Unsung Heroes: Lest we forget.
History can be capricious. Let’s examine 10 people who should be famous, are barely remembered
Heinrich Schliemann rediscovered the ancient city of Troy. After extensive research he guessed where the city had to be. Unfortunately, he did not find the city there and every one mocked him and said it was the city he made up. But he kept looking and found out that the world had changed since the Trojan War, and that Troy was more inland now that it used to be. So he found Troy. The modern name is Hissarlik.
Jacob Davis was a tailor in Reno, Nevada who specialized in making heavy duty work clothes for railroad workers in 1870s. He developed a method of reinforcing double stitched seams with copper rivets. He requested financial support from Levi Strauss who was a dry goods dealer. Strauss opened a factory in San Francisco to produce the pants and Davis managed the production. Had Davis been able to finance his own patent, we might be buttoning or Jacobs 501s.
Andre Le Notre was the greatest gardener and landscape designer and created the gardens of Fontainebleau and Versailles. Some of his other notable contributions include creating the designs for Greenwich Park in London and creating the avenue which would become the Champs Elysees.
History books may neglect John Dalton because he contributed in so many ways that it’s hard to know in what chapter to place him. In addition to chemistry, physics and meteorology, he pioneered studies of a condition rom which he suffered- Color Blindness. Since his brother was also color blind, it was the first scientific investigation on the subject. This gender linked vision deficiency is sometimes called Daltonism.
Junko Tabei became the first women to reach the summit of Mt Everest. She and her team used the same route as that used by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. She also became the first woman to successfully climb the ‘Seven Summits’- highest mountain on each continent. She truly went where no woman has gone before. And Yes, she did it more than once
Rosalind Franklin, an English chemist and expert in X ray photography, did the work that formed the basis one of history’s most important scientific discoveries- The helical shape of DNA. Two colleagues who based their work on hers won the Nobel Prize while she has been little remembered outside her field of expertise.
Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman in Space. She had only been given an honorary induction into Soviet Air Force, she was the first civilian to fly in space. Her 3 days mission was deemed successful because she made it back alive and collected the data about the effects of Space travel on the human body. As a young woman she was an avid sky diver and this hobby that led her to selection as a cosmonaut.
Frank Willis was a security guard at an office complex in Washington DC. On his late night rounds, he spotted a piece of Duct tape on a office door and removed it. When he later returned, the tape had been replaced and Wills called the police to investigate. Frank Wills uncovered that would dominate American politics for the next 3 years- The Watergate Break in. This scandal led to convictions and jail time for several government officials and ultimately the resignation of President Nixon.
Victoria Woodhull was a powerful, forward thinking woman who was the first woman to operate a brokerage firm in Wall Street, first woman to found an American Newspaper and the first woman to run for President of USA. She believed in a woman’s right to vote, right to marry, right to divorce and the right to choose whether or not to have children.
Eugene Lazowski created a fake epidemic to save Jews during WWII. The Germans had a phobia about cleanliness and hygiene. So Dr Lazowski by using a medical discovery from his friend, he could inject a vaccine into healthy people that would show positive results that they had typhus without actually having the disease. He saved more than 8000 Polish Jews from being sent to concentration camps.