April 2013 Women's
History Calendar

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Rebecca Austin (1832–1919)


As a young woman in Illinois, Rebecca Merritt Smith Austin taught school so she could afford an education in natural science at Granville Academy. She moved to California in 1865 with her husband and children to mine for gold. While raising her family, she made time to explore plant communities in remote areas of Plumas, Lassen, Tehama and Modoc counties. Her interest in native plants led her to conduct experiments on carnivorous plants. Her study of the carnivorous California pitcher plant was so detailed that her notes are still referred to today.

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A passion for discovery: California women trailblazers
in science, technology, engineering and math

The April Women's History online calendar shines a spotlight on four remarkable women from California history who achieved success in STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The calendar is produced by the California State Library, California Research Bureau and California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls. Images and biographical material are from the State Library's extensive collection of photos, prints, rare books and ephemera documenting the state's rich history.