Unhistoricized Women Film Pioneers

…women were the main workforce in photographic manufacturing before the advent of motion pictures—in photo-finishing laboratories, photographic plate manufactures, and drying, cutting, and retouching film—and assumed similar work in the early motion picture industry.”  — Erin Hill, Never Done: A History of Women’s Work in Media Production (2016)

The following list of unassigned pioneers is by no means exhaustive and is always being updated. Please note that in some cases, especially within the United States, we were still investigating whether or not some of the women listed actually worked behind the scenes in some capacity. Please contact the editorial team (wfpp@columbia.edu) if you have any questions about a particular name, have any information, or can suggest a name.

There are currently 630 unhistoricized pioneers listed

Want to start researching a name? Some good places to start: The AFI Catalogue, Media History Digital Library, and the Treasures from the Film Archives database (requires a subscription or institutional access via ProQuest).


René Oro/Renée Oro
Elena Sansinena de Elizalde

All pioneers are published or currently in progress as of November 2019

Leontine Sagan

Anna Frijters
Aimee Navarra

Rosina Cianelli

Alice Fairweather
Yvonne Giguère (Mrs. Lucide Bertrand)
Marguerite Marquis
Lilian Whitney

Wang Ying
Qian Siying
Tang Xingtu
Li Dandan
Wang Caiyun

Portrait of Li Dandan after she joining in Minxin film company, published on the magazine, Motion Picture, No.27, p27, 1933

Portrait of Li Dandan in Motion Picture 27 (1933): 27.

All pioneers are published or currently in progress as of January 2020

Czech Republic and Slovakia
Andula Sedlackova
Anny Ondrakova
Hermina Tyrlova
Irena Dodalova

Emmy Drachmannand
Helen Gammeltoft
Rigmor Holger-Madsen
Karen Michaëlis
Emma Pedersen
Rita Sacchetto
Ljut Steensgaard

Aziza Amir
Behidja Hafez
Amina Mohamed
Fatma Roushdi

Dian Tong Pictorial reporting on Wang Ying (a/w), after her starring in Goddess of Freedom / Statue of Liberty, Vol.6, 1935. PCSL

Wang Ying on cover of Dian Tong Pictorial in 1935.

Eeva Leino
Anna Kuosmanen
Sofia Thomasson

Jeanne Bruno-Ruby
Mme. Chainet
Suzanne Devoyod
Marie-Louise Iribe
Claude Revol
Marguerite Vrignault

…Full list coming soon!

Fern Andra
Ella Bergmann-Michel
Jane Bess
Fanny Carlsen
Grace Chiang
Gertrud David
Marie Luise Droop
Luise del Zopp
Lydie (Liddy) Hegewald
Hanna Henning
Luise Heilborn-Korbitz
Erna Morena
Hella Moja
Lotte Neumann
Ossi Oswalda
Henny Porten
Olga Tschechowa
Irmgard von Cube
Olga Wohlbruck

List of pioneers is still being verified by the country contact

Ilona Fülöp

Fatma Begum
Gohar Mamajiwala

Maria Rosa Bermudez
Angelina Buracci
Diana D’Amore
Elettra Raggio

Yaoko Kinoshita
Kasen Nakamura
Ayame Mizushima
Yoshiko Okada
Utako Nakayama

The Netherlands
Dolly Rudeman

All pioneers are published or currently in progress as of January 2020

All pioneers are published or currently in progress as of January 2020

Zofia Dromlewiczowa
Jadwiga Golcz
Stefania Heymanowa
Wanda Kalinowska
Maria Morozowicza-Szczepkowska

All pioneers are published or currently in progress as of January 2020

Maria Wiesse

Russia/Former USSR
Notia Danilova
Vera Eri
Tat’iana Nikolaevna Lukashevich
Tat’iana Tolstaja
Ol’ga Vishnevskaia
Taisiia Zlatogorova/Zlatagorra

Darinka Jovanovič-Ignjacevic


List of pioneers is still being verified by the country contact.

All pioneers are published or currently in progress as of January 2020

Hanna Bernburg
Greta Berthels
Sigrid Calamnius
Märta Claeson
Maja Engelbrektson
Anna Johansson-Visborg< br />Anna Myrberg
Elsa Nelson
Gabrielle Ringertz
Ellen Sandels
Svea Seving
Johanne Skram Knudsen
Alma Söderhjelm
Marika Stiernstedt
Agnete von Prangen
Elin Wägner

All pioneers are published or currently in progress as of January 2020

All pioneers are published or currently in progress as of January 2020

United Kingdom
Muriel Alleyne
Mary Marsh Allen
Ethyle Batley
Helen Bliz(z)ard
Marjorie Bowen
Millicent Bromhead
Ady Brunel (Adey?)
Elsie Codd
Elsie Cohen
Ivy Close
Ethel M. Dell
Jane Denison
Francis E. Grant
Kate Gurney
Kathleen Hayden
Violet Hopson
Rita (aka Mrs Desmond  Humphreys)
Peggy Hyland
Nellie E. Locoque
Christabel Lowndes-Yates
Marcelle de St. Martin
Kathleen Mason
Peggy McCall
Edith Mellor
Anne Bannister Merwin
Irene Miller
Edith Nepean
Violet E. Powell
Alicia Ramsay
Ella (Hetty) Langford Reed
Grace Rose
Alice Rosenthal (p)
Dorothy Smalley (o)
E. Alma Stout
Alma Taylor
Lucy Heys Thompson
Marjorie V. Wilcox
May Wynne

Mildred Considine. AMPAS

Mildred Considine. Courtesy the of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

United States
Eleanor Hallowell Abbott
Violet Adams
Vivian Whittall Adams
Marian Ainslee
Anne Story Allen
Audrie Alspaugh
Adeline M. Alvord
Louise Alvord
Mary Jobe Akeley
Doris Anderson
Leonora Ainsworth
Marguerita La Barnette Archambault
Rosalie Ashton
Suzanne Avery
Bertha A. Backus
Nelly Bly Baker
E.F. [Ellen Frye] Barker
Carmen Barnes
Amelia Barr
Dona Barrell
Jean Bart
Vicki Baum
Cora Beach
Pearl Doles Bell
Dwinelle Benthall
Elisabeth Bergner
Isadore Bernstein
Sylvia Bernstein Seid
Ruth Biery
Mrs. Frances Maule Bjorkman
Ruth Black
Nan Blair
Katherine R. Bleeker
Elizabeth Baker Bohan
Florence C. Boles
Bessie Boniel
Beth Boone
Inez Bowser
Mary Boyle
Lillian Trimble Bradley
Anna Fielder Brand
F. Marion Brandon
Marion J. Brandon
Lillian W. Brennan
Constance Brinsley
Gladys Brockwell
Elsie Bronson
Mrs. Owen Bronson
Marian Brooks
May Brotherton
Alice C. Brown
Beth Brown
Betty Huntington Brown
Dorothy H. Brown
Leona Bryse
Beatrice Buch
Madeline Buckley
Natalie Bucknall
Mrs. Frances Hodgson Burnett
Julia Burnham
Viola Burhans
Katharine Newlin Burt
Ruth Byers
Evelyn Campbell
Regina Carewe
Elizabeth Carpenter
Catherine Carr
Elaine Sterne Carrington
Ray Carroll
Ella Stuart Carson
Aline Carter
Louise Carter
Vera Caspary
Ethel P. Chaffin
Anne Morrison Chapin
Lillian Chapman
Josephine Chippo
Louise B. Clancy
Violet Clark
Bertha M. Clay
Kate Claxton
Emma Bell Clifton
Agnes Egan Cobb
Nan Cochran
Jeanette A. Cohen
Henrietta Cohn
Maud Coleborn
Mrs. Tom Coleman
Laura Colfax
Nan Collins
Betty Compson
Harriet T. Comstock
Mrs. H.C. Conley
Mildred Considine
Mrs. Jack Coogan a.k.a. Lillian Coogan
Fanny Cook
Marjorie Benton Cook
Caroline Frances Cooke
Miriam Cooper
Olive Cooper
Alta M. Coultas
Mildred Cox
Eva Cram
Mildred Cram
Constance Crawley
Victoria Cross
Rachel Crothers
Lottie Cruze
Mitzie Cummings
Ruth Cummings
Cathrine Curtis
Mary Cutler
Camilla Dalberg
Ida Damon
Grace Darling
Donnah Darrell
Marion Davies
Alta M. Davis
Grace Davison
Madame Fred DeGresac
Edith Barnard Delano
Bertha E. DeLecuona
Baroness DeMeyer/Olga Caracciolo
Lucille De Nevers
Mrs. Mary Ware Dennett
Frances Denton
Maxine Dicks
Mrs. Hugh C. Dierker
Josephine Dillon
Marion Dix
Ethel Doherty
Annie Hamilton Donnell
Mme. Doraldina
Kathryn Dougherty
Georgette Duchesne
Helen Duey
Nellie Brown Duff
May Duncan
Dorothy Dunn
Jean DuPont
Alexia Durant
Catherine Van Dyke
Lynda Earle
Helen Jerome Eddy
Katharine Eggleston
Edith Ellis
Grace Elliot
May Whitney Emerson
F.T. Emery
Marie Eve
Alice Eyton
Mrs. Milton H. Fahrney
Jo Farnum
Geraldine Farrar
Mrs. Frank Farrington
Virginia Faulkner
Adrienne Fazan
Maude Fealy
Edna Ferber
Janet Flanner
Adele Whitely Fletcher
Anne Crawford Flexner
Annie Flohm
Eleanor Flori
Julia Folsva
Elsie Van Name (Ford)
Victoria Forde
Mary Fuller
Caroline Francke
Elizabeth Fraser
Eleanor L. Fried
Maude Fulton
Edith Ellis Furness
Pearl Gaddis
Elizabeth Gaskins
Eleanor Gates
Myrtle Gebhart
Madame Marie Genores
M.E. Gibson
Jeanette L. Gilder
Anna H. Gill
Birdie Gilmore
Louise Glaum
Maude Grange
Nellie Grant
Anna Katherine Green
Lillian Greenberger
Mrs. A. Greene
Mrs. E.L. Greer
Helen Gregg
Beverly Griffith
Eleanor Griffith
Linda A. Griffith
Olive Fuller Golden
Doris T. Goodfellow
Kitty Gordon
Ella Hall
Clair H. Hamack
Gertrude Brooke Hamilton
Helen Hamilton
Hope Hampton
Elizabeth G. Harrel
Kathryn Harris
Theodosia Harris
Mrs. Burton Harrison
Mrs. Carter H. Harrison
Betty Harte
Grace Haskins
Fanny Hattin
Maive B. Havey
Ormi Hawley
Wanda Hawley
Lillie Hayward
Adelaide Heilbron
Florence Hein
Juile Herne
Nan Heron
Dorothy Herzog
Eleanore Hicks
Betty Hill
Ethel Hill
Mrs. Hoppe
Edna Wallace Hopper
Lillian Howarth
Dorothy Howell
Maude T. Howell
Virginia Tyler Hudson
Mrs. Rupert Hughes
Gladys Hulette
Mary Hunt
Gladys Hurlburt
Fannie Hurst
Frances Hyland
Alice Inwood
Jenni Jacobs
Rosalie S. Jacoby
Marion Jackson
Francis James
Elsie Janis
Emilie Johnson
Isabelle Johnston
Mary Johnston
Helen Jonas
Gail Kane
R. Carol Kapleau
Katherine Kavanaugh
Virginia Kellog
Kitty Kelly
Elizabeth Kendrick
Clara Genevieve Kennedy
Edith Kennedy
Ethel Kennedy
Madge Kennedy
Barbara Kent
Doris Kenyon
Evelyn Kenyon
Sophie Kerr
Grace Kingsley
Eleanor Kinkhead
Virginia Kirtley
Mabel Knettles/Nettles
Vianna Knowlton
Clare Kummer
Mrs. James Lees Laidlaw
Barbara LaMarr
Genevieve Lamson
Thelma Lanier
Lita Lawrence
Erna Lazarus
Agnes Brand Leahy
Florence Lee
Nellie Lee
Olive H. Lee
Gladys Lehman
Lela Leibrand
Hope Leighton
Lyllian Brown Leighton
Bernadine Prissi Leist
Adeline Leitzbach/Leitz
Jane Lennox
Helen Lewis
Louise Lewis
Nina Lewton
Sadie Lindblom
Belulah Livingston
Francis Livingston
Milba K. Lloyd
Helen Logan
Elizabeth Lonergan
Louise Long
Ruth Harriet Louise
Bessie Love
Louise Lowell
Grace Lynch
Francis Lynde
Grace Lytton
Hazel Christie MacDonald
Katherine MacDonald
Margaret I. MacDonald
Mary Lanier MacGruder
Grace Mack
Elizabeth Mahoney
Edna Maison
Anna Maloney
Doris Malloy
Annie Marchant
Arshaluys (Aurora) Mardiganian
Ethel Marion
Mildred Mason
Madeline Matzen
Anne Maxwell
Theresa “Miss Mack” McCaffrey
Mary C. McCall Jr.
Gertrude McCoy
Margaret McWade
Mary Rider Mechtold/Mary Mechtold Rider
Elizabeth Meehan
Miriam Meredith
Alice D.G. Miller
Elizabeth Miller
Rose Mints
Ruth Comfort Mitchell
Bertha Moore
Helena Moore
Lola Moore
Harriet Morris
Ruth E. Morris
Florabel Muir
Rosalie Mulhall
Pola Negri
Faye Neill
Kora Newell
Anne Nicholas
Frances Nordstrom
Kathleen Norris
Margaret Nott
Jane Novak
Myra Nye
Alice M. O’Brien
Peggy O’Day
Mary O’Hara
Agnes O’Malley
Ruth M. Oliver
Margery Ordway
Gertrude Orr
Marion Orth
Florence M. Osborne
Margaret Oswald
Seena Owen
Louise Panthier
Claire Parker
Dorothy Parker
Molly Parro
Agnes Parsons
Virginia Pearson
Elizabeth Peltret
Laura Perelman
Mrs. H. Peterson
Adele Pierce
Katherine Anne Porter
Beulah Poynter
Ann Price
Gertrude Price
Peggy Prior
Agnes Louise Provost
Beatrice Prucha
Gertrude Purcell
Julia M. Purdy
Nina Wilcox Putnam
Harriet Quimby (and Charlotte Thompson)
Josephine Quirk
Florence Radinoff
Leona Radnor
Marion Rae
Stella Razzetto
Katherine Reed
Fritzi Remont
Isobel M. Reynolds
Lynn F. Reynolds
Nellie Revell
Alice Hagan Rice
Anna Steese Richardson
Mrs. May B. Richardson
Edna G. Riley
Mary Roberts Rinehart
Kay Van Riper
Hallie Erminie Rives
Mrs. Winifred Von Rittsberg
Katherine Leiser Robbins
Marguerite Roberts
Elizabeth Robins
Virginia E. Roe
Ruth Roland
Patricia Rooney
Inez Russel
Madeleine Ruthven
Mrs. James H. Ryan
Florence Ryerson
Madeleine Lucette Ryley
Amy N. Sacker (Amy E. Sacker?)
Alice Von Samai
Margaret Sanger
Lucy Saver
Olga Linek Scholl
Doris Schroeder
Blanche Stuart Scott
Zelda Sears
Molly Elliot Seawall
Lillian Nicholson Shearon
Viola Brothers Shore
Marie Shores
Esther Shulkin
Joy Sill
Tess Slesinger
Agnes Smith
Daisy Smith
Bella Spewack
Cecil Spooner
Lucita Squier
Lorena Stahley
Aubrey Stauffer
Daisy R. Stone
Lillian Spellman Stone
Edith Storey
Marguerite C. Storrs
Lillian J. Sweetser
Florence Strauss
Margaret Strickland
Eve Stuyvesant
Adele V. Sullivan
Irene Tams
Eva Tanguay
Rose Elizabeth Tapley
Ida Tarbell
Belle Taylor
Mary Imlay Taylor
Sylvia Thalberg
Irene Thirer
Mollie Thompson
Maravene Thompson
Mae Tinee (aka Frances Peck Grover)
Ruth Todd (Tood?)
Edyth Totten
Madame E. Touissant Welcome (Jennie Louise Van Der Zee)
Virginia Tracy
Madge Tyrone
Harriet Underhill
Gladys Unger
Louise Vale
Lillian Valentine
Beatrice Van
Virginia Van Upp
Edith Vernick
Florence Vidor
Harriet Virginia
Lula Vollmer
Marie Van Vorst
Sophie Wachner
Gwen Wakeling
Irene Wallace
Luci Ward
Mary Jane Warren
Ruth Waterbury
Maureen Watkins
Mrs. M. Webb
Dorothy Faith Webster
Emmy Wehlen
Rita Weiman
Helen Weiner
Alice C. Weitz
Carolyn Benbrooke Wells
Claudine West
Dorothy West
Meta White
Virginia Whitmore
Ruth Wightman
Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Anna Tupper Wilkes
Claire Wille
Alice Williams
Dixie Wilson
Mrs. Woodrow Wilson
Marie A. Wing
Louise Winters
Rally Winters
Thyra Sampter Winslow
Ella Woods (Nancy Ellen Anderson Woods?)
Lotta Woods
Frances M. Wright
Alice M. Yolton
Rella Young
Lois Zellner

Unhistoricized Occupations List

The following list of unhistoricized occupations is a list of some of the jobs we have come across in our archival research that have yet to be represented by the Women Film Pioneers Project. Is by no means exhaustive, but represents some of the lesser known and generally unacknowledged occupations held by women in the silent era. These occupations come from the Metro Pictures Corporation weekly payroll between 1921- 1922.


Beauty Parlor Operator



Circus Performer



Dry Room Helper


Fitter (Assistant Fitter)


Hypo Man




Machine Operators




Negative Cutter (Head Negative Cutter)

Negative Wrapper

Payroll Clerk

Phone Operator

Portrait Photographer

Positive Cutter


Printing Room Forewoman

Real Estate Owner

Reception Room Clerk

Religious Educator


Script Clerk



Stock Clerk


Supervisor (Assistant Supervisor)