Clara Barton may have started the Red Cross, but she never started her own family. Although she did have her fair share of suitors and proposals, no guy ever made the cut. According to her nephew, "...she could think of herself with satisfaction as a wife and mother, but that on the whole she felt that she had been more useful to the world by being free from matrimonial lies."
Mention Chanel to any woman, and all of us dream of those quilted leather purses donning the iconic pair of Cs or the distinct scent dubbed No. 5. With all the glitz and glam, you'd think that Coco Chanel has a history of failed marriages but not at all the case. Although she was close to marrying the Duke of Westminster, she broke the engagement after seeing how much her own fortune was growing. "There are a lot of duchesses, but only One Coco Chanel," she explained bluntly.
Breaking barriers by being the first woman to graduate from medical school, Elizabeth Blackwell was a woman of many honors. But with all her work educating women in medicine, Blackwell decided not to marry. She did start a family and adopted an orphan who became her companion into Blackwell's older years.
Known for her heartfelt and passionate poems, Emily Dickinson lived out her love in her words. After her father broke up a secret affair she had with a reverend, the heartbroken Dickinson ended up living the rest of her spinster days in her dad's mansion for the rest of her life.
Known for pushing the nursing movement, Florence Nightingale has been praised for her compassion and willingness to help others. Being quite religious, she believed that God had a plan for her -- "to be a single woman." In 1844, she refused a marriage proposal from her cousin -- let's just hope that was a very distant one.
This writer decided to write about marriage instead of heading into one herself. Known as an iconic liberal thinker, her writing and philosophies have lived on longer than any marriage she could have had. And we think she's completely satisfied with that.
One of Helen Keller's dreams was to be married. Unfortunately, she didn't think it would ever happen and even said, "I can't imagine a man wanting to marry me." Although she did fall in love once, she ended up spending the rest of her days doing good deeds but still living the single life.
Famed for her social work, Jane Addams (founder of Hull House) was never married. However many historians say she didn't really live the single life as she has been linked to Hull House co-founder Ellen Gates Starr and Chicago heiress Mary Rozet Smith. Deemed as lifelong friendships, some have questioned if the reason she never took a trip down the aisle was because she loved women.
Jane Austen once said, "Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance."
However unlike Emma and Elizabeth Bennet, Jane Austen never made it down the aisle herself.
Joan of Arc
Following God's calling, Joan of Arc vowed to be celibate at 13. And despite her father's wish to see his daughter marry, she turned down a proposal when she was 16. But she fulfilled her promise and didn't have to keep it too long since she was burned at the stake at 19 -- making her one of the youngest spinsters in history.