Diane Crump: Horse-Crazy Girl Who Revolutionized Thoroughbred Racing

Historic horse race in 1969 that changed the rules.
Riding Bridle ‘N Bit in the 7th race at Hialeah Park on February 7, 1969, Diane Crump (center) smashed through the barriers that kept women from participating in the sport of thoroughbred racing.

Until the 1960s, gender discrimination was a proud fact of life in the male-only world of thoroughbred horse racing in the United States. Females could not be licensed as jockeys. But a gutsy, 5-foot tall, 104 pound slip of a woman named Diane Crump changed all that at Florida’s Hialeah Park in 1969.

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Aimée Crocker : Edwardian Era Wild Child and Media Darling

Newspaper headline of Aimée Crocker adventures
Aimée Crocker was a fabulously wealthy 19th-century railroad heiress who shocked U.S. society with her continent-hopping antics and bohemian eccentricities.

By the time 19th century Bohemian Aimée Crocker’s wild ride of a life was over, this was her name history: Aimée Crocker Ashe Gillig Gouraud Miskinoff Galitzine. But when it comes to surnames or husbands, who’s counting? This late 1800’s railroad heiress was born into enormous wealth in 1864, when women were expected to be shy, docile, retiring creatures who graciously accepted their roles as quiet spectators in the game of life. But shy, docile and retiring were simply not part of Crocker’s DNA.

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Rosalie Edge: Champion of Women’s Suffrage and Environmental Activism

Rosalie Edge at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary
Rosalie Edge was one of the most active and effective conservationists of the 20th century, with a particular interest in protecting wild birds from mass killings by agricultural and industrial interests.

If visitors to New York’s Woodlawn Cemetery in the Spring of 2018 felt the ground shift a little beneath their feet, it was probably just Mabel Rosalie Barrow Edge — once known as America’s most militant conservationist — rolling in her grave.

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Lillian Wald — Mother of Public Health Nursing

A high society girl who abandoned her upper crust life to become a nurse in the 1880s, Lillian Wald and her corps of public health nurses changed the world of health care in the teeming immigrant slums of New York’s Lower East Side and established a new mode of nursing focused on the poor that spread across the country.

We hear a lot about privilege these days. And this Wednesday’s Woman, Lillian Wald, would be the first to tell you she was born into privilege — the daughter of wealthy German-Polish parents whose families fled Europe seeking economic opportunity. She once described herself as a well-educated, frivolous, spoiled socialite. But two pivotal events shaped this frivolous, spoiled socialite into a humanitarian and visionary who dedicated her life to helping others.

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Bessie Blount Griffin: Inventor, Crime Fighter, Hospital Wonder Woman

Above is Bessie Virginia Blount Griffin’s patent for an invention that enabled paralyzed or limbless veterans of World War II to feed themselves.

That Bessie Blount Griffin became a inventor, physical therapist, business women, forensics expert and social activist before she passed on in 2009 is all the more remarkable, given that she was born in an era before women — particularly African American women — could expect opportunities in any one of the multiple fields in which she ultimately succeeded. Her life is a lesson in tenacity, irrepressible creativity and a deep sense of empathy for the people and causes she helped.

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Elizabeth Coleman White: Blueberry Queen of the Jersey Pines

Elizabeth Coleman White picking blueberries in 1920.
In the second decade of the 20th century, New Jersey Pinelands farmer Elizabeth Coleman White was the first to cultivate the blueberry on a commercial scale. Today, the U.S. industry she launched annually harvests 690 million pounds of berries from across half a million planted acres.

Hammonton, New Jersey, is the Blueberry Capital of the Garden State. Once upon a time, sixteen-year-old Kellyanne Fitzpatrick Conway was crowned Blueberry Pageant Princess. And we all know Fats Domino found his thrill on Blueberry Hill. But were it not for Elizabeth Coleman White, none of that would have happened.

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