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February 5

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.

Women's names and herstory


QUOTES by Voltaraine de Cleyre.

The Problem With Women's Names

      Ladyslipper, a noted women's recording catalog explains: "[Ladyslipper] recordings are organized into categories and then alphabetically by FIRST name. We do this because as women, first names have been more truly our own."
      Our last names have usually been transferred to us in a patrilineal fashion, historically, husbands and fathers were legally the property owners of the women in their families; and sometimes surnames actually came from slave owners or immigration officers. "So our alphabetization-by-first-name method is a small gesture toward acknowledging and altering these customs."

      The problem of women's names has become more and more complex as they begin to assert the right to their own identity. So maybe one solution is the creation of distinctive first names for girl babies so that they will have a permanent, all-their-own identification as men do with their surnames. Examples: Stanton Mary Elizabeth Jones would be Mary Elizabeth informally but her formal name of Stanton Mary Elizabeth would be her very own forever regardless of how many times she marries and chooses to use (or not use) her husband's name. The same with Hoyden Susan Lynn Smith, or Scholarly Kimberly Jane Bronsky, or Seema Joanne Catherine Smythe. Hoyden Susan Smith when she marries John Kellog can choose to become Hoyden Susan Kellog, but her identity never disappears since she is legally Hoyden Susan... and her girl child may also carry on the name by being called Hoyden Margaret Kellog who at marriage could become Hoyden Margaret Wilson ... and her granddaughter could be Hoyden Phyllis or Malmay Phyllis or whatever and would remain Malmay Phyllis regardless of any marriage.

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Event: 02-05-1777, Georgia's constitution "abrogated" the male entail and primogeniture, those two bulwarks of ancient thievery that prevented women from inheriting property.

B. 02-05-1788 Sarah Goodridge, esteemed miniature portrait painter who learned to draw on birch bark with a pin. Her commissions supported her family.

B. 02-05-1848, (Myra) Belle Starr, U.S. outlaw of the Old West.

B. 02-05-1873(1?), Maxine Elliott, after a brilliant acting career opened her own theater, the Maxine Elliott as the first woman manager and owner of a theatre in New York City (1908.) Moved to England where she became the toast of society and very wealthy whether from her own efforts or the market tips from her many male admirers is not known. Was decorated by the Belgium, French, and British governments for her work during World War I which often took her the front lines in the path of danger.

B. 02-05-1871, Mary Sewall Gardner, public health nurse, devoted herlife to setting standards for training and professionalizing the nursing field. Her text Public Health Nursing (1916, 1924, 1936) was translated into several languages and recognized world-wide as a classic. Her stepmother was a physician. Had a lifelong friendship with Lillian Wald.

B. 02-05-1880, Millicent Todd Bingham, daughter of Mabel Loomis Todd, writer and lecturer. First woman to be awarded a doctorate in the department of geology and geography from Harvard University. Her mother, given the original manuscripts by the Dickinson family, had begun editing the poems and letters of Emily Dickinson. Following her mother's death, MTB devoted herself to editing the manuscripts and letters full-time.

Event 02-05-1971, women in Switzerland are enfranchised to vote in national elections but women are not allowed to vote in local elections in many cantons, a fact that doesn't change until 1994.

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      "Let every woman ask herself: 'Why am I the slave of Man? Why is my brain said not to be the equal of his brain? Why is my work not paid equally with his? Why must my body be controlled by my husband? Why may he take my labor in the household, giving me in exchange what he deems fit? Why may he take my children from me? Will them away while yet unborn?' Let every woman ask."

      "I never expect men to GIVE us liberty. No, women, we are not WORTH it, until we TAKE it."
            -- Voltaraine de Cleyre (1866-1912)

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