= Famous Firsts
Click here for return to worldwide list of notable peacemakers (& for meaning of symbols).

c370-415 AD - Hypatia - First notable female mathematician. Assassinated by Christian mob. A symbol of martryed Reason, feminism & Classical paganism.

1098-1179 - Hildegard of Bingen - Composer, philosopher, Christian mystic, Benedictine abbess, visionary & polymath. "Sibyl of the Rhine" Wrote first surviving morality play.

1304-1374 - Petrarch - Scholar & lyrical poet. Ofen called "Father of Humanism." First to develop the concept of the "Dark Ages."

1493-1540 - Juan Luis Vives - First scholar to analyze the psyche directly. Supported children's education.

1603-1683 - Roger Williams - Theologian. First American proponent of religious freedom & separation of church & state. "Arguably the first abolitionist in North America."

1658-1743 - Abbé de Saint-Pierre - Writer & radical. One of the first to propose an international organisation for maintaining peace.

c1767-1843 - Sequoyah - Cherokee silversmith. His 1821 syllabary pioneered reading & writing a Native American language. See Sequoyah Birthplace Museum in Vonore, TN.

1774-1852 - David Low Dodge - Teacher & factory manager. Helped found world's first peace society in New York in 1815.

1782-1820 - Elihu Embree - Published "The Emancipator" (1st entirely abolitionist US newspaper). Died at age 38. His home SW of Telford, TN, harbored runaway slaves.

1789-1839 - Benjamin Lundy - Abolitionist. Established several anti-slavery newspapers. Started the abolutionist movement in 1815.

1799-1872 - Joseph Pease - Railway manager. First Quaker MP. President of the Peace Society 1860-1872.

1815-1902 - Elizabeth Cady Stanton - Suffragist. Presented "Declaration of Sentiments" to first women's rights convention in 1848.

1818-1893 - Lucy Stone - Abolitionist & suffragist. First Massachusetts woman to earn college degree. First recorded US woman to retain own last name after marriage.

1820-1871 - Alice Cary - Sister of Phoebe Cary (qv). Poet. First president of Sorosis, first professional women's club in USA. See Jane Cunningham Croly.

1824-1894 - Ranald MacDonald - Adventurer. First person to teach English in Japan. Click here for Japanese-American monuments.

1828-1910 - Henri Dunant - Businessman. Organized ICRC in 1863. Received first Nobel Peace Prize. 1901 with Frédéric Passy

1833-1896 - Alfred Nobel - Industrialist. Endowed the World's First Peace Prize.

1833-1906 - Elie Ducommun - First director of International Peace Bureau (IPB) in 1891. 1902 with Albert Gobat

1835-1926 - Olympia Brown - Suffragist. First ordained woman minister in USA (Universalist). Voted in 1920 at age 85.

1836-1902 - Jan Bloch - Banker. Wrote "La Guerre Future" in 1898. Opened world's first peace museum in Lucerne (Switzerland) in 1902.

1842-1932 - Anna Elizabeth Dickinson - Orator, abolitionist & suffragist. First woman to speak before the US Congress.

1843-1914 - Baroness Bertha von Suttner - Radical pacifist. First woman to receive Nobel Peace Prize. Wrote "Lay Down Your Arms!" in 1889. P 1905

1843-1914 - Albert Gobat - First secretary general of Interparliamentary Union. 1902 with Élie Ducommun

1844-1916 - Klas Pontus Arnoldson - Author, politician & pacifist. First head of Swedish Peace & Arbitration Society in 1883. 1908 w/Fredric Bajer

1846-1919 - Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis - Lutheran preacher who lost his faith, then started a political fight for workers. First socialist in Dutch parliament. P

1847-1919 - Anna Howard Shaw - Physician. Leader of suffrage movement & League to Enforce Peace. First female Methodist minister in USA.

1847-1934 - Kate Sheppard - Most prominent member of suffrage movement in New Zealand (first country to introduce universal suffrage).

1851-1929 - Theodore E. Burton - Congressman. Pres of American Peace Society. Hosted 13,000 at First World Conference on Intl Justice in Cleveland in 1928.

1854-1929 - Aletta Jacobs - Organized Women's Peace Congress in 1915. Helped found Women's Intl. League for Peace & Freedom.

1854-1938 - Bolton Hall - Lawyer, author & activist. Worked on behalf of the poor. "Father of back to the land movement." Founded Free Acres in 1910.

1856-1915 - Booker T. Washington - Educator, author, orator & political leader. Headed Tuskeegee Institute from 1881. First black invited to White House.

1863-1947 - Mary Emma Woolley - Peace activist & suffragist. First female student at Brown Univ. Pres of Mount Holyoke College.

1867-1954 - William Pierson Merrill - Presbyterian minister. First president of Church Peace Union in 1914.

1869-1970 - Alice Hamilton - Peace activist & first woman on faculty of Harvard Medical School.

1872-1934 - Blaise Diagne - First black African in French National Assembly. Mayor of Dakar. Helped W.E.B DuBois w/1st Pan-African Congress in 1919.

1877-1933 - Henry Hodgkin - Co-founded Fellowship of Reconciliation (England) in 1914. First director of Pendle Hill (USA) in 1930.

1878-1959 - Carlos Saavedra Lamas - Academic & politician. First Latin American to receive Nobel Peace Prize. 1936

1885-1962 - Charles Francis Potter - Advocate of women’s rights, birth control, civil divorce laws, humanism, euthansia & end to capital punishment.

1885-1974 - Richard Gregg - Philosopher of nonviolence. Lived with Scott & Helen Nearing. Influenced MLK, Aldous Huxley, Bayard Rustin & Robert Swann. P

1886-1954 - Ellen Starr Brinton - Feminist & internationalist. First curator of the Swarthmore College Peace Collection (USA).

1894-1977 - Pierre-Marie Theas - Resisted Nazi occupation. First Bishop President of Pax Christi in 1945.

1895-1967 - Gladdys Muir - Brethern. Founded world's first peace studies program at Manchester College, Indiana, leading to many others.

1896-1971 - George Brock Chisholm - Medical practitioner. First Director-General of World Health Organization (WHO). Advocated religious tolerance. 1959

1903-1971 - Ralph Bunche - Political scientist & diplomat. Mediated in Palestine. First person of color to receive Nobel Peace Prize. 1950 1963

1910-1939 - August Dickmann - First conscientious objector executed by the Nazis in Germany during World War II. CO

1913-2010 - Michael Foot - Labour Party politician, journalist & author. Led first march by Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) in 1958.

1914-1995 - Jonas Salk - Medical researcher & virologist. Discovered the first safe & effective polio vaccine. 1976

1915-Alive - Joseph Abileah - Israel’s first conscientious objector. Biography by Anthony Bing. P CO

1916-2006 - Adam Curle - Peace activist. First professor of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford (England).

1919-2006 - Desmond Doss - Seventh Day Adventist. First US conscientious objector to receive Medal of Honor & one of only three so honored. CO

1921-Alive - Garry Davis - Peace activist. Renounced US citizenship in Paris in 1948. Created first "World Passport." Began "World Citizen Radio" at age 91.

1925-1989 - John T. Walker - First African American bishop of Episcopal Diocese of Washington, DC. Arrested while protesting apartheid at South African Embassy.

1925-2011 - Frank Kameny - Led "Herculean struggle" after being fired in 1957 for being gay. Filed first civil rights claim based on sexual orientation.

1929-Alive - Maurice Strong - Oil executive. First Exec Director of UN Environment Programme. President of Council of UN University for Peace.

1930-1978 - Harvey Milk - Politician. First openly gay man to be elected to public office in California. Assassinated.

1931-Alive - Pete Stark - Member of Congress since 1973. Early opponent of Iraq War. First openly atheist member of Congress. 2008

1931-Alive - Bishop Desmond Tutu - Anti-apartheid activist. First black Archbishop. 1984 1986 1992 2009

1936-1994 - James Stoll - First ordained minister of any religion in USA or Canada (& possibly the entire world) to come out as gay.

1938-Alive - Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf - First woman freely elected as a head of state in Africa. 2011 with Leymah Gbowee & Tawakul Karman

1947-Alive - Gene Robinson - First openly gay Episcopal bishop.

1949-Alive - Kiran Bedi - Social activist. First woman officer in Indian Police Service (IPS).

1961-Alive - Barak Hussein Obama II - 44th US president. First African-American US president. 2009

1968-Alive - Malcolm Kendall-Smith - First British officer to face criminal charges for challenging legality of war against Iraq (in RAF). CO