Thursday, December 14, 2023

Happy Birthday to Eight Eminent Women


Happy 481st Birthday to Mary, Queen of Scots

Queen of Scotland (1542-1567)

Born: December 8, 1542

Birthplace: Linlithgow Palace, Linlithgow, Scotland

Died: February 8, 1587 (44 years old)


Queen Elizabeth I of England, the daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, imprisoned Mary, Henry’s great-niece, and eventually had her beheaded for treason. 


“In the end is my beginning.”


Happy 193rd Birthday to Emily Dickinson

Reclusive American poet


Born: December 10, 1830

Birthplace: Amherst, Massachusetts, United States

Died: May 15, 1886 (55 years old)


Miss Dickinson, known for dressing in white, wrote approximately 1800 poems that “were mostly without titles and had short lines, slant rhyme, and unconventional punctuation” (TFP#94). 

Most of her work was published after her death.


Happy 208th Birthday to Ada Lovelace, Countess of Lovelace

Mathematician and “Earliest Computer Programmer” (Lovelace)

Birthdate: December 10, 1815

Birthplace: London

Died: November 27, 1852 (36 years old)

Ada, the daughter of the poet Lord Byron (author of Don Juan), worked on Charles Babbage’s proposed “analytical engine,” a mechanical general-purpose computer proposed by Charles Babbage. Many believe “she published the first algorithm after realizing that the algorithm could be carried out by a machine like the Analytical Engine” (TFP#66).


"I am much pleased to find how very well I stand work and 

how my powers of attention and continued effort increase." 


Happy 205th Birthday to Mary Todd Lincoln

First Lady of the United States (1861 - 1865); President Abraham Lincoln’s wife


Born: December 13, 1818

Birthplace: Lexington, Kentucky, United States

Died: July 16, 1882 (63 years old)


Mrs. Lincoln’s intelligence and dedication to her husband are often overshadowed by her reputation as a frivolous spendthrift. After the assassination, she suffered from severe depression, financial problems, and legal disputes. 


“My evil genius Procrastination has whispered me 

to tarry ‘til a more convenient season.”


Happy 121st Birthday to Frances Bavier

Actress best known for playing Aunt Bee on The Andy Griffith Show.


Born: December 14, 1902

Birthplace: Manhattan, New York City, New York

Died: December 6, 1989 (almost 87 years old)


Ms. Bavier's career began in the theater, but it was her portrayal of Aunt Bee that made her famous and beloved by generations of fans. She earned critical acclaim for the role and was nominated for two Emmy nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.


“…Aunt Bee is so much nicer than the real me.”


Happy 538th Birthday to Catherine of Aragon

Queen Consort of England (1509 - 1533)


Birthdate: December 16, 1485

Birthplace: Alcala de Henares, Spain

Died: January 7, 1536 (50 years old)


The daughter of Spain’s monarchs, Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, and mother of Queen Mary I gained her fame as the first wife of the infamous King Henry VIII. She refused to give in to her husband’s demands for an annulment which had far-reaching religious implications. She “commissioned The Education of a Christian Woman, a controversial book promoting women’s right to education” (TFP#137).


“I choose what I believe and say nothing. 

For I am not as simple as I may seem.”


Happy 248th Birthday to Jane Austen

English author of Pride and PrejudiceSense and SensibilityPersuasion (my favorite), and other novels.


Birthdate: December 16, 1775

Birthplace: Steventon, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom

Died: July 18, 1817 (41 years old)


Miss Austen’s novels may be seen by some as lighthearted stories. On a deeper level, however, she is celebrated for her sharp wit, keen sense of irony, and insightful observations on human nature. Each novel has been adapted for film and television numerous times, and today she is recognized as a pioneer of the modern novel.


“The person, be it lady or gentleman, who has not pleasure in a good novel, 

must be intolerably stupid.”


Happy 107th Birthday to Betty Grable 

American actress known for Mother Wore Tights and How to Marry a Millionaire


Birthdate: December 18, 1916

Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Died: July 2, 1973 (56 years old)


The multi-talented Miss Grable could do it all! Actress, dancer, singer…and the pin-up girl with the famous million-dollar legs. She became a cultural icon during World War II as a symbol of hope and optimism for American soldiers who were fighting overseas. Her legacy lives on as a Hollywood legend.

“There are two reasons why I am successful in show business 

and I am standing on both of them.”


Your Turn ~ Today we're celebrating the birthdays of royalty, actresses, literary icons, and a science pioneer. Given the opportunity, which one of these notable women's parties would you most like to attend? Let me know in the comments!

My Latest Short Story!

"Christmas Comes to Springlight," a story about two feuding sisters, a tragical tragedy, a repentant thief, and a present from the past, appears in A Thrill in the Air.

The latest Mosaic Collection Christmas Anthology includes eight wonderful stories about reconciliation during the holidays.Available now on Amazon.


Johnnie writes award-winning stories in multiple genres. A fan of classic movies, stacks of books, and road trips, she shares a life of quiet adventure with Griff, her happy-go-lucky collie, and Rugby, her raccoon-treeing papillon. Visit her at

Photos ~ each photo is in the public domain; modified with Canva.

Ada Lovelace ~ Portrait of Ada by British painter, Margaret Sarah Carpenter (1836), Government Art Collection. 

Betty Grable ~ Publicity photo of Betty Grable. “This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published in the United States between 1928 and 1977, inclusive, without a copyright notice” (GrablePhoto). Created circa 1950s. 

Catherine of Aragon ~ “This is the largest miniature of Henry VIII's first wife. Three other miniatures exist, but two are circular copies of this original; the third is believed to be a companion piece to a miniature of the king. A unique feature of this work is that it includes Katharine's hands. All of Horenbout's other miniatures focused on the head and shoulders. All of his portraits have plain blue backgrounds and are traced with a gold line. Later artists such as Nicholas Hilliard inherited this style and continued it into the 17th century” (CatherinePhoto).

Emily Dickinson ~ Daguerreotype taken at Mount Holyoke, December 1846 or early 1847; the only authenticated portrait of Dickinson after early childhood. It is presently located in Amherst College Archives & Special Collections. 

Frances Bavier ~ CBS-photographer-Gabor Rona; eBay item photo. Created: 31 May 1964. 

Jane Austen ~ “From a watercolour by James Andrews of Maidenhead based on an unfinished work by Cassandra Austen. Engraving by William Home Lizars. A Memoir of Jane Austen by her nephew J. E. Austen-Leigh, Vicar of Bray, Berks. London: Richard Bentley, New Burlington Street, Publisher in Ordinary to her Majesty, 1870….Portrait of Jane Austen, from the memoir by J. E. Austen-Leigh (1798-1874). All other portraits of Austen are generally based on this, which is itself based on a sketch by Cassandra Austen” (AustenPhoto).

Mary, Queen of Scots ~ Mary in captivity, by Nicholas Hilliard, c. 1578.

Mary Todd Lincoln ~ Brady-Handy Photograph Collection (Library of Congress). 

Sources ~ all websites accessed on December 5, 2023.

Lovelace ~


The following three entries are from this website:


TFP#66 ~ Ada Lovelace is the 66th entry.

TFP#94 ~ Emily Dickinson is the 94th entry.

TFP#137 ~ Catherine of Aragon is the 137th entry.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this great post! I am torn between wanting to meet Catherine of Aragon or Jane Austen. I haven't read any of Austen's work yet and need to remedy that in the coming year. I love the line you quoted from her. And Catherine sounds like a woman who knew how to think her own thoughts and yet be circumspect at the same time. I'd like some of that composure!