Photo by @upthesaturation – Instagram

Last year, we featured modern Pittsburgh women you should know. This year, we are looking back a little further to honer some historic women in Pittsburgh history. Here are just nine women who had a part of Pittsburgh history in one way or another. Today (and every day!) don’t forget to honor the strong, wonderful women in your life.

1. Mary Cassatt

Painter and printmaker Cassatt was born in May of 1844 in Pittsburgh and lived most of her adult life in France. Chances are you’ve seen her work at one time or another in a museum. Her work influenced bonds between mothers and daughters.

2. Gertrude Stein

Did you know the famous novelist, poet, playwright and art collector (portrayed quite well by Kathy Bates in Midnight in Paris) was born in Pittsburgh? Her book The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas skyrocketed her to mainstream literature.

3. Sophie Masloff

Sophie Masloff was an American political and served as the mayor of Pittsburgh from 1988 to ’94. She was the first woman and first Jewish person to be mayor. She died at the age of 96 in August 2014.

4. Jane Grey Swisshelm

Swisshelm Park ring a bell anyone? Mrs. Swisshelm was in a terrible marriage that inspired her to devote her life to women’s rights. She was an abolitionist for the Union Army and served as a nurse for them during the Civil War era.

5. Mary Lou Williams

Mary was known as “the little piano girl” at private parties for the elite like the Mellons back in the early 1900s and 1920s. She later provided a lot of scores for popular swing bands like Benny Goodman’s and Tommy Dorsey’s.

6. Elsie Hillman

Elsie is known for helping to elect John Heinz to the House of Representatives and Senate and well as Tom Ridge as governor of PA and later President George H.W. Bush. She also gave to many charities around the city.

7. Eliza Clayland Tomlinson Foster

Mrs. Foster is best known for being the mother to the famous composer Stephen Foster (“Oh Susanna,” “Camptown Races,” “My Old Kentucky Home”).

8. Jennie Bradley Roessing

Jennie was a leader in the women’s suffrage movement of the early 1900s. She helped to form the Allegheny County Equal Rights Association.

9. Rachel Carson

Carson was a marine biologist, author and conservationist who published the book Silent Spring and helped to progress the global environmental movement.

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