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January 19

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.

Excerpt from Surviving to Thriving

Nell Curtis


QUOTES by Elizabeth Janeway.

Incest and Its Legacy

      "The examination of the incest trauma from the perspective of the child would not be complete without looking at family relationships. Incest takes place in the context of families whether or not the perpetrator is a blood relative.
      "In all my years of working with incest survivors, I have never known incest to occur in a family where there was a strong, positive mother-daughter bond. That is not to blame mothers, for as mentioned previously, sexual violence severs the mother-daughter bond. It is to note that the relationship between mother and daughter plays an important role in the child's risk for abuse.
      "Let's look at mothers as described by incest survivors. Almost always, mothers in incestuous families are described as weak, frustrated, and isolated. Many times they are physically sick, depressed, emotionally impaired, and sometimes they are absent through death, divorce, or desertion. Incest survivors generally perceive their mothers to have abandoned them. In many cases, as adults, the incest survivor is more angry at her mother than at the perpetrator. The survivor is angry at her mother for not having protected her. And she is correct - her mother did not protect her. As a feminist, I recognize the powerless mother to be a victim (also), but as a therapist, I must not let my feminist beliefs interfere with the survivor's necessary process of raging at her unproductive mother. In time, as we examine the family dynamics, the survivor will probably renegotiate her feelings about her mother, but for now, the mother is perceived as uncaring, unproductive, and absent."
            -- the above excerpt is from Dr. Christine Dinsmore's excellent book, From Surviving to Thriving; Incest, Feminism, and Recovery, State University of New York Press.

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Nell Curtis

      "I do not claim that all women, or a large portion of them, should enter into independent business relations with the world, but I do claim that all women should cultivate and respect themselves an ability to make money as they respect their fathers, husbands and brothers the same ability."
            -- Ellen "Nell" Louise Curtis Demorset, a businesswoman before her marriage. She and her husband (who had not been successful before and was, in fact, a chronic loser) packaged paper dress patterns, and promoted them through a magazine that was outspoken in support of women's rights, abolition, and temperance.
      ELCD was sole administrator of the company and supervised the manufacturing. She was one of the first employers in the US who hired blacks on equal terms with whites and the races worked side-by-side. Not suprisingly, there were some people who refused to buy the patterns (or didn't allow their wives to buy) because of her integration policy.
      In 1876 alone, more than three million Mme. Demorset's paper patterns were sold. Demorset's attempts to claim prior design of paper patterns failed, Eleanor Butterick has that distinction. In addition to her multi-million dollar business, she founded Sorosis, a women's organization, as well as a home for abused women and children.

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B. 01-19-0399, Pulcheria, Roman empress, and acted as regent for her younger brother Theodosius II (Eastern Roman emperor 408-450) from 414 to about 416. She remained an influential figure with him for most of her life.

B. 01-19-1859, Alice Eastwood, Canadian-born botanist rebuilt the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco's herbarium after the 1906 earthquake and by her retirement in 1949 had added 340,000 specimens. She wrote more than 300 articles and books.

B. 01-19-1900, Mady Christian, Austrian-born American actor who made almost 60 films in Europe before moving to the U.S. when the Nazi came to power. She called herself an American actor who happened to have been born in Europe. After her prestigious European career she couldn't catch a hit until Margaret Webster, one of Broadway's great and successful director- producers, starred her in The Tempest and then she starred in Watch on the Rhine and won the New York Drama Critics Award for her work in I Remember Mama.
      Her mother was an opera and concert singer who supported Mady's choice of a career against her actor-producer-manager-father who didn't think Mady had any talent and like a woman, should get married and have children.

B. 01-19-1905, Oveta Culp Hobby, U.S. newspaper executive and the first U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, director of the Woman's Army Corps (1942-1945). She was noted for her organizational abilities before marrying into the family which owned the Houston Post newspaper. OCH ran it as executive vice president and later chaired the board for 19 years.

B. 01-19-1921, Patricia Highsmith, author ofStranger On a Train, which was adapted into one of the great movie classic thrillers. Under the name Claire Morgan, was the author of one of the first mass media, happy-ending book about lesbians, The Price of Salt. She lived in France most of her life in order to live her lifestyle in peace and without jeopardizing her writing career. Her divorced mother was a commercial artist.

B. 01-19-1923, Jean Stapleton, American stage, screen, and TV actor best recognized for her role as Edith on TV's All in the Family in which she pitched her actual melodious voice high to show insecurity.

B. 01-19-1943, Janis Joplin, rock singer whose voice carried anger, passion, and sexual intensity. Most famous work, "Me and Bobby McGee."

B. 01-19-1946, Dolly Parton, singer and entertainer, who takes fame to a higher plateau with grammy and country western award after award.

Event 01-19-1990, Elizabeth M. Watson, became the first woman to head the police force of a major American city. Houston Mayor Kathryn Whitmire named Watson, who wore maternity "uniforms" and also became the first police chief to birth a baby while on active duty.

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      "We older women who know we aren't heroines can offer our younger sisters, at the very least, an honest report of what we have learned and how we have grown."
            -- Elizabeth Janeway in Ms. Magazine, 1973

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