April 17

Events in Women’s History

1964 – Jerrie Mock ends her 22,860 mile trip and becomes the first woman to fly solo around the world. The trip took 29 days with 21 stopovers. She was awarded the Louis Blériot Medal from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale afterwards.


Susan Fenimore Cooper c. 1855 (source)

Susan Fenimore Cooper c. 1855 (source)

1620 – Marguerite Bourgeoys, French founder of the Congregation of Notre Dame of Montreal, canonized by the Roman Catholic Church October 31, 1982 (d. 1700)

1813 – Susan Fenimore Cooper, American author, naturalist, founder of an orphanage in Cooperstown, New York, amanuensis to her father, James Fenimore Cooper (d. 1894)

1845 – Isabel Barrows, American stenographer, physician and professor of ophthalmology at Howard University, first woman to work as a stenographer for the United States State Department (for William Seward in 1868), first woman to open a private medical practice in Washington D.C. (d. 1913)

1851 – Anna Garlin Spencer, American educator, author, lecturer, Unitarian minister, suffragist and peace activist, first woman ordained as a minister in Rhode Island (d. 1931)

1865 – Ursula Ledóchowska, Polish nun, founder of the Congregation of the Ursulines of the Agonizing Heart of Jesus, canonized by the Roman Catholic Church May 18, 2003 (d. 1939)

1885 – Karen Blixen, Danish author, known by the pseudonym Isak Dinesen among others, known for her novel Out of Africa (d. 1962)

1912 – Marta Eggerth, Hungarian actress and operatic coloratura soprano, made her debut at 11 touring Europe as a teenager, began film work in the 1930s and eventually made more than 40 films in five different languages, recipient of many awards including The Knights Cross of the Order of the Merit of the Republic of Hungary, Hungary’s highest honor

1915 – Regina Ghazaryan, Armenian painter and military pilot during WWII, hid and preserved the works of the poet Yeghishe Charents (d. 1999)

1916 – Sirima Bandaranaike, Sri Lankan politician, served as Prime Minister three times including as PM of Ceylon in 1960, the modern world’s first female head of government (d. 2000)

1919 – Chavela Vargas, Costa Rican-born Mexican singer, songwriter and actress, recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (d. 2012)

1928 – Cynthia Ozick, American author of short stories, novels and essays

1940 – Anja Silja, German operatic soprano, known for the size of her repertoire and her acting as well as singing ability, Grammy Award recipient


Kateri Tekakwitha c. 1696 by Father Claude Chauchetière (source)

Kateri Tekakwitha c. 1696 by Father Claude Chauchetière (source)

1680 – Kateri Tekakwitha, Algonquin-Mohawk laywoman, canonized by the Roman Catholic Church in 2012 (b. 1656)

1695 –  Juana Inés de la Cruz, Mexican nun, poet and self-taught scholar (b. 1651)

1696 – Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, marquise de Sévigné, French author, known for her letter writing (b. 1626)

1840 – Hannah Webster Foster, American author, known for her novel The Coquette; or, The History of Eliza Wharton, first published anonymously (b. 1758)

1988 – Louise Nevelson, American sculptor (b. 1900)

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