THE BLOG
11/10/2014 08:38 am ET Updated Jan 10, 2015

Keystone State She-roes

Tim Chapman via Getty Images

My travel last week took me to Pennsylvania, The Keystone State. Many strong and accomplished women are affiliated with this state that was one of the 13 original colonies. I've picked four of these amazing women for us to learn about, all of whom have been inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame. Match the woman with her achievement: (answers at the end):

____ 1. Performed in 1939 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC to 75,000 people -- and a radio audience -- after the Daughters of the American Revolution refused to allowed her to sing in Constitution Hall (due to her race).

____ 2. A painter who integrated her subjects into their environments while painting the world and people around her.

____ 3. This microbiologist's discovery of the source and method of prevention for brucellosis and her persistence in convincing the scientific world of its validity saved many lives and has been described as one of the outstanding achievements of the first quarter of the twentieth century.

____ 4. An anthropologist whose seminal work Coming of Age in Samoa made her famous at age 27.

A. Margaret Mead
B. Alice Evans
C. Marian Anderson
D. Mary Cassatt

Born in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, painter Mary Cassatt studied abroad in order to refine her skills and technique. While living in Paris, she was invited to join a group of painters led by Edgar Degas. She exhibited at Impressionist exhibitions and, later, at exhibitions in the U.S. Cassatt painted the world and people around her, integrating her subjects into their environment. Considered one of the leaders among American painters, she was made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor in 1904. Inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame, Cassatt and her work have has been featured on several U.S. postage stamps.

Born in Neath, Pennsylvania, microbiologist Alice Evans pursued her scientific education by enrolling in a two-year nature study course for rural teachers at Cornell University. After completing her B.S. at Cornell, she continued her education at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. During her employment with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, she studied milk and cheese. Evans discovered that brucellosis (also called undulant fever) was caused by the same bacteria whether in cattle or in humans. She presented her results at a meeting in 1917; they were greeted with much skepticism by scientists and hostility by dairymen. By 1925, her work had been verified by other scientists and in the 1930s, the diary industry accepted pasteurization of milk. Elected to the National Women's Hall of Fame, she is memorialized by an award given by the American Society for Microbiology.

Born in Philadelphia, Marian Anderson's singing talent was recognized by the choir director at her church when she was very young. The deaths of her father and grandfather and her inability to attend high school as she had to work to support her family, led to three primary drivers in her life -- obtaining an education and musical training, earning money to support her family, and performing. Her August 1925 solo performance with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra led to a wide audience for her beautiful contralto voice. She studied abroad in order to enhance her musical education and training as well as broaden her audience. She toured widely; in 1937-38, she performed in 70 concerts. In 1939, Anderson was refused permission by the Daughters of the American Revolution to sing in Constitution Hall in Washington, DC. She sang instead in front of the Lincoln Memorial to a crowd of 75,000 and a radio audience. Eleanor Roosevelt resigned from the DAR in protest of their action. Inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame, Anderson was the first African-American to sing with the Metropolitan Opera (1955). She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963 and has been featured on a U.S. postage stamp.

Anthropologist Margaret Mead, whose seminal work, Coming of Age in Samoa, made her famous at age 27, has been important to me in my life and work. Like Anderson, she was born in Philadelphia. Her famous quotation "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has," serves as the opener for the Introduction to Her Story: A Timeline of the Women Who Changed America. She began her field work on tribal indigenous societies in the South Pacific in 1923. Coming of Age in Samoa was published in 1928. Credited with having co-founded the field of visual anthropology, Mead has been inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame and is featured on a U.S. postage stamp.

Learn about more she-roes and celebrate amazing women. These exceptional Keystone State women are among the more than 850 women profiled in the book Her Story: A Timeline of the Women Who Changed America. We celebrate their outstanding accomplishments and are proud to stand on their shoulders.

(answers: 1-C, 2-D, 3-B, 4-A)