Women’s History: From Alphabet Blocks to Oil Burners

September 16, 2010

AAUW opened its doors to advance women’s education in 1881 and is now nearly 130 years old! June 16–19 we’ll be celebrating this historic event at our 2011 AAUW National Convention: Breaking through Barriers — Advocating for Change at the Renaissance Washington, D.C. Downtown Hotel here in our nation’s capital.

Along with this exciting anniversary, we’ll be celebrating great women’s accomplishments throughout history. I did a bit of research and found some facts about women’s achievements in the late 1800s . Here’s a glimpse of how women were making history when AAUW was born.

In 1880, Amanda Jones invented “the first automatic safety burner.”

In 1881, as our 17 founding members were organizing in Boston, Mary Walton was inventing anti-pollution devices for the elevated railway.

Clara Barton, also known as the “angel of the battlefield” for her outstanding work during the Civil War, founded the American Red Cross that same year.

In 1882, Adeline Whitney invented the first alphabet blocks, and Maria Beasley invented the life raft.

And in 1890, The National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association united as the National American Woman Suffrage Association Three years later, Colorado became the first state to legalize women’s right to vote. After the suffrage movement’s 19th Amendment success, NAWSA members founded the League of Women Voters.

Sound impressive? It is. Tell us some of your favorite facts about women’s history from the late 1800s as we begin our countdown toward AAUW’s national convention and celebrate the work of women from the past 130 years.

Thanks to the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. for their women’s history resources.

Jennifer Steenberg By:   |   September 16, 2010

Join the Conversation

You must be logged in to post a comment.