Anne Hutchinson – A Forerunner of American Feminism

A Rebel Against a Virulently Misogynist Puritan Culture

Statue in front of the Massachusetts State House
A statue standing in front of the Massachusetts State House memorializes Anne Marbury Hutchinson who, nearly four centuries ago, was an opponent and victim and of the virulent misogyny that defined Massachusetts Bay Colony society.

Anne Hutchinson may well have been one of America’s first “nasty women.” A spiritual leader in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, she poked the hornet’s nest by challenging the patriarchy and upending gender roles, preaching to audiences of both sexes and daring to critique the Bible and Puritan laws.

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Gertrude Jeannette – Actress, Playwight, Motorcyclist, and Cultural Star

Rising to Stage and Film Fame Despite Racism and Red Baiting

Gertrude Jeannette's New York City Taxi Driver's license
Actress, playwright, motorcyclist, and first woman licensed to drive a taxi in New City, Gertrude Jeannette had a long and extraordinary career in the theater and film as well as the passing lane. She lived to be 103.

Gertrude Jeannette was a true trailblazer as the first woman to get a motorcycle license in Manhattan and The Big Apple’s first licensed female cabdriver. Perhaps her more important accomplishments were as an actor, director and playwright who mentored a generation of Black actors in New York. But none of that would have happened were it not for a persistent childhood stutter and a man named Joe Jeannette who loved to dance.

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How Monopoly Inventor Elizabeth Magie Lost Her Game

A Story of Corporate Greed, Misogyny, and Patent Office Incompetence

The original, patented Monopoly game was created by Elizabeth Magie
Elizabeth Magie invented and patented the Monopoly game in 1903. It was bamboozled from her by an Atlantic City shyster and a greedy corporation, both of which generated millions of dollars of revenue from her creation at the same time they erased her from history.

You know the rules. Landlords get rich at the expense of tenants. Travel means shelling out for a railroad ticket. You can have utilities, but they’ll cost you. Run afoul of the landlord and go directly to jail — forget about passing GO and collecting $200. It’s the board game Monopoly, invented by a feisty, progressive feminist whose invention was stolen in the 1930s by a man named Charles Darrow.

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Madeline Pollard and the Gilded Age’s #MeToo Moment

How the Historic Courtroom Takedown of a U.S. Congressman Challenged Victorian Misogyny

Madeline Pollard and Congressman William Breckinridge
In an epic 1893 Washington, D.C., legal battle that seized the nation’s attention, young Madeline Pollard took U.S. Congressman William Breckinridge to court in a case that ended his political career.

If you think women taking powerful older men to court under the banner of the #MeToo movement is something new, think again. A chance meeting between a young Madeline Pollard and a powerful politician in 1884 at the height of America’s Gilded Age set the stage for a sensational trial that helped change the way society thought about men, women and sex.

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Rose Marie McCoy: The Songwriting Virtuoso You’ve Never Heard Of

A 60-Year Career of Creating Songs for America’s Top Artists

1950s meeting of music industry executives in Manhattan
Born into poverty in an age of rigid racial segregation, Rose Marie McCoy broke into the mid-20th century’s white male-dominated music scene to become the first Black woman to make it big as a songwriter creating tunes that Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and nearly 300 other top stars recorded.

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, the photo of a New York City luncheon (above) hosted by famed radio DJ and promoter Alan Freed speaks volumes. He’s surrounded by 57 songwriters, music executives and producers, all of them male. Except one — Rose Marie McCoy.

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Before Julia Child, There was Eugénie Brazier

The Real Mother of Modern French Cooking

 Eugénie Brazier in her kitchen with her chefs
Born on a pig farm near Lyon, France in 1895, Eugénie Brazier went on to lift herself out of poverty with the creative cooking skills that made her a famed chef whose innovative work was often overlooked by food historians as rivals claimed credit for her achievements.

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.

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