May 1, 1950
Gwendolyn Brooks becomes the first African-American woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, named Library of Congress’s Consultant in Poetry (later called Poet Laureate) in 1985
May 1, 1852
Calamity Jane, legendary American frontierswoman and professional scout, is born (d. 1903)
May 2, 1729
Birth of Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia, first as wife of Peter III, then in her own right from July 1762 until November 1796 (d. 1796). She was a canny military leader, seizing power from her husband and wrote numerous books, pamphlets and educational materials aimed at improving Russia’s education system. She was also a champion of the arts, keeping up a lifelong correspondence with Voltaire and other prominent minds of the era, creating one of the world’s most impressive art collections in St. Petersburg’s Winter Palace, even trying her hand at composing opera.
May 4, 1979
Margaret Thatcher takes office as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, becoming the first woman to do so.
May 9, 1960
Food and Drug Administration approves 1st pill for contraceptive use in birth control, called Envoid, now used by more than 100 million women worldwide.
May 10, 1774
Marie Antoinette becomes Queen of France, with her husband Louis XVI, of course.
May 10, 1872
Victoria Woodhull becomes the first woman nominated for President of the United States as the Equal Rights Party candidate.
May 14, 1925
Virginia Woolf’s novel Mrs Dalloway is published.
May 15, 1869
Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton form the National Woman Suffrage Association.
May 15, 1900
West Australian women win the vote in WA elections with Queen Victoria’s assent to the Bill passed by the WA parliament on 15 December 1899
May 15, 2010
Jessica Watson unofficially becomes the youngest person to sail, non-stop and unassisted around the world solo.
May 19, 1536
Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII of England, is executed.
May 20, 1932
Amelia Earhart takes off from Newfoundland to begin her solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean, the first by a female pilot. She is successful and lands in Ireland the next day.
May 29, 1943
“Rosie the Riveter” by Norman Rockwell appears on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post