May Women’s History Highlights and Birthdays

Cross posted by: BettyJean Downing

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
Began as a focal week in 1977, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month became a month-long celebration in 1980. May was chosen as the focal month because it commemorates the immigration of the first Japanese immigrants to the United States in 1843. This focal celebration provides an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the contributions of Asian and Pacific Islander American women in schools, communities, and workplaces throughout the country.

Mother’s Day is May 13, 2012
Still time… Honor a Special Woman in Your Life, visit our Mother’s Day 2012 today. Mother’s Day 2012 section of our WebStore, which is accessible from our homepage

May Highlights in US Women’s History
• May 1, 1950
– Gwendolyn Brooks becomes the first African-American woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry; named Library of Congress’s Consultant in Poetry (later called Poet Laureate) in 1985
• May 5, 1938 – Dr. Dorothy H. Andersen presents results of her medical research identifying the disease cystic fibrosis at a meeting of the American Pediatric Assn.
• May 8, 1914 – President Woodrow Wilson signs a Proclamation designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day
• May 10, 1872 – Victoria Woodhull is nominated as the first woman candidate for U.S. president for the Equal Rights Party
• May 12, 1968 – A 12-block Mother’s Day march of “welfare mothers” is held in Washington, D.C., led by Coretta Scott King accompanied by Ethel Kennedy
• May 21, 1932 – Amelia Earhart Putnam is the first woman to complete a solo transatlantic flight. She flew from Newfoundland to Ireland, a 2,026-mile trip, in just under 15 hours
• May 21, 1973 – Lynn Genesko, a swimmer, receives the first athletic scholarship awarded to a woman (University of Miami)
• May 29, 1977 – Janet Guthrie becomes the first woman to qualify for and complete the Indy 500

May Birthdays
• May 1, 1830 (1930)
– Mary Harris “Mother” Jones, labor leader and organizer
• May 1, 1907 – (1986) Kate Smith – Contralto vocalist; vaudeville, radio, stage and TV shows from 1931 to 1960s• 
• May 3, 1898 (1987) – Septima Clark, Educator, Civil Rights activist; called “Grandmother of Civil Rights Movement”
• May 3, 1901 –(1981) Estelle Massey Osborne –First African-American student  to win a master’s degree in nursing education (1931) board of directors of American Nurses Association (1948 – 1952)
• May 3, 1912 (1995) – May Sarton, prolific writer and poet, professor
• May 4, 1898 (1986) Joy Hancock – Head of WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) 1942. Led passage of Women’s Armed Services Integration Act (1948)
• May 5, 1864 (1922) – Elizabeth Seaman, pen name “Nelly Bly”, journalist; wrote expose of mental asylum (1887); set a record for circling the world in 72 days (1890)
• May 10, 1900-(1979) Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin- Brilliant astronomer, discovered that stars are primarily made up of hydrogen and helium, but could only be appointed as lecturer since Harvard barred female faculty appointments.  .
• May 10. 1909 -(1978) Maybelle Carter – Pioneer country music guitarist, one of the original Carter Family.
• May 10, 1919 – (1981) Ella Grasso –First woman elected as governor in her own right (Connecticut 1974- 1981)• 
• May 11, 1875 (1912) – Harriet Quimby, first American woman licensed air pilot (1911), first woman to fly across the English Channel (1912)
• May 11, 1894 (1991) – Martha Graham, modern dance innovator and choreographer
• May 11, 1906 (1975) – Lt. Ethel Weed, military officer in the Women’s Army Corp.; promoted women’s rights and suffrage in Japan
• May 11, 1906  (1980) Jacqueline Cochran – Founded the WASPs 1943 to 1994. President of Ninety-Nines, 1941 to 1942. Honor on an international airmail stamp (1996)
• May 12, 1900 – (1994) Mildred McAfee Horton –President of Wellesley College (1936) Directed the U.S. Navy’s WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Services) (1943).                                                         
• May 14, 1904-(1976) Katharine McBride –President of Bryn Mawr, defied the McCarthy witch hunts of the 1950s.
• May 15, 1890-(1980) Katherine Porter – Short story writer and novelist
• May 15, 1916-(1996) Catherine East – Political activists and founding member of the Women’s Equity Action League and the National Organization for Women
• May 15, 1937 – Madeline Albright, first woman to be U.S. Secretary of State (1997-2001)
• May 17, 1915 –(1996) Olga Madar – Steller athlete, champion of women’s rights including the ERA and president of Coalition of Labor Union Women from (1974-1976).
• May 18, 1910- (1978) Sister Annette Walters – Nun, Psychologist, Cofounded St. John’s Mental Health Institute for Clergy (1954)
• May 19, 1901-(1997) Dorothy Chandler – Newspaper executive; philanthropist, Hollywood Bowl and the Southern California Symphonic Association benefactor
• May 19, 1888-(1981) Emma Bugbee –Ground-breaking journalist at the NY Tribune (1934-1964)
• May 19, 1930 (1965) – Lorraine Hansberry, first African-American woman to produce a play on Broadway, “A Raisin in the Sun” (1959)
• May 23, 1892 – (1979) Lavinia Engle –Field organizer for the National American Woman Suffrage Association, and  led battle to pass the first compulsory unemployment insurance legislation.
• May 23, 1947-(1995) June Kenyon –Poet Laureate of New Hampshire.
• May 25, 1913-(1992) Brownie Wise – Successfully developed home parties for Tupperware products providing employment opportunities for millions of women
• May 25, 1928– Mary Wells –First woman CEO of a company listed on the New York Stock Exchange
• May 26, 1951 – Sally Ride, astrophysicist, first American woman astronaut
• May 27, 1907 (1964) – Rachel Carson, scientist and environmentalist; wrote “Silent Spring” which became cornerstone of modern environmental protection movement
• May 31, 1912 (1997) – Chien-Shiung Wu, renowned physicist; first woman elected President of American Physical Society in 1975, elected to National Academy of Science (1958), received National Medal of Science (1975)
• May 21, 1911-(1988) Virginia Haviland – Children’s international Fairy Tale author.
• May 31, 1893 – (1966) Elizabeth Coatsworth – Children’s poet and award-winning author.
• May 31, 1895 – (1980) Edith Stern – Active in civic reform , the League of Women Voters, Voter’s Education Fund, the Red Cross and the New Orleans Symphony

Please feel free to use this information in any of your newsletters or forward it to colleagues or other interested parties. A year-round women’s history calendar is available on our website in the News and Events category.

Watch people crowd around to see whose birthday they share. 750 women from U.S. history are named on this oversized poster with day by day listings and a colorful border with images representing their many activities. Alphabetical index included for cross reference. 24″ x 37″  Celebrate Women Poster +Index of Names created by Margaret Zierdt.

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