Across the centuries and from many lands, women have undertaken journeys of discovery and expanded the world’s body of knowledge. Yet despite their extraordinary achievements, they are little known. In Women of Discovery, Mary Tiegreen and I redress this oversight with a book that documents the contributions of 83 heroic visionaries, artists, and scientists. The book highlights the accomplishments, setbacks, and daunting hurdles these women had to overcome.

Included, for example, are:


Lady Wen-Chi AD 178
An involuntary traveler, Lady Wen-Chi was a Chinese Han Dynasty Court lady who was kidnapped by the Mongols, and became the bride of a chief. Over time she began to love her life in the Steppes. When at last many years later she was ransomed and had to leave her family behind to return to the Court, she wrote haunting poetry about her life with the nomads. She almost alone of all her class was able to experience the other, appreciate it and convey her experiences to become a bridge between disparate worlds.

Mina Benson Hubbard 1870-1956
Mina Hubbard’s husband, Leonidas, editor of a popular outdoor magazine, planned an expedition to cross and map unknown Labrador. He died of starvation during the expedition. Spurred to complete her husbands work she trained for 2 years learning mapping, surveying, and canoeing. Embarking on her expedition, she was the first to survey many remote areas, record local flora and fauna, and write of the great caribou migration.


Sue Hendrickson  b. 1949
Sue Hendrickson discovered  in 1990 what was then the largest T-Rex ever found, subsequently named for her. Renowned as a fossil hunter Hendrickson has also made breakthrough discoveries about fossilized amber. She has joined a number of expeditions documenting ancient wrecks and was part of the team that has been diving and making discoveries about the ancient city of Alexandria that sank beneath the sea in a violent earthquake 2,000 years ago.

Eugenie Clark 1922-2015
Genie Clark a marine biologist, was one of the first people to undertake a life-long study of sharks. By working with and studying a variety of sharks, she developed a keen understanding of their nature, which she wrote about in numerous papers and books. It was her hope that through understanding we could overcome our fear of these giant predators and come to appreciate their critical role in the ocean.

eugenie clark

Annie Smith Peck 1850-1935
Annie Peck left her job as Professor of Latin at Purdue University to follow her passion, climbing the most challenging mountains she could find. She is one of a handful of serious women mountaineers. She made several firsts, including reaching the summit of Mount Huascarán in Peru all the while making scientific measurements. Peck’s last climb was when she was in her 80’s.