Feminism in Literature

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Last Updated on June 8, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 10241

• = historical event

■ = literary event

1570 B.C.

• Queen Ahmose Nefertari, sister and principal wife of King Ahmose, rules as "god's wife," in a new position created by a law enacted by the King.

C. 1490 B.C.

• Queen Hatshepsut rules as pharaoh, several years after the death of her husband, King Thutmose II.

C. 1360 B.C.

• Queen Nefertiti rules Egypt alongside her husband, pharaoh Akhenaten.

C. 620 B.C.

• Sappho is born on the Isle of Lesbos, Greece.

C. 600 B.C.

■ Sappho organizes and operates a thiasos, an academy for young, unmarried Greek women.

• Spartan women are the most independent women in the world, and are able to own property, pursue an education, and participate in athletics.

C. 550 B.C.

• Sappho dies on the Isle of Lesbos.

C. 100 B.C.

• Roman laws allow a husband: to kill his wife if she is found in the act of adultery, to determine the amount of money his wife is owed in the event of divorce, and to claim his children as property.

69 B.C.

• Cleopatra VII Philopator is born in Egypt.

36 B.C.

• Marriage of Antony and Cleopatra.

C. 30 B.C.

• Cleopatra VII Philopator commits suicide in Egypt.


• Emperor Augustus decrees the Lex Julia, which penalizes childless Roman citizens, adulterers, and those who marry outside of their social rank or status.

C. 370

• Hypatia is born in Alexandria, Egypt.


• Hypatia is murdered in Alexandria, Egypt.

C. 500

• Salians (Germanic Franks living in Gaul) issue a code of laws which prohibit women from inheriting land; the law is used for centuries to prevent women from ruling in France.


• Empress Suiko (554-628) becomes the first woman sovereign of Japan.

C. 690

• Wu Zetian (624-705) becomes the only female emperor of Imperial China.

C. 700

• Japanese legal code specifies that in law, ceremony, and practice, Japanese men can be polygamous—having first wives and an unlimited number of "second wives" or concubines—, but women cannot.


• Lady Ise, Japanese court lady, is born. She is considered one of the most accomplished poets of her time and her poems are widely anthologized.


• Hrotsvitha (also Hrotsvit or Roswitha), considered the first German woman poet, is born.


• Lady Ise dies.


■ Publication of the Kagero Nikki (The Gossamer Years), a diary written by an anonymous Japanese courtesan. The realism and confessional quality of the work influence the works of later court diarists.

C. 960

• Japanese poet Izumi Shikibu, known for her expression of erotic and Buddhist themes, is born. Her body of work includes more than 1,500 waka (31-syllable poems).

C. 1002

■ Sei Shonagon, Japanese court lady, writes Makura no Soshi (The Pillow Book), considered a classic of Japanese literature and the originator of the genre known as zuihitsu ("to follow the brush") that employs a stream-of-consciousness literary style.

C. 1008

■ Murasaki Shikibu writes Genji Monogatari (The Tale of Genji), considered a masterpiece of classical prose literature in Japan.

C. 1030

• Izumi Shikibu dies.


• Hildegard von Bingen is born in Bermersheim, Germany.

C. 1100

■ Twenty women troubadours—aristocratic poet-composers who write songs dealing with love—write popular love songs in France. About twenty-four of their songs survive, including four written by the famous female troubadour known as the Countess of Dia, or Beatrix.


• Eleanor of Aquitaine is born in Aquitaine, France. Her unconventional life is chronicled for centuries in books and dramatic works.

C. 1150

• Sometime in...

(This entire section contains 10241 words.)

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the twelfth century (some sources say 1122), Marie de France, the earliest known female French writer and author oflais, a collection of twelve verse tales written in octosyllabic rhyming couplets, flourished. She is thought to be the originator of the lay as a poetic form.

C. 1170

■ Marie of Champagne (1145-1198), daughter of King Louis VII of France and Eleanor of Aquitaine, cosponsors "courts of love" to debate points on the proper conduct of knights toward their ladies. Marie encourages Chrétien de Troyes to write Lancelot, and Andreas Capellanus to write The Art of Courtly Love.


• Hildegard von Bingen dies in Disibodenberg, Germany.

C. 1200

■ Women shirabyoshi performances are a part of Japanese court and Buddhist temple festivities. In their songs and dances, women performers dress in white, male attire which includes fans, court caps, and swords. This form of traditional dance plays an important role in the development of classical Japanese noh drama.


• Eleanor of Aquitaine dies on 1 April.

C. 1275

■ Japanese poet and court lady Abutsu Ni (1222?-1283) writes her poetic travel diary, Izayoi Nikki (Diary of the Waning Moon)on the occasion of her travel to Kyoto to seek inheritance rights for herself and her children.

C. 1328

• The French cite the Salic Law, which was promulgated in the early medieval period and prohibits women from inheriting land, as the authority for denying the crown of France to anyone—man or woman—whose descent from a French king can be traced only through the female line.


• Famous mystic St. Birgitta of Sweden (c.1303-1373) founds the Roman Catholic Order of St. Saviour, whose members are called the Brigittines. She authors Revelations, an account of her supernatural visions.


• Caterina Benincasa (later St. Catherine of Siena) is born on 25 March in Siena, Italy.

C. 1365

• Christine de Pizan is born in Venice, Italy.

C. 1373

• Margery Kempe is born in King's Lynn (now known as Lynn), in Norfolk, England.


• St. Catherine of Siena dies on 29 April in Rome, Italy.

C. 1393

■ Julian of Norwich (1342?-1416?), the most famous of all the medieval recluses in England, writes Revelations of Divine Love, expounding on the idea of Christ as mother.


■ Christine de Pizan writes the long poem "Letter to the God of Love," which marks the beginning of the querelle des femmes (debate on women). This attack on misogyny in medieval literature triggers a lively exchange of letters among the foremost French scholars of the day, and the querelle is continued by various European literary scholars for centuries.


• Joan of Arc (1412-1431)—in support of Charles I, who is prevented by the English from assuming his rightful place as King of France—leads liberation forces to victory in Orléans.


• Joan of Arc is burned at the stake as a heretic by the English on 30 May. She is acquitted of heresy by another church court in 1456 and proclaimed a saint in 1920.

C. 1431

• Christine de Pizan dies in France.

C. 1440

• Margery Kempe dies in England.


• Isabella of Castile, future Queen of Spain, is born. She succeeds her brother in 1474 and rules jointly with her husband, Ferdinand of Aragon, from 1479.


• Cassandra Fedele, who becomes the most famous woman scholar in Italy, is born in Venice.


• Laura Cereta, outspoken feminist and humanist scholar, is born in Brescia, Italy.


• Veronica Gambara is born in Italy. Her court becomes an important center of the Italian Renaissance, and Gambara earns distinction as an author of Petrarchan sonnets as well as for her patronage of the artist Corregio.


Malleus Maleficarum (The Hammer of Witches), an encyclopedia of contemporary knowledge about witches and methods of investigating the crime of witchcraft, is published in Europe. The volume details numerous justifications for women's greater susceptibility to evil, and contributes to the almost universal European persecution of women as witches that reaches its height between 1580 and 1660 and makes its way to Salem, Massachusetts in 1692.


• Marguerite de Navarre is born on 11 April in France.


• Laura Cereta dies in Brescia, Italy.

C. 1512

• Catherine Parr is born in England.


• Teresa de Alhumadawas (later St. Teresa de Ávila) is born on 28 March in Gotarrendura, Spain.


• Courtesan Gaspara Stampa, widely regarded as the greatest woman poet of the Renaissance, is born in Padua, Italy.


• Queen Elizabeth I is born on 7 September in Greenwich, England, the daughter of King Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn.


• King Henry VIII of England beheads his second wife, Anne Boleyn, on 19 May. Boleyn is convicted of infidelity and treason after she fails to produce the desired male heir.


■ Vittoria Colonna (1492-1547), an influential woman in Renaissance Italy, achieves distinction as a poet with the publication of her first book of poetry.


• Catherine Parr dies in England.


• Marguerite de Navarre dies in France.


• Veronica Gambara dies in Italy.


• Gaspara Stampa dies on 23 April in Venice, Italy.


• Moderata Fonte (pseudonym of Modesta Pozzo) is born in Venice, Italy.


• Elizabeth I assumes the throne of England and presides over a period of peace and prosperity known as the Elizabethan Age.

• Cassadra Fedele dies in Venice. She is honored with a state funeral.


■ Marguerite de Navarre completes her L'Heptaméron des Nouvelles (the Heptameron), a series of stories primarily concerned with the themes of love and spirituality.


• Mary Sidney, noted English literary patron, is born in England. She is the sister of poet Sir Philip Sidney, whose poems she edits and publishes after his death in 1586, and whose English translation of the Psalms she completes.


• French scholar Marie de Gournay is born on 6 October in Paris. Known as the French "Minerva" (a woman of great wisdom or learning), she is a financial success as a writer of treatises on various subjects, including Equality of Men and Women (1622) and Complaint of Ladies (1626), which demand better education for women.


• St. Teresa de Avila dies on 4 October in Alba.


• Moderata Fonte (pseudonym of Modesta Pozzo) dies in Venice, Italy.

C. 1600

■ Catherine de Vivonne (c. 1588-1665), Madame de Rambouillet, inaugurates and then presides over salon society in Paris, in which hostesses hold receptions in their salons or drawing rooms for the purpose of intellectual conversation. Salon society flourishes in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and stimulates scholarly and literary development in France and England.

• Geisha (female artists and entertainers) and prostitutes are licensed by the Japanese government to work in the pleasure quarters of major cities in Japan.


• Queen Elizabeth I dies on 24 March in Surrey, England.

■ Izumo no Okuni is believed to originate kabuki, the combination of dance, drama, and music which dominates Japanese theater throughout the Tokugawa period (1600-1868).


• Madeleine de Scudéry, one of the best-known and most influential writers of romance tales in seventeeth-century Europe, is born on 15 November in Le Havre, France.

C. 1612

• American poet Anne Bradstreet is born in Northampton, England.


• Margaret Askew Fell, who helps establish the Society of Friends, or Quakers, and becomes known as the "mother of Quakerism," is born in Lancashire, England. Quakers give women unusual freedom in religious life. An impassioned advocate of the right of women to preach, Fell publishes the tract Women's Speaking Justified, Proved and Allowed of by the Scriptures in 1666.


• Mary Sidney dies in England.

C. 1623

• Margaret Lucas Cavendish, later Duchess of Newcastle, is born in England. She authors fourteen volumes of works, including scientific treatises, poems, and plays, and her autobiography The True Relation of My Birth, Breeding and Life (1656).


• Katherine Phillips (1631-1664), who writes poetry under the pseudonym "Orinda," is born. She is the founder of a London literary salon called the Society of Friendship that includes such luminaries as Jeremy Taylor and Henry Vaughn.

C. 1640

• Aphra Behn is born.

C. 1645

• Deborah Moody (c. 1580-c. 1659) becomes the first woman to receive a land grant in colonial America when she is given the title to land in Kings County (now Brooklyn), New York. She is also the first colonial woman to vote.

C. 1646

• Glückel of Hameln, who records her life as a Jewish merchant in Germany in her memoirs, is born in Hamburg.


• Juana Ramírez de Asbaje (later known as Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz) is born on 12 November on a small farm called San Miguel de Nepantla in New Spain (now Mexico).


■ Aphra Behn becomes the first professional woman writer in England when her first play The Forced Marriage; or, The Jealous Bridegroom, is performed in London.


• Anne Bradstreet dies on 16 September in Andover, Massachusetts.

C. 1673

■ Francois Poulain de la Barre publishes The Equality of the Sexes, in which he supports the idea that women have intellectual powers equal to those of men. His work stimulates the betterment of women's education in succeeding centuries.


• Margaret Lucas Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, dies in England.


■ After being captured and then released by Wampanaoag Indians, Puritan settler Mary White Rowlandson (1636-1678) writes what becomes a famous account of her captivity.


• Mary Pierrpont (later Lady Mary Wortley Montagu) is born on 26 May in London, England.

• Aphra Behn dies on 16 April and is buried in the cloisters at Westminster Abbey.


• The Salem, Massachusetts, witch hysteria begins in February, and eventually leads to the execution of eighteen women convicted of witchcraft in the infamous Salem Witchcraft Trials (1692-1693).

C. 1694

■ Mary Astell (1666-1731) publishes the treatise A Serious Proposal to the Ladies in two volumes (1694-1697). In the work, Astell calls for the establishment of private institutions where single women live together for a time and receive quality education.


• Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz dies on 17 April at the Convent of St. Jerome in Mexico.


• Madeleine de Scudéry dies on 2 June in Paris, France.

C. 1704

■ Sarah Kemble Knight (1666-1727), a Puritan author, records her arduous journey from Boston to New York to settle the estate of her cousin.

C. 1713

■ Anne Kingsmill Finch (1661-1720) writes many poems dealing with the injustices suffered by women of the aristocratic class to which she belonged. As Countess of Winchilsea, she becomes the center of a literary circle at her husband's estate in Eastwell, England.


• Mercy Otis Warren is born on 14 September in Barnstable, Massachusetts.


• Catherine the Great is born on 2 May in Germany as Sophia Friederica Augusta.


• Abigail Adams is born Abigail Smith on 11 November in Weymouth, Massachusetts.


• Olympe de Gouges, French Revolutionary feminist, is born Olympe Gouze in Montauban, France. She plays an active role in the French Revolution, demanding equal rights for women in the new French Republic.


• Frances "Fanny" Burney is born on 13 June in England.

C. 1753

• Phillis Wheatley is born in Africa.


• Mary Wollstonecraft is born on 27 April in England.


• Lady Mary Wortley Montagu dies on 21 August in London, England.

• Catherine the Great becomes Empress of Russia.


• Germaine Necker (later Madame de Staël) is born on 22 April in Paris, France.


• Maria Edgeworth is born on 1 January at Black Bourton in Oxfordshire, England.


■ Clementina Rind (1740-1774) is appointed publisher of the Virginia Gazette by the House of Burgesses in Virginia.


• Jane Austen is born on 16 December at Steventon Rectory, Hampshire, England.


• Men and women who hold property worth over 50 pounds are granted suffrage in New Jersey.

C. 1780

■ Madame Roland (1754-1793), formerly Marie Philppon, hosts an important salon where revolutionary politicians and thinkers debate during the French Revolution. An outspoken feminist, she presses for women's political and social rights.


■ Hannah Adams (1758-1831) becomes the first American woman author to support herself with money earned from writing, with the publication of her first book, View of Religions (later Dictionary of Religions).

• Phillis Wheatley dies on 5 December in Boston, Massachusetts.


■ Catherine Sawbridge Macaulay publishes Letters on Education, an appeal for better education of women.

■ Mary Wollstonecraft's Thoughts on the Education of Daughters: With Reflections on Female Conduct, in the More Important Duties of Life is published by J. Johnson.


• Catharine Maria Sedgwick is born on 28 December in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

■ Olympe de Gouges writes The Declaration of the Rights of Women and Citizen, a 17-point document demanding the recognition of women as political, civil, and legal equals of men, and including a sample marriage contract that emphasizes free will and equality in marriage.


• Sarah Moore Grimké is born on 26 November in Charleston, South Carolina.

■ Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, with Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects is published by J. Johnson.


• Lucretia Coffin Mott is born on 3 January in Nantucket, Massachusetts.

• Olympe de Gouges is executed by guillotine for treason on 3 November.

• Madame Roland is executed in November, ostensibly for treason, but actually because the Jacobins want to suppress feminist elements in the French Revolution.


• Catherine the Great dies following a stroke on 6 November in Russia.


• Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley is born on 30 August, in London, England.

• Mary Wollstonecraft dies on 10 September in London, England, from complications following childbirth.

• Sojourner Truth is born Isabella Bomefree in Ulster County, New York.


■ Mary Wollstonecraft's Maria; or, The Wrongs of Woman: A Posthumous Fragment is published by James Carey.


• Caroline M. (Stansbury) Kirkland is born on 11 January in New York City.


• Lydia Maria Child is born on 11 February in Medford, Massachusetts.


• George Sand (pseudonym of Armandine Aurore Lucille Dupin) is born on 1 July in Paris, France.

• The Napoleonic Code is established in France under Napoleon I, and makes women legally subordinate to men. The code requires women to be obedient to their husbands, bars women from voting, sitting on juries, serving as legal witnesses, or sitting on chambers of commerce or boards of trade.


• Angelina Emily Grimké is born on 20 February in Charleston, South Carolina.


• Elizabeth Barrett Browning is born on 6 March in Coxhoe Hall, Durham, England.


■ Germaine de Staël's Corinne, ou l'Italie (Corinne, or Italy) is published by Nicolle.

• Suffrage in New Jersey is limited to "white male citizens."


• Caroline Sheridan Norton is born on 22 March in England.


• (Sarah) Margaret Fuller is born on 23 May in Cambridgeport, Massachusetts.

• Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell is born on 29 September in London, England.


• Harriet Beecher Stowe is born on 14 June in Litchfield, Connecticut.

■ Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility is published by T. Egerton.


• Harriet A. Jacobs is born in North Carolina.

■ Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is published by T. Egerton.


• Mercy Otis Warren dies on 19 October in Plymouth, Massachusetts.


• Elizabeth Cady Stanton is born on 12 November in Johnstown, New York.

• King Louis XVIII of France outlaws divorce.


• Charlotte Brontë is born on 21 April in Thornton, Yorkshire, England.

■ Jane Austen's Emma is published by M. Carey.


• Madame Germaine de Staël dies on 14 July in Paris, France.

• Jane Austen dies on 18 July in Winchester, Hampshire, England.


• Emily Brontë is born on 30 July in Thornton, Yorkshire, England.

• Lucy Stone is born on 13 August near West Brookfield, Massachusetts.

• Abigail Adams dies on 28 October in Quincy, Massachusetts.

■ Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey and Persuasion is published by John Murray.

■ Educator Emma Hart Willard's A Plan for Improving Female Education is published by Middlebury College.

■ Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus is published by Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor & Jones.


• Julia Ward Howe is born on 27 May in New York City.

• George Eliot (pseudonym of Mary Ann Evans) is born on 22 November in Arbury, Warwickshire, England.


• Susan B. Anthony is born on 15 February in Adams, Massachusetts.


• Emma Hart Willard establishes the Troy Female Seminary in Troy, New York.


• Frances Power Cobbe is born on 4 December in Dublin, Ireland.


• Charlotte Yonge is born 11 August in Otterbourne, Hampshire, England.


• Frances Ellen Watkins Harper is born on 24 September in Baltimore, Maryland.


• Matilda Joslyn Gage is born on 24 March in Cicero, New York.


• Christina Rossetti is born on 5 December in London, England.

• Emily Dickinson is born on 10 December in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Godey's Lady's Book—the first American women's magazine—is founded by Louis Antoine Godey and edited by Sarah Josepha Hale (1788-1879).


• Louisa May Alcott is born on 29 November in Germantown, Pennsylvania.

■ George Sand's Indiana is published by Roret et Dupuy.


• Oberlin Collegiate Institute—the first coeducational institution of higher learning—is established in Oberlin, Ohio.


• Marietta Holley is born on 16 July near Adams, New York.


• Mt. Holyoke College—the first college for women—is founded by Mary Lyon in South Hadley, Massachusetts.

• Alexandria Victoria (1819-1901) becomes Queen Victoria at the age of eighteen. Her reign lasts for 63 years, the longest reign of any British monarch.


• Victoria Woodhull is born on 23 September in Homer, Ohio.

■ Sarah Moore Grimké's Letters on the Equality of the Sexes, and the Condition of Woman is published by I. Knapp.


• Frances "Fanny" Burney dies on 6 January in London, England.

• Ernestine Rose (1810-1892) writes the petition for what will become the Married Woman's Property Law (1848).

C. 1844

• Sarah Winnemucca is born on Paiute land near Humboldt Lake in what is now Nevada.


■ Margaret Fuller's Woman in the Nineteenth Century is published by Greeley & McElrath.


■ Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre is published by Smith, Elder.

■ Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights is published by T. C. Newby.


• The first women's rights convention is called by Lucretia Coffin Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton on 19 July and is held in Seneca Falls, New York on 20 July.

• Emily Brontë dies on 19 December in Haworth, Yorkshire, England.

• New York State Legislature passes the Married Woman's Property Law, granting women the right to retain possession of property they owned prior to marriage.


• Maria Edgeworth dies on 22 May in Edgeworthstown, her family's estate in Ireland.

• Sarah Orne Jewett is born on 3 September in South Berwick, Maine.

■ Amelia Bloomer publishes the first issue of her Seneca Falls newspaper The Lily, which provides a forum for both temperance and women's rights reformers.

• The first state constitution of California extends property rights to women in their own name.


• Margaret Fuller drowns—along with her husband and son—on 19 July in a shipwreck off of Fire Island, New York.

• The first National Woman's Rights Convention, planned by Lucy Stone and Lucretia Mott, is attended by over one thousand women on 23 and 24 October in Worcester, Massachusetts.

■ Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Poems, containing her Sonnets from the Portuguese, is published by Chapman & Hall.

The Narrative of Sojourner Truth, transcribed by Olive Gilbert, is published in the Boston periodical, the Liberator.


• Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley dies on 1 February in Bournemouth, England.

• Kate Chopin is born on 8 February in St. Louis, Missouri.

■ Sojourner Truth delivers her "A'n't I a Woman?" speech at the Women's Rights Convention on 29 May in Akron, Ohio.


■ Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life among the Lowly is published by Jewett, Proctor & Worthington.

• Susan B. Anthony founds The Women's Temperance Society, the first temperance organization in the United States.


■ Charlotte Brontë's Villette is published by Smith, Elder.

■ Paulina Kellogg Wright Davis (1813-1876) edits and publishes Una, the first newspaper of the women's rights movement.


■ Margaret Oliphant's A Brief Summary in Plain Language of the Most Important Laws Concerning Women, a pamphlet explaining the unfair laws concerning women and exposing the need for reform, is published in London.


• Charlotte Brontë dies on 31 March in Haworth, Yorkshire, England.

• Elizabeth Cady Stanton, speaking in favor of expanding the Married Woman's Property Law, becomes the first woman to appear before the New York State Legislature.


• Harriot Eaton Stanton Blatch is born on 20 January in Seneca Falls, New York.


■ Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Aurora Leigh is published by Chapman & Hall.


• Emmeline Pankhurst is born on 4 July in Manchester, England.

• Anna Julia Haywood Cooper is born on 10 August in Raleigh, North Carolina.


• Carrie Chapman Catt is born on 9 January in Ripon, Wisconsin.


• Charlotte Perkins Gilman is born on 3 July in Hartford, Connecticut.

• Jane Addams is born on 6 September in Cedarville, Illinois.


• Victoria Earle Matthews is born on 27 May in Fort Valley, Georgia.

• Elizabeth Barrett Browning dies on 29 June in Florence, Italy.

■ Harriet Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself, edited by Lydia Maria Child, is published in Boston.


• Edith Wharton is born on 24 January in New York City.

• Ida B. Wells-Barnett is born on 16 July in Holly Springs, Mississippi.

■ Julia Ward Howe's "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" is published in the Atlantic Monthly.


• Caroline M. (Stansbury) Kirkland dies of a stroke on 6 April in New York City.


• Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell dies on 12 November in Holybourne, Hampshire, England.


• The American Equal Rights Association—dedicated to winning suffrage for African American men and for women of all colors—is founded by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton on 1 May. Lucretia Coffin Mott is elected as the group's president.

• Elizabeth Cady Stanton runs for Congress as an independent; she receives 24 of 12,000 votes cast.


• Catharine Maria Sedgwick dies on 31 July in Boston, Massachusetts.


■ Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton found the New York-based weekly newspaper, The Revolution, with the motto: "The true republic—men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less," in January.

• Julia Ward Howe founds the New England Woman Suffrage Association and the New England Women's Club.

■ Louisa May Alcott's Little Women; or, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy (2 vols., 1868-69) is published by Roberts Brothers.


■ John Stuart Mill's treatise in support of women's suffrage, The Subjection of Women, is published in London.

• Emma Goldman is born on 27 June in Kovno, Lithuania.

■ Louisa May Alcott's Hospital Sketches and Camp and Fireside Stories is published by Roberts Brothers.

• Women are granted full and equal suffrage and are permitted to hold office within the territory of Wyoming.

• The National Woman Suffrage Association is founded by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony in May in New York City.

• The American Woman Suffrage Association is founded by Lucy Stone, Julia Ward Howe, and others in November in Boston, Massachusetts.


The Woman's Journal, edited by Lucy Stone, Henry Blackwell, and Mary Livermore, begins publication on 8 January.

■ Victoria Woodhull and Tennessee Claflin publish the first issue of their controversial New York weekly newspaper, Woodhull and Claflin's Weekly.


• Women are granted full and equal suffrage in the territory of Utah. Their rights are revoked in 1887 and restored in 1896.

• Victoria Woodhull presents her views on women's rights in a passionate speech to the House Judiciary Committee, marking the first personal appearance before such a high congressional committee by a woman.

• Wives of many prominent U. S. politicians, military officers, and businessmen found the Anti-Suffrage party to fight against women's suffrage.


• Victoria Woodhull, as a member of the Equal Rights Party (or National Radical Reform Party), becomes the first woman candidate for the office of U.S. President. Her running mate is Frederick Douglass.

• Susan B. Anthony and 15 other women attempt to cast their votes in Rochester, New York, in the presidential election. Anthony is arrested and fined $100, which she refuses to pay.

• Sojourner Truth attempts to cast her vote in Grand Rapids, Michigan in the presidential election but is denied a ballot.


• Colette is born on 28 January in Burgundy, France.

• Maria Mitchell (1818-1889), astronomer and faculty member at Vassar College, establishes the Association of the Advancement of Women.

• Willa Cather is born on 7 December in Back Creek Valley, Virginia.

• Sarah Moore Grimké dies on 23 December in Hyde Park, Massachusetts.

■ Louisa May Alcott's Work: A Story of Experience is published by Roberts Brothers.


• Gertrude Stein is born on 3 February in Allegheny, Pennsylvania.

• Amy Lowell is born on 9 February in Brookline, Massachusetts.


• George Sand dies on 9 June in Nohant, France.

• Susan Glaspell is born on 1 July (some sources say 1882) in Davenport, Iowa.


• Caroline Sheridan Norton dies on 15 June in England.


• Passage of the Matrimonial Causes Act in England enables abused wives to obtain separation orders to keep their husbands away from them.

• The "Susan B. Anthony Amendment," which will extend suffrage to women in the United States, is first proposed in Congress by Senator A. A. Sargent.


• Margaret Sanger is born on 14 September in Corning, New York.

• Angelina Emily Grimké dies on 26 October in Hyde Park, Massachusetts.


• Christabel Pankhurst is born on 22 September in Manchester, England.

• Lydia Maria Child dies on 20 October in Wayland, Massachusetts.

• Lucretia Coffin Mott dies on 11 November in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

• George Eliot (pseudonym of Mary Ann Evans) dies on 22 December in London, England.


■ Hubertine Auclert founds La Citoyenne (The Citizen), a newspaper dedicated to female suffrage.

■ The first volume of A History of Woman Suffrage (Vols. 1-3, 1881-1888; Vol. 4, 1903), edited and compiled by Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Ida Harper Husted, and Matilda Joslyn Gage, is published by Fowler & Welles.


• Virginia Woolf is born on 25 January in London, England.

• Sylvia Pankhurst is born on 5 May in Manchester, England.

• Aletta Jacobs (1854-1929), the first woman doctor in Holland, opens the first birth control clinic in Europe.


• Sojourner Truth dies on 26 November in Battle Creek, Michigan.

■ Olive Schreiner's The Story of an African Farm is published by Chapman & Hall.


• Eleanor Roosevelt is born on 11 October in New York City.


• Alice Paul is born on 11 January in Moore-stown, New Jersey.

• Isak Dinesen is born Karen Christentze Dinesen on 17 April in Rungsted, Denmark.


• Emily Dickinson dies on 15 May in Amherst, Massachusetts.

• H. D. (Hilda Doolittle) is born on 10 September in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.


• Marianne Moore is born on 15 November in Kirkwood, Missouri.

• Article five of the Peace Preservation Law in Japan prohibits women and minors from joining political organizations and attending meetings where political speeches are given, and from engaging in academic studies of political subjects.


• Louisa May Alcott dies on 6 March in Boston, Massachusetts, and is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts.

• Susan B. Anthony organizes the International Council of Women with representatives from 48 countries.

■ Louisa Lawson (1848-1920) founds Australia's first feminist newspaper, The Dawn.

• The National Council of Women in the United States is formed to promote the advancement of women in society. The group also serves as a clearinghouse for various women's organizations.


• Anna Akhmatova is born Anna Adreyevna Gorenko on 23 June in Bolshoy Fontan, Russia.


• The National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) is formed by the merging of the American Woman Suffrage Assocation and the National Woman Suffrage Association. Elizabeth Cady Stanton is the NAWSA's first president; she is succeeded by Susan B. Anthony in 1892.


• Zora Neale Hurston is born on 15 (some sources say 7) January in Nostasulga, Alabama. (Some sources cite birth year as c. 1901 or 1903, and birth place as Eatonville, Florida).

• Sarah Winnemucca dies on 16 October in Monida, Montana.


• Edna St. Vincent Millay is born on 22 February in Rockland, Maine.

• Djuna Barnes is born on 12 June in Cornwall on Hudson, New York.

• Rebecca West (pseudonym of Cicily Isabel Fair-field) is born on 21 December in County Kerry, Ireland.

■ Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper is published in New England Magazine.

■ Frances E. W. Harper's Iola Leroy; or, Shadows Uplifted is published by Garrigues Bros.

• Olympia Brown (1835-1926), first woman ordained minister in the United States, founds the Federal Suffrage Association to campaign for women's suffrage.

■ Ida Wells-Barnett's Southern Horrors. Lynch Law in All its Phases is published by Donohue and Henneberry.


• Lucy Stone dies on 18 October in Dorchester, Massachusetts.

• The National Council of Women of Canada is founded by Lady Aberdeen.

• Suffrage is granted to women in Colorado.

• New Zealand becomes the first nation to grant women the vote.


• Christina Rossetti dies on 29 December in London, England.


■ The first volume of Elizabeth Cady Stanton's The Woman's Bible (3 vols., 1895-1898) is published by European Publishing Company.


• Harriet Beecher Stowe dies on 1 July in Hartford, Connecticut.

• Idaho grants women the right to vote.

• The National Assocation of Colored Women's Clubs is founded in Washington, D.C.


• Harriet A. Jacobs dies on 7 March in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


• Matilda Joslyn Gage dies on 18 March in Chicago, Illinois.

■ Charlotte Perkins Gilman's Women and Economics is published by Small Maynard.

• The Meiji Civil Law Code, the law of the Japanese nation state, makes the patriarchal family, rather than the individual, the legally recognized entity.


• Elizabeth Bowen is born on 7 June in Dublin, Ireland.

■ Kate Chopin's The Awakening is published by Herbert S. Stone.


■ Colette's Claudine a l'ecole (Claudine at School, 1930) is published by Ollendorf.

• Carrie Chapman Catt succeeds Susan B. Anthony as president of the NAWSA.


• Charlotte Yonge dies of bronchitis and pneumonia on 24 March in Elderfield, England.


• Elizabeth Cady Stanton dies on 26 October in New York City.

• Women of European descent gain suffrage in Australia.


• The Women's Social and Political Union, led by suffragists Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst, stage demonstrations in Hyde Park in London, England.


• Frances Power Cobbe dies on 5 April.

• Kate Chopin dies following a cerebral hemorrhage on 22 August in St. Louis, Missouri.

• Susan B. Anthony establishes the International Woman Suffrage Alliance in Berlin, Germany.

C. 1905

• Lillian Hellman is born on 20 June in New Orleans, Louisiana.


• Austrian activist and novelist Bertha von Suttner (1843-1914) receives the Nobel Peace Prize.


• Susan B. Anthony dies on 13 March in Rochester, New York.

• Finnish women gain suffrage and the right to be elected to public office.


• Victoria Earle Matthews dies of tuberculosis on 10 March in New York City.

■ Mary Edwards Walker, M.D.'s pamphlet on women's suffrage, "Crowning Constitutional Argument," is published.

• Harriot Stanton Blatch founds the Equality League of Self-Supporting Women, later called the Women's Political Union.


• Simone de Beauvoir is born on 9 January in Paris, France.

• Julia Ward Howe becomes the first woman to be elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.


• Sarah Orne Jewett dies on 24 June in South Berwick, Maine.

■ Swedish author Selma Lagerlöf (1858-1940) becomes the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature.

• "The Uprising of the 20,000" grows from one local to a general strike against several shirt-waist factories in New York City. Over 700 women and girls are arrested, and 19 receive workhouse sentences. The strike is called off on 15 February 1910. Over 300 shops settle with the union, and workers achieve the terms demanded.

• Jeanne-Elisabeth Archer Schmahl (1846-1915) founds the French Union for Woman Suffrage.


• Julia Ward Howe dies of pneumonia on 17 October in Newport, Rhode Island.

• The Women' Political Union holds the first large suffrage parade in New York City.

• Suffrage is granted to women in Washington State.

■ Jane Addams's Twenty Years at Hull House is published by Macmillan.


• Frances Ellen Watkins Harper dies on 22 February in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

• A fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City on 25 March claims the lives of 146 factory workers, 133 of them women. Public outrage over the fire leads to reforms in labor laws and improvement in working conditions.

• Suffrage is granted to women in California.

■ Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome is published by Scribner.


• Suffrage is granted to women in Arizona, Kansas, and Oregon.

• A parade in support of women's suffrage is held in New York City and draws 20,000 participants and half a million onlookers.


• Muriel Rukeyser is born on 15 December in New York City.

■ Willa Cather's O Pioneers! is published by Houghton.

• Ida Wells-Barnett founds the Alpha Suffrage Club in Chicago.

• Suffrage is granted to women in Alaska.

• The Congressional Union is founded by Alice Paul and Lucy Burns.


• Marguerite Duras is born on 4 April in Gia Dinh, Indochina (now Vietnam).

• The National Federation of Women's Clubs, which includes over two million white women and women of color, formally endorses the campaign for women's suffrage.

• Suffrage is granted to women in Montana and Nevada.

■ Margaret Sanger begins publication of her controversial monthly newsletter The Woman Rebel, which is banned as obscene literature.


■ Charlotte Perkins Gilman's Herland is published in the journal Forerunner.

Woman's Work in Municipalities, by American suffragist and historian Mary Ritter Beard (1876-1958), is published by Appleton.

• Icelandic women who are age 40 or older gain suffrage.

• Members of the NAWSA from across the United States hold a large parade in New York city.

• Most Danish women over age 25 gain suffrage.


• Ardent suffragist and pacifist Jeannette Pickering Rankin (1880-1973) of Montana becomes the first woman elected to the U. S. House of Representatives. She later votes against U. S. involvement in both World Wars.

• The Congressional Union becomes the National Women's Party, led by Alice Paul and Lucy Burns.

• NAWSA president Carrie Chapman Catt unveils her "Winning Plan" for American women's suffrage at a convention held in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

• Suffrage is granted to women in Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan, Canada.

• Margaret Sanger opens the first U. S. birth-control clinic in Brooklyn, New York. The clinic is shut down 10 days after it opens and Sanger is arrested.

• Margaret Sanger's What Every Mother Should Know; or, How Six Little Children were Taught the Truth is published by M. N. Maisel.


• Gwendolyn Brooks is born on 7 June in Topeka, Kansas.

• The National Women's Party becomes the first group in U.S. history to picket in front of the White House. Picketers are arrested and incarcerated; during their incarceration, Alice Paul leads them in a hunger strike. Many of the imprisoned suffragists are brutally force-fed, including Paul. The suffragettes' mistreatment is published in newspapers, the White House bows to public pressure, and they are released.

• White women in Arkansas are granted partial suffrage; they are able to vote in primary, but not general, elections.

• Suffrage is granted to women in New York.

• Suffrage is granted to women in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

• Women in Ontario and British Columbia, Canada, gain suffrage.

• Suffragists and members of the NAWSA, led by president Carrie Chapman Catt, march in a parade in New York City.

■ Margaret Sanger founds and edits The Birth Control Review, the first scientific journal devoted to the subject of birth control.


■ Willa Cather's My Antonia is published by Houghton.

• Suffrage is granted to women in Michigan, Oklahoma, and South Dakota; women in Texas gain suffrage for primary elections only.

• President Woodrow Wilson issues a statement in support of a federal constitutional amendment granting full suffrage to American women.

• A resolution to amend the U.S. constitution to ensure that the voting rights of U.S. citizens cannot "be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex" passes in the House of Representatives.

• President Wilson urges the Senate to support the 19th amendment, but fails to win the two-thirds majority necessary for passage.

• Women in the United Kingdom who are married, own property, or are college graduates over the age of 30, are granted suffrage.

• Women in Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Luxembourg, and Poland gain suffrage.

• Women in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, Canada, gain suffrage. Canadian women of British or French heritage gain voting rights in Federal elections.

■ Marie Stopes's Married Love and Wise Parenthood are published by A. C. Fifield.

■ Harriot Stanton Blatch's Mobilizing Woman-Power, with a foreword by Theodore Roosevelt, is published by The Womans Press.


• Women in the Netherlands, Rhodesia, and Sweden gain suffrage.

• Doris Lessing is born on 22 October in Kermanshah, Persia (now Iran).

• The "Susan B. Anthony Amendment," also known as the 19th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution, after it is defeated twice in the Senate, passes in both houses of Congress. The amendment is sent to states for ratification.


• The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified by the necessary two-thirds of states and American women are guaranteed suffrage on 26 August when Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby signs the amendment into law.

• The NAWSA is reorganized as the National League of Women Voters and elects Maud Wood Park as its first president.

• Bella Abzug is born on 24 July in New York City.

• Icelandic women gain full suffrage.

■ Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence is published by Meredith.

■ Colette's Cheri is published by Fayard.


• Betty Friedan is born on 4 February in Peoria, Illinois.

■ Edith Wharton receives the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for The Age of Innocence.

• Margaret Sanger organizes the first American Conference on Birth Control in New York City.


• Irish women gain full suffrage.

• Grace Paley is born on 11 December in New York City.

■ Edna St. Vincent Millay's The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver is published by F. Shay.


■ Edna St. Vincent Millay receives the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver.

• Margaret Sanger opens the Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau in New York to dispense contraceptives to women under the supervision of a licensed physician and to study the effect of contraception upon women's health.

• Margaret Sanger founds the American Birth Control League.

• The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), written by Alice Paul, is introduced in Congress for the first time in December.


• Phyllis Schlafly is born on 15 August in St. Louis, Missouri.

• Shirley Chisolm is born on 30 November in Brooklyn, New York.


• Amy Lowell dies on 12 May in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Collected Poems of H.D. is published by Boni & Liveright.

■ Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway is published by Harcourt.


• Marietta Holley dies on 1 March near Adams, New York.

■ Marianne Moore becomes the first woman editor of The Dial in New York City, a post she holds until 1929.

■ Carrie Chapman Catt and Nettie Rogers Schuler's Woman Suffrage and Politics; the Inner Story of the Suffrage Movement is published by Charles Scribner's Sons.

■ Grazia Deledda receives the Nobel Prize in Literature.


• Victoria Woodhull dies on 10 June in Norton Park, England.

■ Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse is published by Harcourt.


• Maya Angelou is born Marguerite Johnson on 4 April in St. Louis, Missouri.

• Emmeline Pankhurst dies on 14 June in London, England.

• Anne Sexton is born on 9 November in Newton, Massachusetts.

■ Virginia Woolf's Orlando is published by Crosby Gaige.

• Women are granted full suffrage in Great Britain.

■ Gertrude Stein's Useful Knowledge is published by Payson & Clarke.

■ Sigrid Undset receives the Nobel Prize in Literature.


• Adrienne Rich is born on 16 May in Baltimore, Maryland.

• Marilyn French is born on 21 November in New York City.

• While Arthur M. Schlesinger Sr. reads her speech for her, Margaret Sanger appears in a gag on a stage in Boston where she has been prevented from speaking.

■ Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own is published by Harcourt.


• Lorraine Hansberry is born on 19 May in Chicago, Illinois.

• Cairine Wilson is appointed the first woman senator in Canada.


• Jane Addams receives the Nobel Peace Prize.

• Toni Morrison is born Chloe Anthony Wofford on 18 February in Lorain, Ohio.

• Ida B. Wells-Barnett dies on 25 March in Chicago, Illinois.


• Sylvia Plath is born on 27 October in Boston, Massachusetts.


■ Gertrude Stein's The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas is published by Harcourt.

• Frances Perkins (1882-1965) is appointed Secretary of Labor by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and becomes the first female cabinet member in the United States.


• Gloria Steinem is born on 25 March in Toledo, Ohio.

• Kate Millett is born on 14 September in St. Paul, Minnesota.

■ Lillian Hellman's The Children's Hour debuts on 20 November at Maxine Elliot's Theatre in New York City.


• Jane Addams dies of cancer on 21 May in Chicago, Illinois.

• Charlotte Perkins Gilman commits suicide on 17 August in Pasadena, California.

• The National Council of Negro Women is founded by Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955).


• First lady Eleanor Roosevelt begins writing a daily syndicated newspaper column, "My Day."

■ Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind is published by Macmillan.


• Hélène Cixous is born on 5 June in Oran, Algeria.

• Bessie Head is born on 6 July in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

• Edith Wharton dies on 11 August in St. Bricesous-Foret, France.

■ Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God is published by Lippincott.

■ Margaret Mitchell (1900-1949) receives the Pulitzer Prize in Letters & Drama for novel for Gone with the Wind.

■ Anne O'Hare McCormick becomes the first woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize in Journalism, which she is given for distinguished correspondence for her international reporting on the rise of Italian Fascism in the New York Times.


• Joyce Carol Oates is born on 16 June in Lockport, New York.

■ Pearl Buck receives the Nobel Prize in Literature.


• Germaine Greer is born on 29 January near Melbourne, Australia.

■ Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes debuts on 15 February at National Theatre in New York City.

• Margaret Atwood is born on 18 November in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

• Paula Gunn Allen is born in Cubero, New Mexico.

• French physician Madeleine Pelletier (1874-1939) is arrested for performing abortions in Paris, France; she dies later the same year. Throughout her medical career, Pelletier advocated women's rights to birth control and abortion, and founded her own journal, La Suffragist.


• Emma Goldman dies on 14 May in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

• Maxine Hong Kingston is born on 27 October in Stockton, California.

• Harriot Eaton Stanton Blatch dies on 20 November in Greenwich, Connecticut.


• Virginia Woolf commits suicide on 28 March in Lewes, Sussex, England.


• Erica Jong is born on 26 March in New York City.

• Isabel Allende is born on 2 August in Lima, Peru.

■ Ellen Glasgow (1873-1945) receives the Pulitzer Prize for her novel In This Our Life.

■ Margaret Walker (1915-1998) becomes the first African American to receive the Yale Series of Young Poets Award for her collection For My People.


• Alice Walker is born on 9 February in Eatonton, Georgia.

• Martha Gellhorn (1908-1998) is the only woman journalist to go ashore with Allied troops during the D-Day invasion of Normandy, France in June.

• Buchi Emecheta is born on 21 July in Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria.

• Rita Mae Brown is born on 28 November in Hanover, Pennsylvania.

• Women are granted suffrage in France and Jamaica.


• Eleanor Roosevelt becomes the first person to represent the U. S. at the United Nations. She serves until 1951, is reappointed in 1961, and serves until her death in 1962.

■ Gabriela Mistral receives the Nobel Prize in Literature.

■ Louise Bogan is named U. S. Poet Laureate.


• Gertrude Stein dies of cancer on 27 July in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France.

• Andrea Dworkin is born on 26 September in Camden, New Jersey.

■ Mary Ritter Beard's Woman as a Force in History: A Study in Traditions and Realities is published by Macmillan.

• Eleanor Roosevelt becomes chair of the United Nations Human Rights Commission. She remains chair until 1951.


• Carrie Chapman Catt dies on 9 March in New Rochelle, New York.

• Willa Cather dies on 24 April in New York City.

• Dorothy Fuldheim, a newscaster in Cleveland, Ohio, becomes the first female television news anchor at WEWS-TV.


• Susan Glaspell dies on 27 July in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

• Ntozake Shange is born Paulette Linda Williams on 18 October in Trenton, New Jersey.

■ Leonie Adams is named U. S. Poet Laureate.


■ Simone de Beauvoir's Le deuxième sexe (The Second Sex, H. M. Parshley, translator: Knopf, 1953) is published by Gallimard.

■ Elizabeth Bishop is named U. S. Poet Laureate.

■ Gwendolyn Brooks's Annie Allen is published by Harper.


• Gloria Naylor is born on 25 January in New York City.

• Edna St. Vincent Millay dies of a heart attack on 19 October at Steepletop, Austerlitz, New York.

■ Gwendolyn Brooks receives the Pulitzer Prize for poetry for Annie Allen.


■ Marianne Moore's Collected Poems is published by Macmillan.

■ Marguerite Higgins (1920-1960) receives the Pulitzer Prize for Journalism in overseas reporting for her account of the battle at Inchon, Korea in September, 1950.


• Amy Tan is born on 19 February in Oakland, California.

• Rita Dove is born on 28 August in Akron, Ohio.

• bell hooks is born Gloria Jean Watkins on 25 September in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.

■ Marianne Moore receives the National Book Critics Circle award for poetry and the Pulizter Prize for poetry for Collected Poems.


A Writer's Diary: Being Extracts from the Diary of Virigina Woolf, edited by Leonard Woolf, is published by Hogarth.

• The International Planned Parenthood Federation is founded by Margaret Sanger, who serves as the organization's first president.

• Women are granted suffrage in Mexico.


• Louise Erdrich is born on 7 June in Little Falls, Minnesota.

• Colette dies on 3 August in Paris, France.

• Sandra Cisneros is born on 20 December in Chicago, Illinois.


• On 1 December American civil rights activist Rosa Parks (1913-) refuses to move from her seat for a white passenger on a Montgomery, Alabama bus and is arrested.


• The Anti-Prostitution Act, written and campaigned for by Kamichika Ichiko, makes prostitution illegal in Japan.


• Christabel Pankhurst dies on 13 February in Los Angeles, California.


• Susan Faludi is born on 18 April in New York City.

■ Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun debuts in March at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in New York City.

■ Lorraine Hansberry becomes the youngest woman and first black artist to receive a New York Drama Critics Circle Award for best American play for A Raisin in the Sun.


• Zora Neale Hurston dies on 28 January in Fort Pierce, Florida.

• Sylvia Pankhurst dies on 27 September in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

• The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves the first oral contraceptive for distribution to consumers in May.

■ Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird is published by Lippincott.


• H. D. (Hilda Doolittle) dies on 27 September in Zurich, Switzerland.

■ Harper Lee receives the Pulitzer Prize for the novel for To Kill a Mockingbird.

• President John F. Kennedy establishes the President's Commission on the Status of Women on 14 December and appoints Eleanor Roosevelt as head of the commission.


• Isak Dinesen dies on 7 September in Rungsted Kyst, Denmark.

• Eleanor Roosevelt dies on 7 November in New York City.

• Naomi Wolf is born on 12 November in San Francisco, California.

■ Doris Lessing's The Golden Notebook is published by Simon & Schuster.


■ Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique is published by Norton and becomes a bestseller.

■ Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar is published under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas by Heinemann.

• Sylvia Plath commits suicide on 11 February in London, England.

■ Barbara Wertheim Tuchman (1912-1989) becomes the first woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction for The Guns of August.

• The Equal Pay Act is passed by the U.S. Congress on 28 May. It is the first federal law requiring equal compensation for men and women in federal jobs.

• Entitled American Women, the report issued by the President's Commission on the Status of Women documents sex discrimination in nearly all corners of American society, and urges the U.S. Supreme Court to clarify legal status of women under the U.S. Constitution.


• Anna Julia Haywood Cooper dies on 27 February in Washington, DC.


• Lorraine Hansberry dies of cancer on 12 January in New York City.

• Women are granted suffrage in Afghanistan.


• Anna Akhmatova dies on 6 March in Russia.

• Margaret Sanger dies on 6 September in Tucson, Arizona.

• National Organization for Women (NOW) is founded on 29 June by Betty Friedan and 27 other founding members. NOW is dedicated to promoting full participation in society for women and advocates for adequate child care for working mothers, reproductive rights, and the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

■ Anne Sexton's Live or Die is published by Houghton.

■ Nelly Sachs (1891-1970) receives the Nobel Prize in Literature, which she shares with Shmuel Yosef Agnon.


• Anne Sexton receives the Pulitzer Prize for poetry for Live or Die.

• Senator Eugene McCarthy, with 37 cosponsors, introduces the Equal Rights Amendment in the U.S. Senate.


■ Audre Lorde's The First Cities is published by Poets Press.


■ Joyce Carol Oates's them is published by Vanguard Press.

• Shirley Chisolm becomes the first African American woman elected to Congress when she takes her seat in the U.S. House of Representatives on 3 January.

• Golda Meir (1898-1978) becomes the fourth Prime Minister of Israel on 17 March.

• California adopts the nation's first "no fault" divorce law, allowing divorce by mutual consent.


■ Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye is published by Holt.

■ Germaine Greer's The Female Eunuch is published by MacGibbon & Kee.

■ Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is published by Random House.

■ Kate Millett's Sexual Politics is published by Doubleday and becomes a bestseller.

■ Joyce Carol Oates receives the National Book Award for fiction for them.

• The Equal Rights Amendment passes in the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 350 to 15 on 10 August.

• Bella Abzug is elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on 3 November.

■ The Feminist Press is founded at the City University of New York.

Off Our Backs: A Women's News Journal is founded in Washington, D.C.

The Women's Rights Law Reporter is founded in Newark, New Jersey.


• Josephine Jacobsen is named U. S. Poet Laureate.


• Marianne Moore dies on 5 February in New York City.

Ms. magazine is founded; Gloria Steinem serves as editor of Ms. until 1987. The 300,000 copy print run of the first issue of Ms. magazine sells out within a week of its release in January.

• Shirley Chisolm becomes the first African American woman to seek the presidential nomination of a major political party, although her bid for the Democratic Party nomination is unsuccessful.

• The Equal Rights Amendment is passed by both houses of the U.S. Congress and is signed by President Richard M. Nixon. The amendment expires in 1982, without being ratified by the required two-thirds of the states; it is three states short of full ratification.

• President Nixon signs into law Title IX of the Higher Education Act banning sex bias in athletics and other activities at all educational institutions receiving federal assistance.

■ Women's Press is established in Canada.


• The U.S. Supreme Court, in their decision handed down on 21 January in Roe v. Wade, decides that in the first trimester of pregnancy women have the right to choose an abortion.

• Elizabeth Bowen dies of lung cancer on 22 February in London, England.

■ Rita Mae Brown's Rubyfruit Jungle is published by Daughters, Inc.

■ Erica Jong's Fear of Flying is published by Holt and becomes a bestseller.

■ Alice Walker's In Love and Trouble: Stories of Black Women is published by Harcourt.

■ The Boston Women's Health Book Collective's Our Bodies, Ourselves: A Book By and For Women is published by Simon and Schuster.


■ Andrea Dworkin's Women Hating is published by Dutton.

■ Adrienne Rich receives the National Book Award for Diving into the Wreck: Poems, 1971-1972.

• Anne Sexton commits suicide on 4 October in Weston, Massachusetts.

• Katharine Graham (1917-2001), publisher of the Washington Post, becomes the first woman member of the board of the Associated Press.


■ Paula Gunn Allen' essay "The Sacred Hoop: A Contemporary Indian Perspective on American Indian Literature" appears in Literature of the American Indian: Views and Interpretations, edited by Abraham Chapman and published by New American Library.

■ Hélène Cixous and Catherine Clement's La Jeune nee (The Newly Born Woman, University of Minnesota Press, 1986) is published by Union Generale.

• Margaret Thatcher is elected leader of the Conservative Party and becomes the first woman to head a major party in Great Britain.

■ Susan Brownmiller's Against our Will: Men, Women, and Rape is published by Simon and Schuster.


■ Andrea Dworkin's Our Blood: Prophecies and Discourses on Sexual Politics is published by Harper.

■ Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood among Ghosts is published by Knopf.

■ Maxine Hong Kingston's receives the National Book Critics Circle award for general nonfiction for The Woman Warrior.

• Barbara Walters (1931-) becomes the first female network television news anchorwoman when she joins Harry Reasoner as coanchor of the ABC Evening News.

■ Shere Hite's The Hite Report: A Nationwide Study of Female Sexuality is published by Macmillan.


• Alice Paul dies on 9 July in Moorestown, New Jersey.

■ Marilyn French's The Women's Room is published by Summit.

■ Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon is published by Knopf.

■ Toni Morrison receives the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction for Song of Solomon.

• Labor organizer Barbara Mayer Wertheimer's We Were There: The Story of Working Women in America is published by Pantheon.

■ Women's Press is established in Great Britain.


• The Pregnancy Discrimination Act bans employment discrimination against pregnant women.

■ Tillie Olsen's Silences is published by Delcorte Press/Seymour Lawrence.


• Margaret Thatcher becomes the first woman prime minister of Great Britain. She serves until her resignation in 1990, marking the longest term of any twentieth-century prime minister.

• Barbara Wertheim Tuchman becomes the first woman elected president of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

• Mother Teresa (1910-1997) receives the Nobel Peace Prize.

■ Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar's The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Imagination is published by Yale University Press.


• Muriel Rukeyser dies on 12 February in New York City.

■ Adrienne Rich's essay "Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Experience" is published in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society.


■ bell hooks's Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism is published by South End Press.

■ Sylvia Plath's Collected Poems, edited by Ted Hughes, is published by Harper.

• Sandra Day O'Connor (1930-) becomes the first woman Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, after being nominated by President Ronald Reagan and sworn in on 25 September.

■ Women of Color Press is founded in Albany, New York by Barbara Smith.

■ Cleis Press is established in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and San Francisco, California.

This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, edited by Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa, is published by Persephone Press.

■ Maxine Kumin is named U. S. Poet Laureate.


• Djuna Barnes dies on 19 June in New York City.

■ Sylvia Plath is posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize in poetry for Collected Poems.

■ Alice Walker's The Color Purple is published by Harcourt.

■ Carol Gilligan's In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development is published by Harvard University Press.


• Rebecca West dies on 15 March in London, England.

■ Gloria Steinem's Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions is published by Holt.


■ Sandra Cisneros's The House on Mango Street is published by Arte Publico.

• Lillian Hellman dies on 30 June in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.

• Geraldine Ferraro (1935-) becomes the first woman to win the Vice-Presidential nomination and runs unsuccessfully for office with Democratic Presidential candidate Walter Mondale.

■ Firebrand Books, publisher of feminist and lesbian literature, is established in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

■ bell hooks's Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center is published by South End Press.


■ Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale is published by McClelland & Stewart.

• Wilma P. Mankiller is sworn in as the first woman tribal chief of the Cherokee nation. She serves until 1994.

■ Gwendolyn Brooks is named U. S. Poet Laureate.


• Simone de Beauvoir dies on 14 April in Paris, France.

• Bessie Head dies on 17 April in Botswana.

■ Rita Dove's Thomas and Beulah is published by Carnegie-Mellon University Press.

■ Sylvia Ann Hewlett's A Lesser Life: The Myth of Women's Liberation in America is published by Morrow.


■ Toni Morrison's Beloved is published by Knopf.

■ Rita Dove receives the Pulitzer Prize for poetry for Thomas and Beulah.


■ Toni Morrison receives the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for Beloved.

The War of the Words, Volume 1 of Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar's No Man's Land: The Place of the Woman Writer in the Twentieth Century, is published by Yale University Press.


■ Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club is published by Putnam.


■ Naomi Wolf's The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used against Women is published by Chatto & Windus.

• The Norplant contraceptive is approved by the FDA on 10 December.

■ Camille Paglia's Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson is published by Yale University Press.

■ Wendy Kaminer's A Fearful Freedom: Women's Flight from Equality is published by Addison-Wesley.

■ Laurel Thatcher Ulrich's A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812 is published by Knopf.

■ Judith Butler's Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity is published by Routledge.


■ Susan Faludi's Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women is published by Crown.

• Antonia Novello (1944-) is appointed by President George H.W. Bush and becomes the first woman and first person of Hispanic descent to serve as U. S. Surgeon General.

• Bernadine Healy, M.D. (1944-) is appointed by President George H.W. Bush and becomes the first woman to head the National Institutes of Health.

■ Suzanne Gordon's Prisoners of Men's Dreams: Striking Out for a New Feminine Future is published by Little, Brown.

■ Laurel Thatcher Ulrich receives the Pulitzer Prize for history for A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812.


• Carol Elizabeth Moseley Braun (1947-) becomes the first African American woman elected to the U. S. Senate on 3 November.

■ Carolyne Larrington's The Feminist Companion to Mythology is published by Pandora.

■ Marilyn French's The War against Women is published by Summit.

■ Clarissa Pinkola Estes's Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype is published by Ballantine.

■ Naomi Wolf's Fire with Fire: The New Female Power and How It Will Change the Twenty-first Century is published by Random House.

■ Mona Van Duyn is named U. S. Poet Laureate.


• Appointed by President Bill Clinton, Janet Reno (1938-) becomes the first woman U.S. Attorney General when she is sworn in on 12 March.

■ Toni Morrison receives the Nobel Prize in Literature.

• Toni Morrison receives the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Award from the National Organization for Women.

• Canada's Progressive Conservative party votes on 13 June to make Defense Minister Kim Campbell the nation's first woman prime minister. Canadian voters oust the Conservative party in elections on 25 October as recession continues; Liberal leader Jean Chrétien becomes prime minister.

■ On 1 October Rita Dove becomes the youngest person and the first African American to be named U. S. Poet Laureate.

■ Faye Myenne Ng's Bone is published by Hyperion.


• The Violence Against Women Act tightens federal penalties for sex offenders, funds services for victims of rape and domestic violence, and provides funds for special training for police officers in domestic violence and rape cases.

■ Mary Pipher's Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls is published by Putnam.


• Ireland's electorate votes by a narrow margin in November to end the nation's ban on divorce (no other European country has such a ban), but only after 4 years' legal separation.


• Marguerite Duras dies on 3 March in Paris, France.

■ Hillary Rodham Clinton's It Takes a Village, and Other Lessons Children Teach Us is published by Simon and Schuster.


• Bella Abzug dies on 31 March in New York City.

■ Drucilla Cornell's At the Heart of Freedom: Feminism, Sex, and Equality is published by Princeton University Press.


■ Susan Brownmiller's In Our Time: Memoir of a Revolution is published by Dial Press.

■ Gwendolyn Mink's Welfare's End is published by Cornell University Press.

■ Martha C. Nussbaum's Sex and Social Justice is published by Oxford University Press.


• Gwendolyn Brooks dies on 3 December in Chicago, Illinois.

■ Patricia Hill Collins's Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment is published by Routledge.

■ Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards's Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future is published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.


■ Estelle B. Freedman's No Turning Back: The History of Feminism and the Future of Women is published by Ballantine.

Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today's Feminism, edited by Daisy Hernandez and Bushra Rehman, is published by Seal Press.


• Iranian feminist and human rights activist Shirin Ebadi (1947-) receives the Nobel Peace Prize.

■ Louise Glück is named U. S. Poet Laureate.

Catching a Wave: Reclaiming Feminism for the 21st Century, edited by Rory Cooke Dicker and Alison Piepmeier, is published by Northeastern University Press.


• The FDA approves the contraceptive mifepristone, following a 16-year struggle by reproductive rights activists to have the abortion drug approved. Opponents made repeated efforts to prevent approval and distribution of mifepristone.

The Fire This Time: Young Activists and the New Feminism, edited by Vivien Labaton and Dawn Lundy Martin, is published by Anchor Books.

The Future of Women's Rights: Global Visions and Strategies, edited by Joanna Kerr, Ellen Sprenger, and Alison Symington, is published by ZED Books and Palgrave Macmillan.