March in Women's History


Celebrate Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day (March 8)

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March Highlights in US Women's History

  • March 1, 1978 – Women's History Week is first observed in Sonoma County, California
  • March 1, 1987 – Congress passes a resolution designating March as Women's History Month
  • March 4, 1917 – Jeannette Rankin (R-MT) took her seat as the first female member of Congress
  • March 8 – International Women's Day, whose origins trace back to protests in the U.S. and Europe to honor and fight for the political rights for working women
  • March 11, 1993 – Janet Reno is confirmed as the first woman U.S. Attorney General
  • March 12, 1912 – Juliette Gordon Low assembled 18 girls together in Savannah, Georgia, for the first-ever Girl Scout meeting
  • March 13, 1986 – Susan Butcher won the first of 3 straight and 4 total Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Races in Alaska
  • March 17, 1910 – Camp Fire Girls is established as the first interracial, non-sectarian American organization for girls
  • March 20, 1852 – Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel, "Uncle Tom's Cabin," is published and becomes the best-selling book of the 19th century
  • March 21, 1986 – Debi Thomas becomes first African American woman to win the World Figure Skating Championship
  • March 23, 1917 – Virginia Woolf establishes the Hogarth Press with her husband, Leonard Woolf
  • March 31, 1888 – The National Council of Women of the U.S. is organized by Susan B. Anthony, Clara Barton, Julia Ward Howe, and Sojourner Truth, among others, the oldest non-sectarian women’s organization in the U.S.
  • March 31, 1776 – Abigail Adams writes to her husband John who is helping to frame the Declaration of Independence and cautions, "Remember the ladies..."

March Birthdays

  • March 1, 1945 (1997) – Nancy Woodhull, editor of USA Today (1975-90), promoted women for leadership positions in public and private sectors with the motto, “Do something to help another woman every day,” founded “Women, Men and Media,” a research and outreach project with Betty Friedan in 1988
  • March 2, 1887 (1981) – Elizabeth Morrissey, public school and college educator, concentrated on labor issues including unemployment insurance in American Trade Unions, pressed women’s groups to get involved in social issues
  • March 3, 1893 (1992) – Hanya Holm, pioneer in modern dance, migrated to United States from Germany in 1931 after a budding career as professional pianist, taught dancing in many states, choreographed ballet and dances for movies including “Metropolitan Daily” (1938), the first to be televised in this country, also choreographed for touring companies, movies and operas
  • March 3, 1902 (1988) – Isabel Bishop, artist, after sampling various styles settled on young, generally lower-middle class office workers as subjects, focus of a retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art (1975), honored with the Outstanding Achievement in the Arts Award by President Carter (1979)
  • March 3, 1943 (1995) – Myra Sadker, studied and researched sex roles in children’s literature, wrote texts to challenge sexism in education of girls because it short-changed their ambitions, co-authored “Sexism in School and Society” (1973)
  • March 3, 1962 – Jackie Joyner-Kersee, considered one of the world's greatest female athletes, holds the record in the long jump (1988) and the heptathlon (1986), won 3 gold, 1 silver, and 2 bronze medals in 4 Olympic games
  • March 4, 1899 (1993) – Elizabeth Wood, taught English at Vassar (1922-26), became involved in public social welfare in FDR’s Public Works Administration where her 1934 plans to create housing that included play areas and racial diversity were undercut when residents were not involved in the planning
  • March 5, 1885 (1959) – Louise Pearce, one of the foremost pathologists of the early 20th century, found a cure for trypanosomiasis in 1919, researched African sleeping sickness, awarded the Order of the Crown of Belgium
  • March 5, 1931 (1997) – Geraldyn (Jerrie) Cobb, record-setting aviator, first woman to pass qualifying exams for astronaut training (1959) but not allowed to train because of her gender
  • March 6, 1924 (2006) – Sarah Caldwell, founder, conductor, and artistic director of the Opera Company of Boston
  • March 7, 1938 – Janet Guthrie, pioneering woman auto racer, first woman to compete in Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500, both in 1977
  • March 7, 1940 (1993) – Hannah Wilke, graduated from Tyler School of Art at Temple University in 1962, focused on works that celebrated female sexual pleasures, documented the ravages of treatment of an aggressive illness while dying of cancer
  • March 8, 1894 (1976) – Dorothy Ainsworth, believed that sports are healthy and develop the values, skills, and character required in a democratic society, chaired the U.S. Joint Council on International Affairs in Health, Physical Education and Recreation (1950-57)
  • March 8, 1915 (1981) – Selma Fraiberg, pursued groundbreaking studies of infant psychiatry and normal child development, directed the Child Development Project at Wayne State University (1952-58), wrote “The Magic Years” (1959), a classic translated into 10 languages
  • March 9, 1910 (1996) – Sue Lee, Honolulu labor organizer, used the Wagner Act to create the Chinese Ladies Garment Workers Union Local 341 in 1938, agreement finally reached after 15 week strike, worked in government services in California until 1975
  • March 9, 1928 (1987) – Graciela Olivarez, Chicana activist, first woman and Latina graduate from Notre Dame Law School, one of first two women on the board of Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund  
  • March 10, 1903 (1987) – Clare Booth Luce, playwright and politician, wrote “The Women” (1936), a scathing portrayal of rich society women, member of Congress (R-CT) (1942-46), criticized international aid and opposed Communism, ambassador to Italy (1953-56), the highest diplomatic post held by a woman
  • March 11, 1903 (1989) – Dorothy Schiff, first female newspaper publisher in New York (tabloid New York Post), supported FDR, credited with Nelson Rockefeller's victory as New York Governor, sold the Post for estimated $30 million to Rupert Murdock in 1976 who soon turned it into aggressive conservatism
  • March 11, 1904 (1984) – Hilde Bruch, escaped from Nazi Germany in 1933 to England and then America, her pioneer work made her the leading expert in eating disorders, especially anorexia nervosa
  • March 11, 1921 (1987) – Charlotte Friend, as a microbiologist in the 1950s at Sloan-Kettering Institute discovered a link between defective maturation and tumor growth in mice, discoveries that were critical in establishing the role of viruses in some cancers
  • March 12, 1918 (1989) – Elaine DeKooning, artist and art critic, her portraits and other art work have gained proper acclaim after being overshadowed by her husband William
  • March 13, 1892 (1978) – Janet Flanner, journalist, wrote a weekly letter for the New Yorker from France under the name “Genet” (Frenchified “Janet”) for 50 years except for the Nazi occupation, was made a knight of the Legion of House (1948)
  • March 13, 1898 (1988) – La Meri, one of the world’s greatest ethnological dancers from 1924 to the 1970s, danced with Anna Pavlova, learned native dances all over the world, lectured, wrote, founded the Ethnologic Dance Theater
  • March 13, 1944 – Susan Gerbi, biochemisthelped devise a method to map the start site of DNA replication, researched the role of hormones in certain cancers
  • March 14, 1902 (1994) – Margaret Hickey, president of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women (1944-46), represented the BPW at the United Nations Conference in San Francisco (1945), chaired the Women’s Advisory Committee (1942) and served on and/or chaired many government groups which never had policy making opportunity
  • March 15, 1896 (1989) – Marion Cuthbert, helped found the National Association of College Women to fight discrimination in higher education (1932),wrote pathbreaking dissertation, “Education and Marginality: A Study of the Negro Woman College Graduate” (1942), secretary of the National Board of YWCA and member of NAACP and numerous peace and human rights boards
  • March 15, 1933 – Ruth Bader Ginsburg, second female U.S. Supreme Court Justice (1993)
  • March 16, 1900 (1985) – Eveline Burns, economist, technical expert, migrated from England in 1926, helped design social security, served on National Resources Planning Board (1939-43), wrote “The American Social Security System” (1949), the standard text in this field
  • March 17, 1896 (1982) – Helen Lynd, studied life in Muncie, Indiana, for 18 months from 1924-25 with husband Robert, their book “Middletown” was an instant best seller as it traced the decline of community spirit as the town faced industrial growth, taught at Sarah Lawrence College for almost 40 years
  • March 17, 1902 (1995) – Alice Greenough, carried mail at age 15, joined a Wild West show, became a professional rodeo rider in 1921 and earned about $12,000 yearly, toured Australia and Spain as well as the U.S.
  • March 18, 1964 – Bonnie Blair, speed skater, one of the most successful Winter Olympians in U.S. history, 5 time gold medalist
  • March 20, 1920 (1997) – Pamela Harriman, devoted herself to Democratic Party politics and fund raising after death of husband Averell, first woman to be named Ambassador to France (1993) where she used her social skills to be a facilitator and build good relationships with the media and local power structure
  • March 21, 1897 (1977) – Martha Foley, created magazine “Story” in 1932 with her husband Whit Burnett, edited the annual “The Best American Short Stories” (1941-77) including entries by Eudora Welty, Joyce Carol Oates, and John Updike
  • March 22, 1899 (1991) – Ruth Page, began ballet in 1919, first American to be accepted into the Ballets Russes, first masterpiece as choreographer was “Frankie and Johnny” (1938), combined opera and ballet in a school for young dancers
  • March 23, 1857 (1915) – Fannie Farmer, author of famous cookbook, "The Boston Cooking-School Cookbook," which for the first time included specific ingredient measurements that would become standardized cooking practice
  • March 23, 1897 (1984) – Margaret Farrar, joined the New York World in 1921 with responsibility to get the crossword puzzle mistake-free, also edited Simon & Schuster puzzle books for 60 years, became crossword editor for the New York Times in February 1942
  • March 23, 1905 (1977) – Joan Crawford, legendary actress, rose to star status in 1928 by dancing the Charleston in “Our Dancing Daughters,” 50 years later her last movie was “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?”
  • March 23, 1908 (1997) – Dominique De Menil, collector of modern art, medieval art and tribal artifacts, escaped Paris with her children and settled in Houston around 1942, strong supporter of civil rights, created Carter-Menil Human Rights Foundation with former President Jimmy Carter
  • March 23, 1924 (1980) – Bette Nesmith Graham, invented Liquid Paper correction fluid which became an office staple, created two foundations to support women’s businesses and art
  • March 24, 1826 (1898) – Matilda Joslyn Gage, suffragist, women's rights and Native American rights activist, historian, founding member of the National Woman Suffrage Association
  • March 24, 1897 (1986) – Linda Chase, principal dancer, danced in American Ballet Theatre roles of Sleeping Beauty and Giselle (1937-38), performed with Anthony Tutor and Agnes De Mille, joined Ballet Theater in 1940 which became the American Ballet Theatre
  • March 24, 1912 (2012) – Dorothy Height, served over 40 years as President of the National Council of Negro Women
  • March 25, 1934 – Gloria Steinem, women's rights activist and journalist, founding editor of Ms. Magazine, helped found National Women's Political Caucus, the Women's Action Alliance, and the Coalition of Labor Union Women
  • March 25, 1939 (1995) – Toni Cade Bambara, challenged masculinist assumptions in black radical discourse of the Sixties, wrote short fiction “Gorilla, My Love” (1972) which won the Black Rose Award, “The Salt Eaters” (1981) won the Langston Hughes Society Award
  • March 26, 1926 (1997) – Virginia (Toni) Carabillo, supported activism in behalf of women's issues, active in National Organization for Women (1968-87), co-authored the “Feminist Chronicles 1953-1993”
  • March 26, 1930 – Sandra Day O'Connor, first woman U.S. Supreme Court Justice (1981)
  • March 26, 1940 – Nancy Pelosi, first woman Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives (2007-09), Democratic California representative from 1987 to present
  • March 27, 1897 (1981) – Effa Manley, co-owner and manager with husband Abe of the Negro League baseball team the Brooklyn Eagles (1935-46), supported integration with the NAACP, worked hard to get Negro League players included in the Baseball Hall of Fame
  • March 27, 1924 (1990) – Sarah Vaughan, world renown jazz singer and pianist known as the "Divine One"
  • March 29, 1885 (1977) – Frances Bolton, created endowment to build a school of nursing at Western Reserve in 1933 after working with the Visiting Nurse Association and seeing the homes of the desperately poor, helped remove color lines in nursing, as Ohio Congresswoman worked for racial equality and equal pay, but not the ERA
  • March 29, 1918 (1990) – Pearl Bailey, jazz and blues singer, won amateur contests in Harlem and Philadelphia when she was 22, sang with Cab Calloway (1945), starred in movies, goodwill ambassador for United Nations (1979)
  • March 29, 1928 (1992) – Joan Kelly, set up a Master of Arts Program in Women’s History at Sarah Lawrence with Gerda Lerner, advanced feminist scholarship by calling for a “doubled vision” to resolve conflicts inherent in the desire for female inclusion under male dominance
  • March 31, 1889 (1975) – Muriel Wright, Choctaw Indian, teacher, historian, author, and editor