Emily Hahn, an early feminist and prolific writer, died on February 18th at age 92. In 1974 she wrote the influential, Once Upon a Pedestal: An Informal History of Women’s Lib and throughout her career also wrote articles for The New Yorker on subjects such as apes, D.H. Lawrence and her trips to the Far East. She also wrote books on Chinese cooking, diamonds and the Philippines. She began her writing career after traveling cross country in a Model T Ford with the book Seductio ad Absurdum: The Principles and Practices of Seduction _ A Beginner’s Handbook. She then set upon becoming “free” and traveled to Africa where she lived with a Pygmie tribe and worked at a hospital. She then became the China correspondent for The New Yorker in 1936.
Born in St. Louis, she grew up determined to become a mining engineer. Her advisor at the University of Wisconsin told her to forget it because the female mind “is incapable of grasping mechanics or higher mathematics.” The remark only made her more determined to succeed and she eventually became the first woman to earn a mining engineer degree from the University.