Here is a link to Asifa's short biography of LaVerne Harding. http://www.animationarchive.org/bio/2005/12/harding-la-verne.html
She started at the Walter Lantz studio in 1934, one year after Lillian Friedman started animating at Fleischer's. Harding died in 1984 and received an Annie award for her work in 1980, so she wasn't completely unrecognized in her lifetime.
Selby Kelly's story that Harding was promoted to animator on the spot during a strike at Lantz's is impossible to substantiate.
Lantz is quoted on the site, saying "They thought that women could only draw birds and flowers. They were wrong, of course."
Harding apparently redesigned Woody Woodpecker in 1950, and it is her model sheets that are used for later cartoons.