WS 101 M/W- Cora Agatucci

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Women's StudiesTable of ContentsHistorical Timelines
(Do you know about these women? If not, consider: Why not?)
Part II: 17th & 18th Century Women

Learn more about selected WS topics by clicking the hyperlinks embedded in these timelines.
And if you find inaccuracies, bugs, or other websites relevant to timeline topics, please let me know:
The timeline pages are under construction and probably always will be...

1619 Isabella, the first black female slave, arrived in Jamestown, Virginia, aboard a Dutch trader: "African American women's presence in America began when a seized Spanish cargo ship bound for the West Indies landed in Jamestown, Virginia in 1619. [45] Isabella, Antony, Pedro, and seventeen other Africans aboard the ship were offered by the Dutch seamen in exchange for food. [46]" from Paula C. Johnson's "At the Intersection of Injustice" [Colonial Period]
(Of related interest, see Museum of Slavery in the Atlantic, and a Dec 1997 movie review of Amistad).
1628 Banished from Hartford for heresy, Anne Hutchinson and Roger Williams founded Portsmouth, Rhode Island (see also Gale Research biography, Anne Hutchinson's Trial, a high school student's essay "Anne Hutchinson: American Jezebel or Woman of Courage?" and other Colonial Women Links)


Mid-1600s Do–a Cataline de Erauso, disguised as a boy, earned a reputation as a swordsman and bandit in Spain and Spanish colonies in South America
1630 One of finest and best known works of Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1653) was completed: Self Portrait as the Allegory of Painting, (London, Kensington Palace, Collection of Her Majesty the Queen, 1630) is an exceptional piece of work. Gentileschi, a master of oil painting, produced this and many other finely crafted piece of artwork, portraying herself surrounded by the attributes of painting—the painting was acquired by King Charles I of England, between 1639 and 1649. Despite her skill, reputation and importance little was written about her. There were two satirical epitaphs written about her in Venice. A grave slab, reading HEIC ARTEMISIA was lost on the restoration of a small Neapolitan church. All that remains of her life are the 34 paintings and 28 letters that she left behind
1648 (?) – 1695 Juana InÚs de la Cruz (Sor Juana), Mexican poet and scholar whose ingenious, eloquent, and expressive verse established her as an outstanding poet of colonial Latin America. A child prodigy, she retired from court life in 1667 to become a nun, declaring only monastic life permitted her sufficient opportunity to pursue her intellectual pursuits in literature, theology, history, music, and science (see also some of Sor Juana's translated poetry)
1660 Margaret Hughes, starring as Desdemona (Othello), became the first English actress to appear in public.

"Who has forbidden women to engage in private and individual studies?
Have they not a rational soul as men do?...I have this inclination to study
and if it is evil I am not the one who formed me thus -
I was born with it and with it I shall die."

Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz - Letter to Father Nunez, 1681, Mexico

1676 Elizabeth Heard hid a young Indian from white pursuers in her home in Dover, New Hampshire.
1692 Of the 107 Massachusetts Bay Colony women accused of witchcraft, 88 receive pardons; others, such as Sarah Good (with timeline), were not so lucky. (See the history, with painting "Examination of a Witch.")
1730s-1740s Economist and linguist Susanna Wright set up a thriving silk business in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
1739 Eliza Lucas Pinckney (1722-1793), probably the first important U.S. agriculturalist, was born in the West Indies. At finishing school in England, French, music and other traditionally feminine subjects were stressed, but Eliza’s favorite subject was botany. After her family moved to Charleston, South Carolina, her mother died and, byage sixteen, Eliza was left to take care of her siblings and run three plantations when her father, a British military officer, had to return to the Caribbean. She realized that the growing textile industry was creating world markets for new dyes, so starting in 1739, she began cultivating and creating improved strains of the indigo plant from which a blue dye can be obtained. In 1745-1746, only about 5,000 pounds of indigo were exported from the Charleston area, but due to Eliza Pinckney’s successes, that volume grew to 130,000 pounds within two years. Indigo became second only to rice as cash crop, since cotton did not gain importance until later. Eliza also experimented with other crops, including figs, flax, hemp and silk. (See one of her letters)
1755 Nan'yehi, later Nancy Ward (c. 1738-1824), at 18 years of age, took up her slain husband's gun and, singing a war song, led the Cherokees to victory over the Creeks at the Battle of Taliwa. Her bravery earned her the highest title of honor for a Cherokee woman, Ghighuaa ("Beloved Woman"; also translated as "Warrior Woman"), and great influence as a Cherokee tribal leader. Later, she would speak for her people with U.S. representatives and wisely counseled the tribe against land cession. She did not live to see her warnings become reality when the Cherokee were dispossessed of their eastern lands in North Carolina region and exiled to Indian Territory in 1838. Ward remains a powerful symbol for Cherokee women, revered among Oklahoma and Eastern Band Cherokees and feminist scholars.
1762 Editor Ann Franklin became the first female editor of an American newspaper, the Newport (R.I.) Mercury.
1770 Esther Gaston organized a field hospital at the Battle of Rocky Mount and another at the Battle of Hanging Rock the next week.
1770s Lydia Darrah, a Quaker housewife, overheard that the British intended to attack General Washington. She slipped away to deliver the message to General Howe. During this same era, Mrs. David Wright and Mrs. Job Shattuck dressed like minutemen and arrested a Tory spy near Middlesex, Massachusetts; Mary Redmond delivered secret dispatches to the patriots in Philadelphia. Margaret Morris of Burington, New Jersey, kept a journal of the American Revolution.
1773 Phillis Wheatley's Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral was published in England under the sponsorship of the Countess of Huntingdon, and Wheatley's reputation spread in Europe as well as in America. Wheatley (b. c. 1753, Senegal, West Africa--d. Dec. 5, 1784, Boston, Mass., U.S.), sold from a slave ship in Boston in 1761, was the first black woman poet of note in the United States. A poem published in 1776, dedicated to George Washington, brought her further acclaim. In the 1830s, abolitionists reprinted her poetry and the powerful ideas contained in her deeply moving verse stood against the institution of slavery. (See Phillis Wheatley: Precursor of American Abolitionism)
1776 Abigail Adams wrote to her husband, John Adams, asking him to "remember the ladies" in the new code of laws. John Adams replied the men will fight the "despotism of the petticoat." Abigail adamantly believed that education was as important for women as for men. (See also Gale Research biography of Abigail Adams)
1776-1784 New Jersey grants women the vote in its state constitution (through 1807), while women lose the right to vote in New York, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. In 1777, because of an unclear law, New Jersey women voted in state elections
1778 Deborah Samson (Gannett) of Plymouth, Massachusetts, dressed herself in men's clothing, took the name of Robert Samson, and joined the patriot army. She maintained her secret until she was examined by Dr. Binney. After fighting in male patriot uniform during the Revolutionary War, Deborah Sampson, alias Robert Shurtliffe, acquired a veteran's pension in 1818. At the Battle of Monmouth Molly Pitcher (Hays-McCauley) took her husband's place at the cannon after he fell dead of heatstroke. She earned a commendation from General Washington. Likewise, Margaret Cochran Corbin replaced her husband at Fort Washington and was wounded. In 1779, Corbin was the first woman to receive pension from the United States government as a disabled soldier.
1780 Philadelphia women met at Sarah Bache's home to sew shirts for the patriot army. That same year, Rachel Caldwell helped General Greene escape a Tory party that destroyed her house in her absence. Martha Bratton engineered the murder of a British cavalry captain in Fairfield, South Carolina. Esther Reed collected over $300,000 to aid General George Washington's army.
1787 US Constitutional Convention places voting qualifications in the hands of the states. Women in all states except New Jersey lose the right to vote.

TOP of this page Part II: 17th & 18th Century Women
Women's Studies Historical Timelines were prepared by Cora Agatucci, 1997

Part I: Women Make Early History

Go to Part III: Modern Struggles for Equality

Part IV: Struggle for the Vote Part V: U.S. Woman Suffrage Is Won
Part VI: Women in the 20th Century & "Second Wave" Feminism
Part VII: Women of the 1990s & Sources and Resources for Further Study

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