New York Women

Contributing Author of America’s Notable Women Series, Apprentice Shop Books:

 New York WomenWomen of the Empire State:
25 New York Women You should Know

By Deborah Bruss and Others (including Joyce Ray)
Illustrated by Lisa Greenleaf

Being “first” means breaking barriers. Students will learn how these  New York women overcame challenges and became leaders in medicine, journalism, science, and the arts. 25 New York Women You should Know.

RL 5.5 – ages 9 and up
Interest level: grades 5 and above (136 pages)
ISBN 978-0-9723410-8-0

Janet Collins was the first African-American prima ballerina at the Metropolitan Opera in 1951. She said she “felt like a doorknob, the dancer who opened the door.”

“I used every gift God gave me,” said Janet. “The gift of love is the greatest. It’s a difficult thing because there are people I know that I can’t stand. But love doesn’t mean affection. It means treating them justly even when they are terrible people. That takes a bit of doing, an awful lot of grace.”

Source: I Dream a World: Black Women Who Changed America, Brian Lanker


Emily Roebling quietly helped supervise the building of the Brooklyn Bridge for eleven years in the late 1800s. She weathered construction difficulties while nursing her Chief Engineer husband who had fallen ill.

This same temperament helped her to later put up with Washington Roebling’s pet water snake. He took the snake on trips and provided it with a water-filled vase. Because it climbed on his bureau and flicked its tongue in the mirror, Emily said, “We think the snake is a female because it likes to look at itself in the looking glass.”

Source: Silent Builder, Emily Warren Roebling and the Brooklyn Bridge, Marilyn Weigold



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