Who didn’t love celebrity chef Julia Child? After all, she made French cuisine accessible to America’s cooks with her 762-page cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and brought one of the first cooking shows, The French Chef, into countless living rooms. But if you think she was the mother of modern French cooking, you would be wrong. That honor belongs to Eugénie Brazier.
From WWI War Zones to 5 Presidential Administrations, She Covered It All
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.”
Mountain Climber, Cattle Driver, Caravan Organizer, Photographer and Acclaimed Book Author Isabella Lucy Bird
In 1972, a bespectacled, shaggy-haired singer-songwriter named John Denver celebrated his love affair with Colorado in a song called “Rocky Mountain High.” But more than a century earlier, an intrepid Englishwoman named Isabella Lucy Bird beat him to it. Her book, A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains, was published in 1879 as a letter to her sister in England. It detailed her adventures in Colorado, became an international bestseller, and put the area now known as Rocky Mountain National Park on the map.
A Highly Acclaimed 20th Century Sculptor and Printmaker
Elizabeth Catlett never knew her father, a Tuskegee Institute math professor who died before she was born, but a small wooden bird sculpture he left behind gave wing to the artistic interests that would ultimately define her career. Born near Washington, D.C., in 1915, grandchild of formerly-enslaved people, her life’s work would give poignant voice to the dignity, pride, strength, and hard-won victories of Black women in a society dominated by white men.
Blazed a trail for future female news photographers
Jessie Tarbox Beals might have spent her life as a teacher, doing “genteel, sheltered, monotonous and moneyless work having neither heights nor depths.” Instead, thanks to a little box camera, a knack for self promotion and pure moxie, she became one of America’s first women to carve out a career in the tough, competitive, male-dominated field of photojournalism.
Bookish Daughter of a Tailor Turned Into One of Filmdom’s First Sex Vamps
If you’ve ever wondered how a nice Jewish girl from Cincinnati who was named after Aaron Burr’s daughter became what one newspaper described as “the most fascinating though revolting female character ever created,” have I got a story for you about Theda Bara.