The acclaimed book and movie Hidden Figures brought to light the stories of the African American women whose mathematical skills were crucial to the success of the early space program. In honor of Women’s History Month, our current display by the New Books section features additional books highlighting women’s overlooked contributions to science, sports and the arts.
Prior to the women of ‘Hidden Figures‘, the ‘Rocket Girls’ worked behind the scenes of California’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Performing complex calculations with only paper, pencils and slide rules, they “transformed rocket design and enabled the creation of the first American satellites.” (And pioneered the wearing of pant suits!)
Like the women of the space program, these nineteenth century workers at the Harvard Observatory were referred to as “computers.” Hired to interpret the findings of the (male) astronomers, they included Williamina Fleming, “a Scottish woman originally hired as a maid who went on to identify ten novae and more than three hundred variable stars.” Their work revolutionized the field of astronomy.
Seaman reveals the lives and work of unsung women artists, such as Joan Brown, who specialized in self-portraiture; Gertrude Abercrombie, who produced surrealist paintings; and Lois Mailou Jones, a member of the Harlem Renaissance. Identity Unknown “speaks to all women about their neglected place in history and the challenges they face to be taken as seriously as men no matter what their chosen field”
Game Changers: The Unsung Heroines of Sports History by Molly Schiot
Initially an Instagram account, Game Changers brings you the faces and stories of women who overcame pre-Title IX barriers to find fulfillment in sports of all kinds. These “founding mothers” receive the “attention and recognition they deserve, featuring rare and never-before-seen photos and stores, along with new conversations between the next generation of heroines.”
Quoted text provided by publishers.