Hidden Heroes

This series of messages focus on individuals who make advances to society in a number of different areas. Some of the hidden heroes were unknown at the time of their innovations. Others did receive recognition at the time, but are virtually unknown today. In some cases, others took credit for the innovations made by the hidden heroes. The messages are broken down into the following categories:

  • Alice Dunnigan: Asking Tough Questions

    Alice Dunnigan was born in Kentucky in 1906. Her father was a sharecropper and her mother took in laundry. She was raised in a strict family that valued education. She had learned to read before entering the first grade. Since the local schools only provided 10 years...

    Read More
  • Laura Bassi: The First Woman with a Science Ph.D.

    Laura Bassi was born in 1711 in Bologna, Italy. She came from a prosperous and well-connected family. She was privately educated. Beginning at age 5, she learned Latin and mathematics. Later she would learn science and philosophy. The Archbishop of Bologna was...

    Read More
  • Edith Payne

    Edith Payne was born in Chicago in 1911. Both of her parents were descendants of former slaves. She went to an integrated school but had few African-American classmates. She was inspired to pursue a writing career by one of her teachers. She studied journalism at...

    Read More
  • Dr. Dorothy Andersen: Cystic Fibrosis Pioneer

    Dorothy Andersen was born in North Carolina in 1901. When her father died when she was 13, she took over the care of her invalid mother. She went to college while caring for her mother. She graduated from Mount Holyoke with two degrees in Zoology and Chemistry. She...

    Read More
  • Alexandrine Pommery

    Jeanne Alexandrine Louis (Mélin) Pommery was born in France in 1819. She is a little-known heroine of this time of year when we celebrate the end of one year and usher in the beginning of a new year. She married Alexandre Pommery in 1839. He was the owner of a wool...

    Read More
  • Alice Marble: Athlete, Spy, Civil Rights Advocate

    She won 5 Grand Slam Tennis tournaments. She helped the Allies infiltrate the Nazi finances. And she helped desegregate tennis so that people of color could compete on a world stage. With all of these accomplishments, you would think we would know her name. But Alice...

    Read More
  • Judith Cohen: Saving Apollo 13

    Apollo 13 kept the world on edge when an oxygen bank ruptured in the service module. Life support systems were disabled. The solution was to use the backup systems on the lunar module. Millions of people rejoiced when Apollo 13 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, and...

    Read More
  • Margaret McFarland: A Neighborhood Genius

    Margaret McFarland was born near Pittsburgh in 1905. Her father died when she was 5 and her mother never remarried, and she had a lifelong regret for a lack of fathering growing up. Her mother however did provide inspiration for her future interests in child...

    Read More
  • The All-American Red Heads

    It was the roaring 20s in America. Traveling entertainment was popular in the days before technology made available the variety of entertainment we have today. While larger metropolitan areas had entertainment clubs, rural America relied upon vagabond entertainers who...

    Read More
  • Ralph Lazo: A Volunteer for Injustice

    Ralph Lazo was born in 1924 to parents who were Mexican and Irish American. His mother died when he was seven, and he was raised by his father. Discrimination was a fact of his life. He was born in a hospital for African Americans. He spent time as a young child on a...

    Read More