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Inaugural Issue: "Women Make History: Vol. I"

Mary Ware Dennett, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and Kamala Harris

Welcome to the first issue of Women Make History, a monthly newsletter spotlighting stories of women who opened doors – sometimes just a crack – and blazed a trail for other women. Too often, the ordinary women

who spoke up when it mattered or who took risks that initiated change, have been quickly forgotten. Women like Mary Ware Dennett.


Before I discovered Mary, I considered myself well informed and engaged in women’s issues. Little did I know I had barely scratched the surface. TIME magazine included Mary (1872 – 1947) among nine American women....

Born in Los Angeles in 1881, Maria Guadalupe Evangelina de Lopez was a pioneering Latinx suffragist, educator, and activist for the preservation of Mexican-American heritage.


After graduating from Pasadena High School in 1897, Lopez earned a degree in education at what later became UCLA. She began her career teaching English as a second language to high school students, while also translating important historic and cultural documents. In 1902, Lopez joined the faculty at the University of California, becoming the youngest instructor on staff and possibly the first Latinx.....

Minerva Hamilton Hoyt (1866–1945) became the champion of desert ecosystems when she moved to Pasadena from New York in the late 1890s. When her husband and son died in close succession, she found comfort sleeping under the desert sky, listening to the winds blow through the Joshua trees. She later remarked that this landscape was one of “…strange and inexpressible beauty, of mystery and singular aloofness, which is yet so filled with peace.”


Hoyt became concerned for the desert’s fragile ecosystem when the population of Southern California...

Although she was eventually known as the First Lady of Physics, Chien-Shiung Wu fought to overcome gender and racial prejudice her entire life. She was born in China in 1912, in an era when it was unusual for girls to attend school. With her parents’ support, Wu received the equivalent of a high school education. In 1936, she immigrated to the U.S. and earned a coveted spot in the graduate physics program at U.C. Berkeley. Wu received her PhD in the emerging field of radiation and nuclear physics in 1940, and was immediately hired as a research assistant at Berkeley...

April 2021: "Women Make History: Vol. VII"
Zitkála-Šá, Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell

In the late 19th century, when the U.S. government was attempting to erase Native Americans and their cultures, Zitkála-Šá rose up to become the voice and energy of the opposition. A fierce activist for Native American civil rights, Zitkála-Šá (aka Gertrude Simmons Bonnin) wove music, writing, and political activism into her fight for full equality of Indigenous people and the celebration of Native cultures.


Zitkála-Šá was born on a Sioux reservation in South Dakota in 1876, the same year her tribe defeated General George Armstrong Custer. At the age of eight, she was sent to a Quaker school in Indiana. A quick learner....

March 2021: "Women Make History: Vol. VI"
Seraph Young, Dr. Joycelyn Elders

On Valentine’s Day in 1870, Seraph Young became the first woman in the U.S. to cast a ballot. The 23-year-old voted in a Salt Lake City municipal election two days after the Utah Territory unanimously passed legislation giving women full voting rights.


Utah women were the first to have the opportunity to exercise their new political power. Twenty-five women voted that first day. Six months later, in August, 1870, thousands of Utah women voted. Seraph was born in 1846...

March 2021: "Women Make History: Vol. V"
Lucia True Ames Mead, Mary Ware Dennett

At an early age, Lucia True Ames Mead, 1856 – 1936, adopted a global perspective of allegiance to humanity, rather than to political boundaries formed by nations. She opposed elitism in all forms and dedicated her life to social, educational, legal, and economic equality for all. Her activism included education reform, women’s suffrage, and racial equality, but she is best known for her work as a pacifist. A renowned public speaker, she also authored newspaper and journal articles, and published seven books including one novel.


Born in New Hampshire in 1856, Lucia moved to Boston at fourteen to receive a more formal education....

February 2021: "Women Make History: Vol. IV"

Naomi Long Madgett, Jarena Lee, and Angelina Grimke Weld

Angelina Grimke Weld was a White abolitionist and supporter of women’s suffrage. Her niece, also named Angelina Grimke in her aunt’s honor, was considered Black under the law. In the 19th century, anyone with “one ancestor of Black ancestry (“one drop” of Black blood), was legally Black.”


The elder Angelina was the daughter of a wealthy plantation owner in South Carolina. Believing slavery contrary to all moral and religious teachings, Angelina and her sister moved North to join the abolition movement...

January 2021: "Women Make History: Vol. III"

Katalin Karikó, Amanda Gorman, and Edith Wilson

Many of us cheered and even cried as Senator Kamala Harris became the first woman – and first person of color – sworn in as Vice President of the United States. But this remarkable moment yielded to even greater inspiration when twenty-two-year-old Amanda Gorman delivered her poem, The Hill We Climb.


Composed for the Inauguration, two weeks earlier Gorman was worried about her ability to forge a sense of hope and common ground through her poem. When the Jan. 6 attack on the Capital occurred with the....

December 2020: "Women Make History: Vol. II"

Rosalind Franklin, Phillis Wheatley, and Beryl Markham

In 1936 Beryl Markham (1902-1987) became the first person to make a solo, non-stop flight across the Atlantic from Europe to North America. Because the plane is traveling against prevailing winds, the east-west route requires more stamina, time, and fuel. Markham chose this route because it hadn't been done.


Unlike Charles Lindbergh, who received a Fifth Avenue ticker-tape parade for his westerly crossing, there were no celebrations for Markham. Storms and icy fuel tanks forced her to land on the boggy soil of Nova Scotia....


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