Forgoing dreams of an opera career to become a famed law enforcement sleuth
As a girl, Isabella Goodwin wanted to be an opera singer. So how did this wannabe diva wind up working with the New York Police Department to nab a motley crew of bank robbers and, in the process, become the Big Apple’s first female police detective?
When, one hot day in July of 1954, Emma Gatewood told her grown kids she was “going for a walk,” she left out a few details. She expected the walk would take her from Maine to Georgia, cover 2,108.5 miles and go through 14 states.
Virginia Hall never spoke publicly about her remarkable life because she knew too many people who “were killed for talking too much.” So, until recently, her story was known only within the intelligence community, where documents were known to disappear and code names were so numerous it was hard to know who was who.
As a little girl born in Budapest, Ágnes Keleti dreamed of becoming a cellist. Instead, she saw her father deported to Auschwitz, escaped the Nazis using forged identity papers and, ten years later, became one of the greatest Olympian gymnasts of all time and the most successful Jewish female athlete in the history of the Games.
Mary Edwards Walker (1832-1919) is described as contrary, outspoken, feisty, radical, defiant and determined. But as the first woman to earn the Congressional Medal of Honor, the second woman in America to become a licensed medical doctor, a lifelong women’s rights activist, prohibitionist, and a dress reformer who steadfastly refused to accept the stodgy Victorian confines of her gender, I suspect she earned — and needed — every single one of those attributes.
Margaret Bourke-White, who entered college in the 1920s with the idea of becoming a Herpetologist, could have made a name for herself handling snakes. Instead, she picked up a camera and went on to become a groundbreaking female photojournalist, giving us some of the most iconic images of the 20th century.