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Women in History: March 18th

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Born on this day in…

1496 – Mary Tudor, Queen of France (d. 1533) was born to King Henry VII of England and Queen Elizabeth of York. She was the sister of the infamous King Henry VIII who had six wives. Mary flouted the conventions of her time and married Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk for love (and without the knowledge of her brother). Showing great bravery, she chose to marry Brandon, knowing that doing so could lead to her brother’s rage.


1634 – Madame de La Fayette (d. 1693) was a French authoress who was known for her novel La Princesse de Clèves. La Princesse de Clèves is considered the first French historical novel. The Comtesse de La Fayette served as a diplomatic agent of Marie Jeanne Baptiste of Savoy-Nemours, Duchess of Savoy at the court of King Louis XIV.


1848 – Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll (d. 1939) was daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The Princess supported the feminist movement, corresponding with Josephine Butler and meeting personally with Elizabeth Garrett. Princess Louise was known to have said: “The subject of Domestic Economy lies at the root of the – highest life of every true woman.”


1870 – Agnes Sime Baxter (d. 1917) was a Canadian mathematician. Having studied at Dalhousie University, she was the second Canadian woman to receive her PhD in mathematics (fourth in North America). While she never chose to teach, she assisted her husband in his work and received credit for it.


1904 – Margaret Tucker (d. 1996) was an Indigenous Australian authoress and activist. After facing forced assimilation and abuse at the hands of Australians of European descent. She started the United Council of Aboriginal and Islander Women in the 1960’s. She was the first Indigenous appointee to the Victorian Aborigines Welfare Board.


Died on this day in…

1898 – Matilda Joslyn Gage (b. 1826) was a suffragist, a Native American rights activist, an abolitionist, a freethinker, and an authoress. Ms. Gage was considered very radical in her views and was an outspoken critic of the Christian Church which put her in direct conflict with conservative suffragettes.


1978 – Peggy Wood (b. 1892) was an American actress who appeared on stage, film, and television. In her last film appearance, Ms. Wood portrayed the Mother Abbess in 1965 Sound of Music. She was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for this role.


2006 – Minnie Pwerle (b. between 1910 and 1922) was a celebrated Australian Aboriginal artist. In her later age at 80-years-old, she began painting contemporary Indigenous Australian art. Ms. Pwerle’s daughter, Barbara Weir carries on the tradition of painting in the footsteps of her mother.


2014 – Catherine Obianuju Acholonu (b. 1951) was a Nigerian writer, researcher, and lecturer who focused on African Culture and Gender studies. Ms. Acholonu was the first African woman to receive a Master’s Degree and PhD from Düsseldorf University. In 1990, she was awarded the Fulbright in Residency Award by the United States government.


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