Born Elizabeth Cochran in Pittsburgh in 1864, Nellie Bly was a renowned undercover journalist who focused her work on women, vulnerable people and oppressed societies. She is perhaps best known for her work exposing conditions in US asylums, which saw her being voluntarily committed to an institution for ten days. Bly also broke a world record by making it around the world in 72 days, and she was also an inventor, industrialist and charity worker.
Chilonis was a Spartan ruler who married a prince and gave birth to a future king - but she was also a soldier and warrior in her own right and a crucial part of the battle to secure Sparta against her husband's efforts to claim the throne for his own. This assault on Sparta occurred in 272 BC, and ultimately led to Chilonis breaking free of her abusive husband , who was forced into exile after his efforts to conquer the throne failed.
The L'Inconnue de la Seine, or the 'Unknown of the Seine', was an unidentified woman found in Paris' Seine River in the late 1880s. She became an icon in European culture during the turn of the 20th Century, prompting a number of artistic works including stories, sculptures and even a ballet. Her death mask was reproduced and hung in homes all over the continent, and this image of the unknown woman eventually became the inspiration for the modern CPR doll.
Frances Mary Buss was a pioneer of women's education and the first woman to use the title 'headmistress'. She served as the head of the North London Collegiate School for Ladies until the end of her working life, and also founded the Camden School for Girls in 1871. Buss was active in campaigning for women's suffrage and for equal educational rights, and established the Association of Head Mistresses, the Teachers' Guild and the Cambridge Training College.
Grace Sherwood, a Virginia midwife and farmer, is the last person convicted by the state of Virginia for the crime of witchcraft. Sherwood was imprisoned in 1706 after trial by ducking, 'proving' her guilt. Prior to her conviction, Sherwood had been accused and stood trial on at least two previous occasions.