For Women’s History Month, we’ll be featuring biographies of women in history who may have been forgotten, 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.