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A comprehensive reference that chronicles first achievements of American women from the 16th century to the present, this fascinating and inspiring book covers more than 20 fields of endeavor. Included are the first woman mayor (1897), the first woman athlete to play men's regular basketball (1986), as well as more celebrated females such as Gracie Allen, Clara Barton, and Muriel Siebert.
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This alphabetical collection of brief biographies does not contain even a simple index to the accomplishments of the women included. One can thus find the essay on the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate only if you know that her name was Hattie Caraway. The quality of the entries is uneven and selection and entry length idiosyncratic. Thus, the entry for Lucky (Joy) Piles Lucas, the first woman to be certified as a professional ski instructor, is as long as that for Burnita Shelton Matthews, the first woman federal district court judge. More confusingly, the authors intersperse eccentric institutional entries throughout. For example, "Secret Service Agents, First Women" is an entry, but not "Labor Department, U.S., First Woman Secretary"; "Hockey Association, U.S. Field" appears but not "Women's Bureau, U.S." This volume is more suitable as a gift book than a reference tool. The Book of Women's Firsts is not recommended.
-Cynthia Harrison, Fed. Judicial Ctr., Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Grade 7 Up-- A biographical dictionary of 1000 Americans women who were the first to achieve in fields previously restricted to men. Their accomplishments range from the serious to the frivolous and often include the outrageous. The information is brief, intended to serve as inspiration or as a springboard for further research. But whether it's the "first person to claim that Francis Bacon wrote the works attributed to William Shakespeare (1856)" or "the first girl to play in organized baseball competition with boys (1963)," the entries succinctly evaluate the impact of each groundbreaker. While these entries are not as extensive, nor the women as famous, this book makes a nice companion to The International Dictionary of Women's Biography , (Continuum, 1982). Useful to support gender-awareness curriculums and an excellent resource for Women's History Month.
- Mary H. Cole, Polytechnic Preparatory Country Day School, Brooklyn
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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