March is Women’s History Month!
Top 10 Firsts in U.S. Women’s History:
- On October 24, 1901, 63-year-old Annie Edson Taylor, a schoolteacher from Michigan, became the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel.
- In 1921, American novelist Edith Wharton became the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for fiction. She won the award for her novel The Age of Innocence. In 1902 she built The Mount, her estate in Lenox, Massachusetts.
- Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, when she traveled from Harbor Grace, Newfoundland to Ireland in approximately 15 hours in 1932. Before this historic flight, she found employment first as a teacher, then as a social worker in 1925 at Denison House, living in Medford, Massachusetts. When Earhart lived in Medford, she maintained her interest in aviation, becoming a member of the American Aeronautical Society’s Boston chapter and was eventually elected its vice president. She flew out of Dennison Airport (later the Naval Air Station Squantum) in Quincy, Massachusetts and helped finance its operation by investing a small sum of money. Earhart also flew the first official flight out of Dennison Airport in 1927. As well as acting as a sales representative for Kinner airplanes in the Boston area, Earhart wrote local newspaper columns promoting flying and as her local celebrity grew, she laid out the plans for an organization devoted to female flyers.
- In 1943, The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League became the first professional baseball league for female players. Louise Arnold from Pawtucket, Rhode Island was the star pitcher for the South Bend Blue Sox, which won the championship in 1951.
- The first African-American tennis player to win a singles title at Wimbledon was Althea Gibson in 1957. Gibson also became the first African American woman to join the Ladies Professional Golf Association tour, in 1964.
- In the 1960’s, the Women’s Social Movement peaked on topics like seeking equal rights and opportunities for women in their economic activities, their personal lives, and politics.
- Women’s History Month, now celebrated annually in the United States, grew out of a week-long celebration of women’s contributions to culture, history, and society organized by the school district of Sonoma, California, in 1979.
- Sandra Day O’Connor was the first woman appointed to serve as a justice of the Supreme Court. She was appointed by President Reagan in 1981.
- In 1992, Manon Rheaume was the first woman to play in a National Hockey League game. She helped lead Team Canada to gold medals in the 1992 and 1994 World Hockey Championships and a silver medal at the 1998 Nagano Games.
- Kathryn Bigelow made history as the first woman to win the Oscar for Best Director. She received her award in March 2010 for her 2009 Iraq War movie The Hurt Locker.
Tags: American history, history, New England History, women's history