This Week in Women’s Business History

February 22 – 28

March 1, 1892
Allyne Carpenter Nugent is born. She was publisher of the Lincoln (IL) Courier-Herald.

March 2, 1867
Alice Foote MacDougall is born. She founded a coffee-roasting business and expanded it into restaurants and packaged foods.

March 3, 1879
Belva Ann Lockwood, an attorney in private practice, becomes the first female attorney admitted to the bar of the US Supreme Court.

March 4, 1944
Fannie Barrier Williams dies. Williams helped found the National Association of Colored Women, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and Provident Hospital in Chicago. She was the first woman and first African-American to serve on the board of the Chicago Public Library.

March 5, 1885
Louise Pearce is born. She was president of the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania from 1946 until 1951.

March 6, 1882
Ethel R. Peyser is born. She was a consultant and writer who tested and reported on new household appliances and equipment.

March 7, 1918
Susan McKinney Steward dies. One of the earliest Black female physicians in New York State, Steward opened a private practice after graduating from medical school in 1870. She co-founded the Brooklyn Women’s Homeopathic Hospital and Dispensary, which served African-Americans (unlike many other facilities) and was manager of the medical staff of the Brooklyn Home for Aged Colored People.

Last week in women’s business history

February 22, 1963
Rachel McMasters Miller Hunt dies. She was a bookbinder and artist who worked on commission, creating some 90 bindings during her active years (c. 1904-1920). After her marriage to Alcoa chairman Roy Hunt, they created Rachel McMasters Miller Hunt Botanical Library, now part of the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation at Carnegie Mellon University.

February 23, 1817
Susan A. King is born. King made a fortune buying and selling New York City real estate in the mid-1800s. She later partnered with Mme. Nell Demorest to form the Woman’s Tea Company. In 1870, King traveled alone to Japan and China to sample and select the company’s tea.

February 25, 2004
Estelle Axton dies. Axton co-founded Memphis-based Stax Records with her brother, Jim Stewart. She later added Satellite Record Store to their business; it was successful enough to pay the rent for both operations. Stax recording artists included Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, the Staple Singers.

February 26, 1902
Elizabeth D. Ornduff is born. Ornduff was a vice president at I. Magnin women’s specialty store.

February 27, 1942
Martha McChesney Berry dies. She founded Berry College as The Berry Schools, offering an education to poor children in Georgia. As chief fundraiser, she spent much of her time traveling to raise money. Andrew Carnegie and Henry and Clara Ford were among the thousands who contributed to her schools.

February 28, 2014
Ophelia DeVore-Mitchell dies. DeVore-Mitchell co-founded the first modeling agency for women of color, the Grace Del Marco agency. She saw another need and established the Ophelia DeVore School of Self-Development and Modeling. She took over her husband’s job as publisher of the Columbus (GA) Times newspaper after his death in 1972.

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