Gal’s Guide Library has much more about all these amazing gals!
Sister Rosetta Tharpe
Born in Arkansas in 1915, Sister Rosetta Tharpe invented Rock n’ Roll. She started at the age of 6 performing gospel songs. When she got a record deal with Decca Records she hit the big time. A little kid named Elvis Presley would come to see her play. Sister released a song called “Rock Me” in 1938. Now people will say that the first Rock n’ Roll song was Rocket 88 in 1951 but we can do the math. A gay black woman who Elvis was a fan of, was the first. The world did try to forget about her. She was buried for years without a tombstone.
Born in Austia-Hungary in 1914, she started as an actress at a young age. She moved to America where she was called, “The most beautiful woman in the world.” During World War 2 she co-invented a Secret Communications System. Designed to help torpedoes reach their target without being hacked, her technology was not used until 1962 in the Cuban missile crisis. Frequency Hopping is what allows cordless devices to talk to one another like in WiFi, cell phones, and Bluetooth.
Her calculations were pivotal in getting the first American in space and back home safely. But it didn’t stop there, from the early days of NACA testing airplanes and rocket all the way to the Space Shuttle Program she was there crunching the numbers with pinpoint accuracy, so much so that when the computer had an error John Glen wouldn’t launch without her checking the numbers.
Born in Pennsylvania in 1907, Rachel was a marine biologist, author, and conservationist. Her first three books about ocean life were bestsellers. When she researched pesticides and published Silent Spring it was a wake-up call to the American public. DDT was banned nationwide and inspired the creation of the US Environmental Protection Agency. She was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1980.
Born in Mexico in 1907. She was a painter famous for her self-portraits. Her work began after a bus accident that left her bedridden at age 18. To help with her recovery she started painting with help of a mirror, hence why the self-portraits. Frida was the first Mexican painter to be featured in the Louvre. She was an art teacher and a political activist. She lived in San Francisco for a few years. The Tate considers her “one of the most significant artists of the 20th century.”
Born in Texas in 1892. She was the daughter of an African-American maid and a Native American sharecropper.. She was the first Black person to earn an international pilot’s license as she had to go to France to learn to fly. She returned to the US to do air shows but refused to speak or fly at segregated shows. She wanted to open a school for Black Americans to learn to fly but tragically died on a test flight before she could. There is now a school with her name on it.
Janet Guthrie is a race car driver. Born March 7, 1938, in Iowa, she went to school to be an aerospace engineer. She began racing in 1963 and became the first woman to qualify and compete in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500. She competed in 11 Indy car events. She was the first woman to compete in a NASCAR and competed in 33 races. Janet is in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega, Alabama. Her racing helmet can be found at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.
Noblesville & Fishers has a library because of Lulu. Miss Miesse studied library sciences by attending Earlham College and Butler University. She graduated from library college in Chautauqua, New York. There were around 4000 books when Miss Miesse became the Noblesville librarian and the collection was continuing to grow out of space. Lulu saw a fantastic opportunity in applying for a Carnegie Library Grant, all the city had to do was donate a plot of land and a library could be built. Lulu got several hundred signatures and the council approved….but they did nothing for 6 months. Lulu returned with what one patron called “A council of war” each group in Noblesville supporting the new library. There were plans to march in the streets if needed but the City Council signed the paperwork in 1911 and construction began.
Annie Jump Cannon
Born in Delaware in 1863, Annie is one of the Harvard Computers, a team of women who worked to map every visible star. The gals read a star’s spectrum like a barcode. Using glass plates they would identify the star’s chemical composition, color, and temperature. Annie created the classification as a compromise between two strong ideas using the mnemonic “Oh be a fine gal/guy kiss me” Annie classified more than 350,000 stars in her lifetime. She has a crater on the moon and an asteroid named after her.
Gene Stratton Porter
American author, nature photographer, and naturalist from Wabash County, Indiana. Her first novel was released in 1903. Her most famous novel was Girl From Limberlost but she also wrote children’s books, poetry, and nature books. One of Gene’s nature books was called Moths of Limberlost. In 1917 Stratton-Porter urged legislative support for the conservation of Limberlost Swamp and other wetlands in Indiana. She was also a silent film-era producer who founded her own production company, Gene Stratton Porter Productions, in 1924.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Born in Brooklyn in 1933. Ruth was a lawyer and Supreme Court Justice. She was the first Jewish woman to serve on the court. She was one of the few women at Harvard. She graduated from Columbia Law School where she was joint-first in her class. RBG worked for women’s rights and gender equality rights. She was a volunteer attorney for the ACLU. She was nicknamed the Notorious RBG.