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THEMATIC: Biographies:

African Americans  |   Asian Americans  |   Mexican Americans  |  
Native Americans  |   Other  |   Pacific Islanders  |   Women

Amelia Earhart (no website available)
The first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.
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The first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, Amelia Earhart was America's "Lady Lindy." What the public didn't know was the cost of her courage. The record-breaking flights, races, interviews, speeches and promotional commitments pushed her to the point of exhaustion. This beautiful, accomplished woman would disappear without a trace on the eve of her 40th birthday.
Annie Oakley

Annie Oakley
The star attraction of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, Annie Oakley thrilled audiences around the world with her daring shooting feats. Her act helped fuel turn-of-the-century nostalgia for the vanished, mythical world of the American West.
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In 1926, just a few months before her death, Will Rogers described Annie Oakley as "the greatest woman rifle shot the world has ever produced." As the star attraction of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, she thrilled audiences around the world with her daring shooting feats. Her act helped fuel turn-of-the-century nostalgia for the vanished, mythical world of the American West. Over time she became an American legend -- the loud, brassy, cocksure shooter celebrated in the musical "Annie Get Your Gun." But that legend had little to do with the real Annie Oakley.
Around the World in 72 Days

Around the World in 72 Days
Follow intrepid journalist Nelly Bly on her record-breaking journey.
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At the age of nineteen, Nellie Bly talked her way into an improbable job on a newspaper, then went on to become "the best reporter in America." She was serious and spunky. To expose abuse of the mentally ill, she had herself committed. But when she travelled around the world in just 72 days, beating Jules Verne's fictional escapade, she turned herself into a world celebrity.
Daughter from Danang

Daughter from Danang
The dramatic story of a Vietnamese mother, her Amerasian daughter, and their reunion 22 years after the Vietnam War.
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In 1975, with the end of the war in Vietnam imminent, Mai Thi Kim, a poor, young Vietnamese woman, sent her seven-year-old daughter to America as part of a controversial evacuation program known as Operation Babylift. The parting was devastating to both mother and child, but Kim believed her Amerasian daughter -- the product of a brief love affair with an American Navy officer -- would be in danger in Vietnam. The little girl was adopted by a single woman, renamed Heidi and brought up in Tennessee, where she concealed her Asian past and became "101%" American. Twenty-two years later, Heidi tracks down her birth mother and visits Danang. The reunion that had raised so many hopes and expectations for Heidi and Kim quickly becomes rife with tension and misunderstanding as the cultural gulf between Heidi and her Vietnamese family grows larger and larger.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt
A provocative portrait of one of the century's most influential women.
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Eleanor Roosevelt struggled to overcome an unhappy childhood, betrayal in her marriage, a controlling mother-in-law, and gripping depressions -- all the while staying true to her passion for social justice. This biography includes rare home movies, contemporary footage, and reflections from Eleanor's closest surviving relatives, as well as biographers Blanche Wiesen Cook, Allida Black, and Geoffrey C. Ward, bringing to vibrant life one of the century1s most influential women.
Emma Goldman

Emma Goldman
The story of a brilliant Russian immigrant, a radical who became "the most dangerous woman in America."
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On a cold December morning in 1919, just after midnight, Emma Goldman, her comrade Alexander Berkman, and more than 200 other foreign-born radicals were roused from their Ellis Island dormitory beds to begin their journey out of the United States for good. Convicted of obstructing the draft during World War I, Goldman was deported 34 years after she had first set foot in America, a young, brilliant Russian immigrant. For more than three decades, she taunted mainstream America with her outspoken attacks on government, big business and war. Goldman's passionate espousal of radical causes made her the target of persecution. Her sympathy for Leon Czolgosz, the assassin of President McKinley, brought down upon her the hatred of the authorities and the public at large. Feared as a sponsor of anarchy and revolution, she was vilified in the press as "Red Emma," "Queen of the Anarchists," and "the most dangerous woman in America."

Eudora Welty -- One Writer's Beginnings (no website available)
A writer's Southern childhood and the development of her art.
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Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Eudora Welty narrates the story of her own Southern childhood and early artistic development in Jackson, Mississippi. Based on her best-selling book of the same title.
Fly Girls

Fly Girls
During WWII more than a thousand women signed up to fly with the U.S. military.
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During WWII, more than a thousand women signed up to fly with the U.S. military. Wives, mothers, actresses and debutantes who joined the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPS) test-piloted aircraft, ferried planes and logged 60 million miles in the air. Thirty-eight women died in service. But the opportunity to play a critical role in the war effort was abruptly canceled by politics and resentment, and it would be 30 years before women would again break the sex barrier in the skies.
Hawaii's Last Queen

Hawaii's Last Queen
The story of Liliu'okalani, the last queen of Hawaii.
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Liliu'okalani moved easily between two worlds -- she had dined at the White House, had been a guest at Buckingham Palace, yet never abandoned her Hawaiian traditions. A writer and composer, she was thrust into a role she was never prepared to play, caught between two opposing forces.

Hearts and Hands (no website available)
Quilting and the intimate clues it yields about the lives of 19th century women.
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The design and art of quilting yields intimate clues about the lives of 19th century women, who stitched their personal and political stories into these artifacts of history.

Ida B. Wells -- A Passion for Justice (no website available)
The life of the legendary former slave and crusading journalist.
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Born into slavery, she became a journalist and newspaper owner in Memphis, and was radicalized following the lynching of three friends. Her crusade against lynching led to death threats, but she bravely continued for the rest of her life to call for an end to sexism and racism.

Indians, Outlaws, and Angie Debo (no website available)
Angie Debo uncovers a widespread conspiracy to cheat Native Americans of oil rich lands.
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As a child in 1899, Angie Debo was taken to Oklahoma in a covered wagon. She would become her state's most controversial historian -- her career threatened when she uncovered a cache of documents which proved a widespread conspiracy to cheat Native Americans out of oil-rich lands.

The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter (no website available)
A look at five real-life "Rosies" and the reality of working in the defense plants during WWII.
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An original look through newsreels, war department films, posters and interviews with five, real-life "Rosies" about the reality of working in the defense plants during WWII, and their reactions to having to give up those jobs for returning GIs.
Mary Pickford

Mary Pickford
Actress, businessperson, and legend -- Mary Pickford played a pivotal role in shaping the first new media of the twentieth century.
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Late in her life, the actor Mary Pickford described a recurring nightmare in which she walked out on stage to perform, only to find there was no one in the audience to watch her. For most of her career, Pickford had played to full houses and adoring fans. She had created a totally new way of acting that entranced audiences and left them spell-bound.

But Mary Pickford wasn't just a talented performer; she was also a creative producer and shrewd businessperson who played a pivotal role in shaping the first new media of the twentieth century. She was the first star to have her own production company and the first woman to take control of her career in a tough business run by tough men. For nearly two decades Pickford skillfully navigated her way through the industry. But by the end of her life, her nightmare became her reality. She discovered that fame was fleeting, the crowds fickle.

This powerful and moving American Experience production uses archival footage, stills, original audio interviews with Pickford and clips from her movies to tell a story that is full of joy and power, of loneliness and despair.

A Midwife's Tale

A Midwife's Tale
An innovative film based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning story of Martha Ballard.
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An innovative dramatic film based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning story of Martha Ballard, a midwife and mother living in the wilds of Maine during the chaotic decades following the American Revolution. In a sparsely written diary, Ballard recorded her daily struggle against poverty, disease, domestic abuse and social turmoil. Two hundred years later, her world is painstakingly recreated by a historian seeking to understand eighteenth century America through a woman's eyes.
Miss America

Miss America
Miss America, the country's oldest beauty contest, is an Atlantic City seaside tradition that has become a battle ground and a barometer for the changing position of women in society.
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Tracking the country's oldest beauty contest -- from its inception in 1921 as a local seaside pageant to its heyday as one of the country's most popular events -- Miss America paints a vivid picture of an institution that has come to reveal much about a changing nation. The pageant is about commercialism and sexual politics, about big business and small towns. But beyond the symbolism lies a human story -- at once moving, inspiring, infuriating, funny and poignant. Using intimate interviews with former contestants, and fabulous behind-the-scenes footage and photographs, the film reveals why some women took part in the fledgling event and why others briefly shut it -- how the pageant became a battle ground and a barometer for the changing position of women in society.

One Woman, One Vote (no website available)
The infighting, the alliances and betrayals, defeats and victories on the way to winning the right to vote.
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From Elizabeth Cady Stanton's electrifying call to arms at Seneca Falls in 1848, to the last battle for passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, a recounting of the infighting, the alliances and betrayals, defeats and victories on the way to winning the right to vote. The struggle split the suffragist movement into two opposing forces: the militants who faced imprisonment and riots and those who argued for a quieter, more persuasive ways. Both tactics, it turned out, were needed.
The Pill

The Pill
The story behind the development of the drug that put women in control of birth control.
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In May 1960, the FDA approved the sale of a pill that arguably would have a greater impact on American culture than any other drug in the nation's history. For women across the country, the contraceptive pill was liberating: it allowed them to pursue careers, fueled the feminist and pro-choice movements and encouraged more open attitudes towards sex. Among the key players in the development of the drug were two elderly female activists who demanded a contraceptive women could eat like aspirin and then paid for the scientific research; a devout Catholic gynecologist who believed a robust sex life made for a good marriage and argued tirelessly that the Pill was a natural form of birth control; and a brilliant biologist who bullied a pharmaceutical company into risking a possibly crippling boycott to develop this revolutionary contraceptive. In describing the obstacles they all hurdled, The Pill presents a compelling account of a society in transition.

Rachel Carson's Silent Spring (no website available)
Her warning sparked a revolution in environmental policy and created a new ecological consciousness.
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She had been a biologist for the federal government when she first took note of the effects of the unregulated use of pesticides and herbicides, especially DDT. Magazines refused to publish her articles because they were afraid of losing advertising. When Rachel Carson published Silent Spring in 1963, she was viciously attacked, called "an ignorant and hysterical woman." But her warning sparked a revolution in environmental policy and created a new ecological consciousness.
Reconstruction The Second Civil War

Reconstruction The Second Civil War
The stories of ordinary people, North and South, in the tumultuous years after the Civil War, when America struggled to rebuild the Union and integrate former slaves into the life of the nation.
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In his first speech after the end of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln began with only a few words to celebrate the recent victory. He went straight to the problem at hand: acknowledging that there was no agreed-upon plan for the future, and warning that the way ahead would be "fraught with great difficulty." Spanning the years 1863 to 1877, Reconstruction tells the story of the tumultuous years after the Civil War during which America struggled to rebuild itself, successfully bring the South back into the Union and integrate former slaves into the life of the country. This three-hour series interweaves the stories of key political players in Washington -- among them Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, and Ulysses Grant -- with the stories of ordinary people, black and white, Republican and Democrat, in the North and South, whose lives were caught up in the turbulent struggles of the era.

Sins of Our Mothers (no website available)
A Gothic tale of sin and redemption in 19th century New England.
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A Gothic tale of sin and redemption in 19th century New England. A small town in Maine reacts to the unconventional behavior of one of its young residents, a woman named Emeline Gurney. A fascinating examination of small town mores.
Sister Aimee

Sister Aimee
"Sister Aimee" tells the dramatic life story Aimee Semple McPherson, the controversial, charismatic, wildly popular evangelist who was instrumental in bringing conservative Protestantism into mainstream culture and American politics. McPherson began her m
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³Sister Aimee² tells the dramatic life story Aimee Semple McPherson, the controversial, charismatic, wildly popular evangelist who was instrumental in bringing conservative Protestantism into mainstream culture and American politics. McPherson began her mission humbly, traveling across the country staging tent revivals. In 1921, at the age of 31, she settled in Los Angeles, founded the Church of the Four Square Gospel, and built the Angelus Temple, where she often preached before a packed house of 5,000 believers using elaborate musical productions worthy of Broadway. During her emotional revivals, McPherson performed controversial healings and soon started drawing bigger crowds than those of P.T. Barnum, Houdini or Teddy Roosevelt. Employing a publicist, she became a darling of the Los Angeles journalists and newsreel crews. McPherson also created her own radio station‹one of the first Christian radio stations in the United States‹and used it to broadcast daily sermons to her followers. Through interviews with surviving family members, her biographers, and religious scholars, this AMERICAN EXPERIENCE presents a complex and revealing portrait of one of the most significant religious figures of the early twentieth century.
Tupperware!

Tupperware!
The plastic food container that became a phenomenally successful business -- and an American cultural icon.
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Tupperware is a household word not just in America, but around the world. This one-hour film looks at why a plastic food container has become not only one of the world's most ubiquitous products but a cultural icon. At the center of the narrative are two dynamic, quirky characters: the ambitious but reclusive Earl Tupper, who invented Tupperware, and his flamboyant female business associate, Brownie Wise, who figured out how to sell it. Working side by side, Tupper and Wise built an empire, creating a business model that has since been copied by all well-known direct sales companies. Using interviews with Tupperware executives and dealers from the early days and wonderful, little-seen company footage of Tupperware Jubilees, this funny, probing program re-examines assumptions about American culture in the 1950s.
THEMATIC: Biographies:

African Americans  |   Asian Americans  |   Mexican Americans  |  
Native Americans  |   Other  |   Pacific Islanders  |   Women

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