Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World - Ann Shen (2016)
Annie Edson Taylor
In a time when burly male daredevils were making a living by performing death-defying stunts around the world, a sixty-three-year-old woman dared to join their ranks. Annie Edson Taylor (1839-1910) made her mark in history as the first person to survive a trip over Niagara Falls—and in a barrel, no less. Widowed at a young age, Taylor wandered North America teaching music and dance while working on ideas to secure her own financial future. On her sixty-third birthday, she packed herself and her lucky heart-shaped pillow into a custom-made barrel lined with a mattress and made that renowned trip over Niagara Falls. Hundreds of bystanders stood by to watch her feat. After the event, Taylor made a short-lived splash speaking about her experience and traveling around with the barrel that had carried her safely over the falls. Her courageous act opened up the daredevil arena to female adventurers.