Category: women in history

Helen of Greece and Denmark (1896-1982) was th…

of Greece and Denmark
(1896-1982) was the queen
mother of Romania during the 1940s. She is remembered particularly for her
efforts to save Romanian Jews during the Holocaust, for which she was awarded
the title of Righteous Among the Nations.

She became queen of Romania in 1921, and
queen mother in 1940, when her son Michael became king. She became his closest
adviser and made efforts to halt the deportations of Romanian Jews, opposing the
dictator Ion Antonescu.

Romaine Brooks (1874-1970) was a painter who s…

(1874-1970) was a painter who specialised in
portraits. She is best known for her paintings of women in masculine or
androgynous clothing.

She started studying art in Rome, where she
was the only female student in her life drawing class – a very unusual place for
a woman at the time. She later moved to Capri, where she lived and worked in
poverty; she found success later on, in the art circles of Paris. She was also
well known for her uninhibited lifestyle and sexuality, and the love triangle
she formed with Natalie Clifford Barney and Lily de Gramont.

Above, right: Miss Natalie Barney, 1920

Anne Firor Scott (1921-2019) was an American h…

Anne Firor
(1921-2019) was an
American historian, specialised in the history of the South, with a focus on
women in history. She taught at Duke University, where she became the first
female chair of the history department.

Her best known book
is the 1970 The Southern Lady: From
Pedestal to Politics
, now considered a classic and a stepping stone in the
field of Southern women’s history. She served as the president of the Organization
of American Historians and of the Southern Historical Association.

Anne Lister (1791-1840) was an English diarist…

Anne Lister
(1791-1840) was an English diarist and traveller. She is best known for
her very detailed diaries, of which significant parts were written in code,
covering her lesbian relationships.

She is referred to as “the first modern lesbian” for her open homosexuality,
very uncommon for the time. She was nicknamed “Gentleman Jack” and often mocked
for her masculine appearance. In 2011, her diaries were
added to the register of the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme, not only for
their frank accounts of lesbianism, but also for providing valuable records of
social and political events of her time.

Jacqueline de Romilly (1913-2010) was a French…

Jacqueline de Romilly (1913-2010) was a French philosopher,
author and scholar. She was the first woman nominated to the Collège de France
and the second to be accepted into the Académie française.

She obtained her PhD from the University of
Paris, studying the culture and language of ancient Greece. In 2000, the Greek
government named her an Ambassador of Hellenism. Her research has brought her
numerous awards and recognitions, including the Grand Cross of the Legion of

Susana Ferrari (1914-1999) was the first woman…

was the first woman who earned a commercial pilot’s license in South America.
She achieved this in 1937 in her native Argentina.

Her achievements include piloting an amphibious
aircraft on a 4000-mile journey, from Panama to Argentina, in 1940, and flying
to Uruguay with two other female aviators in 1943, officially representing
Argentina. She was also a strong proponent of women’s rights and fought for the
recognition of female aviators.

Wilma Vaught (b. 1930) achieved a number of fi…

(b. 1930) achieved a number of firsts in US
military history. She was the first woman to reach the rank of brigadier
general in the comptroller field, as well as the first woman to deploy with a
Strategic Air Command operational unit.

She served in Spain and Vietnam in addition
to her native US. She served as the leader of the Women in the Military Service
to America Memorial Foundation, which fought to gain recognition for the role
of women in American military history and led to the creation of a memorial in
the Arlington National Cemetery.

Anna Hyatt Huntington (1876-1973) was one of t…

Anna Hyatt
was one of the most important sculptors working in New York City. She was the
author of the first public monument in the city created by a woman.

She had a thriving career and was mostly
known for her animal sculptures, which are now on display in many places across
the United States, including for example Columbia University, Central Park and
the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her statue of Joan of Arc was the first
monument in New York dedicated to a woman in history.

Olave Baden-Powell (1889-1977) played a crucia…

played a crucial role in the founding of Scouting and Girl Guides in the United
Kingdom. She was the first Chief Guide for Britain.

She became involved in
Scouting and Girl guiding after marrying Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of
the movement. Olave took on the role of Chief Commissioner and encouraged
numerous girls and women across the nation to participate. She received
numerous awards in recognition of her volunteering efforts, not only from the
British government but from other countries, such as Peru or Japan.

Gabrielle Petit (1893-1916) is considered a na…

is considered a national heroine in her native country of Belgium. She was a
spy for the British Secret Service during WWI, and was executed for it.

At the beginning of
the war, she worked as a volunteer to the Belgian Red Cross. She was later
recruited by the British and provided them with information about the movements
of enemy troops, as well as delivering the resistance newspaper La Libre Belgique. She was captured and
executed by a German firing squad at the age of 23, after refusing to testify
against other agents in exchange for amnesty. Her statue in Brussels is the
first statue in the country in honour of a working-class woman.