October Women’s History Highlights & Birthdays!

October Highlights in U.S. Women’s History

  • Oct. 3, 1904Mary McLeod Bethune opens her first school for African-American students in Daytona Beach, Florida
  • Oct. 4, 1976Barbara Walters becomes the first woman co-anchor of the evening news (at ABC)
  • Oct. 4, 1993Ruth Bader Ginsburg joins the U.S. Supreme Court as its second woman Justice
  • Oct. 8, 1993Toni Morrison becomes the first African-American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature
  • Oct. 10, 1983Dr. Barbara McClintock receives the Nobel Prize for Medicine for her discovery in genetics about mobile genetic elements
  • Oct. 11, 1984Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan is the first U.S. woman astronaut to “walk” in space during Challenger flight
  • Oct. 15, 1948 Dr. Frances L. Willoughby is the first woman doctor in the regular U.S. Navy
  • Oct. 16, 1916Margaret Sanger opens the U.S.’s first birth control clinic in Brooklyn, New York
  • Oct. 23, 1910Reverend Margaret Towner is the first woman ordained a minister in the Presbyterian Church
  • Oct. 28, 1958Mary Roebling is the first woman director of a stock exchange (American Stock Exchange)

October Birthdays:

  • Oct. 1Margaret Hills, founded the Tanglewood Alumni Chorus (1950) and the Chicago Symphony Chorus, replaced Conductor Solti in directing Mahler’s Eighth Symphony (1977)
  • Oct. 1Dame Julie Andrews, versatile film and stage actress, won an academy award for “Mary Poppins” (1954)
  • Oct. 2Ruth Streeter, when Marines recruited women she became a colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve (1943, recruited men and women for active service
  • Oct. 2Alice Bourneuf, economist, worked on the Marshall Plan to help Europe after World War II, taught economics at Boston College (1959-1977)
  • Oct. 2Shirley Clarke, filmaker, produced avant-garde films in 1950s and 60s including “Robert Frost: A Lover’s Quarrel with the World,” which won an academy award for best feature documentary
  • Oct. 3Ruth Bronson, Bureau of Indian Affairs Official who got loans for Indian students, National Congress of American Indians forced authorities to honor treaties (1944), wrote Indians are People, Too
  • Oct. 4Eleanor Flexner, influential author and historian, wrote Century of Struggle: The Women’s Right Movement in the United States (195) and Mary Wollstonecraft: A Biography (1972)
  • Oct. 5Maya Lin, artist and architect of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. and other public sculptures, author of Bondaries (2000)
  • Oct. 6Helen Wills Moody, dominated American women’s tennis in the 1920s and 30s with 8 Wimbledon titles and 7 U.S. single titles
  • Oct. 6Mary Louise Smith, Republic Party committeewoman and chair (1974-77), supporter of ERA and pro-choice
  • Oct. 6Fannie Lou Hamer, civil rights leaders and voting rights crusader, helped organize the Mississippi Freedom Summer (1964)
  • Oct. 7Elizabeth Janeway, social analyst of 20th century women’s quality drive, wrote Man’s World, Woman’s Place (1971) and Powers of the Weak (1980)
  • Oct. 7Kathryn Clarenback, founding member of the National Organization for Women, executive director of the National Committee on the Observance of International Women’s Year (1977)
  • Oct. 8Esther Lape, championed U.S. participation in the Permanent Court of International Justice, which failed by 7 votes in the Senate (1935), worked for compulsory health insurance, which was supported by Presidents Truman and Eisenhower but defeated by the AMA
  • Oct. 9Mary Shadd Cary, first black woman editor in North America, “Provincial Freeman” (1853) in Windsor, Canada, helped black freed slaves know their rights
  • Oct. 9Helen Deutsch, psychoanalyst, wrote 2-volume The Psychology of Women (1944-45) with emphasis on motherhood
  • Oct. 9Abigail Eliot, founding member of the National Association for Nursery Education (1933), helped monitor quality and establish standards
  • Oct. 10Dorothy Ferebee, finally gained medial internship at Freedman’s Hospital despite rampant sexism, then built a 47-year association with Howard University hospital and the District of Columbia
  • Oct. 10Helen Hayesm actress and “First Lady of the Stage,” began in stock companies, at 17 starred as Pollyanna, in 2930s starred as Mary Queen of Scotland and Queen Victoria, won first Tony award in 1947
  • Oct. 11Eleanor Roosevelt, civil rights advocate, feminist, author, world diplomate, former First Lady (1933-45)
  • Oct. 12Ann Petry, reporter for African-American newspapers in 2930s, wrote The Street, the first African-American novel to sell more than a million copies (1946)
  • Oct. 12Alice Childress, actress, “Anna Lacasta” (1944), playwright, “A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ But A Sandwich” (1973)
  • Oct. 13Mary Hay McCauley, “Molly Pitcher” of the Battle of Monmouth (1778), legendary water-carrying heroine of the American Revolution
  • Oct. 13Edith Sampson, lawyer, first black American to be appointed as a United Nations delegate, first to be elected U.S. circuit judge
  • Oct. 14Lillian Gish, consummate actress, from one-reelers like “An Unseen Enemy” (1912) to “The Whales of August” (1987), wrote Lillian Gish, the Movies, Mr. Griffith, and Me (1969)
  • Oct. 15Victoria Spivey, record producer, blues singer in 1920s, played a featured role in “Hallelujah” (192) which has an all-black cast
  • Oct. 16Marguerite Rawalt, lawyer, president of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women (1954-56), support of the ERA and entire feminist agenda, particularly including the word “sex” in Title VII of Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Oct. 16Angela Lansbury, actress with an 80-year career in movies from “Gaslight” (1944) to television and stage
  • Oct. 17Rita Hayworth, actress, began movies as dancing partner of Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, made “Gild” (1946), become femme fatale name for the atomic bomb on the Bikini atoll
  • Oct. 17Vilma Socorro Martines, lawyer, first female U.S. Ambassador to Argentina (2009), civil rights crusader, one of first women on the board of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund
  • Oct. 18 Fannie Hurst, author, write 17 novels and 9 volumes of short stories over 50 years, left approximately one million dollars each to Brandeis and Washington Universities for professorships in creative literature
  • Oct. 18Pauline Newman, labor leader who emigrated from Lithuania (1901), aided uprising the 20,000 in New York, hailed by Coalition of Labor Union WOmen as a foremother of the liberation movement
  • Oct. 18Lotte Lenya, singer and actress, interpreted and promoted Kurt Weill’s music, especially “The Threepenny Opera”
  • Oct. 18Mamie Clark, psychologist, established the Northside Center for Child Development (1946) with husband, Dr. Kenneth Clark, for the mental hygiene of the whole child
  • Oct. 18Laura Nyro, popular singer and songwriter, melded R&B, pop, doo-wop, jazz and Broadway
  • Oct. 18Terry McMillan, author of 13 novels including her first, Mama (1987), and most popular, Waiting to Exhale (1992)
  • Oct. 18Martina Navratilova, tennis champion, 9 time Wimbledon singles winner
  • Oct. 19Lois Meek Stolz, first president of Education of Young Children, (1929-31), urged Work Progress Administration to establish nursery schools
  • Oct. 22Abigail Schott Duniway, early western author and Pacific Northwest suffrage leaders, (1871-1915), succeeded in winning woman suffrage in Oregon (1912), wrote Path Breaking (1914)
  • Oct. 22Doris lessing, author, born in Iran, Nobel Laureate in 2007
  • Oct. 23Ethel Dummer, provided funds to establish the Juvenile Psychopathic Institute in Chicago (1909) to study juvenile offenders
  • Oct. 23Frieda Fromm-Reichmann, major pioneer using therapeutic relationships in treating mental illness at Chestnut Lodge in Rockville, Maryland (1935-57)
  • Oct. 23Miriam Gideon, composer of approximately 70 works including “The Hound of Heaven” (1945), developed more atonal pieces for voice and instruments after beginning with a more conservative tonal style
  • Oct. 23Gertrude Ederle, first woman to swim the English Channel (1926)
  • Oct. 23Martha Roundree, created and first moderator (1945-54) of televised show of unrehearsed panel interviews, “Meet the Press”
  • Oct. 24Belva Lockwood, attorney, first woman admitted to practice law before Supreme Court (1979), rain for U.S. President in 1884 and 1888
  • Oct. 24Marjorie Joyner, helped develop and manage more than 200 Madam C. J. Walker beauty schools in 1919, added professional status to the occupation, worked with Eleanor Roosevelt and other leaders in cicl rights struggles
  • Oct. 24Letitia Woods Brown, pioneer in researching and reaching African-American history, completed Ph.D. at Harvard in 1966, primary consultant for the Schlesinger Library’s Black Women Oral History Project, co-authored Washington from Banneker to Douglass 1791-1870
  • Oct. 24Denise Levertov, poet, her anti-Vietnam war poems included themes of destruction by greed, racism, and sexism by the 1970s, her later poetry recovered from despair
  • Oct. 25Marjorie Phillips, artist, embraced techniques of Van Goah and Cezanne, introduced modern art to the Phillips Gallery as associate director of her husband’s Washington D.C. museum
  • Oct. 25Minnie Pearl, Southern vaudeville circuite performer, jointed “The Gand Ole Opry” in 1940 and stayed for 50 years
  • Oct. 26Mahalia Jackson, internationally acclaimed gospel singer, sang at the 1963 March on Washington
  • Oct. 26Hilary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State (2009-13), Senator from New York (2001-09), former First Lady (1993-2001)
  • Oct. 27Lee Krasner, arts, the Works Progress Federal Art Project in 1930s and 40s enabled her to exhibit her paintings and collages in New York and London, also aided the art and career of her husband, Jackson Pollock
  • Oct. 27Maxine Hong Kingston, award-winning author of The Woman Warrior, an autobiography about the Chinese-American female experience
  • Oct. 28Anna Dickinson, orator, early champion of the rights of women and blacks. supported interracial marriage, attacked the double standard of morality
  • Oct. 28Edith Head, Hollywood costume designer, first successes were Clara Bow and Mae West, won academy awards for “The Heiress,” “Delilah” and “The Sting” (1973)
  • Oct. 29Louise Bates Ames, child psychologist, researched and stressed normal steps in development, wrote popular newspaper advice column in 1960s
  • Oct. 30Elizabeth Coolidge, endowed first pension fund for Chicago Symphony Orchestra (1916), funded Lucy Sprague Mitchell’s Bureau of Educational Experiments, established a foundation at the Library of Congress (1925) that provided for the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Auditorium because “must must be brought to life in performance”
  • Oct. 30Ruth Gordon, actress, one of the Lost Boys in “Peter Pan,” with Garson Kanin wrote comedies for Hepburn and Tracy movies, starred as Dolly Levi in “The Matchmaker” (1954)
  • Oct. 31Juliette Low, found and first president of the Girls Scouts of the U.S.A.
  • Oct. 31Ethel Waters, songer, recorded more than 250 sides after debut (1921), unsurpassed vocalist and stylist with perfect pitch
  • Oct. 31Lutah Riggs, architect of both country estates and modest homes, advocate of preserving historic buildings
  • Oct. 31Louise Talma, composer, first American woman to receive the Sibelius Medal, taught music theory and musicianship at Hunter College for 51 years
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About Ohio U Women's Center

The Ohio University Women’s Center serves and responds to the needs of OU women students, faculty, and staff, as well as members of the community. Founded in 2007, the center is dedicated to creating an inclusive and welcoming campus climate for all members of the community through programs, resources, referrals, advocacy, and education. Located in Baker University Center 403.
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