Even More Astonishing Women
(2285 – 2250 BCE) was the first known author, writing poems, psalms and prayers for Sargon the Great as the high priestess in the city of Ur. She is known as “the Shakespeare of Sumerian literature.”
(17 July 1898 – 9 December 1991) was a pioneer of modern American photography. She is best known for her powerful black and white photos of New York City in the 1930s. She also is known as being responsible for the present day fame of the French photographer Eugene Atget, whose work she brought to America, after her formative years of working in Paris as an assistant to Man Ray, and subsequently establishing her successful portrait business there.
is the founding organizer of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience and the founder of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum in New York City.
Augusta Ada King (Ada Lovelace)
(10 December 1815 – 27 November 1852) was an English mathematician and writer, chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage’s early mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. Her notes on the engine include what is recognized as the first algorithm intended to be carried out by a machine. Because of this, she is often regarded as the first computer programmer.
(13 September 1843 – 6 December 1885) was an American socialite, active society hostess and an accomplished photographer. She has been cited as the inspiration for writer Henry James’s “Daisy Miller” and “The Portrait of a Lady.” Her work was widely admired, although her husband apparently would not allow her to become professional and discouraged any publication of her photographs.
Maria Gaetana Agnesi
(16 May 1718 – 9 January 1799) was an Italian mathematician and philosopher. She was the first woman to write a mathematics handbook and the first woman appointed as a Mathematics Professor at a University. Mathematician who figured out the formula for the bell shaped curve still used today.
(23 June 1889 – 5 March 1966) Anna Akhmatova is regarded as one of the greatest Russian poets. Besides poetry, which constitutes the lion’s share of her literary legacy, she wrote prose—primarily memoirs, autobiographical pieces, and literary scholarship, including her outstanding essays on Aleksandr Sergeevich Pushkin. She also produced many first-rate translations of Italian, French, Armenian, and Korean poetry.
(born 800- died 880) was an Arab Muslim woman who is credited for founding The University of Al Quaraouiyine in Fes, Morocco in 859 CE. The madrasa (a college for Islamic instruction) she founded is still in operation today. It is the oldest continually operating educational institution in the world and is sometimes referred to as the world’s oldest university, though it did not officially become a university until the 1950s. The mosque is also still in operation, and is one of the largest in North Africa.
(November 24, 1886 – October 19, 1973) was the American founder, editor and publisher of the art and literary magazine The Little Review, which published a collection of modern American, English and Irish writers between 1914 and 1929. The periodical is most noted for introducing many prominent American and British writers of the 20th century, such as Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot in the United States, and publishing the first thirteen chapters of James Joyce’s then-unpublished novel, Ulysses.
(24 March 1923 – 26 July 1971) was an American photographer best known for her intimate black-and-white portraits. Arbus often photographed people on the fringes of society, including the mentally ill, transgender people, and circus performers. Today, her works are held in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among others.
(3 January 1897 – 1 October 1979) had a twenty-year directing career that made her the first woman director in the Directors Guild of America and the first to direct a film with sound. Katherine Hepburn, Rosalind Russell and Lucille Ball all got their starts in her films. She is also one of the first recognized queer directors.
(16 March 1799 – 9 June 1871) was an English botanist and, some argue, the very first female photographer, most noted for using photography in her books on various plants. She is known for her work with cyanotypes and became a member of the Botanical Society in London in 1839, one of the few scientific societies which was open to women.
(March 17, 1866 – June 9, 1952) was one of America’s earliest and most prolific female photographers. Though best known for her documentary work, Austen was an artist with a strong aesthetic sensibility. Furthermore, she was a landscape designer, a master tennis player, and the first woman on Staten Island to own a car. A rebel who broke away from the ties of her Victorian environment, Alice Austen created her own independent life.
(5 May 1921 – 12 November 2013), was an English code-breaker at Bletchley Park during World War II. Her work was one of the keys to the success of D-Day. In December 1941 she broke a message between Belgrade and Berlin that enabled Dilly Knox’s team to work out the wiring of the Abwehr Enigma, an Enigma machine previously thought to be unbreakable. While at Bletchley Park she met Keith Batey, a mathematician and fellow codebreaker whom she married in 1942.
(nee Craddock) – (26 March 1633 – 1699) was an English portrait painter. She became one of the most important portrait painters of 17th-century England, and is described as the first professional female English painter. Her portrait of Rachel Carew smiling so impressed Daphne du Maurier whilst at Antony House Plymouth that it formed an inspiration for her novel My Cousin Rachel.
Aphra Behn (nee Johnson)
(14 December 1640– 16 April 1689). A British playwright, poet, translator and fiction writer from the Restoration era. As one of the first English women to earn her living by her writing, she broke cultural barriers and served as a literary role model for later generations of women authors.
(3 February 1821 – 31 May 1910) – A British-born medical practitioner and the first woman to graduate medical school. She opened the New York Infirmary for Women and Children after much objection. A pioneer in promoting the education of women in medicine in the United States, and a social and moral reformer in both the United States and in the United Kingdom.
(22 September 1878 – 11 May 1971) was an Anglo-Irish journalist and aviator who, in 1910–11, became one of the first women in the world to design, build, and fly an aircraft.
(16 April 1930 – 21 December 2007) was a teacher and an award-winning American author of short stories, essays, and nonfiction works on writing. Her work often featured Minnesota women who must identify the moral crisis that is facing their community or themselves and enact change through empathy, or opening one’s eyes to the realities of the situation.
(August 19, 1909 – May 13, 2013) was a psychoanalyst in Los Angeles, California, who maintained an active practice when she was over 100 years old. She saw patients four days a week at age 102.
She studied at the University of Vienna. Bolgar was one of the last living psychologists to have attended Freud’s lectures in Vienna. She received an Outstanding Oldest Worker Award in 2011 in Washington D.C. at age 102.