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DEMCO celebrates International Women's Day by highlighting outstanding Delaware women


Written on: March 8th, 2018 in Blog Posts


Pauline Young was an African American teacher, librarian, historian, lecturer, community activist, humanitarian. She was a devoted lifelong member of her local and the national chapter of the NAACP. Young grew up near an underground railroad point before moving to Delaware. Young joined the NAACP at the age of 12, and she served nine years as the secretary. Later, she became the president of the Wilmington, Delaware branch.

Young was honored by the Wilmington Branch of the National Association of University Women, she was recognized for outstanding service to the Home, the Community, the State, and the Nation and was hereby inducted to the Hall of Fame of Delaware women. Young received a Certificate of Honorary Membership from Delaware State College’s Black Studies Program. The University of Delaware Library renamed the residency program in honor of Young.

Stephanie Kwolek was a chemist and an inventor who worked at DuPont for forty years. She is best known as the inventor of Kevlar. For her discovery she was awarded the DuPont company’s Lavoisier Medal for outstanding technical achievement. In 1995, she became the fourth woman to be added to the National Inventors Hall of Fame.


Mary Ann Shadd Cary was an Anti-slavery activist, journalist, publisher, teacher and lawyer. She was the first black woman publisher in North America and the first woman publisher in Canada. Cary was one of the most outspoken female proponents of the abolition of slavery of her day and promoted equality for all people. Cary was born in Wilmington, Delaware, on October 9,1823 to a socially activist father.


Annie Jump Cannon was born on December 11, 1863, in Dover, Delaware. She was interested in astronomy from a young age, as she and her mother referenced an old astronomy textbook to identify stars seen from their attic. She attended Wilmington Conference Academy, today known as Wesley College, located in Dover. Cannon later attended Wellesley College in Massachusetts, one of the top academic schools for women. She was a student under Sarah Frances Whiting, one of the few women physicists in the United States at the time. She graduated as valedictorian with a degree in physics in 1884.

In 1896, Cannon became a member of “Pickering’s Women”, a group of women hired by Harvard Observatory. She created the Harvard Classification Scheme, the first serious attempt to organize and classify stars based on their temperatures and spectral types.



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