Zonta Club of SCV 100 Days of 100 Famous Women in History

Day 100


Mary Jenkins

Mary Jenkins, 1879--1967 

Founder Zonta International

 Mary Jenkins was born in 1879 in Syracuse, NY to Arthur Jenkins, founder of the Herald newspaper. In 1903, at the age of 24, she inherited the newspaper from her father and became president of The Herald Company. “Born with printer ink in her veins,” Jenkins was a pioneering Syracuse newspaperwoman and civic leader. She was president of the newspaper until her retirement in 1957, and was quoted as having made “one of the longest contributions to continuous newspaper service in the history of New York State.”

She helped found Zonta International in 1919 in order to bring together women who had occupied important positions during the First World War.  The organization still exists today. Jenkins was elected the first president of the Confederation of Zonta Clubs and the Syracuse Zonta Club, as well as an international charter member from 1919-1921.

She also helped found Syracuse Memorial Hospital, served on the board for 34 years, and was its president for 15 years. Furthermore, she was the first lay member of the Public Health Board of the New York State League of Nursing Education. In 1945, Mary Jenkins received a doctorate of humane letters from Syracuse University. She became an honorary member of the American Hospital Association in 1948. In 1950, the Jewish War Veterans named her “Syracuse’s most outstanding citizen.” Jenkins died in 1967, and is buried next to her husband in Oakwood Cemetery.

Source Onondaga Historical Association


Day 99

Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale, 1820-1910

English Nurse, Social Reformer and Statistician

Nightingale gave nursing a favorable reputation and became an icon of Victorian culture.

In 1860, Nightingale laid the foundation of professional nursing with the establishment of her nursing school at St Thomas' Hospital in London. It was the first secular nursing school in the world, and is now part of King's College London. In recognition of her pioneering work the Nightingale Pledge, taken by new nurses, and the Florence Nightingale Medal, the highest international distinction a nurse can achieve, were named in her honor. Her social reforms included improving healthcare for all sections of British society, advocating hunger relief in India, helping to abolish harsh prostitution laws, and expanding acceptable forms of female participation in the workforce.

Nightingale was a prodigious and versatile writer. She was also a pioneer in the use of infographics, effectively using graphical presentations of statistical data.

Nightingale led the first official team of British military nurses to Turkey during the Crimean War between Britain and Russia (1853-56). There, more soldiers died from disease than wounds and Nightingale advised the army medical services on how to reduce avoidable deaths. She was nicknamed ‘the Lady with the Lamp’ for the night rounds she made tending to the wounded and sick. Nightingale continued in her work after the war and was instrumental in establishing a permanent military nursing service and implementing improvements to the armymedical practices.

Source History Extra and Wikipedia


Day 98

Jane Addams

Jane Addams 1860-1935

Social Reformer

Addams was an American settlement activist, reformer, social worker, sociologist, public administrator, and author. She stood out in history for her social work and women’s suffrage in the US and an advocate for world peace.

Jane’s accomplishments are many. She co-founded Chicago’s Hull House, one of America’s most famous settlement houses.

In 1910, Jane was awarded an honorary Master of Arts degree from Yale University, becoming the first to receive an honorary degree from the school. In 1920, she co-founded the ACLU, and in1931 she became the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.  She has been recognized as the founder of the social work profession in the US and is known by many as the first woman public philosopher in the United States.

Jane helped America address and focus on issues concerning mothers, such as the needs of children, local public health, and world peace.  Addams became a role model for middle class women who volunteered to uplift their communities.

Hull House and the Peace Movement are widely known as the key tangible pillars of Addams’ legacy. She worked with other reform groups toward goals including the first juvenile court law, tenement house regulations, an eight-hour work day for women, factory inspections, and workers’ compensation.

Source Wikipedia


Day 97

Margaret Sanger

Margaret Sanger, 1879-1966

Birth Control Advocate 

Sanger was an American birth control activist, sex educator, writer, and nurse. She popularized the term “birth control,” opened the first birth control clinic in the US, and established organizations that evolved into the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Sanger used every means she could to promote her way of thinking on “birth control.”  She was prosecuted for her book Family Limitation and was forced to flee to Britain to avoid arrest.  She soon returned to the US to continue her work. Margaret helped legalize contraception in the United States, but let it be known that she drew a sharp distinction between birth control and abortion.

In 1916, she opened the first birth control clinic, which led to her arrest.  She wanted to prevent back alley abortions and the only practical way to avoid abortion was the use of contraception.

Margaret enrolled in White Plains Hospital as a nurse probationer in 1900.  In 1902 she married, had three children, and moved to Westchester, New York.
Sanger’s political interest, feminism and nursing experience led her to write two series of columns on sex education.

In 1948, Sanger helped found the International Committee on Planned Parenthood Federation, which became the world’s largest women’s health, family planning and birth control organization. She was the first president and remained in that role until she turned 80 years old.

Source Wikipedia


Day 96

Mary Wollstonecraft

Mary Wollstonecraft, 1759-1797

English Philosopher and Advocate

Until the late 20th century, Wollstonecraft's life, which encompassed several unconventional personal relationships, received more attention than her writing. Today, Wollstonecraft is regarded as one of the founding feminist philosophers, and authorities often cite both her life and work as important influences.

During her brief career, she wrote novels, treatises, a travel narrative, a history of the French Revolution, a conduct book, and a children's book. Wollstonecraft is best known for A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), in which she argues that women are not naturally inferior to men, but appear to be only because they lack education. She suggests that both men and women should be treated as rational beings and imagines a social order founded on reason.

After two ill-fated affairs with Henry Fuseli and Gilbert Imlay (by whom she had a daughter, Fanny Imlay), Wollstonecraft married the philosopher William Godwin, one of the forefathers of the anarchist movement. Wollstonecraft died at age 38, eleven days after giving birth to her second daughter, Mary Shelley, who would became an accomplished writer and author of Frankenstein.

After Wollstonecraft's death, her widower published a Memoir(1798) of her life, revealing her unorthodox lifestyle, which inadvertently destroyed her reputation for almost a century. However, with the emergence of the feminist movement at the turn of the twentieth century, Wollstonecraft's advocacy of women's equality and critiques of conventional femininity became increasingly important.

Source Wikipedia


Day 95

Marie Curie

Marie Curie 1867-1934


Marie Sklodowska Curie changed the world not once, but twice. She founded the new science of radioactivity – even the word was invented by her – and her discoveries launched effective cures for cancer. Curie boasts an extraordinary array of achievements. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize (Physics), the first female professor at the University of Paris, and the first person to win a second Nobel Prize (Chemistry).

Born in Warsaw, Poland, Curie studied physics at university in Paris where she met her future research collaborator and husband, Pierre. Together they identified two new elements: radium and polonium, named after her native Poland. After he died, she raised a small fortune in the US and Europe to fund laboratories and develop cancer treatments.

Marie Curie was a woman of action as well as enormous intellect. During the First World War, she helped equip ambulances with x-ray equipment, and often drove them to the front line herself.

Despite becoming ill from the radioactive materials she constantly handled, Curie never lost her determination to excel in the scientific career that she loved. Her memory is preserved by the Cancer Society that bears her name and continues to help terminally ill patients all over the world.

Source Wikipedia


Day 94

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks 1913-2005 

Civil Rights Activist 

In 1955, Rosa Parks, an African American living in Montgomery, Alabama, challenged race segregation by refusing to give up her seat on a bus for a white person. Her protest was supported by many other African Americans and sparked the civil rights movement, which, in the 1960s, eventually won equal rights.

Parks, a 42-year-old seamstress in a department store, boarded her bus for home as usual after work. As the bus became crowded, white driver J Fred Blake told Parks and other black passengers to vacate their seats. Segregation laws dictated that white passengers had priority. The blacks duly moved. Except for Parks. She sat silently still. “If you don’t stand up, I’m going to call the police and have you arrested,” Blake shouted at her. “You may do that,” Parks calmly replied. Blake left the bus and returned with two policemen. “Why don’t you stand up?” one of the officers asked Parks. “Why do you push us around?” Parks answered.  “I do not know,” said the officer, “but the law is the law and you are under arrest.” She was taken off to the city jail.

Parks’ arrest would lead to a 13-month boycott of city buses in one of the longest mass mobilizations of a black population ever witnessed in the United States. The boycott’s church-based community activism and ministerial leadership, together with its spirit of non-violence, would become hallmarks of the civil rights movement over the next decade.

Source Wikipedia


Day 93

Rosalind Franklin

Rosalind Franklin, 1920–1958

English Chemist

Franklin was an English chemist and X-ray crystallographer whose work was central to the understanding of the molecular structures of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), RNA (ribonucleic acid), viruses, coal, and graphite. Although her works on coal and viruses were appreciated in her lifetime, her contributions to the discovery of the structure of DNA were largely recognized posthumously.

She is best known for her work on the X-ray diffraction images of DNA, particularly Photo 51. It is an X-ray picture showing a dark cross of dots, the signature image of a concealed molecular spiral.

This led to the discovery of the DNA double helix for which James Watson, Francis Crick, and Maurice Wilkins shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1962. Watson suggested that Franklin would have ideally been awarded a Nobel Prize in Chemistry along with Wilkins, but the Nobel Committee generally does not make posthumous nominations.

After finishing her work on DNA, Franklin led pioneering work at Birkbeck on the molecular structures of viruses. Her team member Aaron Klug continued her research, winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1982.

The life-changing innovations that followed – mapping the human genome, test-tube babies, genetic engineering – all depend on understanding the chemical foundations of heredity.

Source Wikipedia


Day 92

Sandra Day O'Conner

Sandra Day O’Connor1930-present

US Supreme Court Justice

O’Connor is a retired Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States who served from 1981 until she retired in 2006. Appointed by President Reagan, she was the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court. Prior to her tenure on the Supreme Court, she was a judge and an elected official in Arizona, serving as the first female Majority Leader of the Arizona State Senate.

Sandra was born in El Paso, Texas. She grew up on a cattle ranch in Arizona, but spent most of her young life living with her grandmother in El Paso where she attended school. O’Connor went to Stanford University where she received her B.A. in economics. She continued at Stanford Law School and got her law degree in 1952.n 1952 she married John Jay O’Connor III and had three sons.  Sandra served as assistant Attorney General, was elected to the Arizona State senate, served on the Maricopa County Superior Court, and served on the court of Appeals-Division One until 1981.

Sandra’s husband suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for nearly 20 years until his death in 2009. Ironically in 2018, Sandra was diagnosed with early stages of Alzheimer’s-like dementia.

O’Connor once said, “We don’t accomplish anything in this world alone. Whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one’s life - all the weavings of individual threads from one to another that create something.”

Source Wikipedia


Day 91

Emmeline Pankhurst

Emmeline Pankhurst 1858-1928

Social Reformer

Emmeline Pankhurst was a British political activist and organizer of the British suffragette movement that helped women win the right to vote.

She was widely criticized for her militant tactics, and historians disagree about their effectiveness, but her work is recognized as a crucial element in achieving women's suffrage in the United Kingdom.

In 1903, Pankhurst founded the Women’s Social and Political Union to campaign for the parliamentary vote for women in Edwardian Britain, ‘Deeds, not words’ being its motto. It became known for physical confrontations: its members smashed windows and assaulted police officers. Pankhurst, her daughters, and other WSPU activists received repeated prison sentences, where they staged hunger strikes to secure better conditions, and were often force-fed. As Pankhurst's eldest daughter, Christabel took leadership of the WSPU, antagonism between the group and the government grew.

A charismatic leader and powerful orator, Pankhurst roused thousands of women to demand their democratic right in a mass movement that has been unparalleled in British history. Always in the thick of the struggle, she endured 13 imprisonments, her name and cause becoming known throughout the world.

In 1999, Time named Pankhurst as one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century, stating "She shaped an idea of women for our time; she shook society into a new pattern from which there could be no going back.”  

Source Wikipedia


Day 90

Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc 1412-1431 

Martyr and Military Leader 

Joan of Arc, nicknamed “the Maid of Orleans” is considered a heroine of France for her role during the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred Years’ War.

Joan claimed to have received visions of the archangel Michael, Saint Margaret, and Saint Catherine of Alexandria instructing her to support Charles VII and recover France from English domination. The uncrowned King Charles VII sent Joan to the Siege of Orleans as part of a relief army.  She gained prominence after the siege was lifted only nine days later. Several additional swift victories led to Charles VII’s coronation. This long-awaited event boosted French morale and paved the way for the final French victory.

On May 23, 1430, Joan was captured by the Burgundian faction, a group of French nobles allied with the English. She was later handed over to the English and put on trial by the pro-English bishop Pierre Cauchon on a variety of charges. After he declared her guilty, she was burned at the stake on May 30, 1431 at the age of 19.

In 1456, an inquisitorial court authorized by Pope Callixtus III debunked the charges against her, pronounced her innocent and declared her a martyr. In the 16th century, she became a symbol of the Catholic League and in 1803 was declared a national symbol of France by Napoleon Bonaparte. She was beatified in 1909 and canonized as a Saint in 1920.

Source Wikipedia


Day 89

Grandma Moses

Anna Mary Robertson (Grandma Moses) 1860-1961 


Born in Greenwich, New York, Robertson was the third of ten children born to Margaret and Russell King Robertson. She started painting at an early age, using lemon and grape juice to make colors for her landscapes.

At the age of 12 she left home and went to work for wealthy families as domestic help. One family noticed her interest in art and bought her chalk and wax crayons. Anna was on her way!

In 1887 she married. Only five of her ten children survived infancy. Her husband Thomas died in 1927 at the age of 67 and Anna would never marry again.

Grandma Moses would embroider pictures by the hour and she loved to quilt. Arthritis set in and she turned to painting once again, but now full time. She generated over 1,500 canvases in three decades. Everyone enjoyed her down-to-earth paintings;  light hearted, optimistic and beautiful. Her paintings could be seen on greeting cards, tiles, fabrics, and ceramics.

Grandma Moses received numerous awards and recognition. In 1955 she even made an appearance on the Edward R Murrow show.

All Americans mourned her death and her paintings will never be forgotten.

Source Wikipedia


Day 88

Marie Stopes

Marie Stopes 1880-1958

Advocate of Birth Control & Sex Educator

Marie was a British author, palaeobotanist and campaigner for eugenics and women's rights. She made significant contributions to plant paleontology and coal classification, and was the first female academic on the faculty of the University of Manchester.

Stopes attended the University of London as a scholarship student, where she studied botany and geology. She graduated with a first class B.Sc. in 1902 after only two years by attending both day and night schools. Following this, Stopes earned a D.Sc. degree from University College London, becoming the youngest person in Britain to have done so. She studied the reproduction of living cycads at the University of Munich, receiving a Ph.D. in botany in 1904. She held the post of Lecturer in Palaeobotany at the University of Manchester from 1904 to 1910; in this capacity she became the first female academic of that university.

With her second husband, Humphrey Verdon Roe, she founded the first birth control clinic in Britain. Stopes edited the newsletter Birth Control News, which gave explicit practical advice. Her sex manual Married Love (1918) and a second book titled Wise Parenthood – which dealt explicitly with contraception – appeared shortly thereafter. A controversial figure, especially for her views on eugenics, Stopes nonetheless was a key figure in publicizing her cause. A birth control clinic was set up in a poor working-class area of north London in 1921, bringing to women worldwide the opportunity of planned pregnancies.

Source HistoryExtra & Wikipedia


Day 87

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria 1819-1901

Queen of England

Victoria was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from June 20, 1837 until her death. On May 1, 1876, she adopted the additional title of Empress of India. Known as the Victorian era, her reign of 63 years. It was a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military change within the United Kingdom marked by a great expansion of the British Empire.

She inherited the throne at the age of 18 when her uncle, King William IV, died. In a constitutional monarchy the sovereign held relatively little direct political power. Privately, she attempted to influence government policy while publicly; she became a national icon who was identified with strict standards of personal morality.

Victoria was physically unprepossessing—she was stout, dowdy and only about five feet tall—but she succeeded in projecting a grand image.  She experienced unpopularity during the first years of her widowhood, but was well liked during the 1880s and 1890s, when she embodied the empire as a benevolent matriarchal figure. Contrary to popular belief, Victoria was immensely amused and roared with laughter on many occasions.

Through Victoria's reign, reforms of the voting system increased the power of the House of Commons at the expense of the House of Lords and the monarch.  By 1867, the monarch only retained "the right to be consulted, the right to encourage, and the right to warn.”  As Victoria's monarchy became more symbolic than political, it placed a strong emphasis on morality and family values.


Source Wikipedia


Day 86

Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace 1815–1852 


A gifted mathematician, Ada Lovelace is considered to be the first computer programmer, an industry that has since transformed business, our lives and the world. In an industry still dominated by men, it’s particularly striking that the first programmer was a woman.

Born in the early 19th century to English poet Lord Byron, she had a fascination with science and mathematics that defied the expectations of her class and gender at her time. From age 4, Ada was tutored in math, prompted by her mother’s fear that she should be exposed to her father’s randy antics and moody nature.

Only 12 years old, she conceived a flying machine in the shape of a flying horse with steam powered wings. After being introduced at the age 17 to inventor Charles Babbage, her work with him ensured she would become one of the most important figures in the early history of the computer.

In her thirties, Ada became a compulsive gambler, pawning the family diamonds to pay her debts.

Despite the fact her work was only appreciated posthumously, Ada Lovelace is now regarded as one of the most important figures in the early history of the computer. She had a unique and farsighted understanding into the potential of computers beyond simple number crunching.

Source Wikipedia and Christopher Klein


Day 85

Anna Jacobson Schwartz

Anna Jacobson Schwartz 1915-2012 

American Economist 

Schwartz is widely acclaimed as the female research economist of the twentieth century, Anna Jacobson Schwartz has been described as “one of the world’s greatest monetary scholars.”

Anna became interested in economics while attending Walton High School. She graduated from Barnard College, and then earned her Master’s Degree in Economics from Columbia University. In 1936, she married Isaac Schwartz and began her professional career with Columbia University’s Social Science Research Council. Schwartz returned to Columbia University and earned a Ph.D.

Dr. Schwartz’s first published paper, British Share Prices, 1811-1850, written with Arthur Gayer and Isaiah Finklestein was published in the 1940 issue of The Review of Economics and Statistics. The paper was a precursor to much of her subsequent work, meticulous in the presentation, explanation, and interpretation of data.

In 1941, Dr. Schwartz began a more than seventy-year tenure working for the National Bureau of Economic Research. It was during this time that she met and began working with economist Milton Friedman. Together, the two co-authored A Monetary History of the United States, 1867 – 1960, which was described by Federal Reserve chair, Ben Bernanke, as “The leading and most persuasive explanation of the worst economic disaster in American history.”  The massive study demonstrated that changes in monetary policy have large effects on the economy and blamed a large portion of the Great Depression on the Federal Reserve; it is one of the most widely cited texts in economics today.

In 1981, Dr. Schwartz served as the Executive Director of the United States Gold Commission; the panel was responsible for recommending the future of gold in the nation’s monetary system. In 1988, she became president of the Western Economic Association.

Source National Women's Hall of Fame


Day 84

Margaret Hamilton

Margaret Heafield Hamilton 1936-present 

Software Engineer

Hamilton is an American Computer Scientist, Systems Engineer and business owner.

She founded two software companies:  Higher Order Software in 1976 and Hamilton Technologies in 1986.  Margaret has published more than 130 papers about sixty projects and six major programs.  She is one of the people credited with coining the term “software engineering”.

After earning a BA in mathematics with a minor in philosophy from Earlham College in 1958, she directed the Software Engineering Division of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, which developed on-board flight software for NASA’s Apollo Space program.  Her team of programmers ran the computers on both the command module and landing module of the Apollo 11 mission. Hamilton never left the earth’s atmosphere, but without her groundbreaking software, it’s unlikely that the American Flag would’ve been planted on the moon in July 1969.

Margaret began her career by developing programs to better predict the weather.  She wrote software which helped the military detect enemy planes.

Margaret met her husband James Cox Hamilton at Earlham College and married in the late 1950’s.  They had a daughter Lauren.  The couple eventually divorced.

On November 22, 2016, Margaret received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama.

For the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, Google unveiled a giant tribute to Hamilton in the California Mojave Desert: more than 107,000 mirrors reflected moonlight to form her image.

Source Wikipedia


Day 83

Jane Austin

Jane Austen 1775-1817 

English Novelist 

Austen is an English novelist known primarily for her six major novels which interpret, critique, and comment upon the British landed gentry at the end of the 18th century. Austen's plots often explore the dependence of women on marriage to pursue favorable social standing and economic security. Her use of biting irony, along with her realism, humor, and social commentary, have long earned her acclaim.

With the publications of Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), and Emma (1816) she achieved success as a published writer. Her six full-length novels have rarely been out of print, although they were published anonymously and brought her moderate success, but little fame during her lifetime.

Her posthumous reputation improved in 1833, when her novels were republished and sold as a set. They gradually gained wider acclaim and popular readership. In 1869, fifty-two years after her death, her nephew's publication of A Memoir of Jane Austen introduced a compelling version of her writing career.

During her lifetime, Austen may have written as many as 3,000 letters, but only 161 survived. Many of the letters were written to Austen's older sister Cassandra, who in 1843 burned the greater part of them and cut pieces out of those she kept. Ostensibly, Cassandra censored her sister's letters to prevent their falling into the hands of relatives who might read Jane Austen's acid or forthright comments.


Source Wikipedia


Day 82

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa 1910-1997

Albanian-IndianRoman Catholic Saint and Missionary 

Mother Teresa, born in Albania, was a Roman Catholic nun who lived in India for most of her life. In 1950, she founded the Missionaries of Charity, which gave free service to the poorest of the poor. The order worked in over 130 countries, serving people dying of HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis. She set up soup kitchens, dispensaries, mobile clinics, children's and family counseling programs, orphanages and schools.

In 1946, Teresa heard the call within the call. "I was to leave the convent and help the poor while living among them. It was an order. To fail would have been to break the faith.” Sister Teresa had just become Mother Teresa.

She began missionary work with the poor in 1948, replacing her traditional Loreto habit with a simple, white cotton sari with a blue border. After receiving basic medical training, Teresa ventured into the slums.

Teresa wrote in her diary that her first year was fraught with difficulty. With no income, she begged for food and supplies and experienced doubt, loneliness and the temptation to return to the comfort of convent life.

Although criticized for her opposition to abortion, her charitable work changed the lives of many of the most vulnerable people in the world.

Pope Frances canonized Mother Teresa on September 4, 2016 at the Vatican.


Source Wikipedia


Day 81

Ruth Handler

Ruth Handler 1916-2002 

Businesswoman and Inventor

Ruth Handler, famously known for the invention of the iconic Barbie doll, was once president of the toy manufacturer, Mattel, Inc.

In 1938, with her husband Elliot, they formed a furniture business that would eventually supply the Douglas Aircraft Company.

Ruth’s husband and a partner in 1945 created Mattel, Inc. What began as a picture frame manufacturing company slowly transformed into a toy company when its creators began crafting dollhouses out of wooden scraps.

Barbara Handler, Ruth’s daughter, was fond of paper dolls as a child. Ruth soon realized that children frequently preferred to be adults when playing. This gave Ruth the idea to craft an adult doll that was three-dimensional, not paper. The fully formed plastic doll could wear clothing made from real fabric, not the ill-fitting paper clothing used for traditional dolls.

In 1959, Ruth introduced her new doll at the New York toy fair. It was named Barbie, after her daughter. Advertisements ran during The Mickey Mouse Club and sales of the Barbie doll elevated Mattel to success beyond their wildest dreams.

In 1970, Ruth Handler was diagnosed with breast cancer. A modified radical mastectomy was performed to save her life. Consequently, she designed and constructed a realistic breast prosthetic called Nearly Me. With it, she formed the Ruthton Corp and sold her product to cancer survivors around the globe.

The Barbie doll is still one of the most famous and profitable toys for young girls in America and around the world.

Source Wikipedia


Day 80

Catherine the Great

Catherine the Great 1729-1796

Empress of Russia 

Catherine II, also known as Catherine the Great, was Empress of Russia from 1762 until 1796, the country's longest-ruling female leader. She came to power following a coup d'état that she organized, overthrowing her own husband, Peter III. Under her reign, the Russian Empire expanded rapidly.

There were victories over the Ottoman Empire and Russia colonized the territories along the coasts of the Black and Azov Seas. The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was eventually partitioned, with the Russian Empire gaining the largest share. In the east, Russia started to colonize Alaska, establishing Russian America.

Catherine reformed the administration of Russian governmentand modernized Russia along Western European lines. Military conscription and the economy continued to depend on serfdom, and increasing demands of the state and private landowners led to increased levels of reliance on serfs. This was one of the chief reasons behind several rebellions.

Catherine decided to have herself inoculated against smallpox, controversial at the time. Catherine then sought to have inoculations throughout her realm. By 1800, approximately 2 million inoculations were administered in the Russian Empire.

As a patron of the arts she presided over the age of the Russian Enlightenment, a period when the Smolny Institute for Noble Maidens, the first state-financed higher education institution for women in Europe, was established.

Source Wikipedia


Day 79

Beaulah Louise Henry

Beulah Louise Henry 1887-1973 

Prolific Inventor

Henry was an American inventor in the 1930s, and was given the nickname "Lady Edison.”

Of approximately 110 inventions, she was awarded around 49 patents over her lifetime.

Henry attended North Carolina Presbyterian College and Elizabeth College in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she submitted her first patents. She moved to New York City in 1924, where she devised one of her most popular early inventions, an umbrella with a snap-on cloth cover. This allowed the owner to coordinate the umbrella with clothing. The umbrella led to her appearance in Scientific American magazine as one of their "Outstanding Inventors.” The rights to her popular umbrella cover invention sold for $50,000, which enabled her to set up her own laboratory. She appointed mechanics, model makers, and draftsmen to turn her ideas into prototypes.

She founded two companies: the Henry Umbrella and Parasol Company, and the B. L. Henry Company of New York. Throughout the 1920s, she was awarded patents for a spring-limbed doll and sponges that held soap in the middle. She also designed the machine that produced the sponges.

During the 1930s and 1940s, the patents she received included a double-chain stitch sewing machine, a feeding and aligning device for typewriters, a bobbin-less sewing machine, a number of children´s toys, and another typewriter attachment for duplicating documents.

She preferred to live in New York hotels and never married. Beulah Louise Henry was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2006.

Source People Pill thefamouspeople.com


Day 78

Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher, 1925–2013 

British Prime Minister

Thatcher was the United Kingdom’s first female prime minister, serving from 1979 to 1990. A Soviet journalist dubbed her “the Iron Lady,” a nickname that became associated with her uncompromising politics and leadership style.

She studied chemistry at Somerville College, Oxford, and worked briefly as a research chemist, before becoming a barrister. Thatcher was elected Member of Parliament in 1959. She then was appointed Secretary of State for Education and Science. She became Prime Minister after winning the 1979 general election.

Thatcher introduced a series of economic policies intended to reverse high unemployment and Britain's struggles with an ongoing recession. Her political philosophy and economic policies emphasized deregulation, flexible labor markets, the privatization of state-owned companies, and reducing the power and influence of trade unions. Thatcher's popularity in her first years in office waned until victory in the 1982 Falklands War and the recovering economy brought a resurgence of support.

Thatcher was re-elected for a third term in 1987, but her subsequent support for the Community Charge ("poll tax") was widely unpopular, and others did not share her views on the European Community in her Cabinet. She resigned as Prime Minister and party leader in November 1990. After retiring in 1992, she was given a life peerage as Baroness Thatcher, which entitled her to sit in the House of Lords. In 2013, she died of a stroke at the age of 87.



Day 77

Elizabeth Fry

Elizabeth Fry 1780-1845

Social Reformer

Elizabeth Fry was an English prison reformer, social reformer and, as a Quaker, a Christian philanthropist. She has often been referred to as the "angel of prisons.”

Prompted by a family friend, Fry visited Newgate Prison in 1813. The conditions she saw there horrified her. The women's section was overcrowded with women and children, some of whom had not even received a trial. The prisoners were confined in small cells where they slept on straw.

In 1816, she founded a prison school for the children who were imprisoned with their mothers. In 1817, she helped found the Association for the Reformation of the Female Prisoners in Newgate. This association provided materials for women so that they could learn to sew patchwork. This allowed skills to develop, such as needlework and knitting, which could offer employment when they were released. She promoted the idea of rehabilitation instead of harsh punishment.

She campaigned for rights of women at Newgate Prison who were transported through the streets of London in open carts, often in chains. She visited prison ships and persuaded captains to implement policies to ensure each woman and child would get a share of food and water on the long journey.

Elizabeth Fry worked with other prominent Quakers to campaign for the abolition of the slave trade. From 2001–2016, Fry was depicted on the reverse of £5 notes issued by the Bank of England.

Source Wikipedia