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Women’s History Month, Part 4

This Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating icons of art, technology, science, sports and literature


Mary Bowser, American Union Spy during the Civil War.

Mary Elizabeth Bowser was born into slavery in Virginia, and set free as a child in 1843, prior to emancipation. Mary went on to work for her former mistress as a spy for the Union cause during the Civil War.

After the war she went on to teach former slaves, give lectures and continued to be active in politics.

Find out more: legendsofamerica.com/mary-bowser


Helen Oyeyemi, British Author

‘Oyeyemi has an eye for the gently perverse, the odd detail that turns the ordinary marvelously, frighteningly strange.’ – The Boston Globe

Helen Oyeyemi wrote her first novel, The Icarus Girl, while still at school studying for her A levels at Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School. While studying social and political sciences at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, two of her plays, Juniper’s Whitening and Victimese, were performed by fellow students to critical acclaim and subsequently published by Methuen.

Find out more: helenoyeyemi.com


Alice Ball, American Chemist, Pioneer and Academic.

Alice Ball was a chemist who developed the ‘Ball Method’, the most effective treatment for leprosy during the early 20th century. She was the first woman and first African American to receive a master’s degree from the University of Hawaii, and was also the university’s first female and African American chemistry professor. She died in 1916, aged only 24.

Find out more: scientificwomen.net/women/ball-alice-121


Caroline Herschel, German-British Astronomer

A pioneer in the field and considered the first professional female astronomer, she made important contributions to the work of her brother Sir William Herschel, executing many of the calculations connected with his studies.

On her own, she detected by telescope three nebulae in 1783, and in 1786 she became the first woman to discover a comet; over the next 11 years she spotted seven other comets.

Find out more: scientificwomen.net/women/herschel-caroline-43


Deborah Harkness, American Author, Academic and Researcher

“The story of my life? It can be summed up in three words: history, books, and libraries. My career in fiction began in September 2008, when I started to wonder “if there really are witches and vampires, what do they do for a living?” A Discovery of Witches was the unexpected answer to that question…”

Deborah is a lecturer in European history and the history of science to undergraduates and graduate students at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Find out more: deborahharkness.com


Maria Sibylla Merian, German Naturalist and Scientific Illustrator

Merian was one of the early European naturalists to observe insects directly. She documented evidence on the process of metamorphosis and the plant hosts of 186 European insect species. Along with the illustrations, Merian included a descriptions of their life cycles.

Find out more: botanicalartandartists.com/about-maria-sibyllamerian


Yosana Akiko, Japanese Author and Poet

Yosano Akiko was the pen-name of a Japanese author, poet, pioneering feminist, pacifist, and social reformer.

Aside from poetry, Yosana Akiko frequently wrote for the all-women literary magazine Seito (Bluestocking), as well as other publications. Her opinions were rooted in the concept of equally partaking in child rearing, financial independence, and social responsibility.

Find out more: poetryfoundation.org/poets/yosano-akiko


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