1867: Ida Lewis rescues three drowning men from wind-whipped swells in Newport Harbor. Then she rows back to save their sheep. Ida later becomes the country's first female lighthouse keeper.

1872: Victoria Claflin Woodhull becomes the first woman to run for president. A colorful candidate, she advocates for free love.

1906: Madam C.J. Walker hawks shampoos and serums door-to-door. The orphaned daughter of former slaves, she becomes one of America's wealthiest businesswomen.

1912: Astronomer Henrietta Swan Leavitt discovers the period-luminosity relationship (later used to calculate the distances between Earth and the stars).

1914: Barnstorming adrenaline junkie Georgia "Tiny" Broadwick makes the first-ever free fall from a plane.

1916: In a tenement neighborhood in Brooklyn, Margaret Sanger opens the doors of the country's first birth control clinic. Outside at least 150 women are waiting.

1916: Movie star Mary Pickford insists on becoming her own producer. America's Sweetheart is no sucker.

1937: Amelia Earhart disappears on the ultimate adventure—her attempt to fly around the globe. In a note to her husband, she explains: "I want to do it because I want to do it."

1938: Anna Mary Robertson Moses sells her first paintings, at age 78. Known as "Grandma" Moses, she continues to paint for 23 years, becoming one of the century's most renowned folk artists.

1941: Protofeminist superhero Wonder Woman first appears in a comic book, fighting off Fascists in star-spangled hot pants.

1946: Super-geekette Dorothy Hodgkin cracks penicillin's chemical makeup with an X-ray crystallographer. (Eighteen years later she'll earn the Nobel Prize.)


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