Famous Firsts - 1900-1960
Edmund Barton: 1st Prime Minister of Australia.
Charlotte Cooper: 1st woman to win an Olympic Gold Medal (for tennis).
Annie Edson Taylor: 1st person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel, on October 24, 1901. Taylor was 64 and a school teacher from Michigan.
1st Nobel Prize winners:
Literature: René-François-Armand (Sully) Prudhomme
Peace: Jean Henri Dunant & Frederic Passy
Physics: Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen
Physiology & Medicine: Emil Adolf Von Behring
Chemistry: Jacobus Henricus Van't Hoff
Vida Goldstein: 1st woman in the British Empire to run for a national office. She ran for the Australian Senate when women there got the right to vote in all federal elections.
Marie Sklodowska Curie: 1st female Nobel Prize winner for Physics
Maurice Garin: 1st Tour de France winner.
Alexander Winton: set the 1st land speed record in car racing. Set at Daytona Beach, his speed was 68.18 mph.
May Sutton Brandy: 1st American woman to win the ladies singles tennis championship at Wimbledon.
Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman: 1st "actual" British prime minister. Until the 18th century, the monarch's most senior minister could hold any of a number of titles; usually either First Lord, Lord Chancellor, Lord Privy Seal, or one of the Secretaries of State. During the late 18th Century, the term "prime minister" came to be used. In1905, the title was officially recognized by King Edward VII.
Baroness Bertha Sophie Felicita von Suttner: 1st female Nobel Prize winner -- Peace
Theodore Roosevelt: 1st American to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. It was for helping mediate an end the Russo-Japanese War.
Ferenc Szisz: 1st Grand Prix winner held at Le Mans, France. The Romanian driver drove a Renault.
Charles Curtis: 1st American Indian to become a U.S. Senator. (Kansas) He resigned in March of 1929 to become President Herbert Hoover's Vice President.
Thomas E. Selfridge: 1st airplane fatality. Selfridge, a Lt. in the U.S. Army Signal Corps, was in a group evaluating the Wright plane at Fort Myer, Va. He was up 75 ft. with Orville Wright when the propeller hit a bracing wire and was broken, throwing the plane out of control, killing Selfridge and seriously injuring Wright (Sept. 17).
Selma Ottilia Lovisa Lagerlöf: 1st female Nobel Prize winner for Literature
Baroness Raymonde de la Roche: 1st licensed woman pilot. (of France, who learned to fly in 1909, received ticket No. 36 on March 8.)
Alice Wells: 1st policewoman in the US. She was hired by the Los Angeles Police Department . She was allowed to design her own uniform and was active in propagating the need for policewomen elsewhere. As a result of her efforts seventeen departments in American were employing policewomen by 1916.
Marie Sklodowska Curie: 1st person ever to win two Nobel Prizes. Her first was in Physics (1903) and the second in Chemistry (1911.)
Roald Amundsen - Norwegian explorer: 1st man to reach the South Pole, beating out an expedition led by Robert F. Scott.
Ray Harroun: 1st winner of the Indianapolis 500 car race. His average speed was 74.59 mph, he finished in 6 hours, 42 minutes, 8 seconds.
Alice Hyde: 1st winner of the "Miss World" beauty pageant. She was 17.
Harriet Quimby: 1st U.S. woman pilot. (A magazine writer, got ticket No. 37, making her the second licensed female pilot in the world. She was also the 1st woman to fly across the English Channel. She flew from Dover, England and landed at Hardelot, France, in a Blériot monoplane(April 16). She was later killed in a flying accident over Dorchester Bay during a Harvard-Boston aviation meet on July 1, 1912.)
Arthur R. Eldred: 1st boy to reach the rank of Eagle Scout -- the highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America program. He was of Oceanside, NY.
Mary Davenport-Engberg: 1st woman to conduct a symphony orchestra, in Bellingham, Washington.
Jeannette Rankin: 1st woman (of Montana) to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Only legislator to vote against both WW I and WW II.
Louis D. Brandeis: 1st Jewish member of the U.S. Supreme Court. (Appointed by President Wilson)
1st Pulitzer Winners
Biography: Laura E. Richards, H. Elliott, and Florence Hall
History: Jean Jules Jusserand
Reporting: Herbert B. Swope
Rosika Schwimmer: the world's 1st woman ambassador. She was appointed the Hungarian ambassador to Switzerland.
Lucy Slowe: 1st black woman tennis champion in the US. She won the women's singles title at a tournament in Baltimore.
Ethelda "Thel" Bleibtrey: 1st U.S. woman (swimmer) to win a gold medal in the Olympics. (Margaret Abbott, was awarded a porcelain bowl, not a gold medal, in 1900.)
Bessie Coleman: 1st U.S. black female pilot. She was killed April 30, 1926, in flying accident.
Margaret Gorman: 1st Miss America. She was 16 and 30-25-32.
Edith Wharton: 1st woman (American novelist) to win a Pulitzer Prize for fiction. She wins the award for her novel The Age of Innocence.
Rebecca Felton: 1st woman senator, of Georgia, is appointed to the U.S. Senate to fill a temporary vacancy. She serves for only two days.
Henry Sullivan: 1st American to swim across the English Channel.
Edna St. Vincent Millay: 1st female Pulitzer Prize winner in Poetry for "The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver."
Clifton Reginald Wharton, Sr.: 1st black to pass U.S. Foreign Service exam.
Nellie Taylor Ross: 1st woman to serve as Governor of a state (Wyoming). In the fall of 1924 she was elected to succeed her deceased husband, William Bradford Ross. (Miriam Amanda "Ma" Ferguson is inaugurated governor of Texas days later.)
Gertrude Ederle: 1st American woman to swim across the English Channel. It took her 14 hours and 39 minutes. (She broke the existing men's record.)
Al Jolson: 1st talking motion picture, "The Jazz Singer." He played the lead role.
Charles Lindbergh: 1st man to fly solo across the Atlantic.
Norma Talmadge: 1st footprints at Grauman's Chinese Theater (now Mann's Chinese Theater.) (Norma Talmadge was one of the greatest stars of the silent era.)
Janet Gaynor: 1st Oscar winner for Best Actress.
Emil Jannings -- 1st Oscar winner for Best Actor.<
Ellen Church: 1st airline hostess. She served passengers flying between San Francisco, California and Cheyenne, Wyoming on United Airlines.
Sinclair Lewis: 1st American recipient of the Nobel Prize for literature.
Jane Addams: 1st American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Peace.
Maxine Dunlap: 1st American woman to earn a glider pilot license.
Jackie Mitchell: 1st woman in organized baseball (baseball pitcher). She was signed by the Chattanooga Baseball Club at the age of 19.
Amelia Earhart: 1st transatlantic solo flight by a woman, traveling from Harbor Grace, Newfoundland, to Ireland in approximately 15 hours.
Hattie Wyatt Caraway: 1st woman elected to the U.S. Senate, Arkansas.
Frances Perkins: 1st woman member of a Presidential cabinet. She was appointed Secretary of Labor by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Marie, Cecile, Yvonne, Emilie and Annette Dionne: 1st quintuplets to survive infancy. They were born near Callender, Ontario, Canada to Oliva and Elzire Dionne.
Horton Smith: 1st Masters Golf Tournament winner under the magnolia trees of Augusta National in Georgia.
Lettie Pate Whitehead: 1st American woman to serve as a director of a major corporation, The Coca-Cola Company.
On October 23, 1934, American adventurer Jeanette Piccard: sets an altitude record for female balloonists when she ascends 57,579 feet.
Wallis Warfield Simpson: 1st Time magazine "Woman of the Year."
Jane Matilda Bolin: 1st black woman judge. (New York City)
Gene Cox: 1st girl page in U.S. House of Representatives.
Franklin D. Roosevelt: 1st U.S. President to speak on television. (Spoke at the opening session of the New York World's Fair on April 30, 1939.)
Hattie McDaniel: 1st black actress to win an Oscar. She won the Best Supporting Actress award for her role as Mammy in "Gone with the Wind".
Booker T. Washington: 1st black to be pictured on a U.S. postage stamp. His likeness was issued on a 10-cent stamp.
Annie G. Fox: 1st woman to receive the U.S. Purple Heart Medal. She was wounded while serving at Hickam Field during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec 7 1941.
Glenn Miller: Received the 1st gold record ever awarded to a recording artist.
Mother Maria Frances Cabrini (Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini): 1st U.S. citizen (she was born in Italy) to become a saint. (1850-1917) She was canonized by Pope Pius XII.
Edith Houghton: 1st woman hired as a first major-league baseball scout.
Trygve Lie - Norwegian socialist: 1st Secretary General of United Nations.
Chuck Yeager: 1st person to break the sound barrier by flying faster than the speed of sound. (On October 14, 1947, he flew a Bell X-1 rocket at 670 mph in level flight.)
Gerty Radnitz Cori: 1st female Nobel Prize winner for Physiology & Medicine
Dick Button: 1st American to become World Figure Skating Champion.
Eugenia Anderson: 1st U.S. woman appointed ambassador to a foreign country. (Ambassador to Denmark)
Gwendolyn Brooks: 1st African American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize.
Ralph Bunche: 1st African American to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
Charles Cooper: 1st black player in NBA (Fort Wayne Indiana Celtics).
Florence Chadwick: 1st woman to have swum across the English Channel in each direction.
George (Christine) Jorgenson: recipient of the world's 1st sex-change operation.
Danish artist Einar Wegener underwent a sex change operation in Berlin March 5, 1930. He assumed the identity of Lili Elbe, and had ovaries implanted. It is speculated that Wegener was actually a hermaphrodite, and the credit for first sex change is usually given to Christine Jorgenson.
Patricia McCormick: 1st professional woman bullfighter. She got herself two bulls in the contest held in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
Desi Arnaz, Jr. and Lucille Ball: 1st to appear on the cover of the 1st TV Guide (April).
Jerrie Cobb: 1st woman in the U.S. to undergo astronaut testing. NASA, however, cancels the women's program in 1963. It is not until 1983 that an American woman gets sent into space.
Jacqueline Cochrane: 1st woman to fly faster than speed of sound. (She piloted an F-86 Sabrejet over California at an average speed of 652.337 miles-per-hour.)
Queen Elizabeth II: 1st monarch to have a televised coronation.
Sir Edmund Hillary: 1st on record to climb of Mount Everest.
Tenley Albright: 1st American to win the Women's World Figure Skating Championship. She was 17 years old when she won the competition in Davos, Switzerland.
Sir Roger Bannister: 1st person recorded to run a mile race in under four minutes. He broke the four minute barrier at Imey Road, Oxford on the 6th of May. His time was 3 minutes 59.4 seconds.
Benjamin O. Davis, Jr: 1st black General in the U.S. Air Force
Marian Anderson: 1st black female singer at the Metropolitan Opera. She appeared as Ulrica in Verdi's "The Masked Ball."
Althea Gibson: 1st black tennis player to win a Wimbledon singles title.
Laika, the dog: 1st living creature to orbit the earth aboard the Soviet satellite, Sputnik 2.
Julia Child: 1st woman designated a full-fledged "Chef."
William O'Ree: 1st black hockey player in the National Hockey League. (Boston Bruins)
Ruth Carol Taylor: 1st black woman to become a stewardess (now, flight attendant) by making her initial flight on Mohawk Airlines from Ithaca, NY to New York City.
Clifton R Wharton: 1st black U.S. foreign minister. (Romania)
Hiram L. Fong: 1st Chinese-American voted into tge U.S. Senate. (Hawaii)
Daniel K. Inouye: 1st Japanese-American in U.S. House of Representatives. (Hawaii)
Sirimavo Bandaraneike: 1st woman to be elected the Head of State. She became the President of Sri Lanka. (Following her were Indira Gandhi of India in 1966 and Golda Meir of Israel in 1969.)
Harry Belafonte: 1st black performer to win a major Emmy award; he was awarded Best Performance in a Variety Show for his TV special "Tonight with Belafonte."
Oveta Culp Hobby: 1st woman to serve as Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. She is also the 1st director of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC), and the 1st woman to receive the U.S. Army Distinguished Service Medal.
Jacqueline Cochran: breaks the sound barrier by flying an F-86 over Roger's Dry Lake, California, at the speed of 652.337 miles per hour. Eleven years later, she flies at a speed of 1,429.2 miles per hour, more than twice the speed of sound.
Wilma Rudolph: 1st American woman to win three gold medals in a single Olympics, on September 7.