Celebrating creative energy and inspiration…
“good ideas”…visionary women in history

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Why, the idea! 

In my 30s, I began to seek out role-models among women I knew (or would like to know) who were 15, 30, 50 years older than I. These were women who were living lives or doing things that I could realistically aspire to (as opposed to so many of the amazing women profiled in other areas of The HildeGarden.) I’m still doing it…(although now anyone more than 40 years older than I would most likely not be walking on this earth) …it might be for a single thing that they do…the way they dress or carry themselves…their courage, humor, wit…use of ellipses… 

She loved the idea of ideas. As do I. It doesn’t matter whose they are. Mine or someone else’s. 


When I was in high school, I would occasionally go on outings with my Aunt Mame and an elderly friend of hers, Rena Hodgson. Our travels would take us to various little old towns and historic sites in southern Ohio and Indiana, and usually involved “antiquing.” Mrs Hodgson (as we always called her) would have fit in perfectly as a character in Downton Abbey. A product of  the Edwardian Era, she was small, spry, spunky, yet somehow elegant.  In her 80s then, she wielded her walking stick in the manner of a dowager duchess. Yet she was quite down-to-earth: a doctor’s widow, she had also been an art teacher and a china painter.  (The image is of  a wicker tray she painted at age 82, and it rests on a shelf in our dining room today.)

I have such a vivid memory of her perched on a spindly chair, her walking stick balanced under one hand, listening to the proprietor who was showing her some object and explaining its unique purpose, then gently exclaiming: “Why, the eyedeeeaaa…” 

She loved the idea of ideas. As do I. It doesn’t matter whose they are. Mine or someone else’s. 

Good ideas are just a joy. And now, through this miracle of technology, they are being realized, shared, generated…me3

The intellectual, the moral, the religious seem to me all naturally bound up and interlinked together in one great and harmonious whole.”

-Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace was born in 1815 – the daughter of famous poet Lord Byron and his mathematics-loving wife, Anne. Ada inherited the talents of both her father and mother, developing an approach which she referred to as ‘poetical science’ – integrating poetry and science in order to better question basic assumptions.Throughout her life, Ada was fascinated by scientific developments. In June 1833, this passion lead Ada to view a prototype of Charles Babbage’s Difference Machine – the first mechanical computer. Ada became enthralled with the machine, visiting it as often as possible.

In 1842, Ada translated a short article by the Italian mathematician, Luigi Menabrea, called the Analytical Engine. On Charles Babbage’s request, Ada went on to expand on this piece of work until it was more than three times the length of the original and contained several prescient observations on how the machine could be used.

In one of her notes, Ada wrote an algorithm which she theorised could be used by the Analytical Engine to compute Bernoulli numbers. This is what lead to Ada’s famous nickname as ‘the first computer programmer.’ Her notes later inspired Alan Turing’s work on modern computers. –from Trailblazers

Ada Lovelace Day
Tuesday 11 October 2016
Ada Lovelace Day (ALD) is an international celebration day of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Amazing Grace

Grace Hopper joined the U.S. Navy during World War II and was assigned to program the Mark I computer. She continued to work in computing after the war, leading the team that created the first computer language compiler, which led to COBOL. She resumed active naval service at the age of 60, becoming a rear admiral before retiring in 1986. Hopper died in Virginia in 1992.Owing to her accomplishments and her naval rank, she is sometimes referred to as “Amazing Grace“. The U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Hopper  is named for her, as is the Cray XE6 “Hopper” supercomputer at NERSC.

Elizabeth J. Magie (1866-1948) invented The Landlord’s Game to teach players about the unfairness of “land-grabbing”, and the disadvantages of renting. Magie received a patent for the game in 1904, and self-published it in 1906.

Thirty years later, unemployed heating salesman Charles Darrow slightly changed the design of the board, renamed it Monopoly, and then claimed to have invented the game. In 1935, he applied for and received a patent for the new version. He sold the patent to Parker Brothers, and both he and the game company made a fortune.

Elizabeth, however did not. In 1935, she sold her patent for The Landlord’s Game to Parker Brothers for $500. Not much, considering that the game she invented is still one of the most popular board games played today.

(Oh the irony!)me3

“Children of nine or ten years […] can easily understand the game and they get a good deal of hearty enjoyment out of it. They like to handle the make-believe money, deeds, etc., and the little landlords take a general delight in demanding the payment of their rent. They learn that the quickest way to accumulate wealth and gain power is to get all the land they can in the best localities and hold on to it.”
– from The Lemelson Center for the study of innovation and invention


Top 10 Inventions by Women that changed the World…

sunThe Sun Queen

Solar-power pioneer and biophysicist, Maria Telkes (1900-1992) worked with architect Eleanor Raymond in 1947 to build the first home the USA that was entirely heated by solar power.

First solar home in the USA


Eleanor Raymond (1887 – 1989) was an American architect with a professional career of some sixty years of practice, mainly in residential housing. She designed one of the first International Style houses in the United States, in 1931. She also explored the use of innovative materials and building systems, designing a plywood house in 1940 as well as one of the first successful solar-heated buildings in the Northeast, the “Sun House”, in 1948.
Raymond took part in a number of social movements of her day, including the women’s suffrage movement and the settlement house movement.

letitia greer

The Single-Handed Syringe
Letitia Geer 
was granted a patent in 1899 for a hand syringe with “the combination of a cylinder, piston, and an operating-rod which is bent upon itself to form a smooth and rigid arm terminating in a handle, which, in its extreme positions, is located within reach of the figers of the hand which holds the cylinder.” While it’s true that other types of syringes existed before this one, Geer’s invention is functionally the same syringe used today.

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