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An Exhaustive List of Famous Firsts and Pioneers in American History

Famous Firsts in American History
Have you ever wondered what George Washington, the first President of America and Oprah Winfrey, the first African-American woman to own her own television production company have in common? They both were the famous firsts in American history. Read the following Historyplex article to know some more famous firsts.
Historyplex Staff
There are 86400 seconds in a day. 86400 moments to create firsts.
― David Cuschieri

Time and history have borne witness to remarkable incidences, and the most amazing people who have not only stepped out of the ordinary, but have opened doors and paved way for many more who dared to follow them. You can even say that these brave individuals set a new trend.
Some of these people have shown immense courage and attempted to do something that not only got them fame and success but also inspired the future generations of this country.
These extraordinary people dared to step out of the ordinary and become a first. And this Historyplex post lists out some famous firsts in American history.
Important Firsts in American History
Virginia Dare
Year: 1587
First child born in the American colonies

Anne Bradstreet
Year: 1650
First published American woman writer

Ann Smith Franklin
Year: 1762
First woman newspaper editor

John Jay
Year: 1789
First Chief Justice of the United States

Frederick Muhlenberg
Year: 1789
First Speaker of the House of Representatives

Edmund Randolph
Year: 1789
First Attorney General.

George Washington

Year: 1789
First and only President to be elected with a unanimous vote

Martha Washington
Year: 1789
First Lady

Benjamin Stoddert

Year: 1798
First Secretary of the Navy

Thomas Jefferson
Year: 1801
First President to be inaugurated in Washington D.C.

Mary Lyon

Year: 1837
Founded the first women's college in the U.S.

William Henry Harrison

Year: 1841
First President to die in office.

Elizabeth Blackwell
Year: 1849
First woman to receive medical degree in U.S.

Antoinette Brown Blackwell

Year: 1853
First American woman ordained a minister

William Carney

Year: 1863
First African-American to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor

Mary Walker

Year: 1865
First and only woman to receive the Medal of Honor

David Glasgow Farragut

Year: 1866
First admiral, rear admiral, and vice admiral in the U.S. Navy

Lucy Hobbs Taylor

Year: 1867
First woman to become a certified dentist

Ebenezer D. Bassett

Year: 1869
First African-American diplomat

Arabella Mansfield

Year: 1869
First woman lawyer

Jefferson Long

Year: 1870
First African-American elected to U.S. House of Representatives

Hiram Revels

Year: 1870
First African-American Senator

Victoria Woodhull

Year: 1872
First woman to run for President of the U.S.

Herbert Hoover

Year: 1874
First President to be born on U.S. soil

Belva Ann Bennett Lockwood

Year: 1879
First female lawyer to plead a case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Mary Mahoney

Year: 1879
First African-American female nurse

Moses Fleetwood Walker

Year: 1884
First African-American major league baseball player

Susanna M. Salter

Year: 1887
First woman elected as mayor

Louise Blanchard Bethune

Year: 1890
First American woman architect

Louis Henry Sullivan

Year: 1891
First American architect to build a skyscraper

Myra Bradwell

Year: 1892
First female lawyer in the U.S.

May Sutton Brandy

Year: 1904
First American woman to win at Wimbledon

Alice Wells

Year: 1910
First policewoman in the U.S.

Harriet Quimby

Year: 1911
First woman to fly across the English Channel

Louis D. Brandeis

Year: 1916
First Jewish member of the U.S. Supreme Court

Jeannette Rankin

Year: 1916
First woman elected to U.S. Congress

Lucy Slowe

Year: 1920
First African-American woman to win a major sports title in the U.S.

Bessie Coleman

Year: 1921
First African-American female pilot.

Margaret Gorman

Year: 1921
First Miss America.

Clifton Reginald Wharton, Sr.

Year: 1924
First African-American diplomat to become an ambassador

Gertrude Ederle

Year: 1926
First American woman to swim the English Channel.

Al Jolson

Year: 1927
First to star in the first talking picture, The Jazz Singer

Janet Gaynor

Year: 1928
First winner of the Academy Award for Best Actress.

Ellen Church

Year: 1930
First female flight attendant.

Sinclair Lewis

Year: 1930
First American recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature

Jane Addams

Year: 1931
First American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize

Hattie Caraway

Year: 1932
First woman United States Senator

Amelia Earhart

Year: 1932
First woman to fly transatlantic solo

Frances Perkins

Year: 1933
First woman to be included in the U.S. Presidential Cabinet.

Lettie Pate Whitehead

Year: 1934
First American woman to be on Coca-Cola's board of directors.

Wallis Warfield Simpson

Year: 1936
Was the first Woman of the Year in the Time magazine.

Hattie McDaniel

Year: 1940
First African-American to win an Academy Award, and to be honored with a U.S. postage stamp

Gwendolyn Brooks

Year: 1949
First African-American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize

Florence Chadwick

Year: 1951
First woman to have swum across the English Channel in each direction.

Jacqueline Cochrane

Year: 1953
First woman to have flown a bomber across the Atlantic

Tenley Albright

Year: 1953
First American female skater to win an Winter Olympics gold medal

Marian Anderson

Year: 1955
First African-American to perform at the Metropolitan Opera

Althea Gibson

Year: 1957
First African-American to win a Wimbledon singles title

William O'Ree

Year: 1958
First African-American hockey player in the NHL

Ruth Carol Taylor

Year: 1958
First African-American woman to become a flight attendant

Clifton R Wharton, Jr.

Year: 1958
First African-American US foreign minister

Hiram L. Fong

Year: 1959
First Chinese-American in the U.S. Senate

Daniel K. Inouye

Year: 1959
First Japanese-American in the U.S. House of Representatives

Harry Belafonte

Year: 1960
First African-American performer to win an Emmy Award

Roy Claxton Acuff

Year: 1962
First living inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame

John Glenn

Year: 1962
First U.S. astronaut to orbit the Earth

Jerrie Mock

Year: 1964
First woman to fly solo around the world

Sidney Poitier

Year: 1964
First African-American to win an Academy Award for Best Actor

Patricia R Harris

Year: 1965
First African-American woman to serve in the U.S. Cabinet

Robert C. Weaver

Year: 1966
First African-American to hold a cabinet-level position in the U.S.

Thurgood Marshall

Year: 1967
First African-American to become a Supreme Court judge

Muriel Siebert

Year: 1967
First woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange

Carl Stokes

Year: 1967
First African-American to be elected mayor of a major city

Shirley Chisholm

Year: 1968
First African-American woman elected to the House of Representatives

Neil Armstrong

Year: 1969
First man to walk on the moon

Elizabeth P. Hoisington

Year: 1970
First female brigadier general in the armed forces

Bella Savitsky
Abzug
Year: 1971
First Jewish woman in Congress

Bernice Gera

Year: 1972
First female umpire in professional baseball

Jean Westwood

Year: 1972
First female chair of the Democratic National Committee

Richard Milhous Nixon

Year: 1974
First and the only U.S. President to resign from office

George Carlin

Year: 1975
First host of Saturday Night Live

Ella Grasso

Year: 1975
First woman governor

Sarah Caldwell

Year: 1976
First female conductor at the Metropolitan Opera

Bette Davis

Year: 1977
First woman to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute

Janet Guthrie

Year: 1977
First woman to qualify and race at the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500

Harvey Milk

Year: 1977
First acknowledged homosexual elected to high local office

Sandra Day O'Connor

Year: 1981
First woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court

Guion Stewart Bluford, Jr.

Year: 1983
First African-American in space

Elizabeth Dole

Year: 1983
First female U.S. Secretary of a branch of the U.S. Military

Sally Kristen Ride
Year: 1983
First woman in space

Vanessa Williams
Year: 1983
First African-American Miss America

Joan Benoit
Year: 1984
First women's Olympic marathon champion

Geraldine Ferraro
Year: 1984
First female Vice Presidential candidate

Kathryn Sullivan
Year: 1984
First American woman to walk in space

Penny Harrington

Year: 1985
First woman police chief of a major city

Oprah Winfrey

Year: 1986
First African-American woman to own her own television production company

Aretha Franklin
Year: 1987
First woman to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Gertrude Belle Elion
Year: 1988
First woman to be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Penny Marshall
Year: 1988
First woman film director whose film earned more than USD 100 million at the box office

Antonia Novello
Year: 1990
First woman to be named Surgeon General of the U.S.

Mae Carol Jemison
Year: 1992
First African-American woman in space

Maya Angelou
Year: 1993
First female poet to read a poem at the Presidential inauguration

Carol Elizabeth Moseley-Braun
Year: 1993
First African-American U.S. Senator for the Democratic Party

Janet Reno
Year: 1993
First woman to serve as Attorney General.

Sheila Widnall
Year: 1993
First female Secretary of the Air Force.

Madeleine Albright
Year: 1996
First woman Secretary of State of the United States

Claudia Kennedy

Year: 1997
First female US Army three-star general

Jane Henney

Year: 1998
First woman appointed Commissioner of the USFDA

Eileen Collins
Year: 1999
First woman astronaut to command a space shuttle mission

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Year: 2000
First former first-lady ever elected to national office

Colin Powell
Year: 2000
First African-American Secretary of State

Halle Berry
Year: 2002
First African-American woman to win an Oscar for Best Actress

Vonetta Flowers
Year: 2002
First African-American woman to win a gold at the Winter Olympics

Gene Robinson
Year: 2003
First and openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church in U.S.

Condoleezza Rice
Year: 2005
First female African-American Secretary of State.

Tony Dungy
Year: 2007
First African-American coach to win the Super Bowl

Keith Ellison

Year: 2007
First Muslim member of the U.S. Congress

Drew Gilpin Faust
Year: 2007
First woman president of Harvard University

Ann Dunwoody
Year: 2008
First woman four-star general in the United States military.

Sarah Palin
Year: 2008
First Republican woman to be nominated for Vice President

Barack Hussein Obama Jr.
Year: 2009
First African-American U.S. President

Michelle Obama
Year: 2009
First African-American U.S. First Lady


These phenomenal people have shown us that if you have a clear wish and some courage in your heart, there is nothing that can hold you back from being the next archetype at whatever you are good at.
Monticello