This Week in Women’s Business History

November 29 – December 5

Nov. 29, 1908
Edythe Meserand is born. She was a radio executive with NBC and Hearst networks.

Nov. 30, 2003
Priscilla C. Kidder dies. Kidder was the fashion designer and business owner behind “Priscilla of Boston” bridal gowns. She started her business after World War II when there were few high-end bridal gown designers. Priscilla and her sister sewed their original designs and her husband handled accounting. During their first week in business, they took in $10,000. Kidder sold the business in 1993.

Dec. 1, 1813
Ann Preston is born. She was a physician, administrator, and, in 1861, founder of the Woman’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Dec. 2, 1984
Alicia Elizondo de Lozano dies. Lozano was a founder and director of Beneficencia Mexicana, a San Antonio, TX women’s association which, in the 1930s, established medical clinics to serve the poor. In 1953 she took over management of La Prensa, the Spanish-language newspaper founded by her husband who had headed it until his death.

Dec. 3, 1842
Ellen Swallow Richards is born. She was a chemist, an MIT faculty member, and a consultant to industry and government.

Dec. 4, 2010
Catherine B. Cleary dies. She was chairman, president, and CEO of First Wisconsin Trust Co., and the first woman to serve as an officer of the firm. She was also the first female member of the boards of General Motors, AT&T, Kraft, First Wisconsin Corporation, Northwestern Mutual Board of Trustees, and Kohler Company. She also served in the Eisenhower administration as Assistant U.S. Treasurer and assistant to the Secretary of the Treasury.

Dec. 5, 1918
Charity Adams Earley is born. Earley joined the Women’s Army Corps during World War II and was its first Black commissioned officer. She led the 6888th Battalion of over 800 Black women.

Last week in women’s business history

Nov. 22, 1940
Maud Humphrey dies. She was a commercial artist known for her illustrations of young children. Her work appeared in books, magazines, cards, and calendars. She was the mother of actor Humphrey Bogart.

Nov. 23, 1965
Tillie Lewis announces the sale of her company, Tillie Lewis Foods, to Ogden Corp.

Nov. 24, 1858
Annie Riggs is born. She owned and operated the Riggs Hotel in Fort Stockton, Texas.

Nov. 25, 1865
Catherine “Kate” Gleason is born. She was an engineer and the first female member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

Nov. 26, 1901
Grace M. Mayer is born. Mayer was a curator of photographs at the Museum of City of New York and the Museum of Modern Art.

Nov. 27, 1950
Lena Richard dies. Richard was a very successful chef who owned several New Orleans restaurants (Lena Richard’s Gumbo House), a cooking school, and a catering business. She also had a cooking show on TV station WDSU at a time when Blacks were rarely allowed time on television.

Nov. 28, 1960
Economist and financial writer Sylvia Porter appears on the cover of TIME Magazine.