May 18

Events in Women’s History

Jackie Cochrane (source)

Jackie Cochrane (source)

1926 – Evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson disappears while visiting Venice Beach in California. On June 23, she reappears claiming to have been kidnapped and tortured.

1953 – Jackie Cochran becomes the first female pilot to break the sound barrier.

1991 – Helen Sharman becomes the first Briton in space when the Soyuz TM-12 mission is launched. As a chemist, she performed medical and agricultural tests as well as photographing the British Isles.


Isabella d'Este by Titian c. 1535 (source)

Isabella d’Este by Titian c. 1535 (source)

1474 – Isabella d’Este, Marchesa of Mantua as  wife of Francesco II Gonzaga, regent of Mantua during her husband’s absense and later for her son, patron of the arts, innovative fashion leader (d. 1539)

1852 – Gertrude Käsebier, American photographer, known for portraits of mothers and Native Americans, promoted photography as an occupation for women (d. 1934)

1873 – Lucy Beaumont, British stage and film actress (d. 1937)

1887 – Jeanie MacPherson, American silent film actress and screenwriter (d. 1946)

1907 – Irene Hunt, American author, known for historical novels written for children, Newbery Medal winner, Hans Christian Andersen Award nominee (d. 2001)

1913 – Jane Birdwood, Baroness Birdwood, Canadian-English activist, politician and publisher, known for international aid activities, campaigns to support public decency, opposition to trade unions and denying the Holocaust (d. 2000)

1913 – Mary Howard de Liagre, American actress, founding member of Recording for the Blind, board member of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and the Princess Grace Foundation (d. 2009)

1919 – Dame Margot Fonteyn, British ballerina, appointed Prima Ballerina Assoluta of The Royal Ballet (d. 1991)

1922 – Gerda Boyesen, Norwegian psychologist, founder of Biodynamic Psychology (d. 2005)

1925 – Lillian Hoban, American author, illustrator and dancer with the Martha Graham troupe, known for the children picture book series about Arthur the Chimpanzee and Frances the Badger (d. 1998)

1933 – Bernadette Chirac, French politician, leading member of the charity Pièces Jaunes, and wife of former President Jacques Chirac

1939 – Silvana Armenulić, Bosnian singer and actress, prominent in the folk music genre, known as “The Queen of Sevdalinka” (d. 1976)


Pauline Viardot c. 1840 by P. F. Sokolov (source)

Pauline Viardot c. 1840 by P. F. Sokolov (source)

1829 – Maria Josepha Amalia of Saxony, Queen consort of Spain as wife of Ferdinand VII (b. 1803)

1889 – Isabella Glyn, Scottish actress, known for Shakespearean roles (b. 1823)

1910 – Eliza Orzeszkowa, Polish author and Nobel Prize nominee, known for her work dealing with the social conditions in her country (b. 1841)

1910 – Pauline Viardot, French mezzo-soprano, educator, and composer, born into a musical Spanish family (b. 1821)

1955Mary McLeod Bethune, American educator and activist (b. 1875)

1973 – Jeannette Rankin, American politician and pacifist, first woman elected to the United States Congress, voted against entering WWI and against declaring war on Japan in 1941 (b. 1880)

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