Welcome to America Comes Alive!, a site I created to share little-known stories of America's past. These stories are about Americans - people just like you - who have made a difference and changed the course of history. Look around the site and find what inspires you. Kate Kelly

Inspirational Women

Sue Hendrickson (1949- )

Deep Sea Diver and Dinosaur Hunter Curiosity and serendipity helped Sue Hendrickson carve out an ideal life as an explorer. Hendrickson was raised in Indiana... continue »

Ruth Agnes McCall Robertson (1905-1998)

Photojournalist, War Correspondent, and Explorer Ruth Robertson was born in Peoria, Illinois in 1905 and one of her “firsts” was becoming the Peoria Journal Star’s... continue »

Bessie Coleman, Early Pilot

First African-American woman to earn an international pilot’s license Bessie Coleman (1893-1926) had limited career options as a woman and as an African American. When... continue »

Josephine Baker (1906-1975)

African American Performer who had to go to Europe to be Appreciated She was born Freda Josephine McDonald in 1906 in St. Louis, Missouri. Her... continue »

Carrie Chapman Catt (1859-1947)

Suffragist and founder of the League of Women Voters Carrie Chapman Catt dedicated her life to campaigning for woman suffrage both in the United States... continue »

Nellie Bly (Elizabeth Jane Cochran): Investigative Reporter

Nellie Bly, born Elizabeth Jane Cochran (1864-1922), made a name for herself as an investigative reporter for the New York World. She is generally remembered... continue »

Marian Wright Edelman (1939- )

Lawyer, activist, children's advocate Today we know her as the founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund.  Her list of accomplishments started early; she... continue »

Agnes Nestor (1880-1948)

First female president elected to head an international labor union Nestor began work in a glove-making factory when she was still in her teens, and... continue »

Wilma Mankiller (1945-2010)

Native American community activist, tribal chief and tribal legislator Wilma Mankiller served her people as a Cherokee Chief from 1985-95, making her the first woman... continue »

Sheyann Webb (1956- )

Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Smallest Freedom Fighter" Sheyann Webb grew up in a family of eight children in Selma, Alabama and attended a segregated public... continue »

Caresse Crosby (born Mary Phelps Jacob) Invented Bra

Freed American women from corsets by designing and patenting a bra (1913) Mary Phelps Jacob (1892-1970) wanted something more comfortable than a corset to wear... continue »

Libby Riddles (1956- )

American dogsledder and first woman to win the Iditarod, 1985 The Iditarod is a grueling 1152-mile trans-Alaska dogsled race in which male mushers dominated until... continue »