fathers of American cinema, Weber has been largely forgotten. Continue reading Lois Weber, Hollywood Shero
Jane Addams was born in 1860–the daughter of a wealthy Illinois businessman. At the age of two, her mother died after falling on ice while pregnant. This left Jane empathetic to how fate could work against a person. Continue reading Jane Addams: Chicago’s Progressive Shero