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Monday, March 27, 2017

Ann Cole Lowe and Ada Lovelace -- Learning about Women in History


For our final post this year for Women's History Month I am sharing two books I found at the library. The first book is Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Fashion Designer Ann Cole Lowe by Deborah Blumenthal and illustrated by Laura Freeman.



http://littlebeebooks.com/books/format/picture-books/fancy-party-gowns-story-fashion-designer-ann-cole-lowe/
Have you ever heard of Ann Cole Lowe? I hadn't. She is a black fashion designer who designed gowns for wealthy women. In fact she was the first African American woman to design couture clothing. She designed Jacqueline Kennedy's wedding dress as well as the bridesmaid dresses.
Toni Frissell, John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier on their wedding day, 1953
John F. Kennedy & Jacqueline Kennedy on their Wedding Day
by Toni Frissell [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Ann Cole Lowe worked hard showing that black women could design couture clothing. Women from all over wanted to wear her one of a kind gowns. One of her clients sent her to design school in New York. She had to study alone since she was the only (and first) black person in the school and segregation was still around. She had many struggles including losing her own salon due to financial issues. This book does a wonderful job of introducing her amazing story.

http://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Ada-Lovelace-Poet-of-Science/Diane-Stanley/9781481452496

Now it seems that everyone is publishing books about Ada Byron Lovelace. I have reviewed several already. Of course I am always drawn to books about female mathematicians and scientists so I had to check out the newest one: Ada Lovelace: Poet of Science by Diane Stanley and illustrated by Jessie Hartland. Each book seems to give a different perspective about Ada Lovelace. This book has a cartoonish feeling to it.

In this book they share her wondering about weaving machines at a factory and thinking that the method of telling it designs through punched out holes could work for other things. This of course is how computers once worked.

It is fascinating to see how much Ada Lovelace could see where our technology would lead. She was the first computer programmer before there were computers to program.

This is how I am ending my Women's History Month 2017 posts with these two amazing women who were really ahead of their times.