She will forever be known as the first woman to run for the U.S. presidency, in 1872. If you thought that women didn’t start running for office until after 2000, you’re off by a century thanks to the bravery and boldness of Ms. Woodhull. She took a major step forward for the women’s suffrage movement, especially considering that the 15th amendment was ratified only a few years earlier without addressing the issue of women’s right to vote. Ms. Woodhull also was the first woman to found a newspaper and run a brokerage firm on Wall Street.
Amundsen was the first person to reach the South Pole, traverse the Northwest Passage and lead the first expedition to the North Pole. At a time when trade routes were the life to international commerce, the question of a Northwest Passage had countries desperately navigating the rough Arctic seas. Amundsen was the first to safely find such a path and complete the mapping of the world’s reminding unknown coastlines.
A Polish medical doctor who saved thousands of Jews during the Holocaust by creating a fake epidemic. Thanks to a medical discovery by his friend, Dr Stanislav Matulewicz, Lazowski created a fake outbreak of Epidemic Typhus, a dangerous infectious disease. Matulewicz discovered that by injecting a healthy person with a “vaccine” of killed bacteria, that person would test positive for Epidemic Typhus without experiencing the symptoms. Lazowski spread it in and around the town of Rozwadów (now a district of Stalowa Wola), which the Germans then quarantined. This saved an estimated 8,000 Polish Jews from certain death in German concentration camps during the Holocaust.
Alongside Sir Edmund Hillary, the Nepalese Sherpa was one of the first people to climb Mount Everest, but he never received the same level of recognition for his achievement. After reaching the summit of the 29,000ft peak on 29 May 1953, New Zealander Hillary, along with British Expedition leader John Hunt, were both knighted – but Tenzing received only an honorary medal.
Rustin was an African-American who inspired and taught the most prominent figures of the US civil rights movement, including Martin Luther King. Having grown up during the Depression, from a young age Rustin campaigned for change, inventing tactics that inspired the later mass-movement that finally achieved it. He was arrested for protesting about segregated bus seating 13 years before Rosa Park’s famous act of defiance. Crucially, inspired by Gandhi, in 1956 he convinced rising leader Martin Luther King that a policy of non-violent protest was vital to achieve equal rights. His plan worked, but as the movement gained momentum, a political rival who knew of Rustin’s homosexuality threatened to accuse Rustin and King of having an affair. In order to protect the cause, Rustin stepped into the shadows, relinquishing his place in history
In 1417, the young scholar discovered the last surviving manuscript of On the Nature of Things, a seminal poem by Roman philosopher Lucretius, full of radical ideas about a universe operating without gods and that matter made up of minuscule particles in perpetual motion, colliding and swerving in ever-changing directions. With Bracciolini’s discovery began the copying and translation of this powerful ancient text, which in turn fueled the Renaissance and inspired great minds like Galileo. Bracciolini’s landmark discovery and its impact on centuries of human intellectual life, laying the foundations for nearly everything we take as a cultural given today.