October 20

Events in Women’s History

Empress Maria Theresa by Martin van Meytens, 1759

Empress Maria Theresa by Martin van Meytens, 1759 (source)

1740 Maria Theresa takes the throne of Austria. France, Prussia, Bavaria and Saxony refuse to honor the Pragmatic Sanction and the War of the Austrian Succession begins.

1853 – Caroline Lavinia Scott, future First Lady of the United States, marries Benjamin Harrison.

1968 – Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy marries Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis.


Isabelle de Charrière by Maurice-Quentin de La Tour, 1771

Isabelle de Charrière by Maurice-Quentin de La Tour, 1771 (source)

1700 – Charlotte Aglaé d’Orléans, Duchess of Modena and Reggio as wife of Francesco III (d. 1761)

1740 – Isabelle de Charrière, Dutch author and poet, known as Belle van Zuylen in the Netherlands, known mostly for her letters; she wrote about society and politics of the time. (d. 1805)

1780 – Pauline Bonaparte, French sister of Napoleon (d. 1825)

1832 – Ellen Hardin Walworth, American author, lawyer, historic preservationist (d. 1915)

1862 – Maud Nathan, American social worker, activist and suffragist (d. 1946)

1873 – Nellie McClung, Canadian politician and activist (d. 1951)

1882 – Margaret Dumont, American comedic actress, known primarily for her work with Groucho Marx (d. 1965)

1894Olive Thomas, American silent actress and model, known primarily for the scandal surrounding her death, one of the first highly publicized in Hollywood (d. 1920)

1901 – Adelaide Hall, American singer, actress, and dancer. She was based primarily in the UK from 1938 until her death. (d. 1993)

1904 – Dame Anna Neagle, British stage, film actress and singer, a favorite in Britain and one of the biggest female box-office draws for 25 years, known for playing real-life women such as Nell Gwynn, Queen Victoria and Edith Cavell  (d. 1986)

1907 – Arlene Francis, American actress and talk show host (d. 2001)

1927 – Joyce Brothers, American psychologist, columnist, and actress (d. 2013)

1934 – Empress Michiko, Empress consort of Japan as wife of Emperor Akihito, she was the first commoner to marry into the Japanese imperial  family

1937 – Wanda Jackson, American singer-songwriter and guitarist

1940 – Kathy Kirby, British singer (d. 2011)


460 – Aelia Eudocia, Byzantine wife of Theodosius II (b. 401)

1842 – Grace Darling, British heroine, famous for participating in the rescue of survivors of the shipwrecked Forfarshire in 1838 (b. 1815)

1936 – Anne Sullivan, American educator, teacher and companion of Helen Keller (b. 1866)

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Anne Sullivan, 1887

Anne Sullivan, 1887 (source)

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