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January 31

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.

"Suitable" Musical Instruments for Women


QUOTES by Margaret Mitchell and Freya Stark.

Women and Musical Instruments

      According to Christine Ammer in her excellent Unsung, A History of Women in American Music, the accepted musical instruments for women through the centuries were those that could be played demurely such as the piano and harp. Not the organ because the pedals required an "ungainly posture."
      Playing the violin or flute was considered unsuitable as late as 1874, but by 1901 George Lehmann said, "Only a little more than a quarter of a century earlier... the mere thought of a refined young gentlewoman playing the violin, either in private or in public, was indeed intolerable."
      The harp, on the other hand, has always been considered a woman's instrument. Mrs. Blessner in November of 1846 received praise for her performance on a harp to a large public gathering while women on other instruments were banned. Ammer points out that orchestras that are reluctant to admit women players of other instruments usually have a woman harpist. In 1977 women outnumbered men in the American Harp Society about five to one.
            -- information from Ammer, Christine. Unsung - A History of Women in American Music. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 1980. ISBN 0-313-2200-7.

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Event 01-31-0000: O¡melc, the beginning of spring and the special holiday of the Celtic Fire Goddess Brigid, who is GAWD of smithcraft, poetry/ inspiration, and healing. Calling for her to warm the earth, the calling of spring is also important. The actual date of O¡melc is 02-01 but the eve is when the ceremonies occur.

B. 01-31-1851, Alice Bennett, American hospital superintendent and physician.

B. 01-31-1881, Anna Pavlova, Russian ballerina considered one of the world's greatest dancers. Achieved ballerina status with the Russian Imperial Ballet in 1906, but instead of choosing the life of an adored, pampered ballerina in her homeland, AP chose the hard life of touring, perhaps for independence. She resettled in London in 1912, formed her own small group and toured, taking the beauty of ballet to all parts of the world for her adoring public. She had seen Sleeping Beauty at age 8 and never considered doing anything else with her life.

B. 01-31-1891, Clara Savage Littledale, American editor, writer, press chair of the National American Woman Suffrage Association 1914-15. CSL was a noted war correspondent in World War I. She became the founding editor of what became Parents' Magazine, editing it from 1926 to 1956.

B. 01-31-1893, Dame Freya Madeline Stark, wrote several dozen books about her travels and life in Turkey and the Middle East in a time when few Europeans went to such remote places.

B. 01-31-1901, Marie Luise Kaschnitz, German poet and novelist whose early works probed the psychology of its characters. Her later, post world War II poems and stories probed the violent soul of her nation and became vague and enigmatic in both form and texture.

B. 01-31-1902, Alva Myrdal, Swedish sociologist, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (1982); Swedish ambassador to India, Burma and Ceylon, direction Department of Social Science, UNESCO (1950).

B. 01-31-1923, Carol Channing, Tony award winner. Best known for her portrayal of Lorelei Lee in Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend, and Dolly Gallaher Levi in Hello Dolly. Channing carries organic food and bottled water with her because of food allergies. Her true speaking voice is actually melodious and she assumes the airhead character.

B. 01-31-1929, Jean Simmons, Anglo-American screen actor nominated for Academy Award for her work in The Happy Ending (1960) and Hamlet (1948).

B. 01-31-1938, Beatrix, Queen of the Netherlands continued Holland's matriarchy. She was invested as Queen 04-30-1980 after the 31-year reign of her mother Queen Juliana. Her grandmother Queen Wilhelmina held the throne for 50 years before that. Queen Juliana had abdicated on her 71st birthday. The Netherlands, although a parliamentary government, gives their monarchs "the right to be consulted, the right to encourage, the right to warn."

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      "I'm tired of everlasting being unnatural and never doing anything I want to do. I'm tired of acting like I don't eat more than a bird, and walking when I want to run and saying I feel faint after a waltz, when I could dance for two days and never get tired. I'm tired of saying 'How wonderful you are!' to fool men who haven't got one-half the sense I've got and I'm tired of pretending I don't know anything so men can tell me things and feel important while they're doing it..."
            -- Margaret Mitchell, words of Scarlet in Gone With the Wind 1936 (and she saved Tara too).

      "There is a great moment, when you see, however distant, the goal of your wandering. The thing which has been living in your imagination suddenly becomes a part of the tangible world. It matters not how many ranges, rivers or parching dusty ways may lie between you: it is yours now forever."
            -- Freya Stark, born 01-31-1893, British travel writer.

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