September Highlights in US Women’s History

September Highlights in US Women’s History
  • September 12, 1910 – Alice Stebbins Wells, a former social worker, becomes the first woman police officer with arrest powers in the U.S. (Los Angeles, CA)
  • September 14, 1964 – Helen Keller receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom along with 4 other women: Dr. Lena Edwards, Lynn Fontainne, Dr. Helen Taussig, and Leontyne Price

  • September 14, 1975 – Elizabeth Ann Seton is canonized and becomes the first American-born saint, founded the first U.S. Order of the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph
  • September 20, 1973 – Billie Jean King defeats Bobby “No-Broad-Can-Beat-Me” Riggs in the battle of the sexes tennis match
  • September 25, 1981 – Sandra Day O’Connor is sworn in as the first woman U.S. Supreme Court Justice
  • September 26, 1971 – Rep. Shirley Chisholm (D-New York) announces she will enter the Democratic presidential primaries
  • September 26, 1973 – Capt. Lorraine Potter, an American Baptist minister, becomes the first woman U.S. Air Force chaplain
  • September 29, 1988 – Stacy Allison becomes first American woman to reach the summit of Mt. Everest 

September Birthdays
  • September 1, 1896 (1987) – Mary Jones, a pioneer in the field of behavior therapy and a celebrated developmental psychologist, her famous patient was a small boy who was terrified of his stuffed white rabbit and gradually overcame his fear with rewards of food 
  • September 1, 1909 (1999) – Hildegard Peplau, a nurse educator, created the foundation for modern nursing in her 1952 book, Interpersonal Relations in Nursing, enlisted in the Army Nurse Corps in World War II, served in England and New York and then in the New York Women’s Disturbed Service, president of American Nurses Association, 1970-72 
  • September 1, 1933 (2006) – Ann Richards, second woman elected governor of Texas (1990)  
  • September 1, 1939 – Lily Tomlin, beginning in the 1960s, a major force in American comedy on television (“Laugh-In,”) Broadway, and in the movies 
  • September 2, 1948 (1986) – Christa McAuliffe, New Hampshire teacher, selected in 1985 to be the first teacher in space, died aboard space shuttle Challenger
  • September 3, 1910 (1996) – Dorothy Maynor, operatic soprano of mixed ethnic heritage, sang German lieder as well as spirituals, sang at the inaugurations of Presidents Truman and Eisenhower  
  • September 3, 1914 (1984) – Dixy Lee Ray, marine biologist whose scientific papers and research on marine invertebrates led to public television programs, appointment to the Atomic Energy Commission (1973-75), and election as Governor of Washington on conservative issues in 1976 
  • September 3, 1920 (1966) – Marguerite Higgins, first woman to win Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting (1951) for coverage of the Korean War  
  • September 3, 1921 (1985) – Ruth Orkin, denied admission to the Cinematographer’s Union because she was a woman, went to New York where she filmed a street-scene series and then to Florence where she shot “American Girl in Italy” in 1956 
  • September 4, 1906 (1988) – Elaine Yoneda, Communist labor organizer with the International Longshoreman’s Union, argued for free day care for women and equal pay for equal work in 1930s, interned in 1942 with her Japanese-American husband because she felt family should stay together 
  • September 5, 1914 (1994) – Hannah Wormington, studied and compared American Paleo-Indian artifacts with European anthropological findings, also studied minerals from those areas and eastern Colorado, resistance to women scientists prevented her talents from being utilized but she remained a model for women in interdisciplinary archaeology 
  • September 6, 1860 (1935) – Jane Addams, founder of Hull House in Chicago, first major settlement house, first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize (1931), suffragist, helped establish American Civil Liberties Union (1920) 
  • September 6, 1898 (1998) – Emily Mudd, pioneering marriage counselor and family planning advocate, advised the Kinsey Reports of 1948 and 1953 and reviewed the Masters and Johnson therapy training methods 
  • September 6, 1962 – Alice Sebold, found courage to investigate, find and prosecute the man who raped her in 1981, wrote The Lovely Bones in 1981 and edited The Best American Short Stories in 2009 
  • September 7, 1892 (1987) – Elizabeth Coit, architect who tackled affordable housing for people of limited means, collected and analyzed information for the Federal Public Housing Authority, developed more than 150 projects  
  • September 8, 1859 (1918) – Mary M. Kimball Kehew, union organizer, co-founder of the Union for Industrial Progress (1892), first president of the National Women’s Trade Union League (1903)  
  • September 8, 1914 (1985) – Tish Sommers, co-founded the Older Women’s League (OWL – whose motto is, “Don’t Agonize, Organize”) with Laurie Shields in 1982, worked on housing, health, and job training 
  • September 8, 1945 (1995) – Esther Rome, with 13 other women, created the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, the basis for the groundbreaking health manual Our Bodies, Ourselves, which provided accurate information on women’s health 
  • September 10, 1890 (1980) – Rose Norwood, powerful speaker and labor organizer from Kiev, Russia, organized the Boston Women’s Trade Union (WTUL), led strikes, organized laundry workers, and served on the advisory board of the NAACP 
  • September 11, 1917 (1996) – Jessica (Decca) Mitford, British-born political activist, author of The American Way of Death (1963), lived with Virginia and Clifford Durr and participated in trade-union marches 
  • September 14, 1830 (1910) – Emily Edson Briggs, became first woman White House correspondent during Lincoln’s administration, first president of Women’s National Press Association (1882)  
  • September 14, 1879 (1966) – Margaret Sanger, pioneer in birth control and sex education, founded predecessor to Planned Parenthood  
  • September 14, 1917 (1994) – Joyce Chen, cookbook author, emigrated to Massachusetts from China in 1944, opened authentic North Chinese restaurant in 1958 with immediate success, taught, published the Joyce Chen Cook Book, and hosted the television program “Joyce Chen Cooks” 
  • September 15, 1915 (1981) -Fawn Brodie, wrote biographies of Joseph Smith, Sir Richard Burton, and Thomas Jefferson, and a psychobiography of Richard Nixon  
  • September 16, 1913 (1995) – Florence Greenberg, founded Sceptor Records, produced successful rock and roll and soul records in 1950s to early 1970s, her Wand Records label promoted Dianne Warwick in the mid-1960s 
  • September 17, 1892 (1977) – Katherine White, joined the “New Yorker” in 1925 and worked there until 1957, married E.B. White in 1929, edited Elizabeth Bishop, Peter Taylor, John Updike, Mary McCarthy and others 
  • September 18, 1905 (1990) – Greta Garbo, actress, got her start in advertising in 1922, moved to Hollywood in 1925, had her greatest performance in “Camille” in 1936, retired in 1942  
  • September 18, 1905 (1993) – Agnes De Mille, dancer, choreographer, pioneer of the American Ballet Theater  
  • September 19, 1911 (1996) – Jane Oppenheimer, studied embryos of common minnow or killifish and similarities and differences between fish and avian and amphibian  species, sent embryos into space on the 1975 Apollo-Soyuz mission to study the effects of zero gravity on embryonic development, great patron of Philadelphia Orchestra 
  • September 20, 1899 (1979) – Anna Strauss, League of Women Voters national president from 1944 to 1950, believed in simplicity, brevity, and consensus building, Truman named her to the Commission on Internal Security and Individual Rights in 1951 
  • September 20, 1946 – Judith Baca, Latina visual artist and muralist, community activist  
  • September 21, 1898 (1987) – Frances Albrier, disciple of Marcus Garvey, expanded his vision to include black women, organized waiters in Pullman Company, declared “Don’t Buy Where You Can’t Work,” one of first black women welders in 1942 
  • September 21, 1923 (1986) – Kim Williams, naturalist, reporter for National Public Radio on organic gardening and “All Things Considered,” 1976-1986, wrote Book of Uncommon Sense in 1986 
  • September 22, 1899 (1990) – Elsie Allen, preserved and revitalized the culture of the northern California Pomo Indians who made exquisite baskets from native plants 
  • September 23, 1838 (1927) – Victoria Woodhull, feminist, first woman candidate for U.S. President (1872) for the Equal Rights Party, first woman, with her sister Tennessee, to become members of the NY Stock Exchange (1870’s)  
  • September 23, 1863 (1954) – Mary Church Terrell, outstanding speaker, first president of National Association of Colored Women (1896), picketed in Washington D.C. for woman suffrage and desegregation  
  • September 23, 1899 (1988) – Louise Nevelson, sculptor, migrated from near Kiev to Maine, taught in the Works Progress Administration in 1943, in the 1970s created massive steel works combining cubism and expressionism 
  • September 23,1906 (1993) – Harriet Hardy, physician, investigated industrial diseases like beryllium poisoning, worked with Alice Hamilton on lead poising and other diseases, charged academic medicine with greed in not preparing students for careers in occupational medicine 
  • September 24, 1902 (1986) – Cheryl Crawford, independent theater producer, starting with “Johnny Johnson” in 1936, her successes included “Porgy and Bess” and “Brigadoon” in 1947 
  • September 25, 1903 (1993) – Olive Beech, headed Beech Aircraft Company with husband Walter, trained 90% of all bombardiers in World War II, as widow she diversified products until 1968 
  • September 26, 1893 (1976) – Freda Kirchway, prolific political journalist, editor of the “Nation” (and owner 1937-55), espoused women’s concerns for birth control in the 1920s, also worked for the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom 
  • September 27, 1895 (1988) – Jennie Matyas, labor organizer and educator who emigrated from Hungarian Transylvania to Manhattan in 1906, supported equal suffrage, worked to enroll black women in the ILGWU, and organized women in San Francisco 
  • September 27, 1914 (1983) – Catherine Marshall, inspirational writer who, grieving over the death of her husband, Peter, in 1949, edited his sermons and wrote the elegy, A Man Called Peter, in 1958 married Leonard LeSourd, the inspirational editor of “Guideposts,” who posthumously published many of Catherine’s  volumes, including those chronicling her doubts and depressions 
  • September 30, 1875 (1951) – Anne Martin, helped win equal suffrage in Nevada, western suffrage leader, became first woman to run for the U.S. Senate in 1918  
Celebrate the anniversary of the signing of the US Constitution on September 17th.
Celebrating Women & Democracy Kit
Celebrating Women & Democracy Speech/Powerpoint
Celebrate  – Hispanic Heritage Month –September 15 to October 15 
For more information and resources visit:
Hispanic Heritage Resources
Which Great Woman Was Born On Your Birthday?
750 women from U.S. history are named on this oversized poster with day by day listings. Poster was last update on 1998.  Alphabetical index included for cross reference. 24″ x 37″  Created and Research by Margaret Zierdt
Celebrate Women Poster +Index of Names
Please feel free to share this calendar with friends, colleagues, or students.
For a year-round calendar, visit the News and Events section of our website, which is accessible from the homepage www.nwhp.orgNational Women’s History Project
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