Courtesy of Library of Congress

Ernestine Rose 1810-1892

Born Ernestine Potowski in Poland, this rabbi's daughter began asserting her independence early on, when at age 16 she refused an arranged marriage schemed by her father (she married Englishman William Rose many years later). An early and outspoken advocate for women's rights, Ernestine Rose campaigned throughout the world for women's equality under the law. Largely as a result of her advocacy, New York passed the first married women's property law in 1848, which guaranteed women the control of their property even after marriage, when it had typically been transferred to their husbands. Elected president of the National Women's Rights Convention in 1854, Rose lectured in churches, barns, and state legislatures, winning accolades for her fiery oratory. Susan B. Anthony often paid tribute to Rose for her pioneering efforts.