September 1

Events in Women’s History


From a reprint of her book in 1887 (source)

1532Anne Boleyn is made Marquess of Pembroke by King Henry VIII of England.

1773 – Phillis Wheatley’s Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral is published by act of Parliament in England.

1836 – Narcissa Whitman, one of the first English-speaking white women to settle west of the Rocky Mountains, arrives in Washington.

1878 – Emma Nutt becomes the world’s first female telephone operator. She is recruited by Alexander Graham Bell for the Boston Telephone Dispatch Company.


Natalya Naryshkina

Natalya Naryshkina (source)

1286 – Elizabeth Richeza of Poland, queen consort of Bohemia as the second wife of Wenceslaus II and also as wife of Rudolph of Habsburg (d. 1335)

1593 – Arjumand Banu, Mughal Empress, consort of Shah Jahan; the Taj Mahal was constructed as her final resting place. (d. 1631)

1651 – Natalya Naryshkina, Tsaritsa of Russia as the second spouse of Tsar Alexei I and mother of Peter I (d. 1694)

1791 – Lydia Huntley Sigourney, American poet, known as the “Sweet Singer of Hartford”, published under the name Mrs. Sigourney (d. 1856)

1815 – Emma Stebbins, American sculptor and painter; her best-known work is “Angel of the Waters”, located at Bethesda Terrace in Central Park, New York City. (d. 1882)

1849 – Elizabeth Harrison, American educator, founder of National Louis University, known for creating professional standards for early childhood teachers (d. 1927)

1854 – Anna Botsford Comstock, American artist, educator and conservationist, promoted outdoor nature study, illustrator and co-author or author of several books including Manual for the Study of Insects and The Handbook of Nature Study (d. 1930)

1876 – Harriet Shaw Weaver, British editor, political activist and patron of James Joyce; she took over financial support of The Freewoman which became The Egoist, serialized then published The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses by Joyce (d. 1961)

1878 – Princess Alexandra of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Princess consort of Hohenlohe-Langenburg as wife of Ernst II (d. 1942)

1883 – Anita Bush, American stage actress and playwright, founder of Anita Bush All-Colored Dramatic Stock company, a repertory theater company which brought theater to black audiences (d. 1974)

1890 – Marika Papagika, Greek singer, one of the first to record Greek music in the United States (d. 1943)

1905 – Elvera Sanchez, American dancer of Cuban and African-American descent, mother of performer Sammy Davis Jr. (d. 2000)

1906 – Eleanor Hibbert, British author, wrote under the pseudonyms Jean Plaidy, Victoria Holt, Philippa Carr among others, known primarily for historical fiction and romance, recipient of the Golden Treasure Award from the Romance Writers of America (d. 1993)

1910 – Dame Peggy van Praagh, founder of the Australian Ballet (d. 1990)

1916 – Dorothy Cheney, American tennis player, played into her 90s, three-time Grand Slam finalist; first American woman to win the women’s singles title in the Australian Championships

1919 – Hilda Hänchen, German physicist, discoverer of the Goos-Hänchen effect (d. 2013)

1920 – Liz Carpenter, American activist, feminist, author, journalist, media advisor and speech writer, as a reporter covered presidents Franklin D Roosevelt through John F Kennedy, sometimes called the “funniest woman in politics” (d. 2010)

1933 – Ann Richards, American politician and feminist, 45th Governor of Texas, known for her one-liners (d. 2006)


1940 – Lillian D. Wald, American nurse, suffragist, humanitarian and author, human rights and women’s rights activist, founder of the Henry Street Settlement house in New York City, involved in the founding of the NAACP and the Women’s Trade Union League (b. 1867)

1967 – Ilse Koch, German wife of concentration camp commandant Karl-Otto Koch, one of the first Nazis tried by the U.S. military, known as the “Witch of Buchenwald” for her alleged cruelty toward prisoners; she was acquitted due to lack of evidence, retried resulting in a life sentence which was commuted, then tried again with the result of a life sentence during which she committed suicide. (b. 1906)

1977 – Ethel Waters, American singer and actress, known primarily for jazz and blues, performed on Broadway and in concert, second African American nominated for an Academy Award and first nominated for an Emmy, inductee of the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Christian Music Hall of Fame, and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame (b. 1896)

1999 – Doreen Valiente, British author and Wiccan priestess, involved in several of the early traditions of modern Wicca, author of religious liturgy and books on the subject, has been called “the mother of modern Witchcraft” (b. 1922)

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Ethel Waters by William P. Gottlieb (Courtesy Library of Congress, source)

Ethel Waters by William P. Gottlieb (Courtesy Library of Congress, source)

2 thoughts on “September 1

  1. 1979 – Hazel Winifred Johnson-Brown, PhD, RN, FAAN achieved the rank of Brigadier General in the United States Army becoming the first black female General in United States history. Hazel Johnson was born in 1927 in West Chester, Pennsylvania one of seven children. She grew up on her father’s farm in Chester County, near the town of Malvern. When she was twelve, she was inspired to become a nurse by a local white public health nurse. Her application to the West Chester School of Nursing was rejected because she was black. She moved to New York City, and enrolled in the Harlem Hospital School of Nursing in 1947. Johnson-Brown joined the Army in 1955, shortly after President Harry Truman banned segregation and discrimination in the armed services. She was a staff nurse in Japan and Chief nurse in Korea. “While in the Army, Gen. Johnson-Brown earned a master’s degree in nursing education from Columbia University and a doctorate in education administration from Catholic University of America.” Johnson-Brown was Assistant Dean of the University of Maryland School of Nursing from 1976 to 1978. She passed away at her home in Washington, D.C on Friday, Aug. 5, 2011 at the age of 83. Johnson-Brown will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery after a service at St. Clare of Assisi Church in Clifton, Virginia.

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