The computer language COBOL (COmmon Business Oriented Language), bullet-resistant Kevlar, and Liquid Paper are the inventions of Grace Hopper, Stephanie Kwolek and Bette Nesmith Graham, respectively, three of the ten Women Inventors and Their Discoveries highlighted by Ethlie Ann Aare and Greg Ptacek. In this volume of the very readable collective-biography series, "Profiles," the co-authors paint a refreshingly substantive and well-rounded portrait of the innovators and the circumstances that led to their creations.
Interesting facts about 10 obscure American women who invented famous things fill the pages of this very readable book. Elizabeth Pinckney of the eighteenth century was responsible for the development of the commercial crop of indigo, the mainstay of the Southern economy before cotton. In the nineteenth century, Fannie Farmer invented the modern-day cookbook with standardized measures instead of "a handful of flour, and a lump of butter." The inventor of "liquid paper" correction fluid, the pioneer in child hygiene, the creator of cosmetics and hair products for black women, the inventor of the fiber from which bulletproof vests are made, the creator of the Barbie doll--these women are all featured. Each informative chapter is devoted to the life of one remarkable woman. The book includes many photos and a limited bibliography. For two other titles in the Profiles series, see this issue's Series Roundup.