August 19

Events in Women’s History

1612 – The “Samlesbury witches”, three women from the Lancashire village of Samlesbury, England, are put on trial, accused for practicing witchcraft.

1692 – In Salem, Massachusetts, in the American colonies, five people, one woman and four men, including a clergyman, are executed after being convicted of witchcraft.

Witchcraft at Salem Village, 1876 engraving

Witchcraft at Salem Village, 1876 engraving (source)


Madame du Barry by Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun

Madame du Barry by Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun (source)

1342 – Catherine of Bohemia, Duchess of Austria as wife of Rudolf IV, Duchess of Bavaria and Electress of Brandenburg as wife of Otto V  (d. 1395)

1596 – Elizabeth Stuart, Electress Palatine and Queen consort of Bohemia as the wife of Frederick V; she is referred to as The Winter Queen because her husband’s reign was so short. (d. 1662)

1743Madame du Barry, French courtesan, official mistress of Louis XV of France (d. 1793)

1814? – Mary Ellen Pleasant, American abolitionist and entrepreneur, active in the Underground Railroad, self-made millionaire; she passed as white when she first went to California, but changed her designation to “Black” after the civil war and became a civil rights activist; she is sometimes called the “Mother of Civil Rights in California”; her birth year is disputed. (d. 1904)

1883 – Coco Chanel, French fashion designer, founder of the Chanel Company and brand, listed on Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century (d. 1971)

1900 – Olga Baclanova, Russian actress; popular in silent films in America, her heavy accent made her transition to talking films unsuccessful; best-known for her portrayal of Cleopatra in the horror movie Freaks. (d. 1974)

1911 – Anna Terruwe, Dutch psychiatrist, known for her work with emotional deprivation disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder; she based her work on that of Thomas Aquinas. (d. 2004)

1934 – Renée Richards, American ophthalmologist, author and tennis player; United States Tennis Association Eastern Tennis Hall of Fame inductee in 2000; after undergoing sex reassignment surgery in 1975, she was denied entrance to the US Open by the USTA; she fought the ban in court and the New York State Court ruled in her favor in 1977.


1963 – Kathleen Parlow, Canadian violinist, child prodigy and educator, known as “the lady of the golden bow”; she studied at the St. Petersburg Conservatory where she was the only female in her class and the first foreigner admitted to the school; later she taught at the Juilliard School of Music. (b. 1890)

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Kathleen Parlow c. 1905 (source)

Kathleen Parlow c. 1905 (source)

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