Wonder Women of History got slowly squeezed out of the Wonder Woman comic during the period 1952 – 1955: We Don’t Need Another Hero. Shrinking page counts edged the series out of the book. The entries in these years were usually two pages, one time three, but by the end of its run, an entire biography would be reduced to a single page.
Many of the entries would deal with women in the medical professions, though only one was actually a nurse. Martha Kimbal’s story was told in Wonder Woman 52. A nurse during the American Civil War, the installment details her tending of the soldiers, and later proposing the creation of Memorial Day in their honour. The other medical women written about during this period were both doctors, Marie Zabrzewska and Florence Sabin, with entries in issues 57 and 65 respectively, who gained their positions at a time when female doctors were a rarity. Florence Sabin was also a noted medical researcher.
Wonder Woman 56 contains a brief biography of Sarah Hale, the first woman to serve as editor of a magazine, although the works she managed, Ladies Magazine, and later Ladies Book, appear far from progressive.
A surprising number of the stories actively relate the struggles that woman face, and the reverses that kept from their proper place in the limelight. The entry in Wonder Woman 51 is devoted to Caroline Herschel, the sister of the more famous William Herschel. She worked alongside her brother in making astronomical discoveries, and while it was William who discovered the planet Uranus, Caroline herself found numerous nebulae and comets. Still, it’s his name that history immortalized. The following issue dealt with Emma Coins, a woman who lead a housing reform movement in London, England, and was the prime mover behind the renovation of the Old Vic. She was elected to the very first city council in London, but was forced to step down, due to her gender.
The final entry in the series, in Wonder Woman 66, is bitterly ironic. It tells the story of a lawyer, Gail Laughlin, who was a campaigner for women’s suffrage. While she succeeded at this goal, she also approached president Calvin Coolidge about adding an Equal Rights Amendment to the US Constitution. The entry notes that the amendment is still being debated at the time. In 1954. 62 years later, it’s no further to being passed.
Wonder Women of History: Wonder Woman 51 – 53, 55 – 57, 65 - 66 (Jan/Feb – May/June 52, Sept/Oct 52 – Jan/Feb 53, Apr - May 54)