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This Artist Spent An Entire Year Capturing The Beauty and Essence Of Powerful Women

Unlike most of us, illustrator Lisa Congdon kept her 2013 resolution, for the entire year. We—and the internet—are better for it. 

In late 2012, Congdon, who lives and draws in Oakland, Calif., decided with writer Maria Popova (a Bulgarian living in Brooklyn, N.Y) to celebrate an influential woman each week in 2013. They titled the resulting collaboration, The Reconstructionists, and set up a Tumblr page to house their work: a new portrait and short essay on each of their subjects went live every Monday. 

“We didn’t intend for this to be inclusive of all noteworthy women or even the top 52,” Congdon said. “That would have been impossible. We didn’t come close to featuring all the women we wanted to, but we are hoping we exposed people to women they might not have known about otherwise.” 

The duo highlighted Margaret Bonds, the gifted black composer and pianist who was the first woman of color to perform with the Chicago Symphony. They featured blues singer Billie Holiday, NASA pioneer Sally Ride, and competitive swimmer Dana Nyad. 

Congdon doesn’t plan to continue, though there is interest in turning the project into a physical book. For now, though, “it lives on the internet where people can learn from and enjoy it for a long time at no cost,” she said. “And that feels like a good thing to us.” 

View some of our favorites from the collection below: 

 
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