As a huge history buff, I would be remiss not to mention an original Dame. If you go by the "non-hereditary title" definition, then interestingly enough, Anne Boleyn could be argued to be the original Dame. She was the first women of non-noble birth to be raised to noble status by a sovereign (on her own accord), and we all know where the story goes from there.
Described as an "unconventional beauty, brave, smart, aggresive and once toasted in France as the "glass of fashion" I can think of no better representation.
Some of my favorite dictionary tid-bits:
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin domina, feminine of dominus, lord, master; see dem- in Indo-European roots.]
A title of honor equivalent to master, or sir.
A young person, either male or female, of noble or gentle extraction; as, Damsel Pepin; Damsel Richard, Prince of Wales.
A woman holding a nonhereditary title conferred by a sovereign in recognition of personal merit or service to the country.
a form of address to any woman of rank or authority.
Slang: Sometimes Offensive. a woman; female.