Instead, John and one of his three daughters chose 73 influential women throughout history. These women were separated into four categories, one for each of Cobalt’s four floors: Writers, Icons, Thinkers, and Doers.
In John’s own words:
Gender equality remains an important struggle for society, and this is our small way of recognizing the huge impact women can and do have on the world. As the father of three daughters, this is something I care about personally, in addition to my professional point of view. Some of the names were or are controversial, but every woman on the list had impact, and each of them did major work breaking the ceiling that may have conspired to keep them, and other women, from reaching their full potential. For that, I’d like to think we can celebrate their achievements, even if we don’t share their points of view.
I hope you like the approach we’ve taken. May these women provide some inspiration to all of us.
— John Holt, Co-Founder
April 13, 1909 – July 23, 2001
Eudora Welty was an American author of short stories and novels about the American South. Place is vitally important in arguably every story she wrote. Welty believed that place is what makes fiction seem real, because with place comes customs, feelings, and associations. Place answers the questions, “What happened? Who’s here? Who’s coming?” Place is a prompt to memory; thus the human mind is what makes place significant.
An avid photographer, she published several collections of photographs, some of which became subjects of her short stories.
A sheltered life can be a daring life as well, for all serious daring comes from within.
A good snapshot stops a moment from running away.
September 15, 1890 – January 12, 1976
When Agatha was eleven her father died. Her mother Clara became restless and began to travel, at times taking Agatha with her; these early trips began Agatha’s lifelong love of travel.
In 1912 Agatha met Archie Christie, her future husband, a qualified aviator who had applied to join the Royal Flying Corps. After a tempestuous romance, they married on Christmas Eve 1914, by special license, with Archie returning to the war in France on Boxing Day. Agatha’s happiness was complete when Rosalind, her only daughter was born on 5th August 1919 but by 1926, her life was in tatters: Christie’s mother Clara died and Archie left her for another woman.
Christie slowly rebuilt her life and in 1930 she visited Baghdad for a second time. It was here she met Max Mallowan, who was to become her second husband. Agatha accompanied Max on his annual archaeological expeditions for nearly 30 years. She continued to write, both at home and on field trips and her book Come, Tell Me How You Live wittily describes her days on digs in Syria.
“Poirot,” I said. “I have been thinking.”
“An admirable exercise my friend. Continue it.”
— Peril at End House
I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow; but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.
July 31, 1965 -
Joanne “Jo” Rowling is a British novelist writing under the pen name J.K. Rowling. She is the creator and author of the best-selling book series in the history of publishing: Harry Potter. She dropped her first name to appeal to young readers of both genders.
Rowling battled depression after a failed marriage, but was able to rebuild her life through writing.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was initially submitted to twelve publishing houses, all of which rejected the manuscript. When finally accepted, only 1,000 copies were published on the first print run, 500 of which went to libraries. The series has since grown to seven books, sold over 450 million copies, is the basis for 8 feature-length films, and is enjoyed by children and adults around the world.
“It is our choices, Harry, that show us what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
— Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
“That which Voldemort does not value, he takes no trouble to comprehend. Of house-elves and children’s tales, of love, loyalty, and innocence, Voldemort knows and understands nothing. Nothing. That they all have a power beyond his own, a power beyond the reach of any magic, is a truth he has never grasped.”
— Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
November 8, 1900 – August 16, 1949
In 1926, to relieve the boredom of being cooped up with a broken ankle, Mitchell began to write Gone With the Wind. Setting up her Remington typewriter on an old sewing table, she completed the majority of the book in three years, writing the last chapter first and the other chapters in no particular order. Stuffing the chapters into manila envelopes, she eventually accumulated almost seventy chapters. When visitors appeared, she covered her work with a towel, keeping her novel a secret. There has been much speculation on whether the characters were based on real people, but Mitchell claimed they were her own creations.
Gone with the Wind was Mitchell’s only published novel. At her request, the original manuscript (except for a few pages retained to validate her authorship) and all other writings were destroyed.
On August 11, 1949, Mitchell and her husband decided to go to a movie, A Canterbury Tale, at the Peachtree Art Theatre. Just as they started to cross Peachtree Street, a speeding taxi crested the hill and struck Mitchell. She was rushed to Grady Hospital but never regained consciousness.
The land is the only thing in the world worth working for, worth fighting for, worth dying for, because it’s the only thing that lasts.
— Gone With The Wind
“Dear Scarlett! You aren’t helpless. Anyone as selfish and determined as you are is never helpless. God help the Yankees if they should get you.”
— Gone With The Wind
January 25, 1881 – March 28, 1941
Virginia Woolf was an English author, essayist, publisher, and writer of short stories, who is hailed as one of the greatest novelists of the twentieth century.
Brought up in a literary and well-connected household, she was educated by her parents. She married Leonard Woolf in 1912 and together they founded the Hogarth Press, which published works by her and other contemporary writers, poets and artists.
Her famous works include the novels Mrs. Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927) and Orlando (1928), and the book-length essay A Room of One’s Own (1929). Her work is lyrical and psychological – innovative for its time.
She suffered nervous breakdowns after the death of her mother, then her father, and was briefly institutionalized. She struggled with depression throughout her life, and, after completing her final manuscript and losing her house to the Blitz bombing in WWII, she drowned herself in the River Ouse near her home.
No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.
— A Room of One’s Own and Three Guineas
A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.
— A Room of One’s Own
February 9, 1944 -
She is an author, poet and activist writing both fiction and essays about race and gender.
She won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize in 1982 for her novel The Color Purple.
In 1965, Walker met her husband, a Jewish civil rights lawyer. They were married on March 17, 1967 in New York City. Later that year the couple relocated to Jackson, Mississippi, becoming the first legally married inter-racial couple in that state.
I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.
— The Color Purple
I am an expression of the divine, just like a peach is, just like a fish is. I have a right to be this way…I can’t apologize for that, nor can I change it, nor do I want to… We will never have to be other than who we are in order to be successful…We realize that we are as ourselves unlimited and our experiences valid. It is for the rest of the world to recognize this, if they choose.
— The Color Purple
November 22, 1819 – December 22, 1880
George Eliot is the pen name for Mary Ann(e) Evans, an English novelist, journalist and translator … one of the leading writers of the Victorian era.
She is the author of seven novels, including Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), Middlemarch (1871–72), and Daniel Deronda (1876), most of them set in provincial England and well known for their realism and psychological insight.
The philosopher and critic George Henry Lewes met Eliot in 1851, and by 1854 they had decided to live together. Although Lewes was married to Agnes Jervis at the time, they did not divorce. Lewes and Eliot’s open unmarried relationship was considered scandalous at the time. They remained together until Lewes’ death in November 1878.
A friend is one to whom one may pour out the contents of one’s heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that gentle hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.
It will never rain roses: when we want to have more roses, we must plant more roses.
March 6, 1806 – June 29, 1861
Elizabeth Barrett Browning was a prominent popular Victorian poet in both England and the United States. Her 1844 volume Poems made her one of the most popular writers in the country and inspired Robert Browning to write to her, saying … “I love your verses with all my heart, dear Miss Barrett.” When Browning met Elizabeth on May 20, 1845, one of the most famous courtships in literature began.
She opposed slavery and published two poems — “The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim’s Point” and “A Curse for a Nation” — that highlighted the barbarity of slavers and her support for the abolitionist cause.
As a young girl, she suffered a series of illnesses which left her weak and frail throughout her life. She was prescribed opiates (laudanum, morphine) to alleviate her pain, which some biographers suggest contributed to the vividness of her imagination and poetry.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
— Sonnets from the Portuguese: A Celebration of Love
A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.
April 4, 1928 -
Maya Angelou is a poet, educator, historian, author, actress, playwright, civil rights activist, professor, cabaret singer, and world traveler who addresses issues of race and diversity in many media, in many venues.
Some call her America’s most visible black woman autobiographer, but her work is not without controversy. Her memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, is banned from some libraries and schools because of depictions of lesbianism, premarital cohabitation, sexually explicit situations and violence.
Angelou is also a prolific poet. Her volume Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘fore I Diiie (1971) was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize; and she was chosen by President Bill Clinton to recite her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” during his inauguration in 1993.
Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
— Still I Rise
October 27, 1932 – February 11, 1963
Plath is credited with advancing the genre of confessional poetry and is best known for her two published collections: The Colossus and Other Poems and Ariel. In 1982, she became the first poet to win a Pulitzer Prize posthumously, for The Collected Poems.
She married fellow poet Ted Hughes in 1956 and they lived together first in the United States and then England.
Following a long struggle with depression and a marital separation, Plath committed suicide in 1963. Hughes was widely criticized for his handling of her effects — he burned her final journal and lost several unfinished works. Hughes published Birthday Letters in 1998, his own collection of 88 poems about his relationship with Plath, shortly before his death.
I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in life. And I am horribly limited.
Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one’s head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no to-morrow. To forget time, to forgive life, to be at peace.
— The Bell Jar
Atticus told me to delete the adjectives and I’d have the facts.
— To Kill a Mockingbird
April 28, 1926 -
Nelle Harper Lee is known for her 1960 Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird, which deals with racism in Monroeville, Alabama.
To Kill a Mockingbird is her only published work, but she did assist her close friend, Truman Capote, in his research for In Cold Blood.
Lee has declined to speak in public about her life or work.
Mockingbirds don’t do one thing except make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corn cribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.
— To Kill a Mockingbird
December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886
Emily Dickinson was an introverted poet who lived a reclusive life. She spent much of her time in her room only carrying out friendships through correspondence.
Although Dickinson was a prolific private poet, fewer than a dozen of her poems were published during her lifetime. After her younger sister Lavinia discovered the collection of nearly eighteen hundred poems, Dickinson’s first volume was published four years after her death. Since 1890 Dickinson has remained continuously in print.
If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me, I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only ways I know it. Is there any other way?
— Selected Letters
“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops — at all –
— Hope is the thing with feathers
December 16, 1775 – July 18, 1817
Jane Austen was an English author who published six novels of romantic fiction in the early 19th century, including Emma, Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park and Pride and Prejudice.
Her work brought her little personal fame and only a few positive reviews during her lifetime, but the publication in 1869 of her nephew’s A Memoir of Jane Austen introduced her to a wider public, and by the 1940′s she had become widely accepted in academia as a great English writer. Today she is revered for her realism, satire, and social commentary.
Each of Jane Austen’s six novels have been adapted for film, with the first being the 1940 MGM production of Pride and Prejudice.
Wisdom is better than wit, and in the long run will certainly have the laugh on her side.
The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.
June 12, 1929 – March 1945
Anne Frank is best known for her memoir The Diary of Anne Frank, which chronicles her time spent in hiding during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.
Raised Jewish, Frank was eventually taken to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where she died in a typhus epidemic.
Her diary has been translated into more than 65 languages and is the most widely read diary of the Holocaust.
In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.
How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.
Charlotte: April 21, 1816 – March 31, 1855 | Emily: July 30, 1818 – December 19, 1848
Charlotte and Emily Bronte, the first and third eldest in a family of four, are best known for their novels Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, published in 1847.
After publishing a collection of poems with their sister Anne, the sisters decided to each submit a novel for publication.
Although they differ in literary style (Jane Eyre fuses satire and romance, whereas Wuthering Heights is darker and incorporates elements of the Gothic novel), today both are regarded as literary masterpieces.
Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilised by education: they grow there, firm as weeds among stones.
— Charlotte Bronte
If I could I would always work in silence and obscurity, and let my efforts be known by their results.
— Emily Bronte
January 24, 1862 – August 11, 1937
Edith Wharton came from a distinguished New York family and her writings reflect her upbringing by focusing and critiquing the social antics of upper-class society.
Wharton became the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Literature, winning in 1921 for her novel The Age of Innocence.
In addition to novels, Wharton wrote at least 85 short stories. She was also a garden designer, interior designer, and taste-maker of her time. Wharton lived in France after 1907 and ended up publishing more than 50 books (including fiction, short stories, travel books, and historical novels) before she died of a stroke at age 75.
True originality consists not in a new manner but in a new vision.
There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.
February 18, 1931 –
Toni Morrison is an American novelist, editor, and professor who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1987 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993.
Morrison grew up in a family that possessed an intense love and appreciation for African-American culture and was influenced by storytelling, songs, and folktales.
The central theme of Morrison’s work is the African-American experience, which she highlights through epic themes, vivid dialogue, and detailed characters.
If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.
Somebody has to take responsibility for being a leader.
December 5, 1934 –
Joan Didion is an American author best known for her novels and her literary journalism. Her novels and essays explore the disintegration of American morals and cultural chaos, where the overriding theme is individual and social fragmentation. After graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, Didion worked at Vogue, progressing from a copywriter to an editor.
Her first novel, Run, River, was published in 1963. She returned to California with her new husband, writer John Gregory Dunne, and in 1968 published Slouching Towards Bethlehem.
The Year of Magical Thinking, a narrative of her response to the death of her husband and severe illness of their daughter, won the National Book Award for Nonfiction.
The willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life is the source from which self-respect springs.
The writer is always tricking the reader into listening to their dream.
June 27, 1880 – June 1, 1968
Helen Keller was a deaf and blind American author, activist, and lecturer. A prolific author, Keller was well-traveled, and was outspoken in her anti-war convictions. She campaigned for women’s suffrage, labor rights, socialism, and other radical left causes.
After losing her sight and hearing to an illness when she was 19 months old, Keller strugged to communicate until she was teamed with Anne Sullivan. Keller became the first deaf and blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree, which she accomplished in 1904 at Radcliffe College. She was inducted into the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame in 1971.
Keller’s life and relationship with Anne Sullivan was documented in The Miracle Worker on radio, television, and the stage, based on Helen Keller’s autobiography.
Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.
Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.
November 12, 1929 – September 14, 1982
Grace Kelly was an American film, theatrical and television actress whose short career began in 1950 and ended 6 years later. Known for her beauty and poise, she earned an Academy Award for a deglamourized portrayal in The Country Girl in 1954.
Kelly was the object of the tabloids and gossip throughout her life, with her love life a particular focus of speculation. She met Prince Rainier III of Monaco at the Cannes Film Festival in 1956 and married him within a year. She died after suffering a stroke and losing control of her automobile on September 14, 1982.
The Princess Grace Foundation – USA was established in 1982 to continue the work that Grace had done anonymously during her lifetime, assisting emerging theater, dance and film artists in America.
I avoid looking back. I prefer good memories to regrets.
Grace brought into my life, as she brought into yours, a soft, warm light every time I saw her.
— James Stewart, at Grace Kelly’s funeral
July 28, 1929 – May 19, 1994
Jacqueline “Jackie” Lee Bouvier Kennedy Onassis was the wife of the 35th President of the United States and First Lady from 1961 until 1963. She established the White House Historical Association, educating the public about the mansion and its history.
Jacqueline Kennedy became one of the most popular First Ladies, respected internationally for her skill with languages. President Kennedy once joked that “he was the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris.”
Remarried after the death of President Kennedy, Jackie O (as she was then known) also worked as an editor and continued working to promote the arts and preservation of historical sites. Her famous pink Chanel suit has become one of the lasting images of the 1960s. She is remembered for her contributions to the arts, and her style, elegance, and grace.
There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.
Even though people may be well known, they hold in their hearts the emotions of a simple person for the moments that are the most important of those we know on earth: birth, marriage and death.
Born March 25, 1942
Aretha Franklin is the daughter of prominent Baptist minister and activist C. L. Franklin. She began her career singing Gospel in her father’s church at the age of ten and started recording four years later.
Recognized as a vocal prodigy when she toured the country at the age of 14, Franklin’s repertoire has since included gospel, jazz, blues, R&B, pop, rock and funk. She’s known as a pioneer of the Soul genre and often referred to as “The Queen of Soul.”
In 1987, Aretha Franklin became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Rolling Stone magazine ranked her atop its “100 Greatest Singers of All Time” list, as well as the ninth greatest artist of all time. She has won a total of 20 career Grammy Awards, including two honorary Grammys, and she has sold more than 75 million records worldwide.
Being a singer is a natural gift. It means I’m using to the highest degree possible the gift that God gave me to use. I’m happy with that.
I always felt rock and roll was very, very wholesome music.
Born October 1, 1935
Dame Julie Andrews is an English film and stage actress and singer. She made her Broadway debut in a 1954 production of The Boy Friend, and rose to prominence starring in musicals such as My Fair Lady and Camelot, both of which earned her Tony Award nominations. In 1957, she appeared on television with the title role in Cinderella, which was seen by over 100 million viewers.
Andrews rose to success commercially and critically after starring in Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, Victor Victoria, and numerous Broadway musicals. She has received Golden Globe, Emmy, Grammy, BAFTA, People’s Choice Award, Theatre World Award, Screen Actors Guild and Academy Award honors.
In 2000, she was made a Dame for services to the performing arts by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. Andrews is also the published author of an autobiography and a collection of children’s books.
Some people regard discipline as a chore. For me, it is a kind of order that sets me free to fly.
I am an optimistic lady.
circa 1412 – May 30, 1431
Joan of Arc, nicknamed “The Maid of Orléans,” is a national heroine of France and a Roman Catholic saint. She was born a peasant girl in what is now eastern France. Claiming divine communication, she led the French army to several victories during the Hundred Years’ War.
Joan of Arc claimed to have received divine counsel at the age of twelve and these visions inspired her to become involved with the French military efforts. After successfully leading the French to victory, she was captured by the English, tried as a heretic, and executed.
Twenty-five years after her execution, an inquisitorial court authorized by Pope Callixtus III examined the trial, pronounced her innocent, and declared her a martyr. Joan of Arc was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920. Today, she is considered one of the patron saints of France.
One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.
I am not afraid. I was born for this.
First appeared in 1930
Nancy Drew has been one of the most popular female literary characters since her creation in 1930. Over 80 million Nancy Drew books have been sold worldwide.
The Nancy Drew series was created by publisher Edward Stratemeyer. Since her first appearance, the books have been ghostwritten by a number of authors and are published under the collective pseudonym Carolyn Keene.
Many successful women, including Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, journalist Barbara Walters, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, cite Nancy Drew as a source of inspiration.
Nancy Drew has endured as a character for over eighty years because of her independence, intelligence, and courage. Capable of both changing a flat tire and solving mysteries, Nancy Drew has served as a role model for girls (and boys) all over the world.
Bess stepped back and looked at Nancy admiringly. ‘Your hunches are so often right it startles me.’
Do act mysterious. It always keeps them coming back for more.
Late 69 BC – August 12, 30 BC
Cleopatra was a member of the Greek Ptolemaic dynasty that ruled Egypt. She originally ruled jointly with her father, eventually becoming sole ruler. She assumed the throne when she was eighteen and was the last of the Egyptian pharaohs.
Unlike other Ptolemaic rulers, Cleopatra learned to speak Egyptian as well as Greek, and represented herself as the reincarnation of the Egyptian goddess, Isis. Cleopatra played an essential role in Roman politics, allying herself with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. As pharaoh, she consummated a liaison with Julius Caesar that solidified her grip on the throne. She later elevated their son Caesarion to co-rule in name.
Represented in modern times as a great beauty, Cleopatra served as the original version of a femme fatale. Her legacy endures through numerous representations in art, literature, and theater.
I will not be triumphed over.
— Livy – ‘Ab Urbe Condita’
Mine honour was not yielded, But conquer’d merely.
— William Shakespeare – ‘Antony and Cleopatra’
Born June 22, 1949
Meryl Streep is an American actress who has worked in theater, television, and film, and is widely regarded as one of the most talented actors of all time Streep made her professional stage debut in The Playboy of Seville in 1971 before her screen debut in the television movie The Deadliest Season (1977).
Both critical and commercial success came quickly with roles in The Deer Hunter and Kramer vs. Kramer, the former giving Streep her first Academy Award nomination and the latter her first win.
As of 2013, she has received 17 Academy Award nominations and 26 Golden Globe nominations, more than any other actor or actress ever. Streep is also the youngest recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor. As an actress, Streep is regarded for her ability to imitate a wide range of accents, her highly expressive face, and her technical skill. Streep is the spokesperson for the National Women’s History Museum.
Everything we say signifies; everything counts, that we put out into the world. It impacts on kids, it impacts on the zeitgeist of the time.
I’m curious about other people. I’m interested in what it would be like to be you.
Born May 15, 1937
Madeleine Albright is the first woman to become the United States Secretary of State. She was appointed by U.S. President Bill Clinton on December 5, 1996, and was unanimously confirmed by a U.S. Senate vote of 99–0. She was sworn in on January 23, 1997.
Albright also worked as the 20th United States Ambassador to the United Nations. She currently serves as a Professor of International Relations at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service. Albright is fluent in English, French, Russian, and Czech; she speaks and reads Polish and Serbo-Croatian as well.
At the time of her appointment, Albright became the highest-ranking female official in the history of the United States government.
Even before I went to the UN, I often would want to say something in a meeting – only woman at the table – and I’d think, ‘OK well, I don’t think I’ll say that. It may sound stupid.’ And then some man says it, and everybody thinks it’s completely brilliant, and you are so mad at yourself for not saying something.
We will not be intimidated or pushed off the world stage by people who do not like what we stand for, and that is, freedom, democracy and the fight against disease, poverty and terrorism.
August 6, 1911 – April 26, 1989
Lucille Ball was an American comedian who performed on the radio, in films, on stage, and most famously on television in the long- running comedy I Love Lucy.
She and Desi Arnaz (her husband, co-star and business partner) co- founded film production company Desilu Studios, which pioneered innovative television filming methods still used today, including the use of multiple cameras and adjacent stage sets. Luci and Desi were the first to buy the rights to their programs from the networks, ultimately making millions for Desilu through syndication of I Love Lucy and its other television properties.
When the couple divorced, she bought out Desi’s share of Desilu, and Lucille Ball became the first woman to run a major television studio. She took an active role in Desilu until it was sold to Paramount Studios in 1967.
Luck? I don’t know anything about luck. I’ve never banked on it and I’m afraid of people who do. Luck to me is something else: hard work – and realizing what opportunity is and what isn’t.
It’s a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy.
September 7, 1533 – March 24, 1603
Queen Elizabeth I ascended to the throne after the death of Queen Mary I. Her reign, known as the Elizabethan Age, was a time of economic and religious stability.
Sometimes called “The Virgin Queen,” “Gloriana,” or “Good Queen Bess,” Elizabeth was the fifth and final monarch of the Tudor dynasty. Elizabeth worked towards promoting religious equality in England and established an English Protestant church, the form of which evolved into today’s Church of England. Elizabeth’s reign marked a period of artistic growth, led by William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe.
It was expected that Elizabeth would marry and produce an heir so as to continue the Tudor line. She never did, however, despite numerous courtships.
I do assure you, there is no prince that loveth his subjects better, or whose love can countervail our love. There is no jewel, be it of never so rich a price, which I set before this jewel; I mean, your love: for I do more esteem of it, than of any treasure or riches.
I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England, too.
January 19, 1943 – October 4, 1970
Considered by many as the greatest white female rock singer of the 1960s, Janis Joplin was also a great blues singer, making her material her own with her wailing, raspy, supercharged emotional delivery.
Rising to stardom as the frontwoman for San Francisco psychedelic band Big Brother & the Holding Company, she left the group in the late ’60s for a brief and uneven (though commercially successful) career as a solo artist. Her best recordings, with both Big Brother and on her own, are some of the most exciting performances of her era.
She also did much to redefine the role of women in rock with her assertive, sexually forthright persona and raunchy, electrifying on-stage presence.
Rebellious and restless, she was a heavy drinker and drug user for much of her short life. She died of a drug overdose at age 27, only 16 days after Jimi Hendrix, another ’60s rock icon, who also died from drug use.
Don’t compromise yourself. You’re all you’ve got.
You know you’ve got it, if it makes you feel good.
May 12, 1907 – June 29, 2003
Katharine Hepburn was an American film, stage, and television actress. She was nominated for twelve Academy Awards for Best Actress and won four, a record for any actor or actress.
Hepburn was a Hollywood iconoclast, known for her refusal to follow society’s expectations of women and her opposition to the Hollywood publicity process. Hepburn challenged herself in the latter half of her life, as she regularly appeared in Shakespeare stage productions and tackled a range of literary roles.
She found a niche playing middle-aged spinsters, such as in The African Queen, a persona the public embraced. In the 1970s she began appearing in television movies. Hepburn is regarded as one of the most influential female actresses of all time.
In 1999, she was named by the American Film Institute as the top female Hollywood legend. She remained active into old age, making her final screen appearance in 1994 at the age of 87. After a period of inactivity and ill-health, Hepburn died in 2003 at the age of 96.
If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased.
If you obey all of the rules, you miss all of the fun.
Born March 17, 1972
Mia Hamm was the star forward of the United States women’s soccer team. She led the national team to World Cup victories in 1991 and 1998 and Olympic gold medals in 1996 and 2004.
Over her career, Hamm scored 158 goals in international competition, a record for any player, male or female. Hamm is renowned as the first international star of women’s soccer. Her jersey number (9) reached a level of popularity that was unmatched by any other female athlete. She retired from the sport in 2004.
In 2007, her first year of eligibility, she was selected for induction into the National Soccer Hall of Fame. Women’s Professional Soccer, a professional soccer league that launched in 2009, featured Hamm’s silhouette in its logo.
She is the author of Go For the Goal: A Champion’s Guide to Winning in Soccer and Life. She also appeared in the HBO documentary Dare to Dream: The Story of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team.
A winner is that person who gets up one more time than she is knocked down.
It is more difficult to stay on top than it is to get there.
May 11, 1894 – April 1, 1991
Martha Graham is credited as one of the developers of modern dance. She danced and choreographed for over seventy years, creating more than 180 works that were intended to “reveal the inner man.”
Graham created a modern dance technique that was completely separate from the structure and style of ballet. Her choreography was meant to explore human emotions rather than provide visually appealing movements.
Graham was the first dancer ever to perform at the White House or travel abroad as a cultural ambassador. Sometimes referred to as “the Picasso of dance”, Graham was the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.
You are unique, and if that is not fulfilled, then something has been lost.
May 4, 1929 – January 20, 1993
Audrey Hepburn is widely regarded as one of the greatest female screen legends of all time. Working throughout Hollywood’s Golden Age, she was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning one for her performance in Roman Holiday.
She is one of eleven people who have won Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony awards. Hepburn’s portrayal of Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s is often considered her defining role. Her fashion style and sophistication within the film became synonymous with her. The little black dress worn by Hepburn in the beginning of the film is cited as one of the most iconic items of clothing in the twentieth century.
She devoted much of her later life to humanitarian work, traveling as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador to disadvantaged communities in Africa, South America, and Asia. In late 1992, she was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom in honor of her work.
Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, it’s at the end of your arm, as you get older, remember you have another hand: The first is to help yourself, the second is to help others.
For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.
May 24, 1819 – January 22, 1901
Queen Victoria is the longest-serving British monarch in history. She presided over of a time of political, cultural, social, and industrial transformation.
Although she desired real political power, Victoria managed to preserve the English monarchy by allowing it to shift towards a more ceremonial role. Affectionately nicknamed “the grandmother of Europe”, Victoria placed a strong emphasis on morality and family values. With her husband Prince Albert, Victoria had nine children that married into a variety of royal European families, eventually producing forty-two grandchildren.
Queen Victoria believed that a woman’s place was in the home. Placing a premium on domesticity and motherhood, she opposed the development of modern political feminism. However, Victoria’s role as head of state promoted women’s rights by weakening prejudices and strengthening the moral authority of female leaders.
The important thing is not what they think of me, but what I think of them.
Please understand that there is no one depressed in this house. We are not interested in the possibilities of defeat; they do not exist.
Born November 22, 1943
Billie Jean King is a former American professional tennis player. Over the course of her career, King won a total of 39 Grand Slam titles, including 12 singles, 16 doubles and 11 mixed doubles titles. King also won the first ever WTA Tour Championships and was a three-time winner of the doubles event.
She had a win-loss performance of over eighty percent. An advocate of women’s rights in professional athletics, she won “The Battle of the Sexes” competition in 1973. King defeated champion player Bobby Riggs in the best of five sets in a highly televised match.
Billie Jean King was inducted into the Women’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1980, the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987, and the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1990.
In 2009, King was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
It is very hard to be a female leader. While it is assumed that any man, no matter how tough, has a soft side… any female leader is assumed to be one-dimensional.
Champions keep playing until they get it right.
First appeared in 1955
Eloise, the title character of Kay Thompson’s series of children’s books, is a precocious and mischievous six year old who terrorizes the Plaza Hotel and its inhabitants.
Eloise lives in the “room on the tippy-top floor” of the hotel in New York City with her Nanny, her pug dog Weenie, and her turtle Skipperdee. Thompson and illustrator Hilary Knight followed up Eloise with four sequels: Eloise in Paris, Eloise at Christmastime, Eloise in Moscow, and finally Eloise Takes a Bawth, which was published posthumously.
The legacy of Eloise is preserved in the Plaza Hotel, where a portrait of her hangs in the lobby. Eloise has been portrayed in numerous film and television projects. Revered for her independence and quirkiness, she remains an influential character in children’s literature.
Kay Thompson’s goddaughter, Liza Minnelli, has been cited as a possible model for Eloise, as has the author herself.
I am Eloise. I am six. I am a city child. I live at the Plaza hotel.
Think pink. A better way of life.
August 15, 1912 – August 13, 2004
Julia Child was an American chef, author and television personality recognized for introducing the American public to French cuisine. During World War II she joined the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and while there met her future husband, Paul Child.
She later attended Le Cordon Bleu, studied with French cooking masters, and, together with Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, wrote Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which is still in print and is considered a seminal culinary work.
Child hosted a handful of cooking shows from the early 1960s through the late 80s including ‘Julia Child & Company’, ‘Dinner at Julia’s’, and ‘Cooking with Master Chefs.’ Child would eventually publish nearly twenty titles under her name and with others.
Her last book was the autobiographical My Life in France, published posthumously in 2006 and written with her nephew, Alex Prud’homme.
This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook… try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!
The best way to execute French cooking is to get good and loaded and whack the hell out of a chicken. Bon appétit.
May 22, 1844 – June 14, 1926
An influential member of a group of Impressionists working in and around Paris, Mary Cassatt’s paintings focused on the social conditions of women, particularly the relationships between mothers and their children.
Cassatt was a major influence on American taste in art. Drawing on her connections to wealthy Americans, she promoted Impressionism by encouraging her family and friends to support Parisian artists.
Mary Cassatt’s legacy has endured into the twenty-first century. Many of her works are exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Cassatt’s paintings have sold for a as much as $2.9 million.
I think that if you shake the tree, you ought to be around when the fruit falls to pick it up.
I have touched with a sense of art some people – they felt the love and the life. Can you offer me anything to compare to that joy for an artist?
Born March 25, 1934
Gloria Steinem is an American feminist, journalist, and political activist who became nationally recognized as a leader of the women’s liberation movement in the late 1960s and 1970s.
She was a columnist for New York magazine and co-founded Ms. magazine. In 2005, Steinem worked alongside Jane Fonda and Robin Morgan to co-found the Women’s Media Center, an organization that works to amplify the voices of women in the media through advocacy, media and leadership training.
She continues to involve herself in politics and media affairs as a commentator, writer, lecturer, and organizer, campaigning for candidates and reforms and publishing books and articles.
A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.
We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.
It would help not to treat age as if it were any less of a pleasure than it was when we were six and saying “I’m six and a half.” You know, we could be saying “I’m fifty and a half,” and say it with joy. Each age is different and has different discoveries and pleasures.
November 8, 1897 – November 29, 1980
Dorothy Day was an American journalist, social activist and devout Catholic convert. She had a progressive attitude toward social and economic rights, combined with a very orthodox and traditional sense of Catholic morality and piety.
Initially, Day lived a bohemian life which she described in her semi- autobiographical novel, The Eleventh Virgin. She settled down with Forster Batterham, a biologist with whom she shared a deep interest in social activism. Her growing interest in religion, however, became a source of conflict and division between them; when she chose to baptize their daughter, they separated, reunited, and separated for good upon her conversion to Catholicism.
In the 1930s, Day worked closely with fellow activist Peter Maurin to establish the Catholic Worker movement, a nonviolent, pacifist movement that combines direct aid for the poor and homeless with nonviolent direct action on their behalf.
The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart.
I really only love God as much as I love the person I love the least.
Born April 3, 1934
Dame Jane Goodall is is a British primatologist, ethologist, and anthropologist. She has spent forty-five years studying primates in Tanzania, and is considered to be the world’s foremost authority on chimpanzees.
Goodall began her work researching chimpanzees in the Gombe Stream National Park in 1960. Over the course of her research, Goodall was able to correct various misunderstandings about chimpanzee behavior. She found that they demonstrated complex social structures, were capable of making and using tools, and they were omnivorous, not vegetarian.
Goodall has been awarded numerous awards and honors for her research. Among other distinctions, she is a designated UN Messenger of Peace and a Dame of the British Empire. She is the founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and has worked extensively on conservation and animal welfare issues.
Change happens by listening and then starting a dialogue with the people who are doing something you don’t believe is right.
My mission is to create a world where we can live in harmony with nature.
April 27, 1759 – September 10, 1797
Mary Wollstonecraft was an eighteenth-century British writer, philosopher, and advocate of women’s rights. During her brief career, she wrote novels, treatises, a travel narrative, a history of the French Revolution, and a conduct book.
She is best known for A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, in which she argues that both men and women should be treated as rational beings and imagines a social order founded on reason. After two ill-fated affairs, Wollstonecraft married the philosopher William Godwin, one of the forefathers of the anarchist movement. Their daughter, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, later Mary Shelley, was the author of Frankenstein.
With the emergence of the feminist movement at the turn of the twentieth century, Wollstonecraft’s advocacy of women’s equality and critiques of conventional femininity became increasingly important. Today Wollstonecraft is regarded as a founding feminist philosopher, whose life and work influenced the feminist movement.
I do not wish women to have power over men; but over themselves.
The beginning is always today.
May 27, 1907 – April 14, 1964
Rachel Carson was an American marine biologist and conservationist whose writings are credited with advancing the global environmental movement.
Carson began her career as a biologist in the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, and became a full-time nature writer in the 1950s. She wrote The Sea Around Us and The Edge of the Sea, which explore the whole of ocean life — from the shores to the surface to the deep sea.
In the late 1950s, Carson turned her attention to conservation and the environmental problems caused by synthetic pesticides. The result was Silent Spring (1962), which brought environmental concerns to an unprecedented portion of the American public. Met with fierce denial from chemical companies, the book spurred a reversal in national pesticide policy—leading to a nationwide ban on DDT and other pesticides.
Carson was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Jimmy Carter.
But man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself.
Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.
July 25, 1920 – April 16, 1958
Rosalind Franklin was a British biophysicist and X-ray crystallographer who played a key role in the discovery of the structure of DNA. Fellow scientists Watson and Crick are credited with the 1953 discovery of the double helix, but Rosalind Franklin did the actual X-ray images that revealed the structure.
Rosalind Franklin died of ovarian cancer in 1958. The 1962 Nobel Prize awarded to Watson and Crick excluded Franklin and her contributions. Although Franklin’s work was essential to the discovery of the double helix, she was ineligible due to rules forbidding posthumous nominations.
Franklin also led work on the polio virus, the tobacco mosaic virus, and the structure of RNA. Her contributions to science went largely unrecognized until the 1990s, when many scientific institutions and universities honored her with posthumous awards.
In my view, all that is necessary for faith is the belief that by doing our best we shall succeed in our aims: the improvement of mankind.
Science and everyday life cannot and should not be separated.
December 16, 1901 – November 15, 1978
Margaret Mead was an American cultural anthropologist and a featured writer and speaker throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Her research on sexuality in Samoa has been both endorsed and challenged within the anthropological community since the publication of Coming of Age in Samoa in 1928.
Her third and longest-lasting marriage was to a fellow anthropologist, Englishman Gregory Bateson with whom she had a daughter, Mary Catherine Bateson, also an anthropologist.
On January 19, 1979, President Jimmy Carter awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously to Mead. The citation read:
“To a public of millions, she brought the central insight of cultural anthropology: that varying cultural patterns express an underlying human unity. She mastered her discipline, but she also transcended it. Intrepid, independent, plain spoken, fearless, she remains a model for the young and a teacher from whom all may learn.”
Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For indeed that’s all who ever have.
Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.
February 27, 1869 – September 22, 1970
Alice Hamilton was a leading expert in the field of occupational health. She was a pioneer in the field of toxicology, studying occupational illnesses and the dangerous effects of industrial metals and chemical compounds on the human body.
In 1908, Hamilton published her first article, the same year she was appointed by the governor of Illinois to the newly-formed Occupational Diseases Commission of Illinois, the first such investigative body in the United States. Hamilton was the first woman appointed to the faculty of Harvard Medical School, serving in their new Department of Industrial Medicine.
On February 27, 1987, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health named its research facility the “Alice Hamilton Laboratory for Occupational Safety and Health”. The Institute also began giving a yearly “Alice Hamilton Award” to recognize excellent scientific research in the field.
From the first I became convinced that what I must look for was lead dust and lead fumes, that men were poisoned by breathing poisoned air, not by handling their food with unwashed hands.
There can be no intelligent control of the lead danger in industry unless it is based on the principle of keeping the air clear from dust and fumes.
February 3, 1874 – July 27, 1946
Gertude Stein was an imaginative, influential writer in the 20th century and a patron of the arts. She collected post-Impressionist paintings, helping artists like Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso.
She and her brother established a famous literary and artistic salon, hosting writers from around the world. She was both hostess and inspiration to American expatriates Sherwood Anderson, Ernest Hemingway, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, and is credited with coining the term “the lost generation.”
A self-defined “genius,” she was described as an imposing figure with a commanding manner whose inordinate self-confidence could intimidate. Among her coterie she was referred to as “Le Stein” and with less laudatory deference as “The Presence.”
The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, written by Stein from Toklas’ point of view, was her only work that achieved critical success. Stein met Toklas in 1909 and they were lifelong companions.
There ain’t no answer. There ain’t gonna be any answer. There never has been an answer. There’s your answer.
Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.
January 9, 1908 – April 14, 1986
Simone de Beauvoir was a political activist and writer, and above all else, an existentialist. She believed, as did her lover Sartre, that existence precedes essence, meaning that human beings – through their own consciousness – create their own values and determine a meaning to their life.
While she did not consider herself a philosopher, de Beauvoir had a significant influence on both feminist existentialism and feminist theory. De Beauvoir wrote novels, essays, biographies, an autobiography, monographs on philosophy, politics, and social issues.
She is best known for her metaphysical novels, including She Came to Stay and The Mandarins, and for her 1949 treatise The Second Sex, a detailed analysis of women’s oppression and a foundational tract of contemporary feminism.
De Beauvoir died of pneumonia in Paris at the age of 78. She is buried next to Sartre at the Cimetière du Montparnasse in Paris.
The body is not a thing, it is a situation: it is our grasp on the world and our sketch of our project.
One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.
June 14, 1811 – July 1, 1896
Harriet Beecher Stowe was an American author, who was influential both for her writings and her public stands on social issues of the day. Her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin was an emotional portrayal of the impact of slavery.
In June 1851, the first installment was published in the National Era, with the subtitle “The Man That Was a Thing”, which was soon changed to “Life Among the Lowly.” Installments were published weekly, and Uncle Tom’s Cabin was published in book form on March 20, 1852.
In less than a year, it sold an unprecedented three hundred thousand copies. Eventually it reached millions as both a novel and a play, energizing those opposed to slavery. After the start of the Civil War, Stowe traveled to Washington, D.C. and there met President Abraham Lincoln on November 25, 1862.
Stowe and her husband, Calvin Stowe, were both supporters of the Underground Railroad, a network of secret routes and safe houses used by 19th-century slaves to escape to free states and Canada.
The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.
Talk of the abuses of slavery! Humbug! The thing itself is the essence of all abuse!
December 9, 1906 – January 1, 1992
Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper was an American computer scientist and United States Navy officer. One of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer, she developed the first compiler for a computer programming language.
She conceptualized the idea of machine-independent programming languages, which led to the development of COBOL, one of the first modern programming languages.
She is credited with popularizing the term “debugging” for fixing computer glitches (motivated by an actual moth removed from the computer).
Because of the breadth of her accomplishments and her naval rank, she is sometimes referred to as “Amazing Grace.” The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Hopper (DDG-70) was named for her.
It is often easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.
The most dangerous phrase in the language is, “We’ve always done it this way.”
One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions.
Born October 5, 1959
Maya Lin is an American artist who is known for her work in sculpture and landscape art. She is the designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Lin, who now owns and operates Maya Lin Studio in New York City, went on to design other structures, including the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama (1989) and the Wave Field at the University of Michigan (1995).
In 1994, she was the subject of the Academy Award-winning documentary Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision.
To fly we have to have resistance.
Architecture is like a mythical fantastic. It has to be experienced. It can’t be described. We can draw it up and we can make models of it, but it can only be experienced as a complete whole.
November 7, 1867 – July 4, 1934
Marie Skłodowska Curie was a Polish–French scientist famous for her pioneering research on radioactivity, a term that she coined.
She was the first female professor at the University of Paris, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and remains the only woman to win in two fields and the only person to win in multiple sciences, for physics and chemistry. Her achievements include techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes and the discovery of two elements, polonium and radium.
She founded the Curie Institutes in Paris and in Warsaw, which remain major centres of medical research today. During World War I, she established the first military field radiological centers.
We must not forget that when radium was discovered no one knew that it would prove useful in hospitals. The work was one of pure science. And this is a proof that scientific work must not be considered from the point of view of the direct usefulness of it. It must be done for itself, for the beauty of science, and then there is always the chance that a scientific discovery may become like the radium a benefit for humanity.
A scientist in his laboratory is not only a technician: he is also a child placed before natural phenomena which impress him like a fairy tale.
July 6, 1907 – July 13, 1954
Born Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderón, Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter, born in Coyoacán, best known for her self-portraits. Her work has been celebrated in Mexico as emblematic of national and indigenous tradition, and by feminists for its uncompromising depiction of the female experience and form.
Kahlo had a volatile marriage with the famous Mexican artist Diego Rivera and suffered lifelong health problems, which she depicted in her self-portraits.
Casa Azul (“Blue House”) in Coyoacán, Mexico City is the family home where Frida Kahlo grew up and to which she returned in her final years. Frida’s father, Guillermo Kahlo, built the house in 1907 as the Kahlo family home. Leon Trotsky stayed at this house when he first arrived in Mexico in 1937.The home was donated by Diego Rivera upon his death in 1957, and the house is now a museum housing artifacts of her life.
Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?
I drank to drown my sorrows, but the damned things learned how to swim.
February 2, 1905 – March 6, 1982
Ayn Rand was a Russian-American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter. Born Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum and educated in Russia, Rand moved to the United States in 1926. She worked as a screenwriter in Hollywood and had a play produced on Broadway.
The author of five novels and many works of non-fiction, she is best- known for her two best-selling novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, in which the individuality and resolve of her larger-than-life characters prevail over stagnant, meaningless social systems.
Rand rejected all forms of faith and religion. In politics, she supported laissez-faire capitalism, which she believed was the only social system that protected individual rights. Partially through her fiction, Rand developed a philosophical system she called Objectivism, whose core tenets she described as “the role of the mind in man’s existence – and, as a corollary, the demonstration of a new moral philosophy: the morality of rational self-interest.”
Freedom: To ask nothing. To expect nothing. To depend on nothing.
The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.
Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.
August 26,1910 – September 5, 1997
Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, more commonly known as Mother Teresa, was a Roman Catholic nun ofAlbanian[ ethnicity and Indian citizenship, who founded the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta in 1950. For over 45 years, she ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned, and dying, while guiding the Missionaries of Charity’s expansion, first throughout India and then in other countries.
At the time of her death, Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity had 610 missions in 123 countries including hospices and homes for people with HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis; soup kitchens; children’s and family counselling programs; orphanages and schools. She was the recipient of numerous honors, including the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize for her humanitarian work.
Following her death, she was beatified by Pope John Paul II and given the title “Blessed Teresa of Calcutta”. The canonization process continues today.
People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
March 26, 1930 -
Sandra Day O’Connor is an American jurist who was the first female member of the US Supreme Court. Appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, she served until her retirement from the Court in 2006. In the latter years of her tenure, she often held the swing vote within a divided court.
According to Willamette University College of Law Professor Steven Green, “She was a moderating voice on the court and…seemed to look at each case with an open mind.”
On August 12, 2009, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor of the United States, by President Barack Obama.
It is the individual who can and does make a difference even in this increasingly populous, complex world of ours. The individual can make things happen. It is the individual who can bring a tear to my eye and then cause me to take pen in hand. It is the individual who has acted or tried to act who will not only force a decision but also have a hand in shaping it. Whether acting in the legal, governmental, or private realm, one concerned and dedicated person can meaningful affect what some consider an uncaring world. So give freely of yourself always to your family, your friends, your community, and your country. The world will pay you back many times over.
— The Majesty of the Law: Reflections of a Supreme Court Justice
Every great dream begins with a dreamer.
1820 – March 10, 1913
Harriet Tubman (Araminta Harriet Ross) was an African-American abolitionist and humanitarian. Born into slavery, she escaped to freedom in Philadelphia in 1849, then returned to Maryland to free her family members. She continued to rescue slaves using the Underground Railroad, which was a network of antislavery activists.
When the American Civil War began, Tubman worked for the Union Army, first as a cook and nurse, and then as an armed scout and spy. The first woman to lead an armed expedition in the war, she helped John Brown recruit men for his raid on Harpers Ferry, and in the post-Civil-war era she struggled for women’s suffrage.
As a child in Dorchester County, Maryland, Tubman was beaten by masters to whom she was hired out. Early in her life, she suffered a head wound when hit by a heavy metal weight. The injury caused disabling seizures, narcoleptic attacks, headaches, and powerful visionary and dream activity, which occurred throughout her life. A devout Christian, Tubman ascribed the visions and vivid dreams to revelations from God.
If you hear the dogs, keep going.
If you see the torches in the woods, keep going.
If there’s shouting after you, keep going.
Don’t ever stop. Keep going.
If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.
October 13, 1925 – April 8, 2013
Margaret Thatcher was a British politician and the longest-serving British prime minister of the 20th century. The only woman ever to have held the post, she was an uncompromising conservative, and earned the nickname the “Iron Lady.”
A trained chemist, she was first elected to Parliament in 1959 where she served until 1992. Edward Heath appointed Thatcher Secretary of State for Education and Science in his 1970 government; and in 1975 she was elected Leader of the Conservative Party. She became Prime Minister in May 1979 and held the post until late November 1990.
To her supporters, Margaret Thatcher remains a figure who revitalized Britain’s economy, curbed the trade unions, and re-established the nation as a world power. Her critics regret Thatcher’s influence in the abandonment of full employment, poverty reduction and a consensual civility as bedrock policy objectives.
I think we have gone through a period when too many children and people have been given to understand “I have a problem, it is the Government’s job to cope with it!” or “I have a problem, I will go and get a grant to cope with it!” “I am homeless, the Government must house me!” and so they are casting their problems on society and who is society? There is no such thing! There are individual men and women and there are families and no government can do anything except through people and people look to themselves first. It is our duty to look after ourselves and then also to help look after our neighbour and life is a reciprocal business and people have got the entitlements too much in mind without the obligations.
June 26, 1911 – September 27, 1956
“Babe” Didrikson Zaharias was an American athlete who was a champion in multiple sports. She began as an All-American basketball player within the AAU system, but quickly gained world fame in track and field in the 1932 Olympics, where she won gold medals in the 80 meter hurdles and javelin throw, along with a silver medal in high jump.
After the Olympics she turned to professional golf, winning 48 LPGA events in all, including the Western Open and the Women’s Championship. She entered the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1951, won the AP Female Athlete of the year 5 times, and was the LPGA leading money winner in 1950 and 1951. She also played organized baseball and softball and was an expert diver, roller-skater and bowler.
She was named the 10th Greatest North American Athlete of the 20th Century by ESPN, and the 9th Greatest Athlete of the 20th Century by the Associated Press.
The Babe is here. Who’s coming in second?
Before I was in my teens, I knew exactly what I wanted to be: I wanted to be the best athlete who ever lived.
October 26, 1947 -
She was a successful attorney with the Rose Law Firm; First Lady of Arkansas (1979–1981, and 1983–1992); First Lady of the United States (1993-2001); US Senator from New York (2001-2009); unsuccessful Democratic candidate for US President (2008); and US Secretary of State (2008-present).
She is the only American First Lady to hold national office and to serve in the president’s cabinet.
In 2011 she was named the most admired woman by Americans for the tenth straight time and the sixteenth time overall.
Although we weren’t able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it’s got about 18 million cracks in it… and the light is shining through like never before, filling us all with the hope and the sure knowledge that the path will be a little easier next time.
There cannot be true democracy unless women’s voices are heard. There cannot be true democracy unless women are given the opportunity to take responsibility for their own lives. There cannot be true democracy unless all citizens are able to participate fully in the lives of their country.
October 11, 1884 – November 7, 1962
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was the First Lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945. She supported the New Deal policies of her husband, distant cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and became an advocate for civil rights. After her husband’s death in 1945, Roosevelt continued to be an international author, speaker, politician, and activist for the New Deal coalition. She worked to enhance the status of working women, although she opposed the Equal Rights Amendment because she believed it would adversely affect women.
In the 1940s, Roosevelt was one of the co-founders of Freedom House and supported the formation of the United Nations. Roosevelt founded the UN Association of the United States in 1943 to advance support for the formation of the UN. She was a delegate to the UN General Assembly from 1945 and 1952, a job for which she was appointed by President Harry S. Truman and confirmed by the United States Senate. During her time at the United Nations she chaired the committee that drafted and approved the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. President Truman called her the “First Lady of the World” in tribute to her human rights achievements.
Active in politics for the rest of her life, Roosevelt chaired the John F. Kennedy administration’s ground-breaking committee which helped start second-wave feminism, the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women.
In 1999, she was ranked in the top ten of Gallup’s List of Most Widely Admired People of the 20th Century.
You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.
November 19, 1917 – October 31, 1984
Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi served as prime minister of India from 1966 to 1977 and again from 1980 to 1984. She was the second female to hold the office of prime minister (after Sirimavo Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka). Gandhi was the only child of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of independent India.
She adhered to the quasi-socialist policies of industrial development that had been begun by her father. Gandhi established closer relations with the Soviet Union, depending on that nation for support in India’s long-standing conflict with Pakistan. She was also the only Indian Prime Minister to have declared a state of emergency in order to ‘rule by decree’ and the only Indian Prime Minister to have been imprisoned after holding that office.
She was assassinated in 1984 by two of her bodyguards.
My grandfather once told me that there are two kinds of people: those who work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was less competition there.
The power to question is the basis of all human progress.
My father was a statesman, I am a political woman. My father was a saint. I am not.
Born January 29, 1954
Oprah Winfrey is an American media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer and philanthropist. Winfrey is best known for her self-titled, nationally syndicated talk show, which ran from 1986 to 2011 and became the highest-rated program of its kind.
The Wall Street Journal coined the term “Oprahfication,” meaning public confession as a form of therapy. By confessing intimate details about her weight problems, tumultuous love life, and sexual abuse, and crying alongside her guests,
Winfrey is credited with creating a new form of media communication known as “rapport talk.” Winfrey’s ability to influence public opinion has been dubbed “The Oprah Effect.” Industries as diverse as book publishing, commercial beef production, and even national politics have felt its impact.
She has been ranked the richest African American of the 20th century and was for a time the world’s only black billionaire. Some assessments rank her as the most influential woman in the world.
One of the hardest things in life to learn are which bridges to cross and which bridges to burn.
Turn your wounds into wisdom.
June 21, 1953 – December 27, 2007
Benazir Bhutto was a Pakistani politician who was the first woman elected to lead a Muslim state, having twice been Prime Minister of Pakistan in two non-consecutive terms. She was also the founder of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), which she led.
She is noted for her charismatic authority, political astuteness, and controversial economic and human rights reform policies. Bhutto campaigned in the 1997 Parliamentary elections, but was defeated by a large margin, after which she went into self-imposed exile in Dubai. After 9 years, she returned to Pakistan in October 2007, where she was a leading opposition candidate in the Pakistani general election. She was assassinated on December 27, 2007 in the city of Rawalpindi, two weeks before the election.
To many, Bhutto’s participation in national politics symbolizes the empowerment of women, not just in Asia but throughout the world. In 2008, she was named one of seven winners of the United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights.
It’s true that General Musharraf opposes my return, seeing me as a symbol of democracy in the country. He is comfortable with dictatorship. I hope better sense prevails.
Democracy is necessary to peace and to undermining the forces of terrorism.
December 6, 1927 – September 28, 2002
Patsy Matsu Takemoto Mink was the first Asian-American woman elected to Congress and the first woman elected to Congress from the state of Hawai’i. She served 12 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, first from 1965 to 1977, then again from 1991 to her death in 2002.
While in Congress she was the principal author of the Title IX Amendment of the Higher Education Act of 1972, which prohibits gender discrimination by federally funded institutions. Mink also introduced the first comprehensive Early Childhood Education Act and authored the Women’s Educational Equity Act of 1974. Considered landmark legislation, these laws advanced equal rights in America beyond what could have been imagined at the time.
In recognition of her contributions towards equal rights in the country, Congress named the Title IX Amendment the “Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act.”
It is easy enough to vote right and be consistently with the majority… but it is more often more important to be ahead of the majority and this means being willing to cut the first furrow in the ground and stand alone for a while if necessary.
We have to build things that we want to see accomplished, in life and in our country.
April 8, 1918 – July 8, 2011
Elizabeth Ann Bloomer Warren Ford (“Betty”) was First Lady of the United States from 1974 to 1977 during the presidency of her husband Gerald R. Ford. A candid, often outspoken First Lady, she was active in social policy issues.
Ford was a passionate supporter of, and activist for, the Equal Rights Amendment. She raised breast cancer awareness by publicly speaking about her 1974 mastectomy, giving visibility to a treatment Americans had previously been reluctant to talk about. She also openly acknowledged her ongoing battle with substance abuse and, following her White House years, she founded the Betty Ford Center and served on its board as its first chairwoman.
She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1991 and was also awarded the Congressional Gold Medal (co-presentation with her husband, Gerald R. Ford), on October 21, 1998.
I was an ordinary woman who was called onstage at an extraordinary time. I was no different once I became first lady than I had been before. But, through an accident of history, I had become interesting to people.
My makeup wasn’t smeared, I wasn’t disheveled, I behaved politely, and I never finished off a bottle, so how could I be alcoholic?
June 16, 1917 – July 17, 2001
Katharine (Kay) Graham was an American publisher, and a member of a well-to-do publishing family. She led her family’s newspaper, The Washington Post, for more than two decades. Her father ran the paper until 1946, when he appointed Katharine’s husband as publisher.
Phil Graham struggled with alcoholism, infidelity and mental illness during his marriage to Kay, eventually committing suicide in 1962. Katharine Graham stepped in as de facto publisher of the newspaper from 1963 onward, formally holding the title from 1969 to 1979, and was chairman of the board from 1973 to 1991.
When Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein wrote about a burglary at the Watergate complex in 1972, Graham encouraged them to pursue the story. Ultimately they exposed widespread illegal campaign activity, culminating in the criminal convictions of several politicians and the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon.
Her memoir, Personal History, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1998.
The thing women must do to rise to power is to redefine their femininity. Once, power was considered a masculine attribute. In fact power has no sex.
To love what you do and feel that it matters… how could anything be more fun?
February 4, 1913 – October 24, 2005
Rosa Louise McCauley Parks was an African-American civil rights activist, whom the U.S. Congress called “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement.”
On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Parks refused to obey a bus driver’s order that she give up her seat in the colored section to a white passenger, after the white section was filled. Through her act of defiance, Parks became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation.
She organized and collaborated with civil rights leaders, including Edgar Nixon, president of the local chapter of the NAACP; and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parks’ national recognition includes the NAACP’s 1979 Spingarn Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal, and a posthumous statue in the United States Capitol’s National Statuary Hall. She was the first woman and second non-U.S. government official to lie in honor at the Capitol Rotunda.
I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those subject to it.
June 19, 1945 -
Aung San Suu Kyi is a Burmese opposition politician and the General Secretary of the National League for Democracy. She lived under house arrest for almost 15 years between July 20, 1989 and November 13, 2010. In April 2012 she won a seat in Parliament amid a landslide victory for her party in the general elections.
In 1991 Suu Kyi won the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel committee recognized her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights and cited her as one of the most extraordinary examples of civil courage in Asia in recent decades, an important symbol in the struggle against oppression.
Suu Kyi also received the Rafto Prize and the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 1990. In 1992 she was awarded the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding by the government of India and the International Simón Bolívar Prize from the government of Venezuela. In 2011, she was awarded the Wallenberg Medal.
Suu Kyi is the third child and only daughter of Aung San, considered to be the father of modern-day Burma.
A most insidious form of fear is that which masquerades as common sense or even wisdom, condemning as foolish, reckless, insignificant or futile the small, daily acts of courage which help to preserve man’s self-respect and inherent human dignity. It is not easy for a people conditioned by fear under the iron rule of the principle that might is right to free themselves from the enervating miasma of fear. Yet even under the most crushing state machinery courage rises up again and again, for fear is not the natural state of civilized man.
February 15, 1820 – March 13, 1906
Susan B. Anthony played a pivotal role in the 19th century women’s rights movement. In 1869, Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton co-founded the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA), an organization dedicated to gaining the vote for women.
On November 18, 1872, Anthony was arrested by a U.S. Deputy Marshal for actually voting in that year’s Presidential Election. She was tried and convicted seven months later. The sentence was a $100 fine, but not imprisonment. True to her word in court she never paid the fine for the rest of her life, and an embarrassed U.S. Government took no collection action against her.
Fourteen years after Anthony’s death, the nineteenth amendment to the constitution gave women the vote.
I think the girl who is able to earn her own living and pay her own way should be as happy as anybody on earth. The sense of independence and security is very sweet.
Organize, agitate, educate, must be our war cry.