August 24

Events in Women’s History

Edith Spurlock Sampson, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1949. Courtesy Library of Congress.

Edith Spurlock Sampson in 1949 by Carl Van Vechten (source)

1561 – Anna of Saxony marries Willem of Orange

1950 – Edith Sampson, an American lawyer and judge, becomes the first African-American U.S. delegate to the United Nations. She later became the first African-American representative from the US to NATO.


Lady Selina Hastings

Lady Selina Hastings c. 1770, artist unknown (source)

1552 – Lavinia Fontana, Italian painter, known for portraits paintings with religious and mythological themes; she painted to support her family, while her husband took care of the household and children. (d. 1614)

1556 – Sophie Brahe, Danish horticulturalist and medical student, known for assisting her brother the astronomer Tycho Brahe and a 900 page genealogy of Danish noble families (d. 1643)

1707 – Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon, English religious leader, member of first Methodist Society in Fetter Lane, founder of the “Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion” a Calvinistic movement within the Methodist Church; she was founder of 64 chapels for which, as a peeress, she appointed the ministers. (d. 1791)

1750Maria Letizia Buonaparte née Ramolino, mother of Napoleon Buonaparte (d. 1836)

1758 – Sophia Frederica, Duchess of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Hereditary Princess of Denmark and Norway as wife of Prince Frederick, mother of Christian VIII of Denmark (d. 1794)

1904 – Mary Burchell, pseudonym of Ida Cook, English activist and author; with her sister, Mary Louise Cook, she helped Jews escape from the Nazis during the 1930s; known for writing over 110 romance novels as well as her autobiography We Followed Our Stars (republished as Safe Passage.) (d. 1986)

1927 – Anjali Devi, Indian actress and producer, worked in both Telugu and Tamil, best known for her role as Sita in Lava Kusha, recipient of the Raghupathi Venkaiah Award for lifetime service to the Telugu film industry among other awards (d. 2014)

1929 – Betty Dodson, American sex educator, artist and author, pioneer in women’s sexual liberation, particularly advocating masturbation

1937 – Susan Sheehan, American author, recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-fiction for her book Is There No Place on Earth for Me?, staff writer for The New Yorker

1940 – Francine Lalonde, Canadian politician, Member of the House of Commons of Canada representing the districts of La Pointe-de-l’Île and Mercier (d. 2014)


Simone Weil in 1921 (source)

Simone Weil in 1921 (source)

1923 – Kate Douglas Wiggin, American author, known for the children’s novel Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, founder of first free kindergarten in San Francisco and a training school for kindergarten teachers (b. 1856)

1943 – Simone Weil, French teacher, philosopher, political activist and Christian mystic; her activism was often in support of the working class; her work was most popular during the 1950s and 60s. (b. 1909)

1945 – Midori Naka, Japanese stage actress; she was the first person whose death was officially certified as due to radiation poisoning, after surviving the atomic bombing at Hiroshima. (b. 1909)

1979 – Hanna Reitsch, German pilot during WWII. She was the only woman awarded the Iron Cross. (b. 1912)

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