Dot Robinson – Biker Babe From Cradle to Grave

A Trailblazer in Promoting Motorcycling for Women

Dot Robinson, co-founder of the Motor Maids of America
In the mid-20th century, Dot Robinson pioneered the concept and formed a club of a female bikers who owned, maintained, and rode their machines as well as any man and, in some cases, even better. She and husband Earl (above left) became leaders of the pack at their Detroit Harley-Davidson store.

Dot Robinson, born in Australia in 1912, was quite literally a biker babe. When her mother went into labor, her father loaded his heavily pregnant wife into a Harley-Davidson motorcycle sidecar rig and rushed her to the hospital. And when her mother came home, it was in that same sidecar, holding her tightly swaddled newborn daughter.

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María Ylagan Orosa – Filipina War Hero and Banana Ketchup Queen

Killed by U.S. Friendly Fire, She Left a Legacy Including Much of What Filipinos Eat Today

Maria Orosa and a bottle of her banana ketchup
With chemistry and pharmaceutical degrees from a U.S. university, María Ylagan Orosa was also a captain in a guerilla unit battling the Japanese invasion of her homeland during World War II. Her weapon was unique, nutrient-dense foods that kept local Filipino freedom fighters going. The most famous of her creations was banana ketchup that took on a commercial life of its own after the war.

This is a serious story about a unique woman — Filipina food technologist, pharmaceutical chemist, humanitarian, and war hero – that starts with ketchup.

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Blanche Scott: America’s First Female Aviator… or Was She?

An early female pilot and promoter who claimed several aviation “firsts” that weren’t

Blanche Scott in an early Curtiss aircraft
Daughter of a 19th-century patent medicine huckster, Blanche Scott proved herself as good a pilot as she was a shameless promoter claiming a number of early aviation “firsts” that weren’t.

Blanche Stuart Scott couldn’t stand the thought of “being a nobody and a nothing in New York’s millions.” So this only child, spoiled by wealthy parents and described as stubborn, adventurous, competitive and fiercely determined, became somebody, racking up a slew of firsts along the way. Unfortunately, some of those firsts weren’t. Some were more like close, but no cigar.

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Aloha Wanderwell: Transcontinental Adventurer

Brains, Beauty and Breeches: The Amelia Earhart of the Open Road

1920s photo of Aloha Wanderwell with her customized Model T Ford
Aloha Wanderwell with her Model T modified with a gun scabbard and sloping back that folded out, accordian-style, into a traveling darkroom. While still in her teens in the 1920s, the Canadian schoolgirl jumped into a career as a transcontinental race car driver, adventurer and daredevil gifted with with movie star looks and a shrewd sense of promotion.

In an age when few women dared to color outside the lines, an irrepressible convent schoolgirl — tall and leggy, with big blue eyes, blonde Shirley Temple curls and a pet monkey, drove Model Ts around the world, landed a seaplane on an uncharted stretch of the Amazon River, and filmed travelogues that captivated armchair travelers the world over.

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Doris Fleeson First Syndicated Female Political Columnist

From WWI War Zones to 5 Presidential Administrations, She Covered It All

World War II meeting of soldiers and U.S. journalist in the field
Aside from breaking through barriers in sexist newsrooms, Doris Fleeson went on to become a feminist champion helping other women — particularly those of color — get into the news business in an era of rampant male chauvinism.

For two decades, Washington reporter Doris Fleeson took no prisoners as she stalked the halls of Congress in her white gloves and designer hats, exposing ignorance, fraud and hypocrisy wherever she found it. One of the best and most-respected reporters of her day, she struck fear in the hearts of Congressmen, press secretaries and presidents of both parties, one of whom, John F. Kennedy, quailed at the prospect of being “Fleesonized” by her sharp prose and what Newsweek called “the sharp edge of her typewriter.”

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The Woman Behind Granny Smith Apples: Maria Ann Smith

Her Legacy is the Third Most Popular Apple in America

Maria Ann Smith, a.k.a. Granny Smith with apples
In the mid-19th century, British emigrant to Australia Maria Ann Sherwood Smith was operating a family farm when she discovered a very crisp, very tasty green apple that she cultivated and began selling in the local market. Her product became known as the “Granny Smith” apple and went on to become one of the world’s most popular fruits.

Saying something is “as American as apple pie” might work if we’re talking baseball, blue jeans or rock ‘n’ roll. But the story behind one of America’s favorite pies — and one of our most beloved baking apples — isn’t American at all. It began almost 10,000 miles away, in a compost heap near a kitchen just outside Sydney, Australia, with an orchardist named Maria Ann Sherwood Smith. Today we know her as Granny Smith.

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