American Women: From Adventure to Invention

By Kendall, Nancy M. | The Christian Science Monitor, March 13, 2000 | Go to article overview

American Women: From Adventure to Invention


Kendall, Nancy M., The Christian Science Monitor


You've heard of Edison, Columbus, and Lindbergh. But what about Knight, Sacagawea, and Earhart? Test your knowledge of these and other women adventurers, explorers, and inventors by matching the names with the descriptions below.

1. While still an architecture student, this Asian-American entered a design competition for a memorial to Vietnam War soldiers. She proposed polished black marble walls meeting in a V engraved with the names of the 58,000 soldiers who died. It was very controversial at first, but now it is one of the most-visited sites in Washington, D.C. Who was this inventive 21-year old?

2. In 1932, this "First Lady of the Air" became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Fifteen hours and 19 minutes after she left Harbour Grace, Newfoundland, she landed her flame- shooting plane in a farmer's field in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Who was this aviator who calmly explained to onlookers, "I've come from America"?

3. In 1943, this United States Naval Reserve lieutenant served her country by working on the Navy's Computation Project where she learned to program the world's first large-scale digital computer. Her contributions are still relevant today. The "compiler" and COBOL, a data-processing language, are her inventions. Who is this pioneer who satisfied her curiosity as a child by disassembling alarm clocks?

4. In 1870, she developed a paper-folding device as well as other practical inventions like a window sash, a clasp for robes, and a shoe cutter. But she's best known for patenting the square-bottomed paper grocery bag we know today. Who was this "female Edison," who registered 27 patents - more than any other woman of her time?

5. This native American, whose name means "Bird Woman," served as a guide to Lewis and Clark on their famous expedition to the Western United States in 1804. She knew how to survive by living off the land and made the difference between the expedition's success and failure. …

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