Original Sisters

Portraits of Tenacity and Courage

Author Anita Kunz
Foreword by Roxane Gay
Look inside
From the internationally acclaimed artist, Original Sisters is a stunning collection of portraits of ground-breaking women—Joan of Arc, Josephine Baker, Greta Thunberg, Misty Copeland, and many more history-making women whose names have been forgotten and are finally being brought to light. With a Foreword by Roxane Gay

Original Sisters was born from the COVID-19 quarantine. In early March 2020, locked down in her home-studio in Toronto and longing for inspiration, artist Anita Kunz started researching women on the Internet. She wasn’t sure what she was looking for, but she soon found an array of astonishing people who had done amazing things—some of whom she had heard of, but most of whom she had not. And then she began to paint their pictures and write down their stories. The result is a jaw-dropping feat of historic and artistic research. The wide variety of lives, occupations, time periods, and achievements is absolutely mind-bending.
 
From Joan of Arc to Josephine Baker, from Hippolyta to Greta Thunberg, from Anne Frank to Misty Copeland: these women made and changed history. But there are just as many whom you’ve never heard of, who were never recognized in their lifetimes, whose achievements need to be brought to light. They include the anti-Nazi activist Sophie Scholl, who was executed at age twenty-one by the Third Reich, and Alice Ball, a young African American scientist who discovered a treatment for leprosy but died tragically before she could receive credit for it.

This is not only a breathtaking art book. Original Sisters also recounts a secret history that must be told so that it is a secret no more.
 
“Thank you, Anita Kunz, for this work of art! I have a deep appreciation and admiration for how this book came to be: out of your searching, out of your desire to learn about and know these lives more deeply. Thank you for painting these extraordinary women, for portraying their individuality, strength, determination, courage, perseverance, and their particular beauty. I’ve spent the past twenty-three years of my career playing a kick-ass woman on TV: Kick-ass women are all around us and this book is a beautiful, unforgettable reminder. I loved spending time with this sisterhood.” —Mariska Hargitay
 
“Anita Kunz reminds us that women’s history is the world’s history. She reminds us that much of the culture we take for granted exists by the grace of women’s ingenuity. This is a book that demands that we continue to interrogate why women and their historical contributions are, all too often, overlooked.” —Roxane Gay, from the Foreword
© Anita Kunz
ANITA KUNZ is an artist and illustrator living in Toronto. Her art has been published widely and shown in galleries and museums all over the world. She has also been featured regularly in Time, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, GQ, The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, Newsweek, The Atlantic, and The New York Times Magazine, and she has done work for Sony Music. Kunz has also illustrated more than fifty book covers. From 1988 to 1990 she was one of two artists chosen by Rolling Stone to produce a monthly illustrated history of rock ’n’ roll endpaper. In 2017, she was inducted into the Society of Illustrators’ Museum of American Illustration Hall of Fame.
 
www.anitakunz.com View titles by Anita Kunz
Reclaiming Original Sisters by Roxane Gay.... x
Introduction............................................. xii
 
Anonymous................................................ 2
Saint Abbe the Younger...............................4
Anna Akhmatova.........................................6
Fatima al-Fihri............................................ 8
Princess Alice of Battenberg.......................10
Amanirenas...............................................12
Mary Anning.............................................14
Anna Mae Aquash......................................16
Hannah Arendt..........................................18
Josephine Baker........................................ 20
Alice Ball...................................................22
Patricia Bath............................................. 24
Amalie Auguste Melitta Bentz..................... 26
Alice Guy Blache....................................... 28
Ada Blackjack........................................... 30
Lorena Borjas............................................32
Boudicca.................................................. 34
Breffu...................................................... 36
Ruby Bridges............................................ 38
Dorothy Brooke........................................40
Buffalo Calf Road Woman........................... 42
Tarana Burke............................................ 44
Ruth Coker Burks...................................... 46
Maria Callas............................................. 48
Rachel Carson .......................................... 50
Queen Charlotte.........................................52
Ching Shih ............................................... 54
Shirley Chisholm...................................... 56
Christine de Pizan..................................... 58
Camille Claudel........................................60
Jeanne de Clisson...................................... 62
Nadia Comaneci........................................ 64
Misty Copeland......................................... 66
Dorothy Cotton......................................... 68
Marie Skłodowska Curie............................ 70
Angela Davis..............................................72
Storme DeLarverie.................................... 74
Isadora Duncan........................................ 76
Ray Kaiser Eames.......................................78
Queen Elizabeth I...................................... 80
Saint Elizabeth of Hungary......................... 82
Charlotte Figi........................................... 84
Eunice Newton Foote................................. 86
Anne Frank.............................................. 88
Rosalind Franklin.....................................90
Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven..... 92
Elizebeth Friedman................................... 94
Jeanne Genevieve Labrosse Garnerin.......... 96
Alicia Garza.............................................. 98
Ruth Bader Ginsburg............................... 100
Marty Goddard........................................102
Amanda Gorman......................................104
Olympe de Gouges....................................106
Tomoe Gozen...........................................108
Temple Grandin....................................... 110
Eileen Gray.............................................. 112
Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield....................... 114
Guerrilla Girls......................................... 116
Marguerite “Peggy” Guggenheim............... 118
Lorraine Hansberry.................................120
Kamala Devi Harris.................................. 122
Hatshepsut..............................................124
Beulah Louise Henry................................126
Adelaide Herrmann................................. 128
Susan Eloise Hinton.................................130
Hippolyta................................................ 132
Billie Holiday...........................................134
Zora Neale Hurston..................................136
Hypatia................................................... 138
Saint Joan of Arc......................................140
Emily Pauline Johnson.............................142
Marsha P. Johnson...................................144
Alberta Odell Jones..................................146
Jeffrey Catherine Jones.............................148
Christine Jorgensen.................................150
Margaret Keane....................................... 152
Margery Kempe.......................................154
Corita Kent..............................................156
Noor Inayat Khan..................................... 158
Khutulun.................................................160
Hilma af Klint..........................................162
Juliane Koepcke.......................................164
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross..............................166
Louise Labe.............................................168
Lakshmibai .............................................170
Hedy Lamarr........................................... 172
Louise Lecavalier..................................... 174
Laura Lee................................................ 176
Mabel Ping-Hua Lee................................ 178
Clara Lemlich..........................................180
Queen Lili‘uokalani.................................. 182
Annie Londonderry..................................184
Ada Lovelace............................................186
Jean Macnamara......................................188
Elizabeth Magie.......................................190
Vivian Maier............................................192
Alice Marble............................................194
Mileva Marić...........................................196
Beryl Markham........................................198
Matilda of Tuscany.................................. 200
Rose Marie McCoy...................................202
Hattie McDaniel..................................... 204
Margaret Mead....................................... 206
Lise Meitner........................................... 208
Maria Sibylla Merian................................210
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu...................... 212
Maria Montessori....................................214
Toni Morrison.........................................216
Florence Nightingale................................ 218
Queen Nzinga..........................................220
Freddie Oversteegen................................222
Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin........................224
Autumn Peltier........................................226
Candace Pert...........................................228
Irna Phillips........................................... 230
Zofia Posmysz..........................................232
Ni Gusti Ayu Raka Rasmi...........................234
Angela Ruiz Robles ..................................236
Augusta Savage.........................................238
Milunka Savić......................................... 240
Sophie Scholl...........................................242
Irena Sendler......................................... 244
Huda Shaarawi ....................................... 246
Daphne Sheldrick ................................... 248
Amrita Sher-Gil ......................................250
Nina Simone...........................................252
Gloria Steinem........................................254
Nettie Stevens.........................................256
Ceija Stojka.............................................258
Maria Strick........................................... 260
Yma Sumac..............................................262
Peggy Jo Tallas........................................ 264
Maria Tallchief....................................... 266
Queen Tamar ......................................... 268
Helen Tamiris..........................................270
Valentina Tereshkova................................272
Sister Rosetta Tharpe...............................274
Empress Theodora...................................276
Greta Thunberg.......................................278
Trota of Salerno...................................... 280
Sojourner Truth.......................................282
Remedios Varo........................................ 284
Maud Wagner.......................................... 286
Madam C. J. Walker..................................288
Mary Edwards Walker.............................. 290
Aloha Wanderwell....................................292
Ida B. Wells............................................ 294
Gladys West............................................ 296
Caroline Earle White............................... 298
Anna May Wong...................................... 300
Empress Wu Zetian.................................. 302
Stella Young............................................ 304
Malala Yousafzai...................................... 306
“Thank you, Anita Kunz, for this work of art! I have a deep appreciation and admiration for how this book came to be: out of your searching, out of your desire to learn about and know these lives more deeply. Thank you for painting these extraordinary women, for portraying their individuality, strength, determination, courage, perseverance, and their particular beauty. I’ve spent the past twenty-three years of my career playing a kick-ass woman on TV: Kick-ass women are all around us and this book is a beautiful, unforgettable reminder. I loved spending time with this sisterhood.”
—Mariska Hargitay
 
“Anita Kunz reminds us that women’s history is the world’s history. She reminds us that much of the culture we take for granted exists by the grace of women’s ingenuity. This is a book that demands that we continue to interrogate why women and their historical contributions are, all too often, overlooked.”
—Roxane Gay, from the Foreword

About

From the internationally acclaimed artist, Original Sisters is a stunning collection of portraits of ground-breaking women—Joan of Arc, Josephine Baker, Greta Thunberg, Misty Copeland, and many more history-making women whose names have been forgotten and are finally being brought to light. With a Foreword by Roxane Gay

Original Sisters was born from the COVID-19 quarantine. In early March 2020, locked down in her home-studio in Toronto and longing for inspiration, artist Anita Kunz started researching women on the Internet. She wasn’t sure what she was looking for, but she soon found an array of astonishing people who had done amazing things—some of whom she had heard of, but most of whom she had not. And then she began to paint their pictures and write down their stories. The result is a jaw-dropping feat of historic and artistic research. The wide variety of lives, occupations, time periods, and achievements is absolutely mind-bending.
 
From Joan of Arc to Josephine Baker, from Hippolyta to Greta Thunberg, from Anne Frank to Misty Copeland: these women made and changed history. But there are just as many whom you’ve never heard of, who were never recognized in their lifetimes, whose achievements need to be brought to light. They include the anti-Nazi activist Sophie Scholl, who was executed at age twenty-one by the Third Reich, and Alice Ball, a young African American scientist who discovered a treatment for leprosy but died tragically before she could receive credit for it.

This is not only a breathtaking art book. Original Sisters also recounts a secret history that must be told so that it is a secret no more.
 
“Thank you, Anita Kunz, for this work of art! I have a deep appreciation and admiration for how this book came to be: out of your searching, out of your desire to learn about and know these lives more deeply. Thank you for painting these extraordinary women, for portraying their individuality, strength, determination, courage, perseverance, and their particular beauty. I’ve spent the past twenty-three years of my career playing a kick-ass woman on TV: Kick-ass women are all around us and this book is a beautiful, unforgettable reminder. I loved spending time with this sisterhood.” —Mariska Hargitay
 
“Anita Kunz reminds us that women’s history is the world’s history. She reminds us that much of the culture we take for granted exists by the grace of women’s ingenuity. This is a book that demands that we continue to interrogate why women and their historical contributions are, all too often, overlooked.” —Roxane Gay, from the Foreword

Author

© Anita Kunz
ANITA KUNZ is an artist and illustrator living in Toronto. Her art has been published widely and shown in galleries and museums all over the world. She has also been featured regularly in Time, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, GQ, The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, Newsweek, The Atlantic, and The New York Times Magazine, and she has done work for Sony Music. Kunz has also illustrated more than fifty book covers. From 1988 to 1990 she was one of two artists chosen by Rolling Stone to produce a monthly illustrated history of rock ’n’ roll endpaper. In 2017, she was inducted into the Society of Illustrators’ Museum of American Illustration Hall of Fame.
 
www.anitakunz.com View titles by Anita Kunz

Table of Contents

Reclaiming Original Sisters by Roxane Gay.... x
Introduction............................................. xii
 
Anonymous................................................ 2
Saint Abbe the Younger...............................4
Anna Akhmatova.........................................6
Fatima al-Fihri............................................ 8
Princess Alice of Battenberg.......................10
Amanirenas...............................................12
Mary Anning.............................................14
Anna Mae Aquash......................................16
Hannah Arendt..........................................18
Josephine Baker........................................ 20
Alice Ball...................................................22
Patricia Bath............................................. 24
Amalie Auguste Melitta Bentz..................... 26
Alice Guy Blache....................................... 28
Ada Blackjack........................................... 30
Lorena Borjas............................................32
Boudicca.................................................. 34
Breffu...................................................... 36
Ruby Bridges............................................ 38
Dorothy Brooke........................................40
Buffalo Calf Road Woman........................... 42
Tarana Burke............................................ 44
Ruth Coker Burks...................................... 46
Maria Callas............................................. 48
Rachel Carson .......................................... 50
Queen Charlotte.........................................52
Ching Shih ............................................... 54
Shirley Chisholm...................................... 56
Christine de Pizan..................................... 58
Camille Claudel........................................60
Jeanne de Clisson...................................... 62
Nadia Comaneci........................................ 64
Misty Copeland......................................... 66
Dorothy Cotton......................................... 68
Marie Skłodowska Curie............................ 70
Angela Davis..............................................72
Storme DeLarverie.................................... 74
Isadora Duncan........................................ 76
Ray Kaiser Eames.......................................78
Queen Elizabeth I...................................... 80
Saint Elizabeth of Hungary......................... 82
Charlotte Figi........................................... 84
Eunice Newton Foote................................. 86
Anne Frank.............................................. 88
Rosalind Franklin.....................................90
Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven..... 92
Elizebeth Friedman................................... 94
Jeanne Genevieve Labrosse Garnerin.......... 96
Alicia Garza.............................................. 98
Ruth Bader Ginsburg............................... 100
Marty Goddard........................................102
Amanda Gorman......................................104
Olympe de Gouges....................................106
Tomoe Gozen...........................................108
Temple Grandin....................................... 110
Eileen Gray.............................................. 112
Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield....................... 114
Guerrilla Girls......................................... 116
Marguerite “Peggy” Guggenheim............... 118
Lorraine Hansberry.................................120
Kamala Devi Harris.................................. 122
Hatshepsut..............................................124
Beulah Louise Henry................................126
Adelaide Herrmann................................. 128
Susan Eloise Hinton.................................130
Hippolyta................................................ 132
Billie Holiday...........................................134
Zora Neale Hurston..................................136
Hypatia................................................... 138
Saint Joan of Arc......................................140
Emily Pauline Johnson.............................142
Marsha P. Johnson...................................144
Alberta Odell Jones..................................146
Jeffrey Catherine Jones.............................148
Christine Jorgensen.................................150
Margaret Keane....................................... 152
Margery Kempe.......................................154
Corita Kent..............................................156
Noor Inayat Khan..................................... 158
Khutulun.................................................160
Hilma af Klint..........................................162
Juliane Koepcke.......................................164
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross..............................166
Louise Labe.............................................168
Lakshmibai .............................................170
Hedy Lamarr........................................... 172
Louise Lecavalier..................................... 174
Laura Lee................................................ 176
Mabel Ping-Hua Lee................................ 178
Clara Lemlich..........................................180
Queen Lili‘uokalani.................................. 182
Annie Londonderry..................................184
Ada Lovelace............................................186
Jean Macnamara......................................188
Elizabeth Magie.......................................190
Vivian Maier............................................192
Alice Marble............................................194
Mileva Marić...........................................196
Beryl Markham........................................198
Matilda of Tuscany.................................. 200
Rose Marie McCoy...................................202
Hattie McDaniel..................................... 204
Margaret Mead....................................... 206
Lise Meitner........................................... 208
Maria Sibylla Merian................................210
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu...................... 212
Maria Montessori....................................214
Toni Morrison.........................................216
Florence Nightingale................................ 218
Queen Nzinga..........................................220
Freddie Oversteegen................................222
Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin........................224
Autumn Peltier........................................226
Candace Pert...........................................228
Irna Phillips........................................... 230
Zofia Posmysz..........................................232
Ni Gusti Ayu Raka Rasmi...........................234
Angela Ruiz Robles ..................................236
Augusta Savage.........................................238
Milunka Savić......................................... 240
Sophie Scholl...........................................242
Irena Sendler......................................... 244
Huda Shaarawi ....................................... 246
Daphne Sheldrick ................................... 248
Amrita Sher-Gil ......................................250
Nina Simone...........................................252
Gloria Steinem........................................254
Nettie Stevens.........................................256
Ceija Stojka.............................................258
Maria Strick........................................... 260
Yma Sumac..............................................262
Peggy Jo Tallas........................................ 264
Maria Tallchief....................................... 266
Queen Tamar ......................................... 268
Helen Tamiris..........................................270
Valentina Tereshkova................................272
Sister Rosetta Tharpe...............................274
Empress Theodora...................................276
Greta Thunberg.......................................278
Trota of Salerno...................................... 280
Sojourner Truth.......................................282
Remedios Varo........................................ 284
Maud Wagner.......................................... 286
Madam C. J. Walker..................................288
Mary Edwards Walker.............................. 290
Aloha Wanderwell....................................292
Ida B. Wells............................................ 294
Gladys West............................................ 296
Caroline Earle White............................... 298
Anna May Wong...................................... 300
Empress Wu Zetian.................................. 302
Stella Young............................................ 304
Malala Yousafzai...................................... 306

Praise

“Thank you, Anita Kunz, for this work of art! I have a deep appreciation and admiration for how this book came to be: out of your searching, out of your desire to learn about and know these lives more deeply. Thank you for painting these extraordinary women, for portraying their individuality, strength, determination, courage, perseverance, and their particular beauty. I’ve spent the past twenty-three years of my career playing a kick-ass woman on TV: Kick-ass women are all around us and this book is a beautiful, unforgettable reminder. I loved spending time with this sisterhood.”
—Mariska Hargitay
 
“Anita Kunz reminds us that women’s history is the world’s history. She reminds us that much of the culture we take for granted exists by the grace of women’s ingenuity. This is a book that demands that we continue to interrogate why women and their historical contributions are, all too often, overlooked.”
—Roxane Gay, from the Foreword

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