January 1

Events in Women’s History

Queen Victoria in her coronation robes, 1860, by George Hayter

Queen Victoria in her coronation robes, 1860, by George Hayter (source)

414 – Galla Placidia, half-sister of Emperor Honorius, is married to the Visigothic king Ataulf at Narbonne.

417 – Emperor Honorius forces Galla Placidia into marriage to Constantius, one of his generals.

1772 – Martha Wayles Skelton marries Thomas Jefferson, future President of the United States. She dies before he becomes President.

1824 – Sarah Childress, future First Lady of the United States, marries James K. Polk.

1847 – The world’s first “Mercy” Hospital is founded in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania by the Sisters of Mercy.

1877 – Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom is proclaimed Empress of India at the Imperial Durbar.

1980 – Victoria is declared Crown Princess of Sweden and heir apparent by the 1979 change to the Act of Succession of 1810. The change says that the throne will be inherited by the monarch’s eldest child without regard to gender.

Births

Betsy Ross presenting the American flag to George Washington by Edward Percy Moran, Library of Congress

Betsy Ross presenting the American flag to George Washington by Edward Percy Moran, Library of Congress (source)

1516 – Margaret Leijonhufvud, Queen of Sweden as wife of Gustav I (d. 1551)

1752 – Elizabeth “Betsy” Griscom Ross, American seamstress, credited with designing the Flag of the United States although no documentary evidence exists (d. 1836)

1768 – Maria Edgeworth, English-Irish author (d. 1849)

1800 – “Aunt” Clara Brown, American community leader and philanthropist; formerly enslaved, after winning her freedom, she worked her way west as a cook, laundress, and midwife, made investments and began to help others. (d. 1885)

1876 – Harriet Brooks, Canadian nuclear physicist (d. 1933)

1911 – Audrey Wurdemann, American poet, Pulitzer Prize winner (d. 1960)

1921 – Regina Bianchi, Italian actress (d. 2013)

1923 – Valentina Cortese, Italian actress

1927 – Yvonne Sanson, Greek actress (d. 2003)

1939 – Michèle Mercier, French actress

Deaths

1928 – Loïe Fuller, American-born pioneer of modern dance and theatrical lighting techniques, she spent most of her professional career in France, held many patents related to stage lighting (b. 1862)

1941 – Kate Campbell Hurd-Mead, Canadian-born American feminist, author and obstetrician, one of the founders of the Middlesex County Hospital in Connecticut, president of the American Medical Women’s Association, author of A History of Women in Medicine: From the Earliest of Times to the Beginning of the Nineteenth Century (b. 1867)

1960 – Margaret Sullavan, American actress and screenwriter (b. 1909)

1981 – Hephzibah Menuhin, American-Australian pianist, author, human rights advocate (b. 1920)

2005 – Shirley Chisholm, American educator, politician and author, first African American woman elected to the United States House of Representatives (1968), first black candidate for President of the US from a major party (1972) (b. 1924)

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Margaret Sullavan, 1940 publicity photo

Margaret Sullavan, 1940 publicity photo (source)

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