January 13, 2012

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Top 10 Women Nominees

These are the women who our panel selected as the Top 10 most influential women for the state of Missouri. This list includes all of the nominess. See the article in the February 2012 issue of Missouri more a complete bios and fascinating stories about these women.


Annie White Baxter of Carthage and Joplin became the first female county  clerk in the United States 30 years before women even had the right to vote.

Susan Blow created the first kindergarten classroom.

Gerty Cori, a faculty member of Washington University in St. Louis, was the first American woman to receive a  Nobel Prize in science.

Jane Froman, born in University City, was an entertainer and philanthropist who overcame many obstacles. 


Edna Gellhorn of St. Louis was the first president of the Missouri League of Women Voters.

Annie Turnbo Malone was an African American chemist and businesswoman who developed hair care products for black women and sold them in St. Louis through door-to-door demonstrations.

Nell Donnelly Reed of Kanas City was a fashion leader and forward-thinking businesswoman who created and sold stylish dresses.

Louise Stanley was a professor of home economics at the University of  Missouri, and she is credited with laying the foundation for home economics.


Helen Stephens was an Olympic track athlete and winner of two gold medals. 


Laura Ingalls Wilder of Mansfield was the renowned author of the The Little House books. 


The Rest of our Nominees

The following list of women were nominated by readers and Missouri Life staff. All were discussed and considered during the selection process.

Jane Ace, born in Kansas City, hosted a radio show in which she confused similar sounding words for comic effect, creating “Janeacisms” such as “It’s our clowning achievement.”



Zoe Byrd Akins, born in Humansville, was a playwright with published plays on Broadway and Los Angeles.

Josephine Baker, born in St. Louis, was an African American entertainer famous in Paris, as well as a civil rights activist.

Helen Gould Beck of Elkton became the famous dancer Sally Rand, employing ostrich plumes to cover her body in a titillating dance.

Emily Newell Blair, born in Joplin, was one of the founders of the League of Women’s Voters.

Rebecca Boone was a representative of frontier women in the United States.

Betty Broemmelsiek was a proponent of conservation in the state. There is a park in St. Charles named after her.


Lulu Burns of St. Clair County was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 1940.



Anna Cairns of the St. Louis area started Kirkwood Seminary which became Forest Park University for Women.


DeVerne Calloway of St. Louis was the first black woman elected to Missouri state legislature.

Martha Jane Canary known as Calamity Jane, born in Princeton, Missouri, developed a reputation as a boisterous woman who could outwork, outbrawl, and outtalk most men.

Celia the Slave was involved in a trial concerning her right to use deadly force to defend herself.



Mother Mary Odilia Berger founded the Sisters of St. Mary. Today, SSM Health Care operates 20 hospitals in Missouri, Illinois, Oklahama, and Wisconsin.

Kate Chopin, born in St. Louis, was the well-known author of The Awakening.



Berenice Chouteau helped establish Kansas City. She is known as the Mother of Kansas City.

Marie Therese Bourgeois Chouteau, businesswoman and home manager in the early days of St. Louis, welcomed Lewis and Clark into her home.

Anna Clapp was the president of the Ladies’ Union Aid Society of St. Louis.


Carrie Clark took over her father’s newspaper the Trenton Republican Times and was at one time the only woman member of the Association Press of Missouri. 


January 13, 2012

Comments (3)

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Did we miss something?

Perhaps my eyes have gone bad. Did I miss Margaret Tobin Brown's name in this list. AKA Molly Brown? If so, how did this happen? Did anyone research what she did for those who survived the Titanic or for the women's right to vote? Her bust should be placed in the capitol building.

Jim Foster more than 2 years ago

Top Ten Women article link to all 95 nominees?

On the first page of the article 'Top 10 Women Who Changed Missouri' there is a notation that says "Find all of our amazing 95 nominees at www.MisouriLife.com". i do not see a link. Where is the link at that web page to find the other 95 nominees?

Patty C. more than 2 years ago

Liked the article but...

I enjoyed the article, but I feel like Northwest Missouri women were left out of it. Mary Alicia Owen is highly influential, along with her two sisters. Not to mention that on the panel, the only woman there even close to me was from Kansas City.

Kyleigh Abbott-Weston more than 2 years ago


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