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 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‚Äôs 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 …