Doodle-Worthy Women of January

I’ve fallen a little behind this month, but have not forgotten January’s Doodle-Worthy Women. First, I want to mention that international Google Doodles did honor two women this month: Cecilia May Gibbs in Australia and Emma Gadd in Denmark. Without further delay, here are six more women who would have made excellent Doodles this past January:

Anna May Wong, born January 3, 1905, was a major motion picture star in the 1920s, and is considered the first Chinese American film star. She worked regularly on the stage and screen in both the United States and Europe, starting when she was just 14 years old. In the decades since her death in 1961, film historians have considered her impressive body of work in light of the discrimination she faced and the limited set of stereotypical roles she was offered as an actress of Asian descent in the early part of the 20th century. In researching her, I learned that anti-miscegenation laws of the period prevented Wong from being cast in roles where she would kiss a white actor on screen, a factor that prevented her from being cast as a leading lady.

Paramount publicity photo of Anna May Wong, circa 1935.

Paramount publicity photo of Anna May Wong, circa 1935.

— Born January 9, 1908, Simone de Beauvoir was a French writer, social theorist, and philosopher known as the author of The Second Sex, which launched second-wave feminism. She traveled widely and wrote on topics both closely related to and widely separated from her work as an existential philosopher. She was the winner of both the Prix Goncourt and the Jerusalem Prize.

Julie Morgan, born January 20, 1872, was an American architect who left a long-standing mark on her home state of California, eventually designing over 700 buildings there. Her most famous work is the Hearst Castle, commissioned by millionaire publisher William Randolph Hearst and registered as a National Historic Landmark. She also worked extensively with Californian YWCAs, and on residential projects. Morgan is an inductee to the California Hall of Fame.

Chita Rivera, born January 23, 1933, is a Kennedy Center Honoree and winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom for a long career as a performing artist in dance, film, and musical theater. Rivera has been nominated for 9 Tony Awards and has appeared in dozens of stage and film productions. She’s still working and performing today, at 80 years old!


Maria Tallchief, born January 24, 1925, was a ballet dancer with the New York City and Monte Carlo ballets, and the first Native American dancer to reach the status of prima ballerina. Tallchief was working as a professional ballerina by the time she was 17 years old, then danced with the New York City ballet from 1947 through 1960. She later founded the Chicago City Ballet. Tallchief was a recipient of both the Kennedy Center Honors and the National Medal of Arts.

Maria Tallchief.

Maria Tallchief.

— Born January 26, 1892, Bessie Coleman was a pilot and civil aviator; she was unable to find a trainer at home in the United States, so traveled to Paris to learn to fly. She thus became the first African American female pilot and the first African American to earn an international pilot’s license. Coleman made her living as a stunt flier, performing across the country and enjoying wide popularity and acclaim. In 1926, she was thrown from her plane when it went into a spin, but her legacy lived on. Bessie Coleman Aero Clubs and all-African American aviation expositions thrived in her honor and to this day she is considered an important role model for women in aerospace. Coleman has been on a U.S. stamp, and has been a Women’s History Month honoree.

Bessie Coleman, circa 1922.

Bessie Coleman, circa 1922.


One thought on “Doodle-Worthy Women of January

  1. Pingback: February 6th: Mary Leakey! | Speaking Up

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