Doodle-Worthy Women of June 2013

Vacation and other fun summertime commitments distracted me for a couple of weeks, so here’s a very late tribute to the June 2013 nominees for Doodle-Worthy Women. Better late than never! Let’s jump right in:

Virginia Apgar, born June 7, 1909, created the Apgar Score, a test for the basic, comprehensive health of newborn babies. The test, designed in 1952 and still used today, draws attention to potential medical problems and thus improves infant medical outcomes. She worked primarily as an anesthesiologist (among other fields), and the Apgar test she developed was a way to determine whether anesthetics used in childbirth had an effect on the newborn. On top of all of this, Apgar was also a pioneer breaking through the glass ceiling in her field, becoming a director and full professor at Columbia University’s medical school. Apgar was the recipient of many honorary doctorates, is an inductee to the National Women’s Hall of Fame, and has been honored with a postage stamp by the USPS.

Virginia Apgar, photographed by Al Ravenna in October 1966.

Virginia Apgar, photographed by Al Ravenna in October 1966.

Gwendolyn Brooks, born June 7, 1917, was an American poet known both for winning the Pulitzer Prize and for serving as the Poet Laureate of the United States. Brooks first started publishing poetry as a young teenager, and her first book was published in 1945. She was also a professor of creative writing, teaching at such institutions as Columbia University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Brooks was the winner of many major prizes in her field and beyond, winning a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Pulitzer, the Robert Frost Medal, and the National Medal of Arts.

Gwendolyn Brooks photographed in 1985.

Gwendolyn Brooks photographed in 1985.

Lin Huiyin, born June 10, 1904, was a Chinese architect (and, incidentally, the aunt of Maya Lin, designed of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial). Lin was also a poet, writer, and intellectual, on top of being known as the first female architect working in China. Lin designed few buildings and works of public art, but focused on architectural history. She worked extensively in the archaeology of Chinese ruins, including the discovery of a Tang dynasty temple in Shanxi. Based on this work, Lin became a passionate advocate for the protection and preservation of these historical sites.

Lin Huiyin, date unknown.

Lin Huiyin, date unknown.

Helen Keller, born June 27, 1880, needs very little introduction. Following an illness before she was 2 years old, Keller became deaf and blind. By the time she was 7, she and her family had developed their own sign language, but during that year the family was joined by Keller’s instructor and eventual companion Anne Sullivan. Armed with the benefit of formal sign language and formal education, Keller became the first deaf and blind person to earn a bachelor’s degree, and worked as a lecturer and political activist. She became an advocate of causes personal to her (including advocacy for women’s suffrage and for people with disabilities) and as wide-ranging as the founding of the American Civil Liberties Union. She traveled the world, published a dozen books, and worked with the American Foundation for the Blind over four decades. Keller is a Presidential Medal of Freedom awardee and an inductee to the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Helen Keller, photographed circa 1920 by the Los Angeles Times.

Helen Keller, photographed circa 1920 by the Los Angeles Times.

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