The Rosa Parks of the Gay Community: Stormé DeLarverie

The Stonewall Riots have become infamous but at the heart of the mayhem was Stormé DeLarverie, the self-confessed instigator who spurred the crowd into action, going on to become an icon of the gay civil rights movement and regarded by many as a gay superhero, walking the streets, armed, as the ‘guardian of lesbians in …

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A Life of Adventure: Isabella Bird

19th century explorer, writer, photographer and naturalist, Isabella Bird led an incredible and often unbelievable life. She was the first woman to be elected Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society all in an age when women were thought of as delicate and incapable of adventure. But Isabella, just five feet tall, bucked the trend, free-spirited …

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The Richest Girl on Earth: Sarah Rector

Known as the richest girl in the world, Sarah Rector experienced a radical change in her life at a very tender age, her faerie-tale ascension to wealth and the fame that came with it rapid and often overwhelming. She earned herself a mansion where she entertained black celebrities like Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Jack Johnson …

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The Siren of Buenos Aires: Cecilia Grierson

Reformer, physician and almost certainly the inventor of the ambulance siren, Cecilia Grierson was the first woman to receive a medical degree in Argentina, but she was a part of the pioneering era when the women of Latin America and the Caribbean not only challenged the barriers they faced but overcame. The indifference and rejection …

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An Ingénue Revolution: Norma Shearer

Often playing spunky, sexually liberated ingénues, Norma Shearer was a Canadian-American film actor of some repute. She was the definition of the exquisite and sophisticated image of womanhood in the 1930s, exploring love and sex with an honesty that would shock most today, but in her day was downright scandalous. She was a six-time Academy …

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Adventure, Unlimited: Fanny Bullock Workman

Fanny Bullock Workman was determined to live a life no different to any man, once photographed on a high pass in the Karakoram holding a banner that read, ‘Votes for Women’. Indeed, she was an intrepid mountaineer, but also an experienced geographer, cartographer, travel writer and, most notably of all… adventurer. She travelled thousands and …

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The Champion of the Climbers: Annie Smith Peck

1895. Annie Smith Peck, American mountaineer and adventurer, descended the mighty Matterhorn, but outrage was felt across the world, not because she was the first, but because… she was wearing trousers. Public debate sparked into life over whether or not Annie should be arrested for ‘outraging public decency’, regardless of her incredible achievement of summiting …

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The American Vampire: Valeska Suratt

By 1913, the fight for suffrage was building momentum. States across America were relenting on their hard line stance and granting women the right to vote. The nation was starting to recognise women as a force not to be reckoned with and in the midst of all this change… vampires. Long before flappers made the …

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The Forgotten Survivor of the Arctic: Ada Blackjack

Often described as ‘The Female Robinson Crusoe’, Ada Blackjack was an Iñupiat woman famed for her two years stranded on the uninhabited Wrangel Island, just north of Siberia, as a castaway. She was just 23 years of age. One of five survivors, then the sole survivor, of a doomed arctic expedition. She faced the most …

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A Shocking Direction: Lois Weber

The most important female director the American film industry ever knew and one of the most important and prolific film directors in the silent film era. Florence Lois Weber was a genuine filmmaker, involved in all aspects of production and a person who utilised the motion picture to put across her own ideas and philosophies. …

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