More Than the Entrails and the Breast & Warriors Worth a Thousand

Name: Paulina Luisi

Born: 1875    Died: 1950

What they did: Leader of the feminist movement in the country of Uruguay and first Uruguayan woman to earn a medical degree.


  • Paulina Luisi was born in Argentina in 1875. Her mother, Maria Teresa Josefina Janicki was of Polish descent and her father, Angel Luisi was believed to have come from an Italian ancestry.
  • The eldest of eight children seven of them girls.
  • Paulina received a bachelor’s degree in 1899 and later was the first female physician and surgeon that graduated from the Medicine School of the Universidad de la República (University of Uruguay, 1908).
  • “As the first female medical student, Paulina faced a lot of harassment from her classmates. One day, Luisi found a severed human penis in the pocket of her lab coat. Luisi reportedly waited until class was over, when she held up the offending member and asked her all-male classmates, Did one of you lose this?’
  • She was not only a physician but also a teacher and the primary editor of the magazine Acción Femenina
  • While Paulina was still a student, Argentine liberal feminist Petrona Eyle wrote to her, in her capacity as president of the Universitarias Argentinas recruiting her to join the organization. In a letter dated 1 May 1907, Eyle encouraged Paulina and her female colleagues in the university to form a Uruguayan branch of the Universitarias, this happened in 1907.
  • She participated in the Women’s Congress held in Buenos Aires in 1910.
  • Organized by the Universitarias, the conference brought together more than 200 women, representing Argentina, Uruguay, Peru, Paraguay, and Chile.
  • In 1916, Paulina founded and led the Uruguayan branch of the National Women’s Council. In late 1932 Uruguay became only the second Latin American country to grant women full voting rights. At that point, Paulina was in Europe serving as a diplomatic representative, but she resigned to return to Uruguay to fight totalitarianism at home and abroad.
  • In 1917, Paulina published a definition of feminism in the magazine Acción Femenina stating: “…demonstrating that woman is something more than material created to serve and obey man like a slave, that she is more than a machine to produce children and care for the home; that women have feelings and intellect; that it is their mission to perpetuate the species and this must be done with more than the entrails and the breasts; it must be done with a mind and a heart prepared to be a mother and an educator; that she must be the man’s partner and counselor not his slave.”
  • She worked as a teacher at the Teacher’s Training College for Women and as an advocate reaching out for social hygiene related to the teaching profession.
  • Her lectures and arguments were specifically designed to introduce prophylaxis as a subject within the teachers’ training syllabus.
  • A controversial aspect of Paulina’s moral reform platform was obligatory sex-health education programs in the public school system.
    • She suggested having these programs first introduced in the primary schools and then continuing on to the secondary level. She defined sex education as the pedagogic tool to teach the individual to subject sexual drives to the will of an instructed, conscientious, and responsible intellect.
    • Classes in sex education would emphasize the need for will power and self-discipline, regular moderate physical exercise to burn up sexual energy, and the desirability of avoiding sexually stimulating entertainments.
  • In 1944, her suggestions about sex-health education were finally incorporated into the Uruguayan public school system.
  • Paulina is also known for writing papers addressed to students, as well as, to the general public which were included in magazines, brochures, and even in Congresses’ acts.
  • Paulina became the founder and primary editor of the magazine “Acción Femenina” (Feminine Action), which was primarily focused on topics revolving around women.
  • She dealt with Women’s rights in two ways , first by developing new domains of activity for women, and later by organizing the first feminist associations in the country.
    • She founded the Consejo Nacional de Mujeres (National Women Council)
    • the Alianza de Mujeres para los Derechos Femeninos (Women alliance for women’s rights)
    • Uruguayan and Argentine branches of the International Abolitionist Federation.
    • The two first feminine trade unions that ever existed in Uruguay – “Unión de Telefonistas” (Telephone Operators Union) and the “Costureras de sastrerías” (Seamstresses from Tailor’s shops) were created by Paulina as well.
  • As the secretary of the Abolitionist Committee of the River Plate, she made a significant contribution to reform the dispositions regulating prostitution in Buenos Aires.
  • She organized and also chaired the University Women Association.
  • At 65 years of age Paulina died in Montevideo.

The Onna-Bugeisha

Emily did a wonderful job talking about three different women who were Onna-Bugeisha. Onna-Bugeisha, or woman warriors, were just as, if not more fierce than the
samurai they fought alongside (or against.)

  • Mentions of onna-bugeisha can be traced all the way back to 200 AD.
  • Women learned to use weapons such as naginata, kaiken (dagger), and fight using the art of tantojutsu (traditional Japanese knife fighting.)
  • This was important so women could help protect their communities, especially if there was a lack of male warriors.
  • Onna-bugeisha were part of a noble class of feudal Japanese warriors who, in some cases, even served as stewards of newly conquered lands.

Name: Empress Jingu

Born: 169    Died: 269


  • Legend says that following the death of her husband, Emperor Chuai, the pregnant Empress Jingu took the throne, dressed as a man, and led a successful invasion of modern day Korea where she ruled for 70 years, until she was 100 years
  • Though Jingu’s legendary invasion of Korea can’t be verified, she was honored as the first woman featured on a Japanese banknote.

Name: Tomoe Gozen

Born: 1157   Died: 1247


  • Tomoe Gozen was immortalized in The Tale of the Heike, an epic that
    commemorated the stories of samurai during the Genpei War.
  • In the epic, Tomoe is the wife of General Minamoto no Yoshinaka, who fought during the Battle of Awazu on FEBRUARY 21, 1184.
  • Tomoe is described a “a remarkably strong archer, and as aswordswoman she was a warrior worth a thousand, ready to confront a demon or a god, mounted or on
    foot. She handled unbroken horses with superb skill; she rode unscathed down perilous descents. Whenever a battle was imminent, Yoshinaka sent her out as his first captain, equipped with strong armor, an oversized sword, and a mighty bow; and she performed more deeds of valor than any of his other warriors.”
  • During the battle, Tomoe took the head of at least one enemy and killed a famous samurai.
  • Unfortunately, their army was overpowered and Yoshinaka told Tomoe to flee because he would have been ashamed to die with a woman.
  • Here is a 3 minute YouTube clip from a show called Ancient Assassins that depicts her defeating a samurai during the battle.
  • Another interesting thing about Tomoe is that she was known as an onna-musha, as she engaged in offensive battle, rather than the traditional defensive fighting which was common for onna-bugeisha.
  • Though it’s not confirmed whether Tomoe was a real person or a legend, accounts of her ferocity inbattle significantly impacted the warrior class and she has been remembered through art, plays, and even into modern pop culture.
    • We give it the Wining About Herstory truth stamp.
    • Anyone who is a fan of the Persona 4 video game will recognize Tomoe as the inspiration for one of the character’s Persona’s.

Name: Nakano Takeko

Born: April 1847   Died: October 16, 1868


  • Nakano Takeko was born in Edo.
  • Nakano was trained in martial arts and literature from an early age.
  • Her father, Nakano Heinai, was an Aizu government official.
    • At this time, Aizu was a feudal domain and
      known for its military skill.
    • At any given time, Aizu had a standing army of over 5,000 which wereroutinely deployed for security operations.
  • Nakano trained as a martial artist with her father until 1868 when she finally entered Aizu for the first time.
  • The ruler of Aizu, Matsudaira Katamori swung his military might around a bit too far and pissed off the Imperial Court who categorized Katamori (the ruler) and Aizu as “enemies of the Court.”
  • Katamori joined to fight against the Imperial Court in 1868.
  • Though Aizu originally fought as part of a greater effort against the Imperial Court, they were eventually abandoned and continued the fight alone.
  • Battle of Aizu
    •  In October of 1868, the seat of Aizu’s power, Tsuruga Castle was attacked by 30,000 Imperial troops, beginning a month-long siege which would become known as the Battle of Aizu.
    • Aizu had about 3,000 warriors to defend themselves with.
    • Nakano fought, wielding a naginata.
    • She also led a rag-tag corps of 20-30 female combatants, later called the Joshigun or Women’s Army, who fought independently during the battle.
      • They did not fight as part of the larger army because the senior military leaders would not allow them to be an official part of the army.
    • During the battle, it is said that Nakano had killed 172 samurai.
    • While leading a charge against the enemy army, Nakano was fatally shot. Nakano asked her sister to cut it off her head and bury it in the Hokai Temple
      under a pine tree. (So it couldn’t be taken for a Trophy)

A Sunday Rider & A Computer in a Skirt

I am so sorry for the delay in this. It has been a tough week for the two of us here and we hope you can forgive us! It just means you get two blogs closer together. 🙂

Name: Katherine Johnson

Born: August 26, 1918    Died: Not Dead Yet!

What they did: Badass mathematician that helped us go to space and to the moon!


  • Born Katherine Coleman in 1918 in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.
  • Katherine showed strong mathematical abilities from an early age. Because Greenbrier County did not offer public schooling for African-American students past the eighth grade, the Colemans arranged for their children to attend high school in Institute, West Virginia.
    • Katherine was enrolled when she was only 10 years old.
  • Katherine graduated from high school at 14 and entered West Virginia State, a historically black college. As a student, she took every math course offered by the college.
    • She had many mentors here including:
      • Chemist and mathematician Angie Turner King
      • W. W. Schieffelin Claytor, the third African-American to receive a PhD in math
  • She graduated summa cum laude in 1937, with degrees in mathematics and French, at age 18.
  • She took on a teaching job at a black public school in Marion, Virginia.
  • When West Virginia decided to quietly integrate its graduate schools in 1939, West Virginia State’s president Dr. John W. Davis selected Katherine and two male students as the first black students to be offered spots at the state’s flagship school, West Virginia University.
  • Katherine left her teaching job, and enrolled in the graduate math program. At the end of the first session, however, she decided to leave school to after becoming pregnant and choosing to focus on her family.
  • 1952 that a relative told her about open positions at the all-black West Area Computing section at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics’ (NACA’s) Langley laboratory
  • Katherine began work at Langley in the summer of 1953.
    • Katherine has referred to the women in the pool as virtual “computers who wore skirts”.
  • From 1953 to 1958, Katherine worked as a “computer”, analyzing topics such as gust alleviation for aircraft.
  • Katherine was reassigned to the Guidance and Control Division of Langley’s Flight Research Division. It was staffed by white male engineers.
  • Katherine and the other African-American women in the computing pool were required to work, eat, and use restrooms that were separate from those of their white peers. Their office was labeled as “Colored Computers”.
  • NACA disbanded the colored computing pool in 1958 when it was superseded by NASA, which adopted digital computers.
  • In 1956, James Goble died due to an inoperable brain tumor.
  • In 1957, Katherine provided some of the math for the 1958 document Notes on Space Technology, a compendium of a series of 1958 lectures given by engineers in the Flight Research Division and the Pilotless Aircraft Research Division (PARD).
  • She did trajectory analysis for Alan Shepard’s May 1961 mission Freedom 7, America’s first human spaceflight.
  • In 1960, she and engineer Ted Skopinski coauthored Determination of Azimuth Angle at Burnout for Placing a Satellite Over a Selected Earth Position, a report laying out the equations describing an orbital spaceflight in which the landing position of the spacecraft is specified. It was the first time a woman in the Flight Research Division had received credit as an author of a research report.
  • In 1962, as NASA prepared for the orbital mission of John Glenn, Katherine was called upon to do the work that she would become most known for.
  • The computers had been programmed with the orbital equations that would control the trajectory of the capsule in Glenn’s Friendship 7 mission, from blast off to splashdown, but the astronauts were wary of putting their lives in the care of the electronic calculating machines, which were prone to hiccups and blackouts.
  • As a part of the preflight checklist, Glenn asked engineers to “get the girl”—Katherine Johnson—to run the same numbers through the same equations that had been programmed into the computer, but by hand, on her desktop mechanical calculating machine.  “If she says they’re good,’” Katherine Johnson remembers the astronaut saying, “then I’m ready to go.”
  • When asked to name her greatest contribution to space exploration, Katherine Johnson talks about the calculations that helped synch Project Apollo’s Lunar Lander with the moon-orbiting Command and Service Module.
  • On May 5, 2016, a new 40,000-square-foot (3,700 m2) building was named “Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility” and formally dedicated at the agency’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.
  • West Virginia State University announced plans for an endowed STEM scholarship in honor of Katherine and a life-size statue of her on campus.
  • On May 12, 2018 she was awarded an honorary doctorate by the College of William and Mary. This was one day before here 100th birthday.
  • She is still alive and kicking at 100 years old!

Name: Elizabeth Jennings Graham

Born: March, 1827  Died: June, 1901

What she did: African American Teacher and Civil Rights Figure


  • Elizabeth was born in March of 1827(ish. Dates differ according to her death certificate and census records) as a free African American.
  • She was one of 5 children. Her father, Thomas L. Jennings was a free man when Elizabeth was born and became a successful tailor and influential member of New York’s black community.
  • Her mother, also named Elizabeth, was born into slavery but later categorized as an indentured servant until 1827.
  • Thomas used the money he earned from his patented dry-cleaning process to buy his wife’s freedom.
  • By 1854, Elizabeth Jennings Graham became a schoolteacher and church organist, teaching at the African Free School, an institution founded in 1787 to provide education to children of slaves and free people of color.
  • In the 1850’s, horse-drawn street cars on rails were a common mode of transportation.
  • These street car lines were privately owned which allowed owners and drivers to refuse service to passengers and enforce segregated seating.
  • On July 16 , 1854, Elizabeth was running late to play the organ at the First Colored Congregational Church. She boarded a streetcar owned by the Third Avenue Railroad Company, which only catered to white passengers, at the corner of Pearl Street and Chatham Street.
  • Elizabeth was initially given permission to ride as long as none of the white passengers complained. Then, the conductor ordered her to get off. When Elizabeth politely told him no the conductor tried to remove her by force.
  • Only with the aid of a police officer was Elizabeth removed from the streetcar.
  • Elizabeth later wrote of the incident, “I was a respectable person, born and raised in New York, did not know where he was born and that he was a good for nothing impudent fellow for insulting decent persons while on their way to church.”
  • This  didn’t set well with the black community  organized movement to end racial
    discrimination on streetcars was formed led by Elizabeth’s father, Reverend James W.C Pennington, and Reverend Henry Highland Garnet.
  • Elizabeth wrote a letter that detailed the incident and read it in church the next day.
  • The letter was eventually published by famed abolitionist and escaped slave Frederick Douglass in his newspaper.
  • The story gained national attention and Thomas filed a lawsuit on Elizabeth’s behalf against the driver, conductor, and the Third Avenue Railroad Company.
  • Elizabeth was represented by 24-year-old lawyer Chester A. Arthur.
  • In 1855, the court ruled in Elizabeth’s favor.
  • Brooklyn Circuit Court Judge William Rockwell said, “Colored persons, if sober, well behaved, and free from disease, had the same rights as others and could neither be excluded by any rules of the company, nor by force or violence.”
  • Elizabeth was awarded damages in the amount of $250, which is just over $7,000 in today’s money, along with $22.50 in costs, or $653.73 today.
  • Elizabeth’s case set the precedent for future cases.
  • African American activists formed the Legal Rights Association to continue fighting for equality.
  • It would be another decade in 1865, until New York’s public transit services were completely desegregated.
  • After the trial, Elizabeth continued working as an organist and teacher. She married Charles Graham the two had a son named Thomas in 1862.
  • Unfortunately, Thomas died of convulsions at 1 year old. He died during the New York Draft Riots and Elizabeth and her husband had to seek the help of a white undertaker and sneak through the streets to bury their son.
  • Her husband died in 1867.
  • In 1895, Elizabeth operated a kindergarten for African American children out of her home. The school was in operation until her death on June 5, 1901.
  • The first biography on her wasn’t published until 2018.
  • In 2019, Chirlane McCray, First Lady of New York City, announced there would be a statue honoring Elizabeth erected near Grand Central Terminal.
  • In 2007, New York City co-named a block of Park Row “Elizabeth Jennings Place”.

The Fighting Girlfriend, an Unsexed Soldier, & a Police Matron

Name: Mariya Oktyabrskaya

Born: August 16, 1905    Died: March 15, 1944

What they did: Tank-Driving Nazi Killing Widow


  • Born into a poor Ukrainian family on the Crimean Peninsula. She was one of ten children.
  • In 1925, she married a Soviet army officer. While married to her husband, Ilya Oktyabrskaya , she began to acquire an interest in military matters.
    • Became involved in the ‘Military Wives Council’
    • Trained as a nurse in the army.
    • Also learned how to use weapons and drive vehicles.
    • “Marry a serviceman, and you serve in the army: an officer’s wife is not only a proud woman, but also responsible title.
  • When the eastern front of World War II opened (called the Great Patriotic War in the former Soviet Union), Mariya was evacuated to Tomsk in Siberia.
  • While living in Tomsk, she learned that her husband was killed fighting the forces of Nazi Germany near Kiev in August 1941. The news took two years to reach her.
  • The news angered her greatly, and she became determined to fight the Germans in vengeance for her husband’s death.  Mariya sold literally all of their belongings in order to buy a tank.
  • Her letter to Staling Read:

    “My husband was killed in action defending the motherland. I want revenge on the fascist dogs for his death and for the death of Soviet people tortured by the fascist barbarians. For this purpose I’ve deposited all my personal savings – 50,000 rubles – to the National Bank in order to build a tank. I kindly ask to name the tank ‘Fighting Girlfriend’ and to send me to the frontline as a driver of said tank.”

  • The tank Mariya drove was a T-34 medium tank.
  • She took part in a five-month tank training program immediately after the donation.
  • After completing her training, she was posted to the 26th Guards Tank Brigade, part of 2nd Guards Tank Corps, in September 1943 as a driver and mechanic. She named her tank ‘Fighting Girlfriend’ and emblazoned these words on the turret of the T-34.
  • Many of her fellow tankers saw her as a publicity stunt and a joke.
  • On her first outing in the tank, she and her crew outmaneuvered the German soldiers, killing around thirty of them and taking out an anti-tank gun as well as machine gun nests. When they shelled her tank, immobilizing Fighting Girlfriend, she got out — in the middle of a firefight — and repaired the damn thing. She then got back in and proceeded to kill more Germans. During this feat she was promoted to the rank of Sergeant.
  • She took part in an assault on the German positions near Novoye Selo, a town which they had captured. However, a German artillery shell exploded against her tank’s tracks, halting her advance. Mariya and a fellow crewman jumped out to repair the track, while other crew members gave covering fire from the tank’s turret. 
  • Two months later, on 17 January 1944, an attack took place at the village of Shvedy near Vitebsk. During the battle, she drove her T-34 about the German defenses, and destroyed resistance in trenches and machine-gun nests. The tank crew also destroyed a German self-propelled gun. Subsequently, the tank was hit by a German anti-tank shell, again in the tracks, and was immobilized. Mariya immediately got out of the tank and began to repair the track, amid fierce small arms and artillery fire. She managed to repair the track, but she was hit in the head by shell fragments and lost consciousness.
  • After the battle she was transported to a Soviet military field hospital at Fastov, near Kiev, where she remained in a coma for two months, before finally dying on 15 March.
  • She was awarded the highest honor in the Soviet Military and is buried in one of the nation’s most sacred cemeteries. She was the first of the few female tank drivers to be awarded this honor

Name: Sarah Emma Edmonds

Born: December, 1841    Died: September 5, 1898

What they did: Female Soldier (dressed as man) and spy


  • Born in Canada in 1841, but in 1857, to escape the abuse and an arranged marriage, Sarah left home.
  • She lived and worked in the town of Moncton for about a year, but always fearful that she would be discovered by her father, she decided to immigrate to the United States.
  • In order to travel undetected and to secure a job, she decided to disguise herself as a man and took the name Franklin Thompson. She soon found work in Hartford, Connecticut as a traveling Bible salesman.
  • By the start of the Civil War in 1861, Sarah was boarding in Flint, Michigan. Compelled to join the military out of sense of duty, she enlisted in the 2nd Michigan Infantry as a male field nurse. Under the name Franklin Flint Thompson.
  • Although Sarah and her comrades did not participate in the Battle of First Manassas on July 21, they were instrumental in covering the Union retreat from the field. She stayed behind to nurse wounded soldiers and barely eluded capture to return to her regiment in Washington. She continued to work as a hospital attendant for the next several months.
  • In March of 1862, Sarah was assigned the duties of mail carrier for the regiment.
  • From April 5 to May 4, the regiment took part in the Siege of Yorktown.
  • It was during this time that Sarah was supposedly first asked to conduct espionage missions.
    • One of her alleged aliases was as a Southern sympathizer named Charles Mayberry.
    • Another was as a black man named Cuff, for which she disguised herself using wigs and silver nitrate to dye her skin.
    • Yet another was as Bridget O’Shea, an Irish peddler selling soap and apples.
  • The information she gathered on the Confederate’s local troop size, available weapons and location of numerous “Quaker Guns” (logs painted to look like cannons from a distance) that the Confederates planned to use in Yorktown.
  • On May 5, 1862, the regiment came under heavy fire during the Battle of Williamsburg. Sarah was caught in the thick of it, at one point picking up a musket and firing with her comrades. She also acted as a stretcher bearer, ferrying the wounded from the field hour after hour in the pouring rain.
  • 1862 saw Sarah continuing her role as a mail carrier, which often involved journeys of over 100 miles through territory inhabited by dangerous “bushwhackers.”
  • Sarah’s regiment saw action in the battles of Fair Oaks and Malvern Hill, where she acted once again as hospital attendant, tending to the many wounded.
  • On August 29, 1862, the 2nd Michigan took part in the Battle of Second Manassas. Acting as courier during the battle, Edmunds was forced to ride a mule after her horse was killed. She was thrown into a ditch, breaking her leg and suffering internal injuries. These injuries would plague her for the rest of her life and were the main reason for her pension application after the war.
  • In spring of 1863 Sarah contracted malaria and requested a furlough, which was denied. Not wanting to seek medical attention from the army for fear of discovery, She left her comrades in mid-April, never to return. “Franklin Thompson” was subsequently charged with desertion.
  • After her recovery, Sarah, no longer in disguise, worked with the United States Christian Commission as a female nurse, from June 1863 until the end of the war.
  • In 1876, she attended a reunion of the 2nd Michigan and was warmly received by her comrades.
  • On July 5 of 1884, a Special Act of Congress finally granted Sarah a veteran’s pension of $12 a month but the bill to clear her name moved slowly and wasn’t passed until July of 1886.
  • In 1897, Sarah was admitted into the Grand Army of the Republic, the only woman member.
  • One year later, on September 5, 1898, Sarah died at her home in La Porte, Texas.
  • In 1901, she was re-buried with military honors at Washington Cemetery in Houston.

Name: Isabella Goodwin

Born: February 20, 1865   Died: October 26, 1943

What they did: New York City’s First Female Police Detective


  • Isabella Goodwin was born in in Greenwich Village, Manhattan on Feb. 20, 1865.  Growing up she had dreams of being an opera singer.
  • At 19, she married police officer, John W. Goodwin in 1885. Together they had six children, four of which survived.
  • John died in 1896, leaving 30-year-old Isabella a widow and single mother.
  • After the death of her husband, Isabella applied to become a Police Matron. After passing an exam, she was hired by Theodore Roosevelt who was the police commissioner at the time.
  • The Police Matron position wasn’t great; Isabella only made $1,000/year ($30,092) and she was only allowed 1 day off per month.
  • She served as a Police Matron for 15 years.
  • During this time, she began going undercover to investigate crimes while her mother watched her 4 children.
  • In 1912, Isabella got her big break.  In a bold midday bank robbery in downtown Manhattan, robbers, dubbed the “taxi bandits,” hijacked a cab full of bank workers, assaulted two clerks, and stole $25,000 ($651,484.54 in today’s money.)
    • The robbery gained national attention and, despite 60 detectives being assigned to the case, it went unsolved.
    • The NYPD was at a distinct disadvantage against criminals using cars for a quick getaway as they didn’t even have police cars yet.
    • As concerns about copycat crimes and frustration mounted, the sheriff’s office actually proposed arming civilians so they could fight crime on their own.
    • Eventually, the police got a lead about one of the suspected robbers, Gangster Eddie “THE BOOB” Kinsman. 
  • The boob had been frequenting a local boardinghouse to visit his girlfriend Swede Annie. That’s where Isabella came in. Isabella was asked to pose as a maid at the boardinghouse and collect evidence that implicated the boob in the heist.
    • Dressed in a rags and speaking with an Irish accent, Isabella began her mission.
    • Isabella would later recall eating scraps and sleeping in “a dark, wretched, little hole.” Between her maid duties, she would listen to conversations and get close to the thieves’ girlfriends to gather intel.
    • Some of the information she gathered included signs of the boob’s sudden wealth, such as a shopkeeper saying the boob was “shedding money” like a molting canary.
  • Eventually the boob’s girlfriend, Swede Annie confessed to Isabella that “Eddie the Boob turned the trick, alright,” the police were finally able to make arrests.
  • After her successful undercover operation, Isabella was promoted to the rank of detective.
  • A few years later, Isabella moved to Brooklyn where she met Oscar A. Seaholm, a handsome singer, 30 years her junior. In 1921 she put a ring on it.
  • Throughout the 1920s, Isabella oversaw the NYPD’s new Women’s Bureau which handled cases involving sex workers, runaways, truants, and victims of domestic violence.
  • In 1924, Isabella worked with prosecutors to investigate fraudulent medical practices and was instrumental in securing several high profile arrests. The same year she retired after a 30 year career with the NYPD.
  • At 78 years old, Isabella died of colon cancer on October 26, 1943. She was buried in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn under the name Isabella Seaholm.
  • Her grave incorrectly indicates her year of birth as 1871.

Who Paints Michelangelo’s Ceiling & a Spy with a Cheetah Named Chiquita

Name: Artemisia Gentileschi

Born: July 8, 1593      Died: 1656

What they did: Amazing Painter who got defined by one bad experience.


  • Artemisia was the eldest child of Tuscan painter Orazio Gentileschi was first
    introduced to painting by her father, showing more talent than her brothers who painted with her in their father’s workshop.
  • Her earliest surviving work was of Susanna and the Elders, painted when she was 17 years old.
  • Artemisia suffered rape by a man supposed to tutor her. This continued as he promised to marry her. Once it was determined this was not going to happen her father sued the man. In trial it was found out that the guy was a massive liar. Sources are unconfirmed as to his punishment though.
  • In an effort to salvage Artemisia’s reputation, she was married off to artist
    Pierantonio Stiattesi, and together they moved to Florence.
  • She was accepted into the Academy of the Arts of Drawing and was friends with some of the most respected artists and figures of her time, including Cristofano Allori, Grand Duchess Christina of Lorraine (Grand Duchess of Tuscany), and Galileo Galilei.
  • Michelangelo Buonarroti the younger (nephew of a certain THE Michelangelo) also held her in high esteem and even asked Artemisia along with other artists to help him paint the ceiling of Casa Buonarroti which is now a museum.
  • In 1618, Artemisia gave birth to her daughter, Prudentia.
  • She maintained a passionate affair with Florentine nobleman Francesco Maria Maringhi, her husband was aware of the affair and even corresponded with Francesco on the back of Artemisia’s love letters to him. Unfortunately, growing roomers of the affair along with financial and legal problems led Artemisia to move back to Rome in 1621, without her husband.
  • She was heavily influenced by painter Caravaggio and formed a professional relationship with another “Caravaggisti” Simon Vouet and they supported each other in their art and highly influenced each other.
  • Artemisia’s skills didn’t go unnoticed. She was honored by the Academy of Desiosi  with a portrait that carried the inscription “To paint a wonder is more easily envied than imitated.”
  • Unfortunately, despite her skill, reputation, and relationships with other artists, Artemisia found little financial success in Rome. During this time, her works become more relaxed and less defiant.
    • She painted a second depiction of Susanna and the Elders in 1622 and it’s much more passive and relaxed than her original.
    • Her paintings became limited to portraits and biblical heroines as opposed
      to more lucrative altarpiece commissions.
  • At some time between 1627 and 1630, she moved to Venice, likely seeking opportunities for more expensive commissions.
  • In 1630, Artemisia moved to Naples which was known as being a haven for artists, art lovers, and more lucrative art opportunities.
  • She painted the Birth of Saint John the Baptist which is now housed
    at the Prado in Madrid, this really shows off her ability to adapt to painting outside of her comfort zone, as this is much different than her paintings of heroic women.
  • In 1638, Artemisia reunited with her father, Orazio, in Londons she had been invited by King Charles himself who was a great admirer of her work and even
    owned one of her best known self-portraits Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting. Together, Artemisia and Orazio worked to paint a ceiling allegory of Triumph of Peace and the Arts in the Queen’s House, built for Queen Henrietta Maria.
  • Sadly, Orazio suddenly died in 1639. Artemisia continued working in England until 1642 at the beginning of the English Civil War. There’s not a lot of documentation on her movements after this, but she did eventually return to Naples.
  • In her later years, Artemisia’s style became softer and more feminine. This can be attributed to changing artistic tastes, but it’s possible that Artemisia became more comfortable with her identity as a woman painter.
  • Some think she may have been a victim of the plague which swept through Naples in 1656.
  • She was buried in the church of St. John of Florentines in Naples. Unfortunately, the church and her grave were destroyed during WWII.
  • Great works:
    • Self Portrait as a Lute Player (1615-1617)
    • Judith Slaying Holofernes (1614-1620)
    • Susanna and the Elders
    • Birth of Saint John the Baptist
    • Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting.
    • Triumph of Peace and the Arts
    • The Sleeping Venus
    • Esther and Ahasuerus

Name: Josephine Baker

Born: June 3, 1906     Died: April 12, 1975

What they did: First African American in film, amazing dancer, highest paid american in Europe of her time. Also fought for civil rights and delivered messages during war.


  • She was born Freda Josephine McDonald in St. Louis, Missouri to washerwoman Carrie McDonald and vaudeville drummer Eddie Carson.
  • Carrie McDonald and Eddie Carson had a song-and-dance act, playing wherever they could get work. When Josephine was about a year old they began to carry her onstage occasionally during their finale.
  • She had little formal education, and attended Lincoln Elementary School only through the fifth grade.
  • At eight years old, Josephine began working as a live-in domestic for white families in St. Louis cleaning houses and babysitting for wealthy white families who reminded her “be sure not to kiss the baby.” One woman abused her, burning Josephine’s hands when the young girl put too much soap in the laundry.
  • When she was 13 years old she lived as a street child in the slums of St. Louis, sleeping in cardboard shelters, scavenging for food in garbage cans, making a living with street-corner dancing. She also found work at the old Old Chauffeur’s Club as a waitress.
  • It was here that Josephine met Willie Wells and married him the same year. However, the marriage lasted less than a year.
  • Following her divorce from Wells, she found work with a street performance group called the Jones Family Band.
  • Josephine toured the United States with The Jones Family Band and The Dixie Steppers in 1919, performing various comical skits.
  • She tried to advance as a chorus girl for The Dixie Steppers in Sissle and Blake’s production Shuffle Along. She was rejected because she was “too skinny and too dark.” Undeterred, she learned the chorus line’s routines while working as a dresser. Thus, Josephine was the obvious replacement when a dancer left.
  • Joesephoine married her second husband, Willie Baker, whom she had married in 1921 at age 15.
  • She headed to New York City that same year during the Harlem Renaissance, performing at the Plantation Club and in the chorus lines of the groundbreaking and hugely successful Broadway revues Shuffle Along (1921) with Adelaide Hall and The Chocolate Dandies (1924). 
  • Onstage, she rolled her eyes and purposely acted clumsy, as if she were unable to remember the dance, until the encore, at which point she would perform it not only correctly but with additional complexity. A term of the time describes this part of the cast as “The Pony.” Baker was billed at the time as “the highest-paid chorus girl in vaudeville”.
  • When she went to New York she left Willie though she kept his last name for the rest of her career, and the did not separate immediately but several years later.
  • Joesephine sailed to Paris for a new venture, and opened in La Revue Nègre on 2 October 1925, aged 19, at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées.
  • In Paris, she became an instant success for her erotic dancing, and for appearing practically nude on stage.
  • In France she stared in ‘LaFolie du Jour’ at the Folies Bergère, setting the standard for her future acts. Baker danced topless, wearing a skirt made of bananas.
    • The show was successful and Baker became one of the most popular and highest-paid performers in Europe. Writers and artists such as Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, and E. E. Cummings were fans. Baker also was nicknamed “Black Venus” and “Black Pearl.”
  • In later shows in Paris, she was often accompanied on stage by her pet cheetah, “Chiquita”, who was adorned with a diamond collar. The cheetah frequently escaped into the orchestra pit, where it terrorized the musicians, adding another element of excitement to the show.
  • Josephine was the first African-American to star in a major motion picture, the 1927 silent film Siren of the Tropics, directed by Mario Nalpas and Henri Étiévant. She starred in two movies in the early 1930s as well, Zou-Zou and Princesse Tam-Tam.
  • She was the most successful American entertainer working in France. Ernest Hemingway called her “the most sensational woman anyone ever saw.”
  • A 1936 return to the United States to star in the Ziegfeld Follies proved disastrous, despite the fact that she was a major celebrity in Europe. American audiences rejected the idea of a black woman with so much sophistication and power, newspaper reviews were equally cruel (The New York Times called her a “Negro wench”), and Josephine returned to Europe heartbroken.
  • In 1937 she married Jean Lion, and through him she became a French National and renounced her US citizenship.
  • In 1939 when Germany and France were at war she performed for the troops (in North Africa and later toured Spain, pinning notes and gathering military information) and was an honorable correspondent for the French Resistance (undercover work included smuggling secret messages written on her music sheets) and a sub-lieutenant in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force.
  • She was later awarded the Medal of the Resistance with Rosette and named a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor by the French government for hard work and dedication.
  • In 1947 she married Jo Bouillon, a French composer.
  • At this time she began adopting children, forming a family she often referred to as “The Rainbow Tribe.” Josephine wanted her to prove that “children of different ethnicities and religions could still be brothers.”
  • Josephine visited the United States during the ‘50s and ‘60s with renewed vigor to fight racism. When New York’s popular Stork Club refused her service, she engaged a head-on media battle with pro-segregation columnist Walter Winchell. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) named May 20 Josephine Baker Day in honor of her efforts.
  • Josephine continued to travel to the United States, and during her visits, she developed a close friendship with American artist Robert Brady.
  • Josephine agreed to perform at New York’s Carnegie Hall that same year. Due to previous experience, she was nervous about how the audience and critics would receive her. This time, however, cultural and racial growth was evident. Josephine received a standing ovation before the concert even began. The enthusiastic welcome was so touching that she wept onstage.
  • On April 8, 1975, Josephine premiered at the Bobino Theater in Paris. Celebrities such as Princess Grace of Monaco and Sophia Loren were in attendance to see 68-year-old Josephine perform a medley of routines from her 50 year career. The reviews were among her best ever.
  • Days later, however, Josephine slipped into a coma. She died from a cerebral hemorrhage at 5 a.m. on April 12.
  • The French government honored her with a 21-gun salute, making Josephine Baker the first American woman buried in France with military honors. Her gravesite is in the Cimetiére de Monaco, Monaco.

The NOT Queen of Egypt & the NOT Sultana of Dehli

Hello and welcome! Here we are at Episode 3 and we are very glad to have you join us! I will be honest and say i wrote the blog for Episode 4 first so sorry for the little delay on this. Enjoy!

Name: Hatshepsut

Born:  1508 BCE     Died:  1458 BCE

What they did: First women to obtain full role as Pharaoh, was a really good one too.


  • Hatshepsut was the longest reigning female pharaoh in Egypt, ruling for 20 years in the 15th century B.C. She is considered one of Egypt’s most successful pharaohs.
  • Hatshepsut was the elder of two daughters born to Thutmose I and his queen, Ahmes.
  • After her father’s death, 12-year-old Hatshepsut became queen of Egypt when she married her half-brother Thutmose II, around 1492 B.C.
  • Thutmose II died after a 15 year reign, making Hatshepsut a widow before the age of 30 and the throne went to his infant son, also born to a secondary wife (Isis). According to custom, Hatshepsut began acting as Thutmose III’s regent, handling affairs of state until her stepson came of age.
  • After less than seven years, however, she claimed the role of pharaoh.
  • Thutmose III was never deposed of and was considered co-ruler throughout her life, but it is clear that Hatshepsut was the principal ruler in power.
  • Hatshepsut fought to defend her legitimacy to the throne, pointing to her royal lineage and claiming that her father had appointed her his successor.
  • She ordered that she be portrayed as a male pharaoh, with a beard and large muscles.
    • This was not an attempt to trick people into thinking she was male; rather, since there were no words or images to portray a woman with this status, it was a way of asserting her authority.
  • Hatshepsut’s successful transition from queen to pharaoh was, in part, due to her ability to recruit influential supporters.
  • Under Hatshepsut’s reign, Egypt prospered. Unlike other rulers in her dynasty, she was more interested in ensuring economic prosperity and building and restoring monuments throughout Egypt and Nubia than in conquering new lands.
  • She built many great temples including Deir el-Bahri, (considered one of the architectural wonders of ancient Egypt) and Djeser-djeseru (“holiest of holy places”). She also erected a pair of red granite obelisks at the Temple of Amon at Karnak, one of which still stands today.
  • Another great achievement of in the ninth year of her reign was a trading expedition she authorized that brought back vast riches–including ivory, ebony, gold, leopard skins and incense–to Egypt from a distant land known as Punt (possibly modern-day Eritrea).
  • The queen died in early February of 1458 B.C. when she would have been in her mid-40s.
  • She was buried in the Valley of the Kings, located in the hills behind Deir el-Bahri and she had her father’s sarcophagus reburied in her tomb so they could lie together in death.
  • Late in his reign, Thutmose III began a campaign to eradicate Hatshepsut’s memory: He destroyed or defaced her monuments, erased many of her inscriptions and constructed a wall around her obelisks. As a consequence, scholars of ancient Egypt knew little of Hatshepsut’s existence until 1822, when they were able to decode and read the hieroglyphics on the walls of Deir el-Bahri.

Name: Razia al-Din

Born:  1205     Died:  1240

What they did: The first and only woman ruler of Delhi.


  • Razia was born to Shams-ud-din Iltutmish, a former Turk slave and Qutb Begum (the Sultan of Dehli’s only daughter), they also had a son, Nasiruddin Mahmud.
  • Razia had a privileged upbringing. She was close to high ranking members of
    the court and harem.
  • She was the favorite of her father and her maternal grandfather (the Sultan). Contrary wise, her half-brothers Rukn ud-din Firuz and Muiz ud-din Bahram, who were children of former slave girls, werenot favored and grew up away from the centers of power.
  • When Razia was 5 years old, the sultan Qutb ud-din Aibak died. Her father succeeded him, becoming Sultan.
  • She was trained to administer a kingdom, in the event her father or husband were absent.
  • Despite Razia’s abilities, intelligence, and royal lineage, her brother, Nasiruddin, was groomed to succeed Iltutmish instead. However, Nasiruddin suddenly died in 1229.
  • Iltutmish made Razia his heiress apparent (making him the first Sultan to do so) after she was ruler of the city in his absence when he went away for war for a year.
  • Unfortunately for Razia, after her father’s death in 1236, her half-brother, Rukn ascended the throne instead.
  • His mother basically ruled for him allowing him to do as he pleased. She had a penchant for executing people had wronged her and both she and her son were quickly removed from power (6 month reign).
  • Reluctantly, the nobility agreed to allow Razia to finally reign as Sultan of Delhi under the official name, Jalâlat-ud-Dîn Raziyâ, This made her the first and only woman ruler of Delhi.
  • As part of her becoming a ruler, Razia gave up purdah, which is the practice of living in a separate room or dressing in all-enveloping clothes in order to stay out of sight of men or strangers. She instead opted to dress similarly to the male rulers before her which was a shocking move in a conservative Muslim
  • During her reign, she acted as chief of the army and even rode an elephant to lead her forces into battle. She captured new territories and expanded her kingdom.
  • Razia was not just a competent warrior; she also worked to strengthen her kingdom by encouraging trade, strengthening the infrastructure, and establishing proper laws.
  • Razia eventually married childhood friend and Governor of Bathinda, Malik Ikhtiar-ud-din Altunia, but how they got there is something terrible.
  • He had long hoped to be her royal consort, but Razia’s responsibilities as Sultana took priority, so she
    continuously turned down his marriage proposals.
  • After Malik became governor, Razia relied on a slave named Jamaluddin Yaqut, causing his status to quickly skyrocket from “Lord of the Stables” to “Chief of the Nobles.”
    • There were rumors, that Razia and Yaqut were in a relationship.
  • Malik (being jealous we assume) lead a rebellion against Razia.
  • During the rebellion Yaqut was killed and Razia was captured by Malik.
  • While in prison in Bathinda, it’s said she was treated well because Malik was in love with her. Eventually, Razia was released and she and Malik were married.
  • While Razia was imprisoned, her other half-brother, Muiz (MUZE) proclaimed himself king, backed by 40 chiefs.
  • Razia, with the help of Malik, tried to regain power, assembling their forces and marching towards Delhi.
  • They were defeated by Muiz, deserted by their remaining forces, and fled Delhi to Kaithal.
  • They day after their defeat, on October 14th , 1240, they were both killed.
  • Razia’s reign lasted only 4 years. She was 35.
  • Razia’s burial site is disputed and is said to be in one of three places:
    • A courtyard in Bulbul-i-Kahn near Turkmen Gate, Delhi. Part of the tomb has been converted into a mosque.
    • Kaithal
    • Tonk, Rajasthan, where it’s said she is buried with Yaqut.
    • She has honorary tombs in all three places.

Medical Mavens & The First Seagull in Space


Name: Edinburgh 7 (Sophia Jex-Blake, Isabel Thorne, Edith Pechey, Matilda Chaplin, Helen Evans, Mary Anderson, and Emily Bovell)

Born: Multiple Dates        Died: Multiple Dates

What they did: Forced the University of Edinburgh to accept them into medical school through numbers and perseverance.


  • Sophia Jex-Blake applied to study medicine in Spring 1869 but was told the University couldn’t make necessary accommodations for one lady.
  • Sophia figured that if the University wouldn’t be willing to make necessary accommodations for one woman, maybe they would reconsider if there were more women!
  • She put ads in newspapers to find more women to join her.
  • Altogether, five women submitted a second application that summer. By the time it was approved by the University Court, the group had grown to 7.
  • To start school all had to take an exam, out of the 152 total candidates who took the exam in October, four of the women ranked in the top 7 places.
  • On November 2 of that year, the University of Edinburgh became the first British University to accept women.
  • They were not allowed in the same classes as male counter-parts, some teachers refused to teach them, some professors would not give them credits for their classes, and they had to pay more tuition.
  • in 1870 Edith Pechey ranked 1st in her first physiology and chemistry exam which should have gotten her a scholarship but due to growing resentment towards the women from the faculty and the concern of upsetting the male students Edith and other qualifying women were denied the scholarship.
  • The women suffered much abuse for their studies, including being called whores, mean threatening them, having their property damaged and more.
  • It all came to a head when the women in November of 1870 went to take an anatomy exam in Surgeons’ Hall.
    • The women found that Nicholson Street was blocked by a crowd made up of hundreds of people. As the women approached, they were pelted with garbage and the crowd shouted at them.
    • When they tried to enter Surgeons’ Hall, the gates were slammed in their faces. They instead faced the crowd until a sympathetic student finally opened the gates. This event is now known as the Surgeons’ Hall Riot.
    • Sophia claimed that the crowd had been encouraged by a teaching assistant, who then successfully sued
      her for defamation.
    • The riot gained the women widespread publicity and won them support, even amongst some male students who were shocked by the riot. The supportive male students STEPPED THE FUCK UP and began escorting the woman and acting as bodyguards.
    • Some of their supporters formed a General Committee for Securing a Complete Medical Education for Women which had over 300 members including Charles Darwin and more women joined their classes
  • Despite all of this, the University refused to award the women their degrees in 1873. This decision was not only upheld by the Court of Session which is the supreme civil court of Scotland, but the court also ruled that the women shouldn’t have been accepted into the University in the first place.
  • Where did all the women go?
    • Sophia Moved to London and established the London school of Medicine for Women in 1874. She eventually returned to Edinburgh in 187 and opened her own practice there becoming their first women doctor. She then helped also create the Edinburgh School of Medicine for Women. Sophia was also an LGBTQ figure. Her partner was Dr. Margaret Todd who was an incredible lady in her own right and helped to coin the term isotope!
    • Edith practiced in Leeds before becoming a senior medical officer at a women and children’s hospital in Bombay (modern-day Mumbai.) eventually she was also appointed to the senate at the University of Bombay.
    • Isabel Attended Sophia’s school and became its secretary. She left the medical field to help run the school for almost 30 years. Her daughter became a surgeon.
    • Emily got her MD in Paris, worked at  New Hospital for Women in London for three years the moved to Nice to work with helping with TB. She was also awarded the Officer of the Order of Academic Palms by the French government for her contributions to medicine (an award women rarely won).
    • Helen married and had 3 children, she became a member of the executive committee for the Edinburgh School of Medicine for Women.
    • Matilda married then moved to Tokyo and helped found a school of midwifery. She later studied at the London School of Medicine for Women and received her MD in Paris in 1879, eventually setting up her own private practice.
    • Mary finished her studies at the London School of Medicine for Women. She received her MD in Paris and worked at London’s New Hospital for Women until 1895.


Name: Valentina (Valya) Tereshkova

Born: 1963        Died: Not dead yet (said in Monty Python accent)

What she did: First women in space!


  • Started school at 8, left school at 16 to work, but finished via correspondence courses.
  • She became interested in parachute jumping after joining the Yaroslavl Air Sports Club. She made her first jump in 1959 at age 22.
  • In 1961 she volunteered for the Soviet Space program.
  • Although she did not have any experience as a pilot, she was accepted into the program because of her 126 parachute jumps.
    • At the time, cosmonauts had to parachute from their capsules seconds before
      they hit the ground on returning to Earth.
    • Other Qualifications included that they be under 30 years of age, under 5 ft 7 in tall, and under 154 lb in weight.
  • From more than 400 applicants Valentina and four other women received 18 months of training.
    • Which included tests to determine how she would react to long periods of time being alone, to extreme gravity conditions and to zero-gravity conditions.
    • Weightless flights, isolation tests, centrifuge tests, rocket theory, spacecraft engineering, 120 parachute jumps and pilot training in MiG-15UTI jet fighters.
  • In November 1962, after which four remaining candidates were commissioned Junior Lieutenants in the Soviet Air Force.
  • The State Space Commission nominated Tereshkova to pilot Vostok 6 at their meeting on 21 May. Tereshkova was exactly ten years younger than the youngest Mercury Seven astronaut, Gordon Cooper.
  • On the morning of 16 June 1963, Valentina and her backup Solovyova were both dressed in spacesuits and taken to the launch pad by bus. Following the tradition set by Gagarin, Tereshkova also urinated on the bus tire, becoming the first woman to
    do so.
  • After a two-hour countdown, Vostok 6 launched faultlessly, and Tereshkova became the first woman in space.
    • Her call sign in this flight was Chaika (English: Seagull) later commemorated as the name of an asteroid, 1671 Chaika.
    • She orbited the earth 48 times and spent almost three days in space.
    • With a single flight she logged more flight time than the combined times of all American astronauts who had flown before that
    • Tereshkova also maintained a flight log and took photographs of the horizon, which were later used to identify aerosol layers within the atmosphere.
  • Tereshkova was honored with the title Hero of the Soviet Union. She received the
    Order of Lenin and the Gold Star Medal. She became a spokesperson for the Soviet Union and while fulfilling this role, she received the United Nations Gold Medal of Peace.
  • After her mission, she was asked how the Soviet Union should thank her for her service to the country. Tereshkova asked that the government search for, and publish, the location where her father was killed in action. This was done, and a monument now stands at the site in Lemetti—now on the Russian side of the border.
  • Tereshkova studied at the Zhukovsky Air Force Academy and graduated with distinction as a cosmonaut engineer. In 1977 she earned a doctorate in engineering.
  • She has held numerous political positions and is still a very recognized figure in Russia.
  • Tereshkova was invited to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s residence in Novo-Ogaryovo for the celebration of her 70th birthday. While there she said that she would like to fly to Mars, even if it meant that it was a one-way trip.


“If women can be railroad workers in Russia, why can’t they fly in space?”

“Once you’ve been in space, you appreciate how small and fragile the Earth is.”


Profile: Susan B. Anthony

Susan B. Anthony

Profession: Suffragette

Nationality:  American

Born: February 15, 1820

Died: March 13, 1906 (aged 86)

Cause of Death: Pneumonia

Susan B. Anthony was born on February 15, 1820 in Adams, Massachusetts. Her father, Daniel, was a farmer and later a cotton mill owner and manager and was raised as a Quaker. Her mother, Lucy, came from a family that fought in the American Revolution. From an early age, Anthony was inspired by the Quaker belief that everyone was equal under God. That idea guided her throughout her life.

In her youth, she and her sisters responded to a “great craze for middle initials” by adding middle initials to their own names. Anthony adopted “B.” as her middle initial because her namesake aunt Susan had married a man named Brownell

When she was seventeen, Anthony was sent to a Quaker boarding school in Philadelphia, where she unhappily endured its severe atmosphere. She was forced to end her studies after one term because her family was financially ruined during an economic downturn known as the Panic of 1837. They were forced to sell everything they had at an auction, but they were rescued by her maternal uncle, who bought most of their belongings and restored them to the family. To assist her family financially, Anthony left home to teach at a Quaker boarding school.

After many years of teaching, Anthony returned to her family who had moved to New York State. There they associated with a group of Quaker social reformers who had left their congregation because of the restrictions it placed on reform activities, and who in 1848 formed a new organization called the Congregational Friends. The Anthony farmstead soon became the Sunday afternoon gathering place for local activists. There she met William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass. Listening to them moved Susan to want to do more to help end slavery. She became an abolition activist, even though most people thought it was improper for women to give speeches in public. Anthony made many passionate speeches against slavery.

In 1848, a group of women held a convention at Seneca Falls, New York. It was the first Women’s Rights Convention in the United States and began the Suffrage movement. Her mother and sister attended the convention but Anthony did not. Anthony did not take part in either of these conventions because she had moved to Canajoharie in 1846 to be headmistress of the female department of the Canajoharie Academy. Away from Quaker influences for the first time in her life, at the age of 26 she began to replace her plain clothing with more stylish dresses, and she quit using “thee” and other forms of speech traditionally used by Quakers. She was interested in social reform, and she was distressed at being paid much less than men with similar jobs, but she was amused at her father’s enthusiasm over the Rochester women’s rights convention. She later explained, “I wasn’t ready to vote, didn’t want to vote, but I did want equal pay for equal work.” When the Canajoharie Academy closed in 1849, Anthony took over the operation of the family farm in Rochester so her father could devote more time to his insurance business. She worked at this task for a couple of years but found herself increasingly drawn to reform activity. She was soon fully engaged in reform work and for the rest of her life; she lived almost entirely on fees she earned as a speaker.

In 1851, Anthony met Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The two women became good friends and worked together for over 50 years fighting for women’s rights.  After the Stanton’s moved from Seneca Falls to New York City in 1861, a room was set aside for Anthony in every house they lived in. One of Stanton’s biographers estimated that over her lifetime, Stanton spent more time with Anthony than with any other adult, including her own husband.

They traveled the country and Anthony gave speeches demanding that women be given the right to vote. At times, she risked being arrested for sharing her ideas in public.

Anthony was good at strategy. Her discipline, energy, and ability to organize made her a strong and successful leader. Anthony and Stanton co-founded the American Equal Rights Association. In 1868 they became editors of the Association’s newspaper, The Revolution, which helped to spread the ideas of equality and rights for women. Anthony began to lecture to raise money for publishing the newspaper and to support the suffrage movement. She became famous throughout the county. Many people admired her, yet others hated her ideas.

When Congress passed the 14th and 15th amendments which give voting rights to African American men, Anthony and Stanton were angry and opposed the legislation because it did not include the right to vote for women. Their belief led them to split from other suffragists. They thought the amendments should also have given women the right to vote. They formed the National Woman Suffrage Association, to push for a constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote.

In 1872, Anthony was arrested for voting, tried, and fined $100 for her crime. This brought national attention to the suffrage movement. She led a protest at the 1876 Centennial of our nation’s independence. She gave a speech “Declaration of Rights” written by Stanton and another suffragist, Matilda Joslyn Gage.

“Men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less.”

Anthony spent her life working for women’s rights. In 1888, she helped to merge the two largest suffrage associations into one, the National American Women’s Suffrage Association. She led the group until 1900. She traveled around the country giving speeches, gathering thousands of signatures on petitions, and lobbying Congress every year for women. Anthony died in 1906, 14 years before women were given the right to vote with the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920.

A Revolutionary Rider & a Revolutionary Writer

Thank you all for joining us for our first episode and now our first blog post! We are excited for this new adventure! Keep reading to learn more about the two incredible women we covered this week.

Name: Sybil Ludington

Born: 1761         Died: 1839

What she did: In 1777 rode 40 miles on a rainy midnight ride to rally troops to fight during the revolution. (This is further than Paul Revere, just saying…)


  • Oldest of 12 children
  • She saved her father’s life at some point before her ride by having her siblings march around in semi darkness to look like a large army which scared off the loyalist kidnappers.
  • She was 16 at the time of her midnight ride.
  • Father was a Colonel she was rounding up his men who had gone home for planting season when the town of Danbury asked for aid against the British
  • Her ride went from about 9 am to dawn over 40 miles (almost twice as far as Paul Revere) in the rain, and when she returned most of the 400 men she called on were assembled and ready to march.
  • The American militia arrived too late to save Danbury. However, the next day at the start of the Battle of Ridgefield, they were able to drive the then British governor of the colony of New York, General William Tryon, and his men to Long Island Sound.
  • She was thanked by the president and later (much later, like 158 years + later) got a stamp (1975) and statues as recognition (made in 1935 and 1961)
  • The ride route is now a 50 k (31 mi) ultra-marathon footrace.
  • Story is disputed about whether or not it is true (we give it the Wining About Herstory truth stamp though)

Name: Olympe de Gouges (born: Marie Gouze)

Born: 1748          Died: 1793

What she did: French playwright and political activist during the enlightenment and subsequently the French Revolution whose writings on women’s rights and the rights of everyone not rich, white, male landowners reached a large audience.


  • Her best known work is an early women’s rights document that demanded that French women be given the same rights as French men, it was called the Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen (1791).
  • She was executed by guillotine during the Reign of Terror.
  • At 16 she was married off against her will to Louis Aubry, saying “I was married to a man I did not love and who was neither rich nor well-born. I was sacrificed for no reason that could make up for the repugnance I felt for this man.” He died a year later, and she never married again, calling the institution of marriage “the tomb of trust and love”.
  • After her husbands death she moved to Paris and became involved with the enlightenment.
  • She wrote Esclavage des Noirs (Reflections on blacks) about the slave trade and being more compassionate to slaves.
  • In her semi-autobiographical novel Mémoire de Madame de Valmont contre la famille de Flaucourt, she called out her birth father for abandoning her and her mother, and the culture that allowed him to do so.
  • She was arrested after she showed investigators her new play (only the first act or so was written) La France Sauvée ou le Tyran Détroné (“France Preserved, or The Tyrant Dethroned“) in which she scolds Marie Antoinette for her bad ruling. This made some view her as a Monarch loyalist.


“Men everywhere are equal… Kings who are just do not want slaves; they know that they have submissive subjects.”

“A woman has the right to mount the scaffold. She must possess equally the right to mount the speaker’s platform.”

 “Man, are you capable of being fair? A woman is asking: at least you will allow her that right. Tell me? What gave you the sovereign right to oppress my sex?”