PROMINENT WOMEN FROM BUCKS COUNTY
International Women's Day is celebrated on March 8, but history is made every day when ordinary people step up to do extraordinary things. From the realm of popular music, to the silver screen and all the way to the constant fight for human rights, Bucks County has been home to a variety of women who followed their dreams and made an impact on both the county and the world. Read on to learn about Bucks County's leading ladies and what they did to change the face of history!
• Pearl S. Buck is best known for her humanitarian efforts as she sought rights for women and children across the globe. After publishing her best-selling novel "The Good Earth," which was awarded both a Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize, Buck spent more than 30 years of her life in the bucolic countryside of Bucks County. From her home in Perkasie she continued her successful writing career while continuing her advocacy on humanitarian issues that were largely ignored by people of her generation. Buck's 1865 farmhouse is now open to the public as the Pearl S. Buck House and Historic Site. Operated by Pearl S. Buck International, this National Historic Landmark features a cultural center, beautiful gardens and seasonal exhibits to educate and enlighten guests.
• Dorothy Parker, who came to fame as a poet, short-story writer, critic and screenwriter, withdrew from her Manhattan elitist life to a cozy spot in rural Bucks County. After a visit to the area in 1936, Parker and her second husband purchased a farmhouse in Pipersville where they lived for 20 years. Parker rose in popularity when she wrote for Vanity Fair, eventually rising to serve on the board of editors for The New Yorker. Known best for her wit and satire, Parker was also a humanitarian who fought strongly for civil rights and liberties. Upon her death, she left her entire estate to the NAACP, who honored her with a plaque and memorial garden outside of their Baltimore headquarters. Parker is featured in the Creative Bucks County exhibit on display at the Bucks County Visitor Center in Bensalem. This interactive exhibit explores Dorothy Parker's life and the causes for which she advocated throughout her career.
• Margaret Mead, a cultural anthropologist best known for her controversial reports about attitudes towards sex in Eastern and Western cultures that informed the 1960s sexual revolution, got her humble beginnings growing up in Doylestown. During her childhood, Mead's family lived at Longland Farm in Buckingham Township. Also known as Margaret Mead Farm, this historic farm house still stands today and is currently on the National Register of Historic Places. Throughout her career, Mead authored 44 books and more than 1,000 academic articles in favor of women's rights throughout the globe.
• Alecia Moore, better known by her stage name P!nk, is a native of Doylestown who followed her dreams of being a professional singer-songwriter. While attending Central Bucks High School, Moore developed her voice and joined her first band. A few years later, she released her first single as a solo artist in 2000, and went on to become one of the most successful female artists of her generation, selling more than 50 million albums and winning three Grammy Awards. In 2009, she was named the #1 pop musician of the decade by Billboard Magazine and in 2013 was named Billboard's Woman of the Year. At the 2014 Grammy Awards, LL Cool J gave a special mention to Moore and her roots in his opening monologue, commenting, "Music even had the power to transform Alecia Moore, growing up in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, into the very colorful artist now known around the world as P!nk. And may I say, it's been a beautiful transformation." Click here to watch the clip.
• Christina Perri, famous singer-songwriter known best for her hit "Jar of Hearts", is a Bensalem, Pennsylvania native. Her songs have been used on countless popular television shows including "Dancing with the Stars," "The Voice" and "So You Think You Can Dance." Perry also wrote and recorded the hit song "A Thousand Years" for the movie "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn." Her first ever album "Lovestrong" reached #4 on the Billboard charts.
• Annie Haslam may not be a Bucks County native, but this English vocalist, songwriter and painter relocated to Central Bucks County in 1999 where she currently resides. Since 1999, she has performed in a Christmas show entitled In the Spirit of the Holidays, which was originally housed in the Upper Tinicum Lutheran Church, but moved to the Sellersville Theatre in 2006.
• Odette Myrtil was born in France and began her career as a violinist on the vaudeville stage in Paris. She expanded into acting and singing and gained fame while performing on Broadway from 1924 to 1932 and then through films such as Strangers on a Train (1951) and Kitty Foyle (1940). She settled down in New Hope for most of her later years where she managed The Playhouse Inn, located next to the Bucks County Playhouse, from 1955 to 1958. She operated the restaurant Chez Odette from 1961 to 1976 in New Hope as well.
• Diane Bracalente is a former field hockey player born in Quakertown. She competed during the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea and finished in eighth position with Team USA.
• Claire Smith, born in Langhorne, is one of America's most prominent sports writers. Starting her career at the Bucks County Courier, she had dreams of writing about baseball on the national stage. In 1990, she achieved her dream by becoming New York Times' national baseball writer. She works for ESPN as a news editor and was awarded the 2017 J.G. Taylor Spink Award. She is the first woman to receive this honor, and just the fourth African American to win the award.
• Hallie Jackson was born in Yardley and graduated from Pennsbury High School in 2002. She worked in many local news markets across the east coast before joining NBC News as a National Correspondent in 2014. In January 2017, she was named White House Correspondent and began anchoring in the afternoons on MSNBC. On February 16, 2017 she filled in for Savannah Guthrie and made her debut as weekday co-anchor on the TODAY Show with Matt Lauer.
• Lauren Holly was born in Bristol to parents working in the field of academia. Holly, who now resides in Canada, is an actress best known for her roles as Maxine Stewart in TV series "Picket Fences," Jenny Shephard in TV series "NCIS" and Mary Swanson in the 1994 film "Dumb & Dumber." Throughout her career she has appeared in more than 75 films and television series.
• Katrina Weidman’s love for, and interest in all things paranormal, started when she was young and living in Bucks County. The area’s long and intricate history helped to instill her desire to pursue the paranormal field. She is now an actress, lead singer of a band, lecturer and most famously a television producer. Her most notable works include A&E’s hit series Paranormal State, the Real Fear documentary series and Destination American’s Paranormal Lockdown (2016).
• Molly Ephraim, is stage and screen actress who was raised in Bucks County. She started out performing as a child in shows at the Bucks County Playhouse as well as other theaters in neighboring Philadelphia. She made her Broadway debut as Little Red Riding Hood in the revival of Into the Woods and has since appeared on stages across the country. On screen, she is best known for her roles in Paranormal Activity and its sequel.
• Ileen Getz was born in Bristol in 1961 and was an American actress most recognized for her portrayal of Dr. Judith Draper in the television series 3rd Rock from the Sun. She began her acting career on shows such as Seinfeld and Law and Order. She later progressed to film and also worked at the Lincoln Center and Manhattan Theatre Club in New York City.
• Aileen Quinn grew up in a theatrical household in Yardley. As a young child, she started auditioning for small shows in and around Bucks County. Despite having already debuted on Broadway, her big break came in the early 1980s when she was cast as Little Orphan Annie for the film. Following that contract, she starred in the Disney Channel movie The Frog Prince (1988) before going back to her theatre roots in North Carolina as well as Bucks County. There she starred in A Day In Hollywood, A Night In The Ukraine as Harpo Marx in Bristol. She has since traveled the country with various Broadway National Tours and now performs in a swing and blues band named Aileen Quinn and the Leapin’ Lizards.