May 17

Events in Women’s History

Anne of Denmark c. 1605 by John de Critz the Elder (source)

Anne of Denmark c. 1605 by John de Critz the Elder (source)

1590 – Anne of Denmark is crowned Queen of Scotland.

1827 – Eliza McCardle, future First Lady of the United States, marries Andrew Johnson.

1863 – Rosalía de Castro publishes her book of poetry, Cantares Gallegos, the first book in the Galician language. May 17 is celebrated every year as the Día das Letras Galegas (“Galician Literature Day”), an official holiday of the Autonomous Community of Galicia.

2004 – The first legal same-sex marriages in the U.S. are performed in the state of Massachusetts.

2006 – Captain Nichola Kathleen Sarah Goddard, MSM is the first female Canadian combat soldier killed in combat.


Caroline of Brunswick c. 1795 by James Tookey (source)

Caroline of Brunswick c. 1795 by James Tookey (source)

1768 – Caroline of Brunswick, Queen of the United Kingdom as wife of George IV (d. 1821)

1794 – Anna Brownell Jameson, Irish author, known for Characteristics of Women, an analysis of William Shakespeare’s heroines (d. 1860)

1836 – Virginie Loveling, Belgian author, poet and essayist, wrote under her own name and the pseudonym W.E.C Walter (d. 1923)

1838 – Mary Edwards Bryan, American journalist, editor, and novelist; editor for the Georgia Literary and Temperance Crusader, the Sunny South, Fireside Companion, and Fashion Bazaar; one of the best paid women editors in New York in 1891 (d. 1913)

1873 – Dorothy Richardson, British author and journalist, considered an important feminist writer, known for “stream of consciousness” style (d. 1957)

1874 – Bertha Kalich, Jewish Ukrainian actress, successful in Eastern Europe and in the American Yiddish Theater (d. 1939)

1891 – Princess Alexandra, Duchess of Fife (d. 1959)

1903 – Lena Levine, American psychiatrist and gynecologist, director of the Margaret Sanger Research Bureau of New York, prominent in the development of marriage counseling and birth control (d. 1965)

1911 – Maureen O’Sullivan, Irish film and television actress, known for her role as “Jane” in the Tarzan series (d. 1998)

1918 – Birgit Nilsson, Swedish dramatic soprano, known particularly for her ability to sing Wagner (d. 2005)

1937 – Hazel R. O’Leary, American politician, United States Secretary of Energy, president of Fisk University, to-date the only woman or African American to serve as the Secretary of Energy


1727 – Catherine I of Russia, Empress consort, as wife of Peter I, and later Empress regnant of All the Russias (b. 1684)

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Catherine I c. 1717 by Jean-Marc Nattier (source)

Catherine I c. 1717 by Jean-Marc Nattier (source)

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