Saturday, February 14, 2009

February 14 Birthdays: Margaret Knight, Anna Howard Shaw and Katherine Stinson Otero

Margaret Knight, inventor
Feb. 14, 1838-Oct. 12, 1914

Marvelous Mattie: How Margaret E. Knight Became an Inventor by Emily Arnold McCully (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006)

Inventive as a child, Knight grew up to create the first paper bag machine. When her idea was stolen, she went to court and won. The first woman to receive a U.S. patent triumphed.

View at photo of Knight’s machine at the Smithsonian Institution

Anna Howard Shaw, women’s rights advocate
Feb. 14, 1847-July 2, 1919

A Voice From the Wilderness: The Story of Anna Howard
by Don Brown (Houghton Mifflin, 2001)

Based on her autobiography, this story of Shaw traces her life from childhood to adulthood. A teacher, then a doctor, Shaw became active in the women’s suffrage movement.

A biography and photo of Shaw are available at

Katherine Stinson Otero, aviator
Feb. 14, 1891-July 8, 1977

Katherine Stinson Otero, High Flyer by Neila Skinner Petrick, illustrated by Daggi Wallace (Pelican, 2006)

High flyer, indeed. Stinson was the fourth woman in the U.S. to earn a pilot’s license and performed throughout the world. But when she was denied permission to fly for the armed services in WWI, she raised money for the effort by flying in exhibitions.

The U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission posts a bio of Stinson on their site.