May 16

Events in Women’s History

Marie Antoinette c. 1767 by Martin van Meytens (source)

Marie Antoinette c. 1767 by Martin van Meytens (source)

1770 – 14-year old Marie Antoinette marries 15-year-old Louis-Auguste becoming Dauphine of France.

1920 – Joan of Arc is canonized in the Roman Catholic Church by Pope Benedict XV.

1991 – Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom addresses a joint session of the United States Congress, becoming the first British monarch to do so.

2005 – The National Assembly of Kuwait passes a law allowing women to vote and run for office.


Maria Gaetana Agnesi (source)

Maria Gaetana Agnesi (source)

1718Maria Gaetana Agnesi, Italian mathematician, philosopher, and child prodigy; known for writings on calculus, the works of Euler, and the curve known as the “Witch of Agnesi”; the last decades of her life were devoted to working with the poor. (d. 1799)

1804 – Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, American educator, business woman and translator, founded the first English-language kindergarten in the United States, business manager for the Transcendentalist publication The Dial (d. 1894)

1880 – Anne O’Hare McCormick, American journalist, Pulitzer Prize winner (d. 1954)

1898 – Tamara de Lempicka, Polish Art Deco painter; known for her bohemian lifestyle as well as her paintings (d. 1980)

1898 – Desanka Maksimović, Serbian poet, academic and member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (d. 1993)

1906 – Margret Rey, German author and illustrator, with her husband, H.A. Rey known for the Curious George series of children’s books (d. 1996)

1909 – Margaret Sullavan, American stage and film actress, Academy Award nominee (d. 1960)

1910 – Olga Bergholz, Russian poet, known also for her radio work during the Seige of Leningrad 1941-1944 (d. 1975)

1925 – Nancy Roman, American astronomer, advocate for women in the sciences, first Chief of Astronomy in the Office of Space Science among other offices at NASA

1929 – Adrienne Rich, American poet and author, declined the National Medal of Arts in protest of a vote to end funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (d. 2012)

1931 – Denise Filiatrault, Canadian actress and director, Genie Award winner, Officer of the Order of Canada and the National Order of Quebec

1955 – Olga Korbut, Belarusian gymnast, the “Sparrow from Minsk”, Olympic medalist competing for the Soviet Union in 1972 and 1976


Maria Bieșu in 2005 by Vladimir Vasiliev (source)

Maria Bieșu in 2005 by Vladimir Vasiliev (source)

1985 – Margaret Hamilton, American character actress, known for her role as the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz (b. 1902)

2012 – Maria Bieşu, Moldovan opera singer, chief vocalist of the National Opera and Ballet Theatre of Moldova (b. 1935)

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