July 18

Events in Women’s History

Nadia Comaneci

Nadia Comaneci in 1977

1976 – Nadia Comăneci becomes the first person in Olympic Games history to score a perfect 10 in gymnastics at the 1976 Summer Olympics. (Photo credit: Dave Gilbert, Wikimedia Commons, cc-by-sa-2.0, original source)

Births

Maria Clementina by Francesco Trevisani

Maria Clementina by Francesco Trevisani (source)

1501Isabella of Austria, Queen consort of Sweden, Denmark and Norway as wife of Christian II, regent of Denmark in 1520, daughter of Philip I and Joanna of Castile (d. 1526)

1702 – Maria Clementina Sobieska, granddaughter of King John III of Poland and wife of James Francis Edward Stuart; she was arrested on the way to her wedding in an attempt by George I of Great Britain to prevent the marriage; eventually she escaped and was quickly married by proxy to James. (d. 1735)

1724 – Duchess Maria Antonia of Bavaria, Electress of Saxony, singer, composer and harpsichordist; her operas were well received for the works and her performance. (d. 1780)

1821 – Pauline Viardot, French mezzo-soprano, pianist, educator and composer; Franz Liszt considered her a “woman composer of genius”. (d. 1910)

1850 – Rose Hartwick Thorpe, American author and poet, known primarily for her poem Curfew Must Not Ring Tonight (d. 1939)

1867 – Margaret Brown, American philanthropist and activist, RMS Titanic survivor, known as “The Unsinkable Molly Brown”; a Broadway musical and film both carried the same name. (d. 1932)

1871 – Sada Yacco, Japanese geisha, actress and dancer; she was very well-educated for the time, very popular in Europe and the United States as well as Japan (d. 1946)

1895 – Olga Spessivtseva, Russian ballerina, considered one of the outstanding ballerinas of the 20th century (d. 1946)

1900 – Nathalie Sarraute, French author and lawyer; of Russian Jewish origin, she was force to quit practicing law in 1941 and dedicated herself to writing; recipient of the Prix international de littérature for her novel The Golden Fruits (d. 1999)

1902 – Jessamyn West, American author, known for the novel The Friendly Persuasion (d. 1984)

1908 – Mildred Lisette Norman, known as Peace Pilgrim, American mystic, spiritual teacher, pacifist and activist, known for walking for peace, crossing the United States at least 8 times on foot (d. 1981)

1909 – Harriet Nelson, American singer and actress, best known as the mother on television sitcom The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (d. 1994)

1924 – Inge Sørensen, Danish swimmer and Olympic medalist, youngest female Olympic medalist to win an individual event, winning the Bronze medal in 1936 for the 200 m breatstroke (d. 2011)

1925 – Shirley Strickland, Australian athlete and Olympic medalist; she won Olympic medals in 1948, 1952, and 1956 for running events. (d. 2004)

1926 – Margaret Laurence, Canadian author, founder of the Writers’ Trust of Canada, known for The Stone Angel and The Diviners, recipient of two Governor General’s Awards, Companion of the Order of Canada (d. 1987)

1935 – Tenley Albright, American figure skater, Olympic medalist, first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in figure skating in 1956, used skating as a means to regain muscle strength after a bout of polio at age 11

Deaths

Queen Marie of Romania, George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress (source)

Queen Marie of Romania, George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress (source)

1817 – Jane Austen, English novelist, considered one of the great English writers of her time, her works include Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfiled Park, and Emma  (b. 1775)

1918 – Princess Elisabeth of Hesse and by Rhine, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna of Russia, canonized as St. Elizabeth Romanova (b. 1864)

1938 – Marie of Romania, the last Queen consort of Romania, wife of Ferdinand I, nurse and author, known for her autobiography The Story of My Life (b. 1875)

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