Interesting Questions, Facts and Information
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Interesting Questions, Facts, and Information
Famous U.S. Women
|Who was the first woman to attain the rank of rear admiral in the U.S. Navy? (Hint: According to some accounts, she originated the term "computer bug.")||20 Women Firsts (Mostly U.S.)
Grace Hopper. Hopper was a computer pioneer and is especially well known for supposedly coining the phrase "computer bug" (for a moth that got lodged between some relay contacts). This was a million-dollar question and answer on the American TV show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" However, Thomas Edison used the word "bug" in the 1800s, and some say the word goes all the way back to Shakespeare.
|Who was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize? (Hint: She was also the first woman to win Nobel Prizes in two different categories.)
||20 Women Firsts (Mostly U.S.)
Marie Curie. Only two years after the Nobel Foundation was established, a Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to Marie Curie (in 1903). Curie also won a Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1913, making her the first woman to win Nobel Prizes in two different categories.
Frances Perkins. Appointed by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt as the first woman to become Secretary of Labor, Frances Perkins served for all of his years in office as president (1933-45). Madeleine Albright is the first female to hold the position of U.S. Secretary of State. She was unanimously confirmed in 1997 after being nominated by President Bill Clinton.
Shirley Chisholm. In 1968 Shirley Chisholm became first black woman elected to Congress, representing the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, NY. Chisholm was also the first black woman to receive delegate votes for the U.S. presidential nomination by a major political party (Democrats in 1972). Barbara Jordan (1936--1996) was the first black woman to deliver the keynote address at the convention of a major political party (Democrats in 1976). She was also the first black woman elected to Congress from the South since Reconstruction (1973). The first American black woman to run for a national political office was Charlotta Bass, who ran as the VP candidate of the Progressive Party in the 1952 U.S. presidential election.
|Who was the first woman doctor in the U.S.? (Hint: She went to Geneva, NY Medical School, which is now known as Hobart and William Smith College.)||20 Women Firsts (Mostly U.S.)
Elizabeth Blackwell. Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910) was the first woman to be awarded an MD degree in the U.S. She was born in Britain but was refused admission to medical school in her country because of her sex. She applied to and was accepted by Geneva (NY) Medical School (now Hobart and William Smith College) and earned her medical degree in 1849. Esther Hill Hawks, MD, was a Northerner suffragist who went south to care for black Union troops and newly-freed slaves during the U.S. Civil War period. Bethenia Owens-Adair, MD, became the first woman west of the Mississippi with an MD degree, in 1895.
|Who was the first American woman to fly a plane solo? (Hint: She also drove an automobile across the country in 1910 and was one of the early American woman to do so.)||20 Women Firsts (Mostly U.S.)
Blanche Stuart Scott. Scott's solo plane flight was in September 1910. She was also the first and only woman to receive instruction from pilot Glenn Curtiss. She was bothered by the public's interest in crashes and the lack of opportunities for women as engineers or mechanics, so she retired from flying in 1916. Scott is pictured on a 1980 U.S. airmail stamp. Harriet Quimby earned a pilot's license on 8/1/1911 and was the first U.S. woman to do so. She is pictured on a 1991 U.S. airmail stamp. Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean (in May 1932). She is pictured on a 1963 U.S. airmail stamp. Jacqueline "Jackie" Cochran was the first woman to break the sound barrier and was the first American woman to pilot a jet. She is pictured on a 1996 U.S. airmail stamp. In 1909, 22-year-old Alice Ramsey and three female companions drove a Maxwell automobile from New York City to San Francisco in 59 days.
|Who was the first U.S. woman vice presidential candidate of a major political party to win the nomination? (Hint: She had represented a district in New York when she was in the U.S. Congress.)||20 Women Firsts (Mostly U.S.)
Geraldine Ferraro. Ferraro was chosen to be the VP running mate of Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Walter Mondale in the 1984 election. She had been an assistant district attorney in New York and had served in Congress. They lost to Reagan and Bush (Reagan's reelection). Victoria Woodhull was the first woman nominated to be a presidential candidate in 1872 (of the Equal Rights Party). The first woman to win an Electoral College vote was Tonie Nathan, the VP running mate of Libertarian Party presidential candidate John Hospers in the 1972 election.
|Who was the first woman to travel across the ice to the North Pole? (Hint: Think about the movie character Mrs. Robinson, except without an "e.")||20 Women Firsts (Mostly U.S.)
Ann Bancroft. Ann Bancroft was the first woman to travel across the ice to the North Pole (as the only female member of the Steger International Polar Expedition) in 1986. In 1988, Helen Thayer, at the age of 50, became the first woman to complete an unsupported walk to the magnetic North Pole. She skied and walked for four weeks, dragging a sled, accompanied only by Charlie, a dog that she brought for protection from polar bears. The hint was added to get you thinking about the movie "The Graduate" and the actress Anne Bancroft.
|Who was the first woman elected a U.S. state Governor in her own right? (Hint: She was elected Governor of Connecticut.)||20 Women Firsts (Mostly U.S.)
Ella Grasso. Although Nellie Tayloe Ross (Wyoming in 1924) and Miriam Ferguson (Texas in 1925) were elected state Governors earlier than Ella Grasso was, they were both preceded by husbands who were also Governors. Grasso was elected Governor of Connecticut in 1974, the first woman to be elected Governor in her own right. Although she was reelected to a second four-year term (in 1978), she resigned in 1980 due to ill health.
|Who was the first U.S. woman to *command* a space shuttle? (Hint: She is not the same U.S. woman as the one who was first in space.)||20 Women Firsts (Mostly U.S.)
Eileen Marie Collins. U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Collins commanded the space shuttle Columbia in spring 1999 at age 42. A highlight of her mission was a successful deployment of the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. Collins also served as pilot of the space shuttle Discovery in 1995 during a mission to rendezvous with space station Mir. Dr. Sally Ride was the first U.S. woman in space (on the space shuttle Challenger in 1983), but she functioned as a flight engineer assisting Commander Robert Crippen and pilot Rick Hauck. Two Russian women preceded her in space. Pam Melroy piloted the space shuttle Discovery in October 2000.
|Who was the first woman depicted on a U.S. postage stamp? (Hint: According to legend, she pawned her jewels to pay for a sea voyage of discovery.) ||20 Women Firsts (Mostly U.S.)
Queen Isabella of Spain. Queen Isabella was depicted on the 5-cent, 8-cent, $1 and $4 values of the Colombian stamp series of 1893. The painting from which the 5-cent value was designed ('Columbus Soliciting the Aid of Isabella') is displayed in the lobby of the Manoir Richelieu Hotel in Quebec, Canada. The first American woman to be depicted on a U.S. stamp was Martha Washington, on the 8-cent value in the 1902-03 series. Queen Victoria was pictured on the world's first postage stamp, the "Penny Black" issued in 1840 by Great Britain.
|Who was the first woman to have her name placed in nomination for the U.S. *presidency* by either of the two major U.S. political parties? (Hint: She lost the Republican nomination to Barry Goldwater.)||20 Women Firsts (Mostly U.S.)
Margaret Chase Smith. Margaret Chase Smith came in second to Barry Goldwater in the balloting at the 1964 Republican National Convention. Smith was the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate in her own right. Beginning her political career by taking her deceased husband's seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, she then ran for and became a U.S. Senator from Maine, the first woman to do so in her own right. She served out four terms. In 1972 Shirley Chisholm became first black woman to receive delegate votes for the U.S. presidential nomination by a major political party (Democrats). Victoria C. Woodhull was the first woman to run for U.S. president (in 1872) for a minor party (The Equal Rights Party). The first woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate was Hattie Caraway of Arkansas (in 1932). However, she had first been appointed to the U.S. Senate to succeed her deceased husband.
Jeannette Rankin. Rankin served two separate terms representing Montana, and was first elected in 1916, four years before the 19th Constitutional amendment gave women the right to vote in 1920. She is the only Representative to have voted against American entry into both World Wars (in 1917 and 1941). A lifelong pacifist, Rankin worked for peace until her death in 1973. Historical note: These four states/territories all gave women the right to vote before 1900 in order to encourage females to settle there: Wyoming territory (1869), Utah territory (1870), Colorado (1893), and Idaho (1896).
Charlotte Cooper. Cooper won her gold medal at the second (modern) Olympics, the 1900 Paris Games, in the tennis championship. The only other sport allowed at these games for women (at that time) was golf. Women were traditionally prohibited from participating in the Ancient Olympic Games. They could not even enter the playing areas or the stadium as spectators. At the turn of the century when the modern games came into being, many debates took place on the principles of women's participation. The founder of the modern games, Pierre de Coubertin, declared himself against women's participation, expressing the opinion that if they could not play in every sport on equal terms with men they should not be allowed to take part at all. This view was opposed by several International Olympic Committee (IOC) members who supported the stand that women had the right to participate in the games, competing in sports to suit their capabilities.
|Who was the first woman driver in the Indianapolis 500 automobile race? (Hint: Jimmy Carter was the U.S. president at the time.)||20 Women Firsts (Mostly U.S.)
Janet Guthrie. Guthrie was the first woman to drive at Indy (on 7th May 1977), but mechanical troubles forced her to retire from the race after 27 laps. In 1978 she again qualified and for the first time finished, placing ninth in the field despite a broken wrist. Lyn St. James qualified for the Indianapolis 500 for the first time in 1992. In the 2000 race Sarah Fisher (a 19-year-old rookie) and St. James, who gave the Indianapolis 500 its first two-woman field, wound up squeezing each other out of the race when they collided on lap 74. In the 2005 race Danica Patrick became the first woman to lead the race but she finished fourth. She was named the Indy Rookie of the Year.
|Who was the first woman lawyer in the United States? (Hint: She wasn't the first U.S. woman lawyer to argue a case before a court.)
||20 Women Firsts (Mostly U.S.)
Myra Bradwell. Although Myra Bradwell began publishing the Chicago Legal News (a very successful legal journal) in 1868, laws in Illinois prevented her from practicing law because of her sex. In 1892 those laws were changed and she was admitted to practice in Illinois and before the U.S. Supreme Court. Belva Lockwood was the first U.S. woman to *practice* law (arguing a case before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1879 and before that in the District of Columbia).
|Who was the first woman to appear on a U.S. one dollar coin? (Hint: Some critics thought the size of this coin was too similar to that of the U.S. quarter.)||20 Women Firsts (Mostly U.S.)
Susan B. Anthony. The U.S. mint first made the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin in 1979. This coin was minted for three years only because the public did not accept it, probably because its size was too similar to a quarter and the public preferred the paper dollar. A second attempt at a dollar coin was the gold-colored coin picturing Sacagawea, first minted in 2000. The 'Miss Liberty' who has frequently appeared on U.S. coins was a creation of designers at the mint and is not a real person.
The first woman to appear on a U.S. coin was Queen Isabella of Spain, on a commemorative quarter in 1893.
|Who was the first American female to receive a U.S. patent *in her own name*? (Hint: She received her patent in 1809 for a method of weaving straw with silk.)||20 Women Firsts (Mostly U.S.)
Mary Kies. Kies was not the first American woman inventor, but she was the first to receive a U.S. patent in her own name. In many states in the early 1800s women could not own property independent of their husbands so they didn't bother to patent their inventions. Mary Kies broke that pattern on May 15, 1809. Although Eli Whitney received the patent for the cotton gin, Catherine Greene is said to have posed both the problem and the basic idea to Whitney. The first U.S. patent awarded to a woman was awarded to Hannah Slater in 1793 for perfecting cotton sewing thread. Her husband, Samuel Slater, invented a sturdy, reliable, American version of Arkwright's English mill for spinning thread. Some of the other items patented by women: windshield wipers, dandruff shampoo, a dishwasher, the first disposable diaper, and a compact, portable hair dryer.
Suggested reading: "Women as Inventor" by Matilda Gage.
Sandra Day O'Connor. Following terms on the Arizona Superior Court and the AZ Court of Appeals, O'Connor was named to the U.S. Supreme Court by U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1981 and was unanimously confirmed. The second woman named to the Court was Ruth Bader Ginsberg, appointed by U.S. President Bill Clinton and confirmed in 1993. The first woman judge in the country was Esther McQuigg Morris. She was appointed justice of the peace in a mining town in Wyoming in 1870.
|This woman was born in 1930. In 1981 she became the first female Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court. Is she Janet Reno or Sandra Day O'Connor?||Famous American Women
Sandra Day O'Connor . Among other things, Ms. O'Connor was Republican State Senator from 1969-1974. Janet Reno was the US Attorney General.
|This woman lived from 1821-1912. She obtained and passed out provisions during the Civil War. She's best known for starting the American branch of the Red Cross. Was she Susan B. Anthony or Clara Barton?||Famous American Women
Clara Barton . She also became a teacher at age 15.
|This woman lived from 1940-1994. She was born with polio and was never expected to walk. Her family gave her physical therapy and by age 11 she was able to walk on her own. In the 1960 Olympics she became the first woman to win 3 gold medals, for the 100 meter dash, 200 meter dash and the 400 meter relay. Was she Wilma Rudolph or Babe Didrickson Zaharias?||Famous American Women
Wilma Rudolph . She later became a coach and a teacher. She passed away in 1994 from a brain tumor.
|This woman lived from 1832-1888. She wrote many romance and horror stories. But she is best known for writing a book loosely based on her Victorian family. Was she Laura Ingalls Wilder or Louisa May Alcott?||Famous American Women
Louisa May Alcott . Louisa raised her sister May's daughter Lulu. May passed away shortly after giving birth to Lulu.
|This woman lived from 1820-1906. She fought to end slavery and for the right to vote for black men and for all women. Was she Susan B. Anthony or Clara Barton?||Famous American Women
Anthony . Her father believed women should have a good education. He taught his children and the neighborhood children in his home.
|This woman was born in 1913. One day in 1955 she refused to give up her bus seat to a white man. She is credited by many for starting the modern civil rights movement. Is she Rosa Parks or Coretta Scott King?||Famous American Women
Rosa Parks . Mrs. Parks was actually arrested and fined because of this incident. Mrs. King is the wife of the late Martin Luther King Jr.
|This woman lived from 1884-1962. She was the wife of one president and the niece of another president. She wrote four books, had a daily newspaper column and was a US delegate to the United Nations General Assembly. She was also a civil rights activist. Was she Bess Truman or Eleanor Roosevelt?||Famous American Women
Eleanor Roosevelt . She was married to Franklin Roosevelt. Teddy Roosevelt was a brother of Eleanor's father, Eliott.
|This woman lived circa 1820-1913. She led 300 slaves to freedom. Was she Harriet Tubman or Sally Hemings?||Famous American Women
Harriet Tubman . She herself escaped in 1849.
|This professional tennis player was born in 1943. She has 20 Wimbledon titles. She also was the first woman to be named 'Sports Illustrated's Sportperson of the Year'. Was she Chris Evert or Billie Jean King?||Famous American Women
Billie Jean King . She played against Bobby Riggs in an exhibition match in 1973 and won.
|This woman lived from 1867-1957. She wrote a series of books about her pioneer family and one book about her husband's boyhood on his family's farm. Was it Laura Ingalls Wilder or Louisa May Alcott?||Famous American Women
Laura Ingalls Wilder . Laura and her husband Almanzo finally settled in Missouri. They had a very successful farm and both lived to be 90 years old.
|North Dakota: I told my "Lover"(1951) that I had a "Fever"(1958). But he told me, "Manana,(1947) "Somebody Else is Taking My Place"(1941), and I thought "Is That All That There Is?" (1969)||Talented Women of Various U.S. States
Peggy Lee. Five of Peggy Lee's number #1 hits are in the clue. Lee won 12 Grammy Awards for her recordings. In 1969 her recording of "Is That All There Is" won the best female vocal performance award. Although she made few acting appearances, she was nominated for her supporting role in "Pete Kelly's Blues" (1955) playing a down-and-out jazz singer.
Angie Dickinson in the role of Pepper in the TV series Police Story helped to break some stereotypes of female roles. She also had extensive TV and film appearances.
Ann Southern dyed her hair blond to take a role turned down by Jean Harlow. The "Maisie" series ran for ten films. Later Southern, in addition to her other films, had two moderately successful TV shows and was the voice of the Mother in "My Mother the Car". She was nominated for a supporting Academy Award for the Whales of August.
Ann Carlson was an educator who helped to spearhead improved conditions for handicapped students.
|South Dakota: I am known as a blonde bombshell, a peer of Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield. Between 1951 and 2002, I made 43 movies, mostly in supporting and cameo roles. I have been married five times and have had affairs with Howard Hughes (who "discovered" me), Clark Gable, Elvis Presley, and Joe Namath, to name only a few. What is my name? ||Talented Women of Various U.S. States
Mamie Van Doren. Mary Hart is a long time hostess of TVs "Entertainment Tonight". From being chosen Miss South Dakota, she aspired to a TV Journalism career. She was once sued for a claim her voice caused epilepsy seizures. Her legs are insured for a million dollars.
Cheryl Ladd is most noted for her role in "Charley's Angels" but has made numerous TV appearances. She is married to David Ladd, son of the famous actor Alan Ladd.
Gertrude Bonnin was a Sioux who through her writings tried to capture the culture of the Plains tribes for a white and Christian audience. When she was criticized for promoting Native American 'superstitions', she replied that Christianity was "superstition' also.