Heroines Quilt I

To celebrate Women’s History Month, Girl Museum invites the public to submit their girlhood heroines for the Heroines Quilt project. Every even year, starting in 2010, the submissions are showcased in a new exhibition. Taken together, these exhibits create a myriad of quilts that document girlhood heroines and the lasting impact they have on our lives. 

Heroines Quilt I features the heroines submitted for our 2010 quilt. Out of 29 separate entries (since we had several Amelia Earhart’s), 2/3 of the submissions were real people, which we were happy to learn. Yet of those, only 2 were family members and the rest were famous. Of the fictional characters that we looked up to, about half had extraordinary powers of some kind. 

Girl Museum would like to extend special thanks for a job well done to our team: Eva M. Olsgard, Lara Band, and Miriam Musco.

Essie Shor

While just about everyone has heard the story of Anne Frank, how many have ever heard of Essie Shor and her story as a teenage fighter with the Bielski Partisans?

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31 Heroines of March 2010: Katharine Hepburn

As a kid, I would watch any movie with Katharine Hepburn.  I guess I never really thought about why I liked her movies.  It is only now looking back on it that I realize she always played spunky no-nonsense women, the kind of women I wanted to be.  She played Jo...

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31 Heroines of March 2010: Grace Darling

I suspect that Grace Darling appealed as a girlhood heroine because of a family affinity with lighthouses and a love of swimming in the sea.  My mother owned a cliff-top promontory in Scotland’s far north, where there was a manned lighthouse and foghorn complex to...

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31 Heroines of March 2010: Lily Tomlin

Laughing has always been my favorite activity and I remember Lily Tomlin ALWAYS making me laugh!  She appeared on Sesame Street, an early favorite alongside The Electric Company, in an oversized rocking chair as Edith Ann - pulling funny faces, blowing raspberries...

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31 Heroines of March 2010: Elizabeth I

Technically we New Zealanders are still subjects of the Queen of England - but my favorite Elizabeth is not the sitting monarch.  It is Elizabeth I, who reigned over the most creative, fascinating time of English History.  Being the daughter of Henry VIII makes her...

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31 Heroines of March 2010: Alice

As a child, my heroine was always Alice from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland.  Back then, I looked up to Alice because she was an intrepid adventurer - only seven years old yet intelligent, daring, and self-assured.  Reading about Alice helped me escape from my...

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31 Heroines of March 2010: Anne of Green Gables

There have been many popular books for girls written about intelligent and enterprising girls who are often orphaned and therefore confronted with challenging and surprising situations.  Their trials and tribulations, revelations and relationships are satisfying and...

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31 Heroines of March 2010: Emma Peel

Played by Diana Rigg in the mid-sixties television series The Avengers, Emma Peel was a force to be reckoned with, and I loved to watch her.  She was the transformation of my girlhood’s beloved Laura Petrie from The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Marlo Thomas in That...

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31 Heroines of March 2010: St. Bernadette

St. Bernadette is best known as the young girl that Catholics believe experienced visions and apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Lourdes, France.  Bernadette Soubirous was born in 1844 into a poor, humble and loving family and she suffered ill health throughout her...

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31 Heroines of March 2010: Nadia Comăneci

In 1976, I was almost three years old, but I remember her absolutely. Standing there in stunning glory, so poised and so magnificent.  PERFECT 10.  Nadia Comăneci was my first girl heroine, inspiring my belief in the power of girls to change the world. Nadia was...

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31 Heroines of March 2010: Amelia Earhart

  Amelia Earhart was a Kansas-born girl with a passion for flying.  Her life was changed forever when she and her father visited an airfield in 1920, where she bought herself and her father a ten-minute ride in an airplane.  "By the time I had got two or three...

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31 Heroines of March 2010: Diane Arbus

Diane Arbus may seem like a strange sort of girlhood heroine, but ever since I discovered a large book of her collected works at my babysitter’s house when I was about seven years old, I was captivated by her particular vision of the world. It wasn’t just her...

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31 Heroines of March 2010: Amelia Earhart

When I was a girl, I had a thin book about Amelia Earhart.  It was written and drawn like a comic book and it sat on the shelf alongside my books about U.S. Presidents and Catholic Saints.  I read it dozens of times, marveling at her cropped hair and courage. My...

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31 Heroines of March 2010: Laura Ingalls Wilder

When Laura Ingalls Wilder began writing about her life growing up in pioneer America (circa 1870-1880), she had no idea the fame she would soon have. The “Little House” books were published starting in 1932 when Laura was 66 -- she was hoping to make a little...

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31 Heroines of March 2010: Jeanne Jugan

One of my girlhood heroes was Jeanne Jugan, the founder of an order of nuns called The Little Sisters of the Poor.  I heard about this woman, now a saint canonized in 2009, when I was growing up in Louisville, Kentucky. Jeanne Jugan was born in revolutionary France...

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31 Heroines of March 2010: Eloise

With very few real life and fictional girls that signaled a non-normative way of "doing girl" in the 1960s, Eloise was a huge influence on me during my childhood.  I was regularly encouraged by my Catholic upbringing to be a "good girl" (a subjectivity I still...

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31 Heroines of March 2010: Bionic Woman

For the most part, my childhood heroes were male.  But when I found out there was a “Bionic Woman” sequel to the “Bionic Man” series I was thrilled.  I thought it was cool that there was a strong, superhuman woman that could do superhuman feats – rescuing...

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31 Heroines of March 2010: Aunt Sarah

As a young girl, I devoured Nancy Drew books.  I thought Nancy Drew was amazing.  Not only did we share the same first name, but she was independent, resourceful and smart.  I often imagined I was her. In my small town, there was a used book store with a bookshelf...

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31 Heroines of March 2010: Wonder Woman

I grew up in the mid-1970s.  A major event in my childhood was finally getting a color television - Hello America!  This new explosion of color was heralded by the dynamic presence of Wonder Woman.  She was all curves and dazzle. Her active role and bulging...

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31 Heroines of March 2010: Unknown Heroine

As defined, a heroine is "a woman of distinguished courage or ability, admired for her brave deeds and noble qualities."  I do not have a lone heroine.  I have multitudes.  Am I breaking the rules? Is the heroine my mother...for teaching me, loving me, honoring ME!...

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31 Heroines of March 2010: Princess Periezade

I first encountered the heroine of The Talking Bird, the Singing Tree, and the Golden Water during a quest of my own.  I was searching for evidence of girls who were: a) physically strong b) mentally resilient c) emotionally sensitive d) beautiful In fourth grade,...

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31 Heroines of March 2010: Jo March

Little girls by deem of sex are told stories about love and Prince Charming, where all that matters is the end result - a happily ever after.  That was the target:  to reach the point of marriage.  Josephine March taught me that this isn’t how it has to be. Jo...

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31 Heroines of March 2010: Jane Goodall

When I was a young girl my career interests changed constantly. One week I wanted to be a doctor, and the next week a teacher.  When I was ten, I desperately wanted to become a biologist and study wild animals.  During that period when I was fascinated by field...

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31 Heroines of March 2010: Amelia Earhart

My girlhood heroine was and will always be the American aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart.  After seeing my first air fair in Leavenworth, Kansas I became infatuated with Amelia.  Amelia made me realize that I can succeed at anything I set my mind to.  Amelia went...

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31 Heroines of March 2010: Julia Child

Julia Child was definitely one of my girlhood heroines.  Growing up, I watched her on TV every Saturday evening with my family, as we celebrated food and togetherness through Julia Child.  From Julia I learned that good food does not have to be pretentious.  Still,...

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31 Heroines of March 2010: Bridie Philps

My grandmother believed in pixies and banshees and divine retribution.  She never killed spiders and she rescued birds with broken wings.  She was a sixteen-year-old runaway, a kitchen maid, a chorus girl, and a dress designer.  She cooked amazing Sunday roasts...

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31 Heroines of March 2010: Lisa Simpson

As part of the popular cartoon series The Simpsons, Lisa Simpson has become one of the most recognizable icons of modern girlhood.  Together with her brother Bart, sister Maggie, father Homer and mother Marge, Lisa’s image is known all over the world and many of...

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31 Heroines of March 2010: Harriet Tubman

I remember reading a picture book about Harriet Tubman in second grade and being fascinated by her life.  It was hard for me to imagine a world where freedom was not guaranteed for all, and this was the first time I had to confront the fact that I was pretty lucky to...

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31 Heroines of March 2010: Christa McAuliffe

When I was in the third grade I knew that when I grew up I wanted to be a teacher.  While other little girls were combing their doll’s hair, I was lining them up and teaching them or passing back their assignments. (The graded assignments, by the way, my teachers...

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31 Heroines of March 2010: Judy Blume

Judy Blume! Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, Deenie, and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing were my friends and constant companions, along with all of Judy Blume’s books, when I was a girl.  I would walk around the house with a book in front of my face, doing...

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31 Heroines of March 2010: Anne Frank

‘Who would ever think that so much can go on in the soul of a young girl?’ Having positive role models is essential for a healthy girlhood.  All of my girlhood heroes, both real and fictional, were known for their strength, will, intelligence and kindness....

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