For Women’s History Month, we’ll be featuring biographies of women in history who may have beenforgotten, neglected, or misunderstood by traditional history books. In this edition: three women whose big ideas changed the world.
With her father’s toolbox and her sketchbook of inventions, Mattie Knight could — and did — make almost anything, including flat-bottomed paper bags (which we still use today), a metal guard that protected textile factory workers from flying shuttles, and a numbering machine. In fact, she held 87 U.S. patents, earning her the nickname the “Lady Edison.”
Read more about her in: Marvelous Mattie: How Margaret E. Knight Became an Inventor by Emily Arnold McCully
There weren’t any women doctors when Elizabeth Blackwell was growing up in the 1830s — so it’s not very surprising that the plucky girl met plenty of resistance (including 28 medical school rejections — ouch!) when she decided she wanted to be a doctor. Blackwell’s determination and hard work carried the day, however, and Dr. Blackwell became the first female doctor in the United States.
Read more about her in: Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors?: The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell by Tanya Lee Stone
Scientist Caitlin O’Connell made an amazing discovery while studying elephants at Erosha National Park in Namibia: The elephants communicated with each other by “hearing” vibrations through special sensory cells in their feet.
Read more about her in: The Elephant Scientist by Caitlin O’Connell
This information was originally published in the winter 2015 issue of home/school/life, but Women’s History Month seemed like the perfect time to bring it to the blog. You can read the full article—with lots of other cool women included—in that issue.
AMY SHARONY is the founder and editor-in-chief of home | school | life magazine. She's a pretty nice person until someone starts pluralizing things with apostrophes, but then all bets are off.