July 7

Events in Women’s History

Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc on horseback from a 1505 manuscript (source)

1456A retrial verdict acquits Joan of Arc of heresy 25 years after her death.

1865 – Mary Surratt, American conspirator in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln is hanged, becoming the first woman to be executed in the US.

1981 – Sandra Day O’Connor is appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States, becoming the first woman to sit on the Court.

1983 – Samantha Smith, a U.S. schoolgirl, flies to the Soviet Union at the invitation of Secretary General Yuri Andropov in response to a letter to him. She traveled as a Goodwill Ambassador making a plea for peace.


Nettie Stevens

Nettie Stevens c. 1910 (source)

1207 – Elizabeth of Hungary, Princess and Catholic saint, symbol of Christian charity; she was widowed at 20 and used her dowry to build a hospital where she served the sick. (d. 1231)

1528 – Archduchess Anna of Austria, Duchess consort of Bavaria as wife of Albert V  (d. 1590)

1851 – Lillien Jane Martin, American psychologist, educator and author, known for her books Salvaging Old Age and Sweeping the Cobwebs (d. 1943)

1852 – Vera Nikolayevna Figner, Russian revolutionary, doctor’s assistant and author; participant in the assassination plot against Alexander II for which she was tried and sentenced to execution; her sentence was commuted to penal servitude in Siberia; known for her book Memories of a Revolutionist. (d. 1942)

1861 – Nettie Stevens, American geneticist, described the XY chromosome system with Edmund Beecher Wilson (d. 1912)

1867 – Charlotte Anita Whitney, American social worker, political activist and suffragist, remembered as a defendant in the 1920 Criminal Syndicalism trial (d. 1955)

1904 – Simone Beck, French chef, teacher and cookbook author, known for authoring Mastering the Art of French Cooking with Julia Child and Louisette Bertholie and for her own book What’s Cooking in France? (d. 1991)

1910 – Canadian landscape painter and art instructor, known primarily for Canadian landscapes and Arctic icebergs  (d. 2010)

1911 – Gretchen Franklin, British actress, best-known for her role as Ethel Skinner in the BBC soap opera EastEnders; her career spanned over 70 years. (d. 2005)

1915 – Margaret Walker, American novelist and poet, part of the African-American literary movement in Chicago, known for her poem For My People and her novel Jubilee  (d. 1998)

1924 – Mary Ford, American singer and guitarist, with her husband, Les Paul, known for the hits “Vaya con Dios” and “How High the Moon” (d. 1977)


Johanna Spyri c. 1870 (source)

Johanna Spyri c. 1870 (source)

1537Madeleine of Valois, Queen of Scots as wife of James V; sometimes calle Magdalene of Valois, her death was commemorated in the poem Deploration of Deith of Quene Magdalene, by David Lyndsay (b. 1520)

1865 – Mary Surratt, American conspirator in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln; she was hanged with three others. (b. 1820 or 1823)

1901 – Johanna Spyri, Swiss author, known for writing the loved children’s book Heidi (b. 1827)

1954 – Idabelle Smith Firestone, American composer and songwriter, member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), compositions include “If I Could Tell You” and “Melody of Love” (b. 1874)

1962 – Anita Delgado, Spanish flamenco dancer and singer, the Maharani Prem Kaur as wife of Maharaja Jagatjit Singh Bahadur of Kapurthala (b. 1890)

1964 – Lillian Copeland, American athlete and Olympic medalist, competed in discus throw, javelin throw and shot put (b. 1904)

1973 – Veronica Lake, American stage, film and television actress, known for her role as “The Girl” in Sullivan’s Travels and as a femme fatale in film noir (b. 1919)

2013 – Anna Eva Lydia Catherine Wing, MBE, British actress who had a long career in television and theater, but was best known for playing Lou Beale, the family matriarch of the Beale and Fowler family in EastEnders. (b. 1914)

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