At an event at the New York Public Library on March 27, 2024, Hillary Clinton was asked about the women she admired when she was growing up. And she talked about how she had been reflecting with a friend recently that when she was going to school in the 1950s and ’60s, she wasn’t taught much about women in history, with figures such as Joan of Arc or Martha Washington being the rare exceptions.

Her primary source for learning about accomplished women, she said, was the pages of LIFE.

Here’s how the former Secretary of State, U.S. Senator and First Lady explained it to a packed house at the library (Ms. Clinton’s entire, wide-ranging conversation with author Jennifer Weiner can be viewed here, with Clinton’s comment about LIFE coming at the one-hour mark):

“I learned about women not in school but by reading LIFE magazine every week. And you have to be of a certain age. But that magazine would come to my house every week, and it was a big magazine with great photographs in it, and I’d come home from school and it would be sitting there on the table, and I would read it faithfully. And that’s where I learned about Eleanor Roosevelt, Amelia Earhart, Margaret Chase-Smith, Margaret Bourke-White, I mean… Maria Tallchief. I had a lot of exposure to women who I read about and really admired by reading in the magazines.”

While Ms. Clinton talked about LIFE, she did not mention that the magazine was where she just so happened to make her first national splash, when she was an undergraduate at Wellesley and she included in a 1969 story about students’ college commencement speeches. (You can see young Hillary’s commencement speech here.)

This gallery includes images from when she appeared in the magazine herself, and also photos of the women that she learned about as a reader of LIFE.

Sen. Margaret Chase Smith, shown on the day she announced her 1964 candidacy for president at the Women’s National Press Club, was the first woman to have her name placed into nomination at the convention of a major party.

Francis Miller/Life Photo Collection/Shutterstock

Sen. Margaret Chase Smith, the first woman to serve in both houses of Congress, spoke with Secretary of State John Foster Dulles during a Senate committee meeting, 1957.

Ed Clark/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt walks with children en route to a picnic, 1948.

Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt walks with children en route to a picnic, 1948.

Martha Holmes The LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Eleanor Roosevelt addresses delegates at the 1960 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, where she supported Illinois' Adlai Stevenson over the party's eventual nominee, John F. Kennedy.

Eleanor Roosevelt addressed delegates at the 1960 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, where she supported Illinois’ Adlai Stevenson over the party’s eventual nominee, John F. Kennedy.

Alfred Eisenstaedt/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

Eleanor Roosevelt talking to another UN delegate near a mural by artist Fernand Leger, 1952. (Photo by Lisa Larsen/The LIFE Picture Collection via © Meredith Corporation)

Eleanor Roosevelt talking to another UN delegate near a mural by artist Fernand Leger, 1952.

Lisa Larsen/The LIFE Picture Collection via Shutterstock© Meredith Corporation

Portrait of LIFE’s first hired and first female staff photographer, Margaret Bourke-White. She was on assignment in Algeria, standing in front of Flying Fortress bomber in which she made combat mission photographs of the U.S. attack on Tunis, 1943.

(Margaret Bourke-White/ LIFE Picture Collection /Shutterstock)

Margaret Bourke-White's struggle with Parkinson's disease.

Margaret Bourke-White with her camera during her later years, when the LIFE staff photographer was struggling with Parkinson’s disease.

Alfred Eisenstaedt The LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Ballerina Maria Tallchief (right) performing the Nutcracker Ballet at New York’s City Center, 1954.

Alfred Eisenstaedt/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Maria Tallchief in rehearsal for ” Swan Lake,” 1963.

Ed Clark/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Ballerina Maria Tallchief performing in Swan Lake, 1963.

Ed Clark/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Aviator Amelia Earhart in 1932, five years before her plane disappeared in the Pacific.

Life Photo Collection

Hillary Rodham (later Hillary Rodham Clinton), Park Ridge, Illinois, June 1969.

Hillary Rodham (later Hillary Rodham Clinton), Park Ridge, Illinois, June 1969.

Lee Balterman/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

Hillary Rodham (later Hillary Rodham Clinton), Park Ridge, Illinois, June 1969.

Hillary Rodham (later Hillary Rodham Clinton), Park Ridge, Illinois, June 1969.

Lee Balterman/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

Hillary Rodham (later Hillary Rodham Clinton), Park Ridge, Illinois, June 1969.

Hillary Rodham (later Hillary Rodham Clinton), Park Ridge, Illinois, June 1969.

Lee Balterman/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

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