December Highlights in U.S. Women’s History

December 5, 1935 – Mary McLeod Bethune creates the National Council of Negro Women

December 7, 1941 – Capt. Annie Fox receives the first Purple Heart awarded to a woman for her service while under attack at Pearl Harbor

December 10, 1869 – Wyoming is the first territory to give women the right to vote

December 10, 1938 – Pearl S. Buck receives the Nobel Prize for Literature for The Good Earth

December 13, 1993 – Susan A. Maxman becomes first woman president of the American Institute of Architects in its 135 year history

December 14, 1961 – President’s Commission on the Status of Women is established to examine discrimination against women and ways to eliminate it

December 14, 1985 – Wilma Mankiller is sworn in as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma – the first woman in modern history to lead a major Native American tribe

December 17, 1993 – Judith Rodin is named president of Univ. of Pennsylvania, the first woman to head an Ivy League institution

December 28, 1967 – Muriel Siebert becomes the first woman to own a seat on the N.Y. Stock Exchange

December Birthdays

December 1, 1893 (1981) – Dorothy Detzer, worked at Hull House where she investigated child labor infringements for several years, national secretary of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (1924-46) where she became known as the “Lady Lobbyist” in Congress, respected for her research and integrity – no personal favors, private dinners or backroom deals

December 1, 1913 (1990) – Mary Martin, actress, her Broadway break came in 1938 with singing of “My Heart Belongs to Daddy,” continued in New York and Hollywood with “Annie Get Your Gun,” “South Pacific,” “The Sound of Music,” and “Hello, Dolly”

December 2, 1886 (1976) – Josephine Roche, after gaining control of her late father’s Colorado coal mine operation in 1927, invited the United Mine Workers to organize workers and get contracts, supervised the Public Health Service as part of FDR’s administration, made recommendations for 1935 Social Security and tried to encourage universal health coverage, named one of 10 outstanding women in the U.S. in 1936

December 2, 1911 (1991) – Harriet Pilpel, lawyer, worked with the Guttmacher Institute from 1962 to support family planning for all and universal contraceptive use

December 2, 1923 (1977) – Maria Callas, operatic soprano, perfected bel canto voice and won acclaim in 1949 in Wagnerian role of Brunnhilde as well as high-flying Bellini traditional roles, but her extreme self-motivation and fierce ambition played out by 1965

December 3, 1842 (1911) – Ellen Swallow Richards, first woman to graduate from MIT (1873), recognized as the creator of the fields of ecology and home economics, co-founder of the Association of Collegiate Alumnae, which became the American Association of University Women

December 3, 1895 (1995) – Te Ate, interpreter of Cherokee, Chickasawa, Creek, Choctaw and other tribes in theater performances of these original cultures, entertained, educated, enlightened and inspired Americans like Eleanor Roosevelt and visitors like English royalty.

About Carolyn Leeper

Carolyn's memoir, "Borrowed Time: 75 Years & Counting" recounts events from her childhood with tributes to her family. She is looking forward to the years ahead. She is also the author of a children's alphabet book: "Come With Me From A to Z". "19 remarkable Northwest Women" profiles women who have found their passion.
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