May 20

Events in Women’s History

Part of an imperial diptych thought to represent Empress Ariadne (source)

Part of an imperial diptych thought to represent Empress Ariadne (source)

491 – Empress Ariadne marries Anastasius I. After Byzantine Emperor Zeno dies, his Empress consort, Ariadne is allowed to choose her new husband and successor to the throne.

1932 – Amelia Earhart takes off from Newfoundland to begin her solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean, the first by a female pilot. She is successful and lands in Ireland the next day.


Sketch of Dolley Madison c. 1800 (source)

Sketch of Dolley Madison c. 1800 (source)

1768 – Dolley Madison, First Lady of the United States as wife of James Madison (d. 1849)

1825 – Antoinette Brown Blackwell, American orator, minister, and women’s rights advocate, first woman ordained as a minister in the United States (d. 1921)

1851 – Mary Alphonsa Lathrop, Mother Mary Alphonsa, American social worker and Roman Catholic religious sister; born Rose Hawthorne, the daughter of Nathaniel and Sophia Hawthorne, co-founder of the Dominican sisters of Hawthorne (d. 1926)

1856 – Helen Hopekirk, Scottish concert pianist, composer and educator (d. 1945)

1882 – Sigrid Undset, Norwegian author, recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1928, known for Kristin Lavransdatter, a trilogy about life in Scandinavia during the Middle Ages (d. 1949)

1889 – Karin Molander, Swedish stage and film actress (d. 1978)

1894 – Adela Rogers St. Johns, American author, journalist and screenwriter, known for celebrity interviews for Photoplay magazine and her exploits as “the World’s Greatest Girl Reporter” (d. 1988)

1911 – Annie M. G. Schmidt, Dutch author, poet, songwriter and screenwriter, best known for her children’s books; in 2007, she was included in the Canon of Dutch History as a national icon (d. 1995)

1916 – Ondina Valla, Italian field and track athlete and Olympic medalist (d. 2006)

1920 – Betty Driver MBE, English singer, actress, and author, known for her role as Betty Williams on Coronation Street and its spinoff Pardon the Expression (d. 2011)

1941 – Maria Liberia Peters, former Prime Minister of the Netherlands Antilles


Brazilian stamp in honor of Ana Néri (source)

Brazilian stamp in honor of Ana Néri (source)

1880 – Ana Néri, Brazilian nurse, known for her volunteer work during the Paraguayan War, founded a nursing home in Paraguay, honored as a character in the Book of the Fatherland Heroes (b. 1814)

1896 – Clara Schumann, German pianist and composer, considered one of the most distinguished of the Romantic era (b. 1819)

1975 – Barbara Hepworth, English sculptor, known for Modernism and abstract art (b. 1903)

Previous Day    –    Next Day

Leave a Reply