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.
Hannah Cole was one of the earliest permanent settlers of Cooper County.
Loula Long Combs, of Kansas City, was the only woman to be inducted by the horse show world into the Hall of Fame.
Fannie Cook, born in St. Charles, formed the committee for Rehabilitation of the Sharecroppers.
Virginia Alice Cottey founded Cottey College for women in Nevada, Missouri.
Phoebe Couzins, born in St. Louis, was the second woman in the United States to graduate from law school, the second woman admitted to the bar, and the third woman allowed to practice nationwide.
Adeline Couzins was one of the founders of the St. Louis Ladies Union Aid Society. She was also a Civil War escort of wounded soldiers.
Joan Crawford attended Stephens College in Columbia for a brief period before becoming a famous Hollywood Actress.
Jane Darwell, born in Palmyra, was a pioneer film actress and starred in movies such as Gone with the Wind and Grapes of Wrath.
Blanche Dow, born in Louisiana, Missouri, was the sixth president of Cottey Junior College.
Elizabeth Dugan (Rosa Pearle) of Sedalia was the founder, editor and writer of Rosa Pearle’s Paper, a society weekly published in Sedalia.
Rose-Philippine Duchesne founded the first house of the Society of the Sacred Heart for young women to learn in St. Charles.
Kate Field, born in St. Louis, was a journalist and activist who championed women’s suffrage and the abolition of polygamy.
Myrtle Fillmore was a co-founder of the Unity Faith.
Jean Tomlinson Frazer of Hannibal was a photographer who made it popular to smile in photos, creating the “Jean Smile.”
Jessie Benton Fremont, assisted her husband’s election and a political activist in her own right
Ann Hawkins Gentry was the second woman appointed to position of postmaster (in Columbia) in the United States.
Gwen Giles of St. Louis was the first black woman elected to the Missouri State Senate.
Betty Grable, born in St. Louis, was a famous actress.
Kate Gregg was a professor at Lindenwood College and a documentary editor who made important sources, such as the exploration of west and journals of Clark, available to public.
Jean Harlow, born in Kansas City, was a famous actress.
Rebecca Hazard was the first president of the American Woman’s Suffrage Association to reside west of the Mississippi River.
Harriet Hosmer was a famous American sculptor and the first woman ever to study anatomy at Washington University in St. Louis.
Fannie Hurst, of St. Louis, was a bestselling author.
Lucy James of St. James was a philanthropist.
Josephine Johnson, born in Kirkwood, was a 1935 Pulitzer for Literature winner for Now in November.
Mary Paxton Keeley was the first woman to graduate from the MU School of Journalism and the first woman reporter in Kansas City.
Lorna Kemper of Clinton was the founder of Missouri Girls Town.
Emma Knell was one of the first women in Missouri licensed as an embalmer and the first Republican woman elected to the Missouri General Assembly.
Kathy Kuhlman, of Concordia, was a famous evangelist.
Rose Wilder Lane, daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder, was a travel writer, novelist, and political theorist.
Dorothy Leake worked to preserve Crane Creek in Stone County, a creek with self-sustaining rainbow trout population.
Susan Shelby Magoffin, left Independence and became the first woman to travel the Sante Fe trail.
Mary Margaret McBride was a graduate of the MU School of Journalism, and she became famous as Martha Deane, a radio personality.
Amy Shelton McNutt, born near Paris, Missouri, was a philanthropist who gave money to William Woods College in Fulton.
Virginia Minor of St. Louis is credited with being the first person to take a public stand for women’s suffrage in Missouri.
Marianne Moore, born near St. Louis, was a celebrated poet.
Luella Moss, of Columbia, was the first woman in the United States to hold the position of president of Christian College.
Carry Nation, of the Kansas City area, was a well-known supporter of Prohibition.
Kate Richards O’Hare served 4 years in the Missouri State Penitentiary for violating the Espionage Act.
Rose O’Neill, was a well-known illustrator and creator of the Kewpies, Columbia Hickman High School’s mascot.
Marie Watkins Oliver, born in Ray County, was the designer of the Missouri state flag.
Mayme Ousley, born in Edgar Springs, was the first woman mayor (of St. James) in Missouri.
Geraldine Page, born in Kirksville, was a famous actress.
Grace Ashley Papin, born in St. Louis, created the Grace Ashley shirt-stud dress.
Nelle E. Peters was an architect in Kansas City, and she designed the Ambassador Hotel.
Mary Phelps, of the Springfield area, was known for saving the body of Gen. Nathaniel Lyon and donating her reward to an orphanage.
Vinnie Ream, who attended Christian College (now Columbia College) was the first woman to receive a federal art commission for Lincoln’s bust.
Katherine Berry Richardson was a doctor and surgeon who established the Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.
Irma Rombauer of St. Louis published the Joy of Cooking, an internationally known cookbook, in 1931.
Nellie Taylor Ross, born near St. Joseph, was the first woman in the United States to serve as a state governor in Wyoming.
Charlotte Rumbold worked in St. Louis for the Open Air Playground Committee, and she was active in the urban planning of St. Louis.
Harriet Robinson Scott, wife of Dred Scott, is credited with being the driving force behind her family’s lawsuit for freedom that made its way to several courts in Missouri.
Elizabeth Seifert of Moberly was an author of many books.
Fannie Mooney Sellins was a union organizer for the St. Louis garment industry.
Mary Easton Sibley began a girl’s school in St. Charles, which ultimately became Lindenwood University, the first women’s college west of Mississippi.
Mellcene Smith was one of the first two women in the Missouri House of Representatives.
Paula V. Smith was the first woman and African American to serve in the cabinet of then Governor Christopher Bond.
Clara Stover moved the headquarters of Russell Stover’s Candies to Kansas City in 1932.
Sara Teasdale was a renowned poet from St. Louis.
Helen Francesca Traubel, born in St. Louis, was one of the world’s great sopranos.
Bess Truman of Independence was the wife of President Truman.
Sarah Turner of Kansas City was one of first two women in the Missouri House of Representatives.
Marie Carpentier Vallé of Ste. Genevieve gave medical advice to the people of the settlement.
Anna Maria Von Phul of St. Louis was an early artist whose sketchbooks recorded the early days of St. Louise Creoles.
Madam C. J. Walker of St. Louis made a hair-care product for black women.
Cathay Williams was the only known female Buffalo soldier in the Civil War.
Harriet Woods was the first, and so far only, female Lieutenant Governor in Missouri.