Famous Women in History Under 30: Group 3

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Once again, we highlight three young women who did great things before they turned 30. They all had a passion for something and put that passion into action -- something we should all try to do today as well. Please visit America Comes Alive for their full stories.

Young and Inspirational Women

Agnes Nestor

At age 22, Nestor helped form the International Glove Workers Union. A year later, in 1903, she joined with notables such as Jane Addams and Mary McDowell to form the Women’s Trade Union League (WTUL), an organization of both working class and more well-off women formed to support women’s efforts to organize labor unions to eliminate sweatshop conditions. pressing for better pay and better work conditions. At the age of 29, she helped get through the state legislature a law that limited work for women to 10 hours per day (up until then a 60-hour work week was the norm).

 

Libby Riddles

Libby was the first woman to win the Iditarod, at the age of 29, in 1985. The Iditarod is a grueling 1152-mile trans-Alaska dogsled race in which male mushers dominated until 1985 when Libby Riddles became the first woman to win the annual race. She was named 1985 Sports Woman of the Year by the Women’s Sports Foundation and honored by the Iditarod veterinarians with the 1985 Leonhard Seppala Humanitarian Award for her humane treatment of her dogs. In addition, her two lead dogs, Dugan and Sister, won the 1985 Golden Harness Award that year.

The weather that year was particularly brutal. Temperatures plunged to -50 degrees Fahrenheit and twice during the race, the officials halted the competition so that the mushers and their dogs could seek shelter. That year the race was officially halted for a total of 87 hours and emergency rations for the dogs had to be flown in.

Riddles took her lead because of the bad weather. All the teams had stopped in Shaktoolik. Riddles awoke and took a calculated risk that the storm was such that her dogs could make it through, and she and her team headed out onto the sea ice of Norton Sound. The forty-knot winds exhausted the team, so Riddles stopped for twelve hours for them all to rest, and after the break, the team was ready to go. Riddles ultimately covered the 1152-mile trail in 18 days, 20 minutes, and 17 seconds—three hours faster than the second place finisher.

 

Caresse "Polly" Crosby

She designed and became the first patent-holder of the modern bra in the United States, at the age of 22. She had a privileged childhood. At the age of 19, Polly was dressing for a debutante ball and intended to wear a light and filmy evening gown. She noted that the whale bone stays in her corset were actually visible under the sheerness of her gown, and she sought a solution. Working with her maid, Polly asked for two silk handkerchiefs and she used pink ribbon for the straps and cord to encircle her body. That evening she looked quite lovely in her dress and was also much more comfortable. The next day she showed her invention to friends, and they wanted them, too. A few weeks later, a complete stranger contacted her and offered her $1 if she would craft one for her. At that point Polly realized she had the makings of a business. On February 12, 1914 she filed for a patent and that following November she was given the first U.S. patent for a ‘Backless Brassiere.”

For more information and examples, go to the 30 Women Under 30 in 30 Days link at America Comes Alive. To see the first group of “Famous Women in History Under 30″ who were featured on Mom It Forward, be sure to stop by this post.

Past or present, who are women under 30 that you admire most?

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