Entries - Gender: Female - Starting with K

Kaplan, Regina

Nurse, teacher, and healthcare innovator Regina Kaplan was the hospital administrator and director of the nursing school at the Leo N. Levi Memorial Hospital in Hot Springs (Garland County) for thirty-five years. She was active in national and community organizations, and has been called Arkansas’s “Lady with the Lamp.” Regina Kaplan was born on May 12, 1887, in Memphis, Tennessee, the third of five children of German immigrants Gershon Kaplan and Adella Hannah Traube Kaplan. Her father had been a school teacher in Germany. The family moved to Denver for her mother’s health. Unable to afford medical school to become a doctor, at age seventeen, Kaplan entered Denver’s Mercy Hospital Training School for Nursing. She graduated in 1908 at the …

Karlmark, Gloria Cecelia Ray

Gloria Cecelia Ray Karlmark made history as a member of the Little Rock Nine, the nine African-American students who desegregated Central High School in Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1957. The world watched as they braved constant intimidation and threats from those who opposed desegregation of the formerly all-white high school. Gloria Ray was born on September 26, 1942, in Little Rock, one of the three children of Harvey C. and Julia Miller Ray. By the time Ray entered Central High, her father was retired from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where he had founded the Arkansas Agricultural Extension Service for Negroes, and her mother was a sociologist working for the state of Arkansas. Ray was a fifteen-year-old student at …

Kastor, Deena

Deena Kastor is a long-distance runner who was named All-American at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). She is an Olympic medalist for the marathon, holds American records in both the marathon and half-marathon, and is an eight-time national cross-country champion. She was named the top women’s marathoner in the world by Track and Field News magazine in 2006. Kastor is renowned for her courage after a freak mishap during the World Cross-Country Championships in 2000. Deena Michelle Drossin was born on February 14, 1973, in Waltham, Massachusetts, later moving to Agoura Hills, California. She began long-distance running at age thirteen, breaking the 3,000-meter national record and reigning as the two-time National Cross Country Champion in the …

Kearney, Janis

Janis Kearney was the publisher of the historic Arkansas State Press and later served as presidential diarist to U.S. president Bill Clinton from 1995 to 2001, the first such appointment in presidential history. After leaving Washington DC, she wrote several books and founded a publishing company. Janis Faye Kearney was born on September 29, 1953, in the small rural town of Gould (Lincoln County). She was the fourteenth of nineteen children born to sharecropper Thomas James Kearney and homemaker Ethel Curry Kearney, who also worked in the fields. By the time she was nine years old, Kearney was helping to care for her younger brothers and sisters as well as cooking for the large family. She spent evenings learning to …

Keohane, Nannerl Overholser

Nannerl Overholser Keohane has been a leader in American higher education, first as president of Wellesley College and then as president of Duke University. Both symbolically, as a pioneering female leader, and substantively in the way she shaped the direction of those two institutions, Keohane has had a major impact on the college and university landscape into the twenty-first century. Nannerl Overholser was born on September 18, 1940, in Blytheville (Mississippi County). The daughter of Grace Overholser and James Overholser, who was a Presbyterian minister, she was the oldest of three children and was named after Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s sister. The family relocated several times during her childhood, both to Texas and to South Carolina, as well as a stint in …

Kidd, Sue

Sue Kidd was a female baseball star who gained local fame for the athletic prowess she displayed while playing on and against all-male baseball teams in Van Buren County and surrounding areas. Glenna Sue Kidd was born in Choctaw (Van Buren County) on September 2, 1933, to William Marvin Kidd and Julia Duncan Kidd, local farmers and merchants, though her father also served as postmaster at Choctaw. She had five siblings. The original community of Choctaw was covered by water when Greers Ferry Lake was filled in the 1960s. That community is now referred to as “old Choctaw,” as opposed to the present community of “new Choctaw” located on state Highway 65. As a student at Clinton High School, Kidd …

King, Bertha Hale

aka: Bertha Hale White
Bertha Hale King was a socialist activist in the first part of the twentieth century. Although born in Illinois, she received most of her early education in Arkansas before leaving the state to serve as a high-ranking official in the national Socialist Party. Bertha Hale was born in Nashville, Illinois, in 1878. Her father was a farmer, but little else is known about her parents. She attended primary school in Golden City, Missouri, just over the state line from Illinois. The family then moved to Arkansas. Following graduation from high school in Fort Smith (Sebastian County), she attended Buckner College, a small Baptist school just a few miles north of Huntington (Sebastian County). In preparation for a teaching career, she …

King, Helen Martin

Helen Martin King was one of Arkansas’s most unique artists, developing the almost-forgotten craft of rug hooking. She became a designer, teacher, and businesswoman, creating thousands of original designs, teaching classes, and creating cottage industries within the state. Helen Martin was born at Powhatan (Lawrence County) on September 20, 1895, the only child of John William Martin, a prosperous landowner and lumberman, and Clara Isabelle Norment Martin. Martin’s family moved to Batesville (Independence County) when she was a young child, and she acquired her elementary and high school education at the preparatory school of Arkansas College (now Lyon College). In 1913, at the age of eighteen, she married a local merchant, Fitzhugh Hail. Within a year of her marriage, both …

Kizer, Bernice Lichty Parker

Bernice Lichty Parker Kizer was a lawyer and a path-breaking state legislator and judge in Arkansas in the second half of the twentieth century. After almost fifteen years in the Arkansas General Assembly, Kizer stepped down to seek election as a probate judge. Her subsequent victory made her the first woman in state history to be elected to a judgeship. Bernice Lichty was born on August 14, 1915, in Fort Smith (Sebastian County) to E. C. Lichty and Opal Lichty. She graduated from Fort Smith High School in 1932 and worked for two years as a grocery checker at Fort Smith’s first self-serve grocery store in order to save money for college. She initially attended Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, …

Knoop, Faith Yingling

Faith Yingling Knoop was a prolific author who wrote children’s books, short stories, a popular Arkansas history textbook, and more than 250 articles for seventy-five different publications. Among other accolades, she won first prize in the 1948 National League of American Pen Women’s Contest. Faith Yingling was born on December 6, 1896, in Elgin, Illinois, the daughter of Irvin Dean Yingling, a watchmaker and optometrist, and Maud (Waddles) Yingling. She had an older brother. Childhood for Yingling was filled with summer trips to visit her grandparents in Illinois and Washington DC. They were avid sightseers and acquainted her with parks, museums, and other landmarks of New York, Chicago, and Washington. Her mother took her to New York to her first …

Kochiyama, Yuri

Yuri Kochiyama, the daughter of Japanese immigrants, was incarcerated during World War II at the Jerome Relocation Center in Arkansas. She later became a human rights activist and was famously photographed cradling the head of Malcom X following his assassination. Kochiyama was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. Mary Yuriko (Yuri) Nakahara was born on May 19, 1921, in a working-class neighborhood in San Pedro, California, to Japanese immigrants Seiichi Nakahara and Tsuyako Nakahara. She attended San Pedro High School, where she became student body vice president, played on the tennis team, and served as a sports writer for the San Pedro News-Pilot. After graduating from high school in 1939, she attended Compton Junior College. Her community service …