Top 100 Women in History: Annie’s List

okeefe-cannaFeministe has a post asking for readers’ Top 100 Women in History.  I started to comment, then gave up realizing I’d take over the blog if I kept going—plus it’s too much trouble doing hyperlinks in comment fields. But here, I can go on and on and on……(and yes, it’s very literary-centered, but that’s my thing, and it’s not in any logical order):



·         Mary McCarthy (of the flying diaphragm scene in The Group, and one of the New York intellectuals)


·         Tillie Olsen (writer—“I Stand Here Ironing” and Silences— and activist)


·         Rebecca Harding Davis (working class writer of haunting “Life in the Iron Mills”)


·         Lucille Clifton (who loves her hips)


·         Margaret Fuller (author of Woman in the 19th Century)


·         Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony (of course)


·         Judy Syfers (author of “Why I Want a Wife”)


·         Sojourner Truth (“Ain’t I A Woman?”)


·         Louisa May Alcott (not just of Little Women fame, she supported her entire family for decades)


·         Emma Goldman (I still think of Maureen Stapleton playing her in the film Reds)


·         Zitkala-Sa (author of The School Days of an Indian Girl)


·         Sui Sin Far (author of Leaves from the Mental Portfolio of an Eurasian)


·         Mary Wollstonecraft (A Vindication of the Rights of Women)


·         Leslie Marmon Silko (author of Ceremony)


·         Georgia O’Keefe (awesome artist)


·         Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein (literary and social couple of 1920s Paris)


·         Kate Chopin (her story “The Storm” was turn of the 20th century soft porn, and beautifully written; her novel The Awakening is a feminist masterpiece)


·         Alice Walker (for “In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens” especially)


·         Charlotte Perkins Gilman (“The Yellow Wallpaper” and “Herland” are both feminist classics)


·         Adrienne Rich (“Diving into the Wreck” and her collection of essays “Of Lies, Secrets and Silences”)



I’ll continue another day….I’ve barely begun with this list!

12 responses to “Top 100 Women in History: Annie’s List

  1. Btw, have you ever had a chance to go to Seneca Falls, NY to visit the museum at the First Women’s Rights Convention site? It is an amazing place.

  2. Thank you, dear Ink! Such fun to make lists, isn’t it? And the hyperlinks! When I give the “create a timeline of women’s history website” assignment option in my women writers/studies classes, I’m always surprised at how few students choose that option. I would love an excuse to spend hours and hours creating such a website…

    Alas, no, I haven’t been to Seneca Falls: I was in Rochester once years ago for a wedding and so I certainly should have made that trip to the Convention site. But you’re giving me an idea for a work-related trip in my near future;-)

  3. That sounds like a great work-related destination! I think you can visit the Susan B. Anthony house in Rochester as well, if you’re heading back that way, too. 🙂

    And your timeline (with web option) is a very cool assignment!

  4. One of my colleagues created a timeline of women’s history 10 years ago, but it’s no longer on the web (the college switched platforms, and that site didn’t transfer); however, I still have an e-version of it so I use it as a “textbook” of sorts, with students asked to add to the timeline since 1998, when it ends.

    A literary tour of homes sounds so fun: I have wanted to visit Louisa May Alcott’s house (especially after reading Susan Cheever’s American Bloomsbury), and someday, Flannery O’Connor’s house in Georgia. Obviously I should have travelled more when I lived back east!

  5. Wow, I love all of the literary women! Whenever I try to make a list like this, I always avoid putting “obvious” women on it…but I don’t think I could escape including Elizabeth I, Anne Boleyn, and Catherine of Aragon on my list. (Can you tell I’m a Tudor England history buff?)

    I love your blog! I’m adding you to my blogroll. 🙂

  6. Thank you so much Wiggs! I agree: making lists is a dubious activity because we can’t leave out the obvious, can we!

    So what do you think of that Showtime series The Tudors?

  7. I do like the show. I know most people don’t – but I love imagining what times were like back then and being able to visualize it. Put differently: I don’t think that anyone could make a show about the Tudors that I wouldn’t like. So I’m probably not the best judge! 🙂

  8. I thoroughly enjoy the show, and yes, I also like all of the movies about the Tudors, too. I’m watching it on DVD, so I just saw the end of the last season when Anne is beheaded. Curious to see Elizabeth grow up in the next season….

  9. Ooh, a literary tour sounds great. I would do that in a heartbeat…had we world enough and time…and funding. 😉

  10. Great site this and I am really pleased to see you have what I am actually looking for here and this this post is exactly what I am interested in. I shall be pleased to become a regular visitor 🙂

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