Jersey Girls…

The exploration of great New Jersey women, in honor of Women’s History Month, continues today with a look at 14 more ladies who have all called the Garden State home at some point in their lives.

Bette Midler: (1945-) As an entertainer, Midler has achieved more in music, movies and television than most celebrities dream of. Born in Paterson, Midler has produced 13 albums and has been nominated for two Academy Awards. (Mister D: Guess this was wishful thinking… )

– Christie Whitman: (1946-) Being elected the state’s first female governor was just the start for this environmental leader. As head of the state, she appointed Jersey’s first black supreme court justice, its first female supreme court justice and its first female Attorney General.

Born in New York, Whitman grew up in Hunterdon County. She now serves in a cabinet position under President George W. Bush as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

– Mary Philbrook: (1872-1958) This Jersey City native became the first female lawyer allowed into the state bar in 1895. She also became the first woman to practice law before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1906.

– Queen Latifah: (1970-) Born in Newark as Dana Elaine Owens, Queen Latifah became a pioneer for female rappers. She won a Grammy in 1993 and is now an accomplished actress, competing this year for an Academy Award for her role in the movie Chicago.

– Joyce Carol Oates: (1938-) A New York native, Oates moved to Princeton in the late 1970s to teach in the university’s creative writing program. She has authored more than 70 books, won the National Book Award and been nominated twice for the Nobel Prize in literature.

– Sarah Vaughn: (1924-1990) As a jazz artist, this Newark-born singer began her career in the church and became an international name. She recorded songs with some of jazz’s best performers and earned a Grammy in the 1980s.

– Meryl Streep: (1949-) This Summit-born actress stood out even as a young woman — she was named the homecoming queen of Bernards High School. Since then the two-time Oscar winner has become a force in Hollywood and redefined the role of a leading lady. She is competing against Queen Latifah for an Academy Award in the best supporting actress category for her performance in Adaptation.

– Ruth Cheney Streeter: (1895-1990) She became the first director of the U.S. Marine Corps Women’s Reserve in 1943, paving the way for females to enlist in defending the country. Streeter was born and lived most of her life in Morristown where she served as the first woman president of the Morris County Welfare Board.

– Dorothy Parker: (1893-1967) As a writer, Parker focused on satire and pessimism. The West End-born poet and short story author wrote for Vanity Fair and The New Yorker before settling into her own award-winning work. There is now a club in New York devoted to honoring her life.

– Dionne Warwick: (1940-) An East Orange native, Warwick recorded her first hit album while in her early 20s. She was the first black female solo artist of her generation to win a Grammy and helped launch the Soul Train Music Awards.

– Toni Morrison: (1931-) Though she was born in Ohio, this famed author now calls New Jersey home. When she became a named professor on the Council of Humanities at Princeton University in 1987, she was the first black female writer to hold such a position at an Ivy League school.

– Alice Huyler Ramsey: (1886-1983) This Hackensack native left her male counterparts in the dust, literally, when she drove from New York City to San Francisco in 1909. She was the first woman to complete the transcontinental trip, and she did it in 59 days, faster than any man had done. At 22 years old, she went through 11 spare tires on unpaved roads.

– Rita Sapiro Finkler: (1888-1968) Though she was born in the Ukraine, Finkler began working as a young doctor in Newark. She became the first woman on the senior medical staff at Beth Israel Hospital in Newark and performed the first pregnancy tests in the state.

– Tara Reid: (1975-) As a young actress, Reid has made a name for herself in teen movies. The Wyckoff-born actress was in American Pie, Van Wilder and Dr. T & the Women.

©The Trentonian 2003

Share A little Divinity
Verified by MonsterInsights