10 Female Firsts in American History You May Not Know
March 8th marks the 100th anniversary of celebrating International Women’s Day. You probably know that Sandra Day O’Connor was the first female Supreme Court Justice, Sally Ride was the first female Astronaut and Hilary Clinton was the first female to win a Presidential dominant contest. But what were all the women doing before them in American history? Women couldn’t vote, own character or sit on a jury but they were nevertheless accomplishing great achievements. See if you know some or any of these Female Firsts:
• The first female American writer? In 1650, Anne Bradstreet’s book of poems, “The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America” was published in England.
• The first female American artist? Henrietta Johnston began work as a portrait painter in Charleston, South Carolina in 1707. In 1896, Alice Guy Blache became the first female film director and would shoot more than 300 movies.
• The first female American publisher? In 1766, Mary Katherine Goddard became the publisher of the Providence Gazette and the first American female postmaster in 1775.
• The first female to receive a US patent? Mary Kies was granted her patent in 1809 for a method of weaving straw with silk. In 1885, Sarah E. Goode became the first African- American woman to receive a patent for her bed that folded up into a cabinet.
• The first female American Doctor? Elizabeth Blackwell received her MD from the Medical Institution of Geneva, NY in 1849. In 1864, Rebecca Lee Crumpler became the first African-American woman to receive her MD from the New England Female Medical College. In 1866, Lucy Hobbs became the first female American Dentist.
• The first female minister? Antoinette Blackwell was ordained a minister in the Congregational denomination in 1853. In 1879, Mary Baker Eddy became the first woman to found a major religion, Christian Science.
• The first female lawyer? Arabella Mansfield was granted permission to practice law in Iowa in 1869. Belva Lockwood became the first woman admitted to practice before the US Supreme Court in 1879. In 1993, Janet Reno became the first female US Attorney General.
• The first female Presidential Candidate? Victoria Claflin Woodhull was nominated by the National drastic Reformers in 1872.
• The first female American Mayor? In 1887, Susanna Medora Salter became the mayor of Argonia, Kansas. In 1991, Sharon Pratt Dixon would be sworn in as Mayor of Washington DC, the first African-American female mayor of any major US city.
• The first female Director of the US Stock Exchange? In 1897, women couldn’t have their own bank accounts but the highest financial institution was run by Juanita Kreps. She later became the first female Secretary of Commerce. In 1997, Madeline Albright was sworn in as US Secretary of State and the highest ranking woman in the government. In 2005, Condoleeza Rice became the first African-American female Secretary of State.