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Unmarried Women, Maiden Ladies, Old Maids

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  • Alice Wise (1822 - bef.1900)
    Daughter of John and Nancy Wise. It does not apear from census data that Alice ever married. She is listed as a farmer in the 1880 census in her own right. Alice was the daughter of John and Nancy...
  • Anna Weston (1758 - 1833)
    Anna Weston died unmarried. Sources Cushman, Marion B.; Fetzer, Richard; Hill, Peter B.; & Wakefield, Robert S. "Edward Doty of the Mayflower and His Descendants for Four Generations" (1991) Gene...
    Fannie Jane Cooper (1882 - 1967)
  • Lydia Eastman (1691 - 1746)
    Children of Lydia Markham and Timothy Eastman: ii. Lydia3, b. in Hadley, Mass., May 2, 1691 ; d. Oct. .5, 1746, unm. References ”History and genealogy of the Eastman family of America : containi...
  • Abigail Tudor (1686 - d.)
    Children of Samuel Tudor (1), East Windsor and Abigail Filley: 1. Abigail, b. Oct. 12, 1686, Lived unmarried.

For those women who chose or are perhaps forced to do so from circumstance to remain single in the world. Many lead remarkable lives, raise the children of others, or live in the ordinary. All deserve to be remembered.

Not a project particularly for those who died too young to make a choice or live through the act of singleness.

Here are some famous single women and their thoughts on singleness from (Kristina Marusic, March 1, 2016)

Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) famously authored the feminist tome Little Women, and practiced what she preached by remaining independent and earning her own living at a time when doing so was still considered wildly unconventional. After visiting a married friend, she once wrote that her marriage “nest” was "Very sweet and pretty, but I'd rather be a free spinster and paddle my own canoe."

Jane Austen (1775-1817) may be a master of literary romance (and has even been dubbed the “mother of chick lit,”), but she herself never married. She was once engaged for a few hours, but she ultimately opted to remain single and dedicate her life to her work. “There are as many forms of love as there are moments in time,” she famously said.

Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has enjoyed a long career as a political scientist and diplomat. She has never been married and has no children—which she is frequently asked about, but which in the least. “I always say, the fact of the matter is you don’t want to get married in the abstract, you want to get married to someone," she said on CBS Sunday Morning. "And I’ve just not found that person that I want to get married to.”

While legendary actor Greta Garbo also enjoyed a number of affairs with famous men, she chose to prioritize her career above all and turned down numerous proposals in an era when doing so was still totally taboo. Famous quote from her: “I never said, 'I want to be alone.' I only said, 'I want to be left alone.' There is all the difference.” She's also quoted as saying, “There are some who want to get married and others who don't. I have never had an impulse to go to the altar. I am a difficult person to lead.”

Then there is the legendary designer Coco Chanel (1883-1971) who forever changed the world of fashion also famously opted to remain single her whole life. "It's probably not just by chance that I'm alone," she's quoted as saying. "It would be very hard for a man to live with me, unless he's terribly strong. And if he's stronger than I, I'm the one who can't live with him. ...The two men I've loved, I think, will remember me, on earth or in heaven, because men always remember a woman who caused them concern and uneasiness. I've done my best, in regard to people and to life, without precepts, but with a taste for justice."

The profile of the woman does not have to be famous though to fit this project - just independent.

Additional references and source material:

"The 'Problem' with Single Women: Choice, Accountability, and Social Change" Shelley Budgeon, Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. 2016, Vol. 33(3) 401–418, retrieved from

"7 Ways Being Single Makes You More Successful" Rachel Gillett Jul 8, 2016. Business Insider, retrieved from

"Single Ladies Are More Likely to Downplay Career Goals, Study Finds" Lydia Belanger, Entrepreneur, retrieved from

Please remember that June 4 is National Old Maids Day