May 5

Events in Women’s History

1809 – Mary Kies is awarded a U.S. patent, for a technique of weaving straw with silk and thread, becoming the first woman to apply to the United States Patent and Trademark Office in her own name.


Lucy Larcom (source)

Lucy Larcom (source)

1824 – Lucy Larcom, American poet and author, editor of Our Young Folks magazine, known for her songs, poems and letters describing life working in the cotton mills, and for her book A New England Girlhood (d. 1893)

1864Nellie Bly, pseudonym of American journalist and author Elizabeth Jane Cochrane, known for her record-breaking trip around the world in 72 days, her exposé of life in a mental institution and as a pioneer in the field of investigative journalism (d. 1922)

1882 – Sylvia Pankhurst, British suffragist and socialist activist, founder of the East London Federation of Suffragettes which eventually became the Workers’ Socialist Federation, founder of the newspaper Workers’ Dreadnought (d. 1960)

1907 – Iryna Vilde, pseudonym of Ukrainian writer Dary′na Dmy′trivna Makogo′n (d. 1982)

1911Pritilata Waddedar, Bengali educator and revolutionary nationalist, teacher and headmistress at Nandankanan Aparnacharan School in Chittagong; she committed suicide rather than be arrested by British authorities after an attack on a European club (d. 1932)

1921 – Del Martin, American feminist and gay rights activist; with her partner Phyllis Lyon, she founded the Daughters of Bilitis, the first social and political organization for lesbians in the US, acted as president and editor of The Ladder, helped form the Council on Religion and the Homosexual, and served in the White House Conference on Aging. Martin and Lyon were married in 2008. (d. 2008)

1922 – Irene Gut Opdyke, Polish nurse who aided Jews persecuted by the Nazis during WWII (d. 2003)

1927 – Sylvia Fedoruk, Canadian physicist, politician and athlete, Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan, first woman member of the Atomic Energy Control Board of Canada, former president of the Canadian Ladies Curling Association, member of the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame (d. 2012)


Bertha Benz c. 1870 by Mannheim Bühler (source)

Bertha Benz c. 1870 by Mannheim Bühler (source)

984 – Gerberga of Saxony, wife of Gilbert, Duke of Lorraine and Louis IV of France, described as “a highly educated, intelligent and forceful political player”; the year of her death is debated. (b. 913)

1833 – Sophia Campbell, Australian settler who was considered an artist based on two sketch books. In 2009, these books were reattributed to Edward charles Close. (b. 1777)

1944 – Bertha Benz, German driver, first person to drive a car over a long distance, bringing attention and sales to her husband’s company (b. 1849)

1971 – Violet Jessop, Argentinean nurse, known for having survived the sinking of both the HMHS Britannic and the RMS Titanic (b. 1887)

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One thought on “May 5

  1. May 5, 1938 – Dr. Dorothy H. Andersen presents results of her medical research identifying the disease cystic fibrosis at a meeting of the American Pediatric Association

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