Honored Contributor
Posts: 14,118
Registered: ‎11-08-2014

Stumbling on Women Overlooked by History

In the 16th century, few women were individually well-known unless they were royal, aristocratic, or came from prominent families.


In doing some reading on Henry Barrowe (or Barrow), the Cambridge-educated Puritan clergyman who was executed at Fleet Prison in England in the 1590's, I came across an interesting character--  one Ellyn Bowman.


Barrowe had been imprisoned for several years for his radical disagreements with the Anglican Church along with his colleague, John Greenwood.  The men were visited in prison by parishioners and sympathizers, including a goldsmith named Christopher Bowman.


During one of the "trials" to which Barrowe and Greenwood were subjected, Barrowe revealed that Bowman's wife, Ellyn, had smuggled important documents and/or books to the men in prison. It was safe to admit this, as the authorities could not harm her-- she had recently died.


What a brave act on the part of this activist woman!  She knew what the consequences would be if discovered. Both Barrowe and Greenwood were executed for their beliefs not long afterwards.


I'm curious if anyone here has come across a neglected or obscure figure in history that you wish you knew more about?

Honored Contributor
Posts: 10,664
Registered: ‎07-15-2016

Re: Stumbling on Women Overlooked by History

No really overlooked, but not widely known.  There's lots of info out there now on the internet for even the most obscure people.  


I occasionally come across someone "new" and try to find a biography.


One woman in particular, HIldegard von Bingen - From online bio:  She lived from 1098-1179.  She was a writer and composer, among other things. 


I first came across her in the days before computers and internet ... when I was browsing in a museum gift shop and saw a CD of her music.   Now - if you go to Amazon there are a lot of books and CDs available and you can hear her music on YouTube.

I often wonder what her reaction would be if she were to see me sitting here listening to her music on a computer and reading translations of her words on my Kindle.

Regular Contributor
Posts: 236
Registered: ‎05-21-2017

Re: Stumbling on Women Overlooked by History

[ Edited ]

Not overlooked, but, most not as well-known as others.

Shirley Chisholm

Molly Dewson
Mary McLeod Bethune
Alice Paul
Margaret Sanger
Rose Schneiderman
Maud Wood Park

Honored Contributor
Posts: 36,980
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: Stumbling on Women Overlooked by History

if you have not heard of her, you should google her name. the world lost a groundbreaking mathematic scholar, stanford professor, wife, and mother recently. MARYAM MIRZAKHANI. she was the FIRST woman to win the mathematics world equivalent to the nobel prize in 2014, the FIELDS MEDAL. she was the FIRST woman to be named to irans international mathematical olympiad. she is the FIRST iranian woman to be elected to the national academy of sciences.


she passed away last month from breast cancer at the age of only 40. we may not understand what she was teaching or what her research was if this was not our field of study, but she was an important part of the MATH world and a pioneer in our lifetime....definitely a woman we can look up to. may she rest in peace.


"I would prefer even to to fail with honor than win by cheating." - Sophocles
Honored Contributor
Posts: 14,118
Registered: ‎11-08-2014

Re: Stumbling on Women Overlooked by History

Fascinating choices, gang-- thanks for enriching our knowledge base and and piqueing curiosity in various figures of history!