I was amazed, when I was teaching at CDSP, that some of the first-year seminarians (including the women) did not know who the Philadelphia Eleven were.
Quick précis here.
Timeline here. (And you think we have problems today, folks! Women weren't ordained as priests till that summer in 1974. But women did not get seated as lay delegates in the House of Deputies until 1970. They'd been trying for five decades.)
The ordination was --they did it on purpose-- the feast of Martha and Mary of Bethany. Today's feast is moved to tomorrow because it's Sunday.)
The women, who were all white, had almost all been involved in the Civil Rights Movement. Most of them understood themselves and spoke of themselves as feminists.
Here is a sermon preached by the Right Reverend Barbara Harris, the first woman bishop in the Anglican Communion (now retired) on the 25th anniversary of those first irregular ordinations of women to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church. Barbara Harris served as crucifer at the ordination of the Philadelphia Eleven, which took place at her home church in Philadelphia, the Church of the Advocate, a mostly African American congregation. Little did she or anyone there know that in 1989 she would be ordained bishop.
By the way, she has a few scathing things to say about Lambeth 1998 in that sermon.
The very first woman priest in the Anglican Communion, by the way, was the Rev. Li Tim Oi, ordained in Hong Kong during World War II. To her also I pay loving tribute today.
My Episcopal and Anglican history books are mostly at the office, but I may be able to post some references from there a little later this week, before I leave for Boston. (Yes, another trip to Boston: this time, a humongous family reunion.)
The photo is of the Rev. Jeannette Piccard, the oldest of the Philadelphia Eleven, ordained priest at the age of 79. She was also a noted balloonist (speaking of Christina the Astonishing, see below) and the first woman to enter the stratosphere, in 1934. She died in 1981, at the age of 86.