THE MUSICIAN Mary Lou Williams

Mary Lou Williams was one of the most innovative, creative, groundbreaking musicians in the history of jazz. She was a brilliant and prolific composer and uniquely gifted pianist whose influence spans nearly the entire timeline of jazz music, but her name is almost never listed among the “giants of jazz.” Although prejudice kept her from achieving the recognition and fame she deserved during her lifetime, her contributions cement her legacy as a true pioneer of …

THE PHILOSOPHER: Margaret Cavendish

Four hundred years ago, Margaret Cavendish dared to contemplate the biggest philosophical questions of her day. Brilliant and bold, she wrote 21 books despite being dismissed or mocked by the almost entirely male intellectual community. A famously eccentric dresser, she and her husband hosted high-society parties at their fantastical castle, but she was also paralyzed by bashfulness and dreaded talking to people. She hoped that her intellectual works would lead to eternal fame, but she …

THE UNSINKABLE: Margaret “Molly” Brown

  Margaret Brown (who was renamed Molly after her death by the playwright Meredith Wilson) is often cited as the quintessential American rags-to-riches story. Born to poor Irish immigrants in Missouri, Margaret went on to become one of the wealthiest women in the country. She cemented her place in history through her heroism on the disastrous maiden voyage of the Titanic, but her life story is a compelling and unusual tale of character, compassion and …

THE PRINCESS: Te Puea Herangi, Maori Leader

Te Puea Herangi was one of the most important and influential Maori leaders of the 20th century. Born into the family of the Maori King, she was a tireless activist for her people. Her work to assure economic prosperity in the Waikato region, her fierce battles for justice for Maori communities harmed by illegal land seizures, and her passionate dedication to Maori cultural revival assure that she will long be remembered as a critical voice …

THE BOOK MISSIONARY: Mary Lemist Titcomb, Inventor of the Bookmobile

Mary Lemist Titcomb was a pioneering librarian at the turn of the 20th century, when public libraries were first appearing in America. Believing strongly in the power of books, especially for children in far-flung places, she invented America’s first Bookmobile: a horse-drawn, specially constructed book-wagon to bring books to remote farms in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her triumphs over prejudice and disaster resulted in nationwide bookmobile programs that continue to affect the lives of millions …

THE SINNER: Pearl DeVere, Legendary Madam of Cripple Creek

    Pearl DeVere was one of the most famous and successful madams in the history of the American West. From a suitably mysterious background, Pearl built a thriving business that became one of the most famed “parlor houses” in the country. Her incredible business acumen, as well as her famed beauty and charm, ensured that her legend endures to this day in the historic gold rush town of Cripple Creek, Colorado. Recorded on location …

THE SAINT: Margaret Clitherow, Martyr of the English Reformation

    Margaret Clitherow’s life–and death–were shaped by the religious upheavals of the Protestant Reformation in Elizabethan (16th century) England. A devoted Catholic in a time and place where Catholicism was illegal, she played a powerful role in a kind of “spy” network secretly harboring Catholic priests in the city of York. When a young boy living in her household exposed her secrets, she was imprisoned and then executed by the gruesome method of being …

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What’sHerName Women’s History Podcast launches ONE MONTH FROM TODAY!

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