February 20

Events in Women’s History

Tara Lipinski c. 1998 (source)

Tara Lipinski c. 1998 (source)

1935 – Caroline Mikkelsen becomes the first woman to set foot in Antarctica. (This has been disputed by some.)

1998 – American figure skater Tara Lipinski becomes the youngest gold-medalist at the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.


Statue of Gabrielle Petit in Place Saint-Jean, Bruxelles, photo by Michel Wal (source)

Statue of Gabrielle Petit in Place Saint-Jean, Bruxelles, photo by Michel Wal (source)

1805 – Angelina Grimké Weld, American abolitionist, suffragist and political activist (d. 1879)

1859 – Eliza Courtney, illegitimate daughter of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire with Charles Grey; her husband forced her to give her up to her father’s parents.  (d. 1859)

1874 – Mary Garden, Scottish soprano also known for considerable acting ability, known as “the Sarah Bernhardt of opera” (d. 1967)

1867 – Louise, Princess Royal of England, third child of Edward VII and Alexandra of Denmark (d. 1931)

1893 – Gabrielle Petit, Belgian Red Cross volumteer and spy for the British Secret Service during WWI, arrested for these activities and executed by firing squad (d. 1916)

1893 – Elizabeth Holloway Marston, American psychologist and the inspiration for Charles Moulton’s creation “Wonder Woman”; Moulton was her husband and she was involved in the development of the comic book character. (d. 1993)

1918 – Leonore Annenberg, American businesswoman, philanthropist, former Chief of Protocol of the United States (d. 2009)

1924 – Gloria Vanderbilt, American artist, actress, author, and fashion designer, heiress of the Vanderbilt family of New York and mother of Anderson Cooper

1928 – Jean Kennedy Smith, American diplomat, United States Ambassador to Ireland, founder of Very Special Arts, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom

1929 – Amanda Blake, American actress, “Miss Kitty” from Gunsmoke (d. 1989)

1937 – Nancy Wilson, American singer and actress, three time Grammy award winner

1941 – Buffy Sainte-Marie, Canadian-American Cree singer-songwriter, producer, educator and social activist, founder of the Cradleboard Teaching Project


1778Laura Bassi, Italian scholar (b. 1711)

1803 – Marie Dumesnil, French actress (b. 1713)

1920 – Jacinta Marto, Portuguese saint (b. 1910)

1941 – Madame Bolduc, French Canadian singer-songwriter (b. 1894)

1970 – Sophie Treadwell, American playwright and journalist (b. 1885)

1972 – Maria Goeppert-Mayer, German physicist, Nobel laureate (b. 1906)

1976 – Kathryn Kuhlman, American evangelist (b. 1907)

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Laura Bassi by Carlo Vandi (source)

Laura Bassi by Carlo Vandi (source)

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