This Week in Women’s Business History

May 3 – May 9

May 3, 1883
Carrie Marcus Neiman is born. She co-founded Neiman-Marcus with her brother and her husband.

May 4, 1878
Nancy Cooper Russell is born. She managed the marketing and sales of artworks by painter Charles M. Russell, her husband.

May 5, 1918
Bertha Palmer dies. As the wife of one of Chicago’s wealthiest men, Palmer was a leader of society and a philanthropist. She headed the Board of Lady Managers of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition which planned and constructed the Women’s Building at the fair and oversaw the exhibits and programs in it. After the death of her husband, she and her family purchased land around Sarasota and Tampa, Florida, and Palmer established a model ranching and farming operation. Her investment helped spur the development of the region. At her death, she had more than doubled the $8 million estate left by her husband sixteen years before.

May 6, 1907
Sadie Bruce Glover is born. She was a dancer who operated a small dance school in her Chicago neighborhood.

May 7, 1961
Carmel Snow dies. The editor of Harper’s Bazar magazine from 1934-1957, Snow learned the business at Vogue under Edna Woolman Chase. Her successor was the assistant editor, Nancy White, Snow’s niece.

May 8, 1910
Mary Lou Williams is born. A musician and composer, Williams established her own recording label and music publishing business to get her work before her fans.

May 9, 1922
The program that led to Bertha Brainard’s career as program manager of NBC radio, Bertha Brainard Broadcasting Broadway, made its debut.

Last week in women’s business history

April 26, 1989
Lucille Ball dies. In 1962, the beloved comedic actor and studio executive bought the shares in Desilu Productions owned by her ex-husband (Desi Arnaz), paying $2.5 million. She sold the studio in 1967 to Gulf & Western for $17 million.

April 27, 2002
Ruth Handler dies. Remembered for creating the Barbie doll and founding Mattel, Inc., Handler also founded Ruthton Corp., which made prosthetic breasts for women who, like Handler, had survived breast cancer.

April 28, 1922
Jewel Lafontant-Mankarious is born. She was an attorney, deputy solicitor general of the United States, and a business executive.

April 29, 1877
Mary Phillips Riis is born. She was an investment banker and financial writer.

April 30, 1894
Dorothy Barstow McCann is born. She was a radio producer and vice president of the McCann-Erickson advertising agency.

May 1, 1819
Luzena Stanley Wilson is born. Wilson used her homemaking skills to establish and operate boarding houses and hotels in Gold-Rush-era California.

May 2, 1879
Nannie Helen Burroughs is born. She founded the National Trade and Professional School for Women and Girls in 1907 to train black women to be self-sufficient wage earners.

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