Over the weekend, across the world, millions of women (and men) gathered, marched, and united in protest of the newly installed President of the United States, Donald Trump. In honor of the historic Women’s Marches—including the ones in Wisconsin and Milwaukee—Milwaukee Record offers a brief look at some of the notable women from the city’s past. Included: immigrant advocates, African American pioneers, cookbook authors, Nazi resistors, and more. (h/t John Gurda’s The Making Of Milwaukee.)

Mathilde Anneke (1817-1884)
Milwaukee’s ties to feminism are strong, in part thanks to Mathilde Anneke. Born in Lerchenhausen, Westphalia (a region of present-day Germany), Anneke settled in Milwaukee in 1849, along with her husband Fritz. Three years later she launched the first feminist newspaper in the United States, Die Deutsche Frauen-Zeitung (“German Women’s Times”). Anneke employed only women as typesetters for her newspaper, a move that inspired the formation of an all-male typographers’ union that killed the paper after only seven months. Undaunted, Anneke founded a girl’s academy called the Milwaukee Tochter Institut in 1865 . She would teach there until her death nearly two decades later. [Matt Wild]

Laura Ross Wolcott (1826-1915)
Lake Park aficionados (and/or Pokemon players) are likely familiar with the statue of a horse-bound Erastus B. Wolcott near the middle of the park. Wolcott was a celebrated Civil War physician, but his wife was equally—if not more—notable. Laura Ross Wolcott was the first woman physician in Milwaukee County, practicing from 1857-1891, and was only the third woman in the entire United States to earn a medical degree. An adamant supporter of the Wisconsin Academy of the Arts and the Humane Society, Wolcott also helped organize a statewide Women’s Suffrage Association convention in 1869. Her will called for the statue of her husband in Lake Park; she is said to have also written its epitaph. [MW]

Beulah Brinton (1836-1928)
To walk through the doors of the Bay View Historical Society (2590 S. Superior St.) is to walk through the doors of the home of Beulah Brinton. An advocate for the immigrant workers of Bay View’s then-new rolling mill (of which her husband, Warren, was a superintendent), Brinton, an author, read to and entertained the children of the workers, organized an inclusive literary society, and laid the groundwork for what would become the Bay View branch of the Milwaukee Public Library. Her home featured a tennis court that was open to all, and she served as a midwife to working families. The neighborhood’s first community center was named after Brinton in 1924; the current home of the Bay View Historical Society—the Beulah Brinton House—still bears her name today. [MW]

Elizabeth Plankinton (1853-1923)
Born into wealth, Elizabeth Plankinton used her monetary advantage to improve conditions for women in Milwaukee. In addition to the thousands of dollars annually she donated to the local YWCA chapter, Plankinton donated a hotel worth $100,000 to be used as housing for women working in the city. The Milwaukee-Downer College, a women’s college previously on the UWM campus, also benefited from Plankinton’s multiple donations. Continually involved in the betterment of the city, she gave a large portion of her time to ensure that her funding was used appropriately and effectively. [Maggie Iken]

Lizzie Black Kander (1858-1940)
“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” may be an antiquated adage today, but it was one that featured prominently in the life and work of Lizzie Black Kander. The founder and president of Milwaukee’s first settlement house—known appropriately enough as “The Settlement”—Kander taught domestic and vocational skills to Jewish immigrants, including classes on cooking, housekeeping, and mothering. To help fund her settlement, Kander published a book of recipes called The Settlement Cook Book: The Way To A Man’s Heart in 1901. The book was an enormous success and remains in print, with more than two million copies sold. Today (after several relocations), Kander’s Settlement is the Jewish Community Center. [MW]

Lutie Eugenia Stearns (1866-1943)
We’ve heard about food deserts, but what about book deserts? Lutie Eugenia Stearns was an inductee of both the American Library Association’s Hall of Fame and the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame. She created “portable libraries” to share books throughout the state in communities without the funds to sustain brick-and-mortar libraries, which led to the creation of said permanent libraries. She also made a case for children under 12 to be able to check out books from the library, a privilege we take for granted now. Born with a stutter, she defied odds by becoming an orator promoting education for all. [MI]

Meta Schlichting Berger (1873-1944)
Milwaukee’s historic ties to socialism are well known (just ask Alice Cooper); less well known are the socialist contributions of Meta Schlincting Berger. The wife of Victor Berger, the first Socialist elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, Meta was a member of the Milwaukee school board from 1909-1939, and advocated for such progressive programs as playgrounds, “penny lunches,” and medical exams for children. As for teachers, Meta supported the tenure system, salaried schedules, and pensions. She would later serve as a member of the Wisconsin State Board of Education and the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents. Following her husband’s death in 1929, Meta was selected to take his place on the Socialist Party’s National Executive Committee. Disagreements with the party led to her resignation in 1940. [MW]

Mabel Watson Raimey (1896-1986)
Granddaughter of a Virginian slave, Mabel Watson Raimey became the first African American woman to graduate from UW-Madison, to attend Marquette Law School, and to practice law in Wisconsin. She graduated high school at 14 and became a teacher after completing her bachelor’s degree, only to be fired because of her race. Volunteering with the Milwaukee Urban League and the YWCA, Watson Raimey’s life was filled with inspirational accomplishments that have had a long-lasting effect on the state. [MI]

Ardie Clark Halyard (1896-1989)
The accomplishments of Ardie Clark Halyard are vast. The daughter of Georgia sharecropper, Halyard began to make changes in Wisconsin in the early 1920s, when she and her husband started a branch of the NAACP in Beloit. They moved to Milwaukee in 1923, and two years later co-founded the first African American owned bank in the city, the Columbia Savings and Loan Association. Fighting against systematic discrimination in the banking and real estate industries, the Halyards refused to draw salaries from their bank for the first 10 years. At the same time, Ardie worked as a director of Goodwill Industries—a job she would keep for 20 years. Later, she served as the first woman president of the Milwaukee branch of the NAACP, increasing membership in the group from 39 to 1,416. [MW]

Golda Meir (1898-1978)
Perhaps the most famous woman associated with the city of Milwaukee, Golda Meir began her activism when she was 10 years old, raising money for books for underprivileged children. She went on to attend the Milwaukee Normal School (a.k.a. UW-Milwaukee) before relocating to Israel, where she began her political career. Beginning with a high level of involvement in the nation’s Labor Party, she went on to be the Israeli ambassador to the USSR. A year later Meir was elected to parliament, and seven years after her election, she was appointed to the role of foreign minister. From 1969 to 1974, Meir served as Israel’s fourth prime minister. Her influence has been commemorated by the dedication of the Golda Meir Library at UWM and Golda Meir School (formerly Fourth Street School). [MI]

Mildred Harnack (1902-1943)
Mildred Harnack didn’t leave much of a mark on Milwaukee, but her claim to fame (or infamy) certainly makes her a notable native. Born Mildred Elizabeth Fish, she attended high school at West Division (now Milwaukee High School of the Arts) and studied German literature at the Milwaukee State Normal School (now UW-Milwaukee). In 1929, she and her husband Arvid Harnack moved to Germany and eventually started a communist discussion group—dubbed the “Red Orchestra” by the Gestapo—that actively resisted Hitler’s Nazi regime. The couple was arrested in 1942: Arvid was sentenced to death and executed three days later, while Mildred was given a six-year sentence. Hitler, however, ordered a new trial for Mildred, which ended in a death sentence. On February 16, 1943, she became the first and only American woman executed on the orders of Hitler. [MW]

Vel Phillips (1924-2018)
Like Mabel Watson Raimey, Vel Phillips accomplished many “firsts” within Wisconsin’s political sphere. A native of Milwaukee’s South Side, Phillips moved to D.C. to earn her bachelor’s degree at the highly esteemed Howard University. After completion, she moved back to Wisconsin to attain a law degree from Madison, becoming the first black woman to do so. Phillips then returned to Milwaukee and became the first woman and first black member of the Milwaukee Common Council, where she was known as “Madam Alderman.” She dedicated most of her early career fighting housing discrimination by proposing ordinances and participating in protest marches. In 1978 she became the first woman and person of color elected to be Wisconsin’s Secretary of State. She also held board positions with the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, Haggerty Museum of Art, and America’s Black Holocaust Museum. [MI]