First First Lady to Support Women's Rights

Caroline Harrison, the wife of President Benjamin Harrison, was First Lady from 1889 until her death. She is remembered for her efforts to refurbish the aging White House. Her public support of women's rights and higher education for women focused greater attention on those issue and promoted greater acceptance of a First Lady's political ideals.

Early Years
Caroline Scott was born on October 1, 1832 in Oxford, Ohio, the second daughter of …Read More...

First African American Woman to Graduate from College

Mary Jane Patterson was the first African American woman to earn a bachelor's degree (Oberlin College, 1862). She became a successful teacher and was later appointed as the first black principal at America's first public high school for blacks (Preparatory High School for Colored Youth, Washington, DC, 1871). Patterson spent her career creating new educational opportunities for African Americans after the Civil War.

Early Years
Mary Jane Patterson was born on …

First African American Woman Lawyer

Not only was Charlotte Ray the first African American woman lawyer in the United States, she was one of the first women to practice in the District of Columbia and the third American woman of any race to earn a law degree (Howard University Law School, 1872).

Charlotte E. Ray was born in New York City on January 13, 1850 to Charlotte and Reverend Charles Bennett Ray. She had six siblings, including two sisters, Cordelia …Read More...

Editor of the First Feminist Periodical, The Una

Paulina Kellogg Wright Davis (1813–1876) was an abolitionist and feminist whose work in social reform extended over forty years. A wealthy and independent woman, she organized the First National Women's Rights Convention in 1850, and another on the 20th anniversay of that occasion, at which she read from her written work, A History of the National Woman's Rights Movement (1871).

Early Years
Paulina Kellogg was born on August 7, 1813 in …Read More...

Author and One of the First Female Abolitionists

Maria Weston Chapman was a writer, editor, abolitionist, and right-hand woman of prominent abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison. She served as editor of the anti-slavery newspapers, the Non-Resistant and the National Anti-Slavery Standard. Although she shunned public speaking, Chapman organized bazaars and other fund-raising events for the movement, and was described by Lydia Maria Child as "one of the most remarkable women of the age."

Early Years
Maria Weston was born on …

First Ordained Woman Minister and Social Reformer

Antoinette Brown Blackwell (1825–1921), was the first woman to be ordained as a minister in the United States. She was also a well-versed public speaker on the social reform issues of her time, and used her religious faith in her efforts to expand women's rights. Always ahead of her time, she wrote prolifically on religion and science, constructing a theoretical foundation for sexual equality.

Early Years
Antoinette Louisa Brown was born in …