Mary Dixon Kies, born on this day in 1752, was the first woman to receive a U.S. Patent. In 1809, she patented her technique of weaving straw and silk to make work bonnets. The picture in the header shows a bonnet created with Mary’s patented technique. Due to the Napoleonic Wars, the U.S. had embargoed trade with France and Great Britain, thus creating a need for Americans to make their own hats. First Lady Dolley Madison sent a letter to Kies, thanking her for her innovation.