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7 Amazing First Women in History


If you didn’t already know, March is Women’s History Month. While I hope that one day we won’t need to have a Women’s History Month, because women’s history is everyone’s history, I love learning about the different accomplishments that women have made throughout the centuries. Therefore, in honor of Women’s History Month and the passing of another amazing International Women’s Day, here are seven women who were the first of her kind:

1. Arabella Mansfield

Arabella Mansfield, born Belle Aurelia Babb, was the first American woman to pass the bar exam and to become a lawyer in 1869. While she did not go on to practice law, she continued to teach in both a university and high school setting, gave lectures on women’s rights, and was president of the Henry County Woman Suffrage Association.

2. Sarah J. Hale

Sarah J. Hale, was one of the first American female magazine editors and writers. She was the editor for Ladies Magazine and Literary Gazette (later American Ladies Magazine) from 1827 until 1836. She then became the editor for the popular magazine Godley’s Lady Book. She was a staunch proponent of equal education for girls and boys and believed women belonged in careers such as medicine and teaching. Hale also pushed for Thanksgiving to be recognized as a national holiday and wrote to President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War to accomplish this goal. Additionally, Hale is the author of the nursery rhyme Mary Had a Little Lamb.

3. Susanna Madora Salter

Susanna Madora Salter was the first woman to ever be elected mayor in not only Kansas, but in the United States. Salter became the first female mayor in 1887 in Argonia, Kansas. Two years prior to her election into office, Kansas gave women who lived in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd precincts of the state, the right to vote. Argonia was in the third precinct, and therefore women living in the two were eligible to vote. Salter was nominated for mayor as a prank, but accepted her nomination and won the election with 2/3 vote. She held her position as mayor for one year without a hitch.

4. Margaret Abbot

Margaret Abbot was one of the first women to take part in the Olympic games in 1900, and was the first female Olympian for the United States. She was a first-place winner, shooting a 47 in a nine-hole golf tournament.  While she won a bowl (Olympians received artifacts rather than medals when the games were beginning), she had no clue that she was participating in the Olympic Games! At the time, the Olympic games were played over several months and research has only more recently found the event was on the Olympic program.

5. Toni Stone

Also known as Marcenia Lyle Stone, was the first woman to ever play in a national men’s league. Stone was athletic throughout her life, but her most beloved sport was baseball. Due to her gender and race, many people did not support her love for the sport. Still, in 1953, Stone was signed by the Indianapolis Clowns of Negro League and in 1993 was inducted into the Women’s Sports Hall of Fame in Long Island, New York. After she retired from baseball, she became a nurse.

6. Katherine Graham

Katherine Graham was the first Fortune 500 CEO. Journalism was an integral part of Graham’s life. Her father had acquired The Washington Post in 1933, and she would work for the newspaper during her summer breaks.  She made a career in reporting until she married and started a family with her husband, Phil Graham. Phil Graham bought the company from his father-in-law in 1948 after working for the company and helping his father-in-law for some years. Upon her husband’s suicide in 1963, Graham took over The Washington Post and worked to actively increase the journalistic quality and integrity of the company.

7. Lenora Fulani

Lenora Fulani was the first woman and the first African American woman to be placed on the presidential ballot for all 50 states. Fulani has spent over 30 years in public sphere and fought to end the two-party system by establishing a national, pro-socialist party. Fulani ran third party for the presidency in 1988 and in 1992. 

There are millions of women who have helped to shape history and the world as we know it. These seven amazing women don’t even touch the tip of the iceberg; so make sure to brush up on your history this Women’s History Month and pay homage to the many incredible women that have came before you! 

Imarii is a junior Secondary English Education major with a minor in Spanish Language at Clarion University. Her hobbies are reading, crafting, and Facebook. You might catch her napping in the library or obsessing over bows. She is the secretary for the Tobeco Literary and Art Journal and the Sister Development Chair of her sorority Phi Sigma Sigma. She hopes to travel the world teaching English.
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