These profiles were provided courtesy of the Wisconsin Women Making History, a partnership of the Wisconsin Historical Society, the Wisconsin Humanities Council, Wisconsin Public Television, Wisconsin Media Lab, the University of Wisconsin Women's Studies Consortium and the UW Gender and Women's Studies Library.
(82) updates to this series since
Ho-poe-kaw, which translates to "Glory of the Morning," was a Ho-Chunk chief in the 1700s.
Electa "Wuhwehweeheemeew" Quinney was Wisconsin's first public schoolteacher.
Elizabeth Baird's newspaper stories about the developing Green Bay area in the 1800s were among the earliest written accounts of life in Wisconsin.
At age 16, Caroline Quarlls was the first known person to escape slavery through Wisconsin's Underground Railroad network.
Laura Ross Wolcott was the first woman physician in Wisconsin and was active in the women's suffrage movement.
Lavinia Goodell was the first female lawyer admitted to the bar of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
Janet Jennings, a news reporter, became known as "the Angel of the Seneca" for her heroic nursing work during the Spanish-American War.
Betsy Thunder was a respected Ho-Chunk medicine woman known for her skill in making remedies from roots and plants.
Bertha Reynolds, known as "Dr. Bertha," was one of the first women to be licensed as a doctor in the state.
Helen Farnsworth Mears's statue of Frances Willard was the first sculpture of a woman to be placed in National Statuary Hall.
Olympia Brown was the first woman to be ordained a minister in the U.S. and was president of Wisconsin's Woman Suffrage Association for 28 years.
Lutie Stearns, "the Johnny Appleseed of books," started free libraries all over Wisconsin and was an outspoken advocate for social justice.
Trial lawyer Dorothy Walker was the first female district attorney in Wisconsin.
Ada Lois James was a social worker, reformer and suffragist active in politics throughout her life.
Helen C. White was the first woman to hold a full professorship in the College of Letters and Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Lorine Niedecker, an important 20th century poet, was highly regarded for the poems she wrote about her Wisconsin surroundings.
Frances Hamerstrom, an ornithologist who helped save the prairie chicken population in Wisconsin, was the first woman in the U.S. to earn a master's degree in wildlife management.
Mildred Barber was one of the first three women elected to the Wisconsin Legislature.
Community leader Helen Connor Laird was the inspiration for the Laird Endowment Fund for the Arts in central Wisconsin.
The first book in author Laura Ingalls Wilder's popular LITTLE HOUSE series is about Wilder's childhood in Wisconsin.
Dr. Kate Pelham Newcomb, also known as the "Angel on Snowshoes," was a popular physician in Northern Wisconsin who provided health care where few medical services were available.
In 1921, American author and playwright Zona Gale became the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, for the play MISS LULU BETT.
Women's suffrage leader Carrie Chapman Catt was very important in getting the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution passed.
Mildred Fish-Harnack was the only American woman to die by Adolf Hitler's direct order for spying on Germany during World War II.
Jessie Jack Hooper, a suffragist, was president of the Wisconsin League of Women Voters and also ran for the U.S. Senate in 1922.
Belle Case La Follette was the first woman to graduate from law school in Wisconsin and an outspoken advocate for women's right to vote.
Mountain Wolf Woman's autobiography was one of the earliest firsthand accounts of the experiences of a Native American woman.
Emma Toft is known as "Wisconsin's First Lady of Conservation" for her efforts to save an ancient forest in Door County from being destroyed by logging and commercial development.
One of the major American artists of the 20th century, Georgia O'Keeffe developed a unique approach to abstract painting that reflected the landscapes around her.
Vernice Gallimore became Milwaukee's first African American policewoman in 1946.
Dickey Chapelle was the first female American war correspondent to parachute with American troops and the first killed covering combat.
Ruth Harman Walraven was a trailblazing female pilot in the mid-20th century.
Ruth Gruber was a journalist and humanitarian known for her work documenting the lives of refugees.
Ruth DeYoung Kohler was a journalist, a historian, and an outspoken advocate for women's rights.
Helen Van Vechten co-owned the Philosopher Press in Wausau and became an expert in hand-printing books.
Author and activist Ellen Bravo has fought tirelessly for policies that support working women and their families.
Lynda Barry, assistant professor of interdisciplinary creativity at the UW-Madison, is a celebrated cartoonist, author, speaker, and instructor.
Sarah Harder started the women's studies program at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and built many women's coalitions in Wisconsin and nationally.
Caroline Sandin was a respected civic leader and served on the University of Wisconsin System's Board of Regents.
Transgender advocate Sheri Swokowski, a former colonel in the U.S. Army, has worked to end employment discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.
Estella Leopold is a paleobotanist and conservationist who conducted groundbreaking research on fossilized pollen.
University of Wisconsin graduate bell hooks is a prolific writer, speaker, and scholar who is best known for her work on gender, race, and class.
Joyce Carlson was a Disney artist known for her work on the film LADY AND THE TRAMP and on the "It's a Small World" theme park attraction.
Jewish activist Hannah Rosenthal served as a U.S. special envoy to work against anti-Semitism.
Angie Brooks is best known as the first African woman to serve as president of the United Nations General Assembly.
Donna Shalala was the first woman to head a Big Ten university and the longest-serving secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Chia Youyee Vang is a leading advocate for Hmong cultural preservation and education.
Kathryn "Kate" Morrison was the first woman elected to the Wisconsin State Senate.
Katharine Lyall was the first woman president of the University of Wisconsin System.
Sister Joel Read served for 35 years as president of Alverno College and became widely known and respected for her innovative education reforms.
Ingrid Washinawatok, which translates to "Flying Eagle Woman," was a celebrated human rights advocate for indigenous peoples who was killed in South America.
Ruth Bleier was a neurophysiology professor whose pioneering work showed that there was gender bias in the field of biological science.
Margaret Farrow was the first woman to serve as lieutenant governor in Wisconsin.
Barbara Lawton was the 43rd lieutenant governor of Wisconsin and a strong advocate for arts integration.
Shirley S. Abrahamson was the first woman justice on the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the first female chief justice in state history.
Pleasant Rowland founded the American Girls Collection, a popular line of books, dolls, and accessories that features girls living during various eras in U.S. history.
Barbara Nichols was the first African American president of the Wisconsin Nursing Association and of the American Nursing Association.
Lynne Cheney, who served as second lady of the United States, has devoted much of her career to writing and speaking about the importance of American history education.
Golda Meir was a teacher and organizer in Milwaukee before becoming Israel's first female prime minister in 1969.
Carin Clauss was the first woman Solicitor in the U.S. Department of Labor.
Bonnie Blair is a world record-holding speed skater, a six-time Olympic medalist and the most decorated woman in Winter Olympic history.
Carie Graves was a three-time Olympian and a medal winner for the U.S. women's rowing team.
Before Ineva Reilly Baldwin championed the "Wisconsin Idea," she was a U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant commander during World War II—the highest rank ever attained by a woman at that time.
The Reverend April Ulring Larson became the first female Lutheran bishop in North America, and the second in the world, when she was elected by the La Crosse Area Synod in 1992.
Patricia "Patty" Loew is a celebrated journalist, filmmaker, and educator about Native Americans in Wisconsin.
Kathryn "Kay" Clarenbach was a founding member and the first chair of the National Organization for Women (NOW) and won gains for women's rights in state and federal politics.
Nobel Peace Prize winner and Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was the first female head of state of any African country.
Ada Deer was the first woman to head the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs and the first Native American woman from Wisconsin to run for U.S. Congress.
Laurel Clark was an accomplished doctor, U.S. Navy captain, and NASA astronaut who died aboard the space shuttle Columbia in 2003.
Vel Phillips achieved many firsts, including first woman and first African American to be elected to the statewide office of secretary of state.
Dorothy "Aunt Dot" Davids was a respected Native American educator in Wisconsin and an author, speaker, community organizer, and activist for peace and justice.
University of Wisconsin scholar Gerda Lerner founded the academic field of women's history.
Ardie Clark Halyard co-founded the first African American-owned savings and loan association (S&L) and was the first woman president of the Milwaukee NAACP chapter.
Glenn Wise became the first woman to hold a statewide public office in Wisconsin when she was appointed secretary of state in 1955.
Gwen Moore was the first African American from the state of Wisconsin to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Miriam Ben Shalom was a drill sergeant in the U.S. Army before being discharged for her sexual orientation; she was later the first LGBT serviceperson ever reinstated.
Carol Bartz is the former president and CEO of the internet company Yahoo!
Debra Amesqua was the first woman chief of the Madison Fire Department and one of the first women fire chiefs in the country.
Tammy Baldwin was the first woman elected to represent Wisconsin in Congress and the first openly gay senator in U.S. history.