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January 17

Compiled and Written by Irene Stuber
who is solely responsible for its content.
This document has been taken from emailed versions
of Women of Achievement. The complete episode
will be published here in the future.

Lesser-known Woman Suffragist has been underrated


QUOTES by Eleanor Roosevelt, Alva Vanderbilt Belmont, and Mary Ashton Livermore.

Alva Ertskin Smith Vanderbilt Belmont

      Born 01-17-1853, Alva Ertskin Smith Vanderbilt Belmont, is probably the most underrated of the American suffragists who financed (and some say led) much of the Alice Paul branch actions.
      Twice married into outrageous wealth, AVB went from debutante in the Gilded Age to the forefront of the women's suffrage and women's rights movements. Her writings through the years show a deep devotion to women's equality; in fact it was AVB AND Alice Paul who drew up the National Women's Party's Lucretia Mott amendment: "Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction."
      AVB had found the renowned Dr. Anna Shaw of the National American Women's Suffrage Association unwilling to bend to her will. AVD instead formed her own women's rights party in 1910. It included branches for wage earners, physicians and surgeons, trained nurses, Harlem Negroes, East New Yorkers, artists, and musicians, according to writer Janet W. Buell. AVB then turned to the Constitutional Union headed by Alice Paul and her loyal organizational genius Lucy Burns. AVB dominated it with her money and her formidable character.
      In all, AVB donated more than a million dollars to the cause of suffrage and women's rights. She led the 1912 New York parade for suffrage along with the young, photogenic Inez Milholland. She was president for life of Paul's later group, the National Women's Party, a name AVB chose. SVB hired Paul at the most generous salary of $1,000 per month. When AVB turned her attention to international women's rights and moved to Paris, the NWP went into decline.

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B. 01-17-1774, Maria Theresa Kemble, English singer, dancer, actor, and theatrical manager. Event 01-17-1806: Martha Jefferson Randolph , daughter of President Thomas Jefferson, is the first woman to give birth in the White House.

Event 01-17-1806, Martha Jefferson Randolph, daughter of President Thomas Jefferson, becomes the first woman to give birth in the White House.

B. 01-17-1814, Mrs. Henry Wood, English novelist who created the very popular moralistic novel East Lynne (1861), which was translated into many languages and much dramatized. She was also the editor of the very popular magazine The Argosy.

B. 01-17-1820, Anne Bronte, the lesser known Bronte sister, author of Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848) and Agness Gray_ (1847).

B. 01-17-1829, Catherine Booth, co-founder of the Salvation Army with her husband William Booth. She was an eloquent preacher and headed the social work program. CB wrote in her pamphlet Female Ministry (1859) that a woman had the right to preach and interpret the gospel. She was instrumental in legal reforms that protected young girls.

Event 01-17-1893: Businessman Sanford Ballard Dole deposed Queen Liliuokalani and installed himself as president of the provisional government of Hawaii. The Queen had tried to reestablish primacy of the monarchy over Hawaii's haole foreign businessmen.

B. 01-17-1900, Dorothy Rosenman, national expert on housing and renovation of older housing, advocate of slum clearance and low cost housing. "Everyone is entitled to a decent dwelling in a community which has ample facilities for fostering our American way of life."

B. 01-17-1910, Edith S. Green, elected U.S. Representative from Oregon (1954). In 1955 she introduced a bill to require equal pay for equal work whether performed by a man or a woman. At that time the U. S. government paid women less than a man although they were doing identical work!

B. 01-17-1920, Nora Kaye, American dramatic ballerina.

B. 01-17-1922, Betty White, actress and animal protection advocate.

B. 01-17-1926, Moira Shearer, Scottish ballerina with Sadler's-Wells Ballet from 1942 to 1954 but best known for her film role in Red Shoes. She alternated with Dame Margo Fonteyn with the Sadler.

B. 01-17-1934, Shari Lewis, puppeteer/ventriloquist, early TV star.

B. 01-17-1938, Martha Cotera, Chicano feminist, librarian and civil rights worker.

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      "You cannot take anything personally,
      "You cannot bear grudges.
      "You must finish the day's work when the day's work is done.
      "You cannot get discouraged too easily.
      "You have to take defeat over and over again, and pick up and go on.
      "Be sure of your facts.
      "Argue the other side with a friend until you have found the answer to every point which might be brought up against you.
      "Women who are willing to be leaders must stand out and be shot at. More and more they are going to do it, and more and more they should do it."
      "[Every political woman needs] to develop skin as tough as rhinoceros hide!"
            -- Eleanor Roosevelt in 1936 giving advice to women working in politics, as quoted by Blanche Wiesen Cook in Eleanor Roosevelt, Volume One 1884-1933, New York: Viking Press. 1992. (p. 5-6)

      "I have been crying in the wilderness for wealthy women to give up their leisure and do something to justify their existence - in vain - no reforms appeal to women who have everything."
            -- Alva Vanderbilt Belmont

      "Other books have been written by men physicians ... One would suppose by reading them that women possess but one class of physical organs, and that these are always diseased. Such teaching is pestiferous, and tends to cause and perpetuate the very evils it professes to remedy."
            -- Mary Ashton Livermore [1820-1905], What Shall we Do with Our Daughters?

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