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Women in History: April 7th


1141 – Empress Matilda was the first female ruler of England to bear the name “Lady of the English.” She took the title because she was never crowned Queen of England at Westminster Abbey. In addition, she was also known as “Lady of Normandy.”

Born on this day in…

1803 – Flora Tristan (d. 1844) was a social activist and authoress who was consequently the grandmother of French Post-Impressionist painter, Paul Gauguin. Ms. Tristan was a contributor to early feminist theory and focused on women’s rights in regards to working class women. Amongst her works are: Peregrinations of a Pariah (1838), Promenades in London (1840), and The Worker’s Union (1843). She married André Chazal and they had three children: Alexandre, Ernest, and Aline (Paul Gauguin’s mother).

1889 – Gabriela Mistral (d. 1957) who was born Lucila Godoy y Alcayaga, was Chilean educator, poet, diplomat, and humanist. The first Latin American authoress to receive the Nobel Peace Prize (for literature), she receive it in 1945. Her poetry was known to include themes of nature, sorrow, travel, betrayal, love, a mother’s love, and her Latin American identity. Ms. Mistral is featured on the 5,000 Chilean peso banknote. She was awarded the Juegos Florales, Sonetos de la Muerte in 1914 and the Chilean National Prize for Literature in 1951.

Died on this day in…

1938 – Suzanne Valadon (b. 1865) was a French artist and artist’s model who was consequently the first woman to join the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts. Ms. Valadon, who was born Marie-Clémentine Valadon, mostly painted female nudes, female portraits, landscapes, and still lifes. Having spent 40 years as an artist, she never attended any art academy and was known to be a versatile painter, not remaining within any art tradition. Her son was Maurice Utrillo who primarily painted city landscapes.

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