Firsts in American Women's History
1647 - Margaret Brent appears before the Maryland assembly demanding that women be granted the right to vote. She is the first woman in Maryland to own property, and one of the first known suffragists in American history.
1707 - Henrietta Johnston begins to work as a portrait artist in Charles Town (now Charleston), South Carolina, making her the first known professional woman artist in
1795 - Anne Parrish establishes, in Philadelphia, the House of Industry, the first charitable organization for women in America.
1830s - Mills in industrial towns such as Lowell, Massachusetts, are staffed almost entirely by young women. These “mill girls” have a kind of independence their mothers could not have imagined. They earn their own money and live together in boardinghouses. They also take part in strikes and other actions by organized labor.
1837 - Oberlin College, in Ohio, becomes the first college to admit female students. In addition to studying, the women have to do laundry and cook meals for the male students.
1853 - Antoinette Blackwell becomes the first American woman to be ordained a minister in a recognized denomination (Congregational).
Women in Congress:
249 women have been elected or appointed to the U.S. Congress. Jeannette Rankin, Republican from Montana, was the first woman elected to serve in Congress. On November 9, 1916, she was elected to the House of Representatives as Montana's Representative-at-Large to the 65th Congress; she served from 1917–1919.
214 women have served in the House of Representatives. Of these, 36 were elected to fill vacancies caused by their husbands' deaths.
Margaret Chase Smith, a Republican from Maine, holds the record for the being the first woman to serve in both houses of Congress. Originally elected in 1940 to fill the vacancy left by her dying husband, she was then elected to the Senate in 1948.
Representative Patsy Mink, a Democrat from Hawaii, was the first Asian-American woman elected to Congress, in 1965.
Edith Nourse Rogers, a Republican from Massachusetts, holds the record for the longest service by a woman in the House of Representatives. Originally elected to fill the vacancy caused by her husband's death, she served from June 25, 1925, until her death on September 10, 1960.
Shirley Chisholm, a Democrat from New York, became the first black woman in Congress when she was elected to the House in 1968.