January 2, 1890- President Benjamin Harrison welcomes Alice Sanger as the first female White House staffer.
January 4, 1922- Birth of Doreen Valiente, British author and Wiccan priestess, involved in several of the early traditions of modern Wicca, author of religious liturgy and books on the subject, has been called “the mother of modern Witchcraft”
January 5, 1904- Elizabeth "Lizzie" J. Phillips, a short story and poetry writer, a comedian, stage actress, feminist, and engineer, is granted a patent for her invention "The Landlord's Game." The game was originally intended to illustrate the economic consequences of Ricardo's Law of Economic rent and the Georgist concepts of economic privilege and land value taxation. Heard of it? You might know it by its later name, Monopoly! Read a great article about her and the game's inception here.
January 6, 1907- Physician and educator, Maria Montessori, opens her first school and daycare center for working class children in Rome, Italy. The education methods bearing her name are still in use today in many public and private schools throughout the world.
January 6, 1412- Birth of Joan of Arc.
January 11, 1911- Birth of Australian artist, Nora Heyson, the first woman to win the prestigious Archibald Prize in 1938 for portraiture and the first Australian woman appointed as an official war artist.
January 15, 1908- The Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority becomes the first Greek-letter organization founded and established by African American college women. It continues today.
January 16, 2006- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is sworn in as Liberia’s president, becoming Africa’s first elected female head of state. She would also go on to jointly win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011.
January 19, 1943- Birth of Janis Joplin, American singer-songwriter, solo artist and member of the band Big Brother and the Holding Company, known for many hits including #1 hit “Me and Bobby McGee”
January 19, 1946- Birth of Dolly Parton, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, actress, author, businesswoman, and philanthropist, known primarily for her work in country music. She has garnered eight Grammy Awards, two Academy Award nominations, ten Country Music Association Awards, seven Academy of Country Music Awards, three American Music Awards, and is one of only seven female artists to win the Country Music Association's Entertainer of the Year Award. Parton has received 46 Grammy nominations.
January 20, 1977- Patricia Roberts Harris becomes U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, the first black woman to hold a Cabinet position.
January 25, 1851- Civil and women's rights activist, Sojourner Truth, addresses the first Black Women's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio, delivering her famous "Ain't I a Woman?" speech.
January 25, 1890- Journalist, industrialist, inventor and charity worker, Nellie Bly, completed her record-breaking trip around the world in 72 days, in emulation of Jules Verne's fictional character Phileas Fogg. She was also known for writing an exposé in which she faked insanity to study a mental institution from within. She was a pioneer in her field, and launched a new kind of investigative journalism.
January 25, 1980 – Mother Teresa is honored with India’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna.
January 28, 1813- Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is first published in the United Kingdom.
Stay tuned for more Women's History next month!