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April 19

Compiled and Written by Irene Stuber
who is solely responsible for its content.

Two Russian women pilots shoot down four Nazi bombers

Britain Repeals Statutes Against Witchcraft

Event 04-19-1989: Central Park jogger Makes Remarkable Recovery



The Women Pilots Attacked and Downed Five Nazi Bombers

left, A group of Russian women pilots - not those mentioned in the article - are shown examining maps prior to their attack or defense flights that often numbered a dozen a day during the height of the Nazi Germany invasion. Hundreds of women were an integral part of the Russian air force from mechanics to fighter pilots. They shot down hundreds of attacking German planes during World War II.  

"One of the most noteworthy events in the history of the 586th occurred on 19 April 1943, when pilots Raisa Surnachevskaia and Tamara Pamiatnykh engaged a group of 42 enemy bombers and shot down four.
      "All the other aircraft of the regiment were on missions when Pamiatnykh and Surnachevskaia were scrambled on alert. At first, they were told there were two enemy reconnaissance aircraft in the area. When they reached the target area, they discovered instead two groups of German bombers - forty-two aircraft in all.
      Gridnev was in the command post.
'What was there to do?' he wrote. 'I got on the radio and commanded them, Attack!'
      "Attack they did.
      "Driving a wedge into the German formation, the two women pilots managed to scatter the bombers, forcing them to drop their bombs well short of target.
      "Moreover, each woman shot down two enemy bombers. The target of the German attack, a rail junction loaded with Soviet troops and fuel supplies, remained unscathed.
'Some representatives from Great Britain saw all of this,' wrote Gridnev. 'They reported it to the King of England, and he sent the girls inscribed gold watches. But our own people never even found the time to give them the Hero. I believe this is one of the most distinguished victories of the entire war. They should hang two gold stars on each of them for this.' "
           -- (c) 1993 Reina Pennington, MA thesis, Wings, Women and War, used with permission. Ms. Pennington continues doing tremendously important work in rediscovering the history of Russian women in World War II and beyond. She has graciously shared this information with the readers of WOAH. RP traveled to Russia several times and speaks the language.

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Britain Repeals Statutes Against Witchcraft

A witch burning.

While men accused of being witches were usually hung, women were burned "as more humane."
Many of the burnings were held privately. The light clothing (just a shift) put on the women witches burned off early and the all-male viewers were said to have enjoyed the usually forbidden views of naked women.

In 1736 Britain repealed her laws against witchcraft after centuries of vicious and murderous control of women.
      Between 1580 and 1660, England hanged more than 30,000 witches, mostly in the Puritan counties of Suffolk, Norfolk, and Essex.
      Elizabeth's successor, King James I, believed in witchcraft. As James VI of Scotland he wrote along with physician Johann Wier. a scholarly treatise on witchcraft, Daemonologie (1489).
      In 1607 after ascending the throne of England, James told poet Sir John Harrington of his constant wonder that the devil invariably chose hags (older women) as his agents.
      In truth, most of the victims of the witch scare in England, the European continent, and even Salam, Massachusetts, were older women deemed not worthy of further existence, or having a wealth wanted by some men. Women, young or old, who did not obey the male domination laws also were chosen as witches. Also, a number of women were burned as witches as revenge against their political powerful husbands - the husbands couldn't be touched directly because of their power, but an accusation of witchcraft against the wife that always was taken seriously injured the husband from a direction he couldn't defend against - and usually cost HIM the life of his wife (the articles written about such things always referred to the husband's loss, not the woman's.)
      Midwives or woman herbal healers were particularly vulnerable and in parts of Europe, almost all of them were killed, especially healers who were willing to teach women birth control or enable abortions.
      James I maintained that witches are merely miserable people with distorted minds. Since witches are usually old women of melancholic nature and small brains, women who get easily depressed and have little faith in God there is no doubt that the devil easily affects and deceives their minds by illusions and apparitions.     

[For a chronology of the witch hunts, see The Witch Craze Timeline.]

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B. 04-19-1666, Sarah Kemble Knight - British colonial merchant businesswoman whose detailed diary of an amazing trip she took alone (unchaperoned) on horseback between Boston, New Haven, and New York in 1704-05 was published after her death as The Journal of Madam Knight.
      It is an historically important source as one of the most authentic records of 18th-century American colonial life. [D.1727]
      The trip was probably a business trip following her father's death and her takeover of his business. In later years she was a shopkeeper and accumulated a considerable estate.

B. 04-19-1827, Maria Susanna Cummins - U.S. author. MSC is most remembered for her sentimental first novel, The Lamplighter, which achieved enormous popular success but met with much withering critical scorn from her male critics.

B. 04-19-1830, Malvina Pray Florence - U.S. dancer and comedic actor.

B. 04-19-1831, Mary Louise Booth - U.S. journalist, a prolific translator from the French, and the first editor of Harper's Bazar (later Bazaar).
      She guided the fledgling Harper's Bazar into one of the most important magazines in the U.S. Its circulation reached 80,000 in the first decade of her stewardship.
      MLB wrote a history of New York City that went through three editions. She also did major translating of French works.

B. 04-19-1856, Anna Sarah Kugler - first medical missionary of the Lutheran Women's Missionary Society and the only woman physician in Madras State, India.
      With very few funds, and working as a teacher part-time, she started a small dispensary in 1883 which in time she developed into a medical compound at Guntur that included a 50-bed hospital, as well as children's and maternity wards, surgical facilities, and even a nurses' school. A remarkable accomplishment. Her autobiographical Guntur Mission Hospital was published in 1928.

B. 04-19-1865, May Robson - U.S. actor. MR always played a formidable force in the movies - and that role mirrored her real life.
      Educated privately in England, Australia, Brussels and Paris, she eloped at 16 to live in Fort Worth, TX. They soon moved to New York city but her husband died leaving her without any money and three children.
      She somehow kept the family in food by working at teaching and painting china and other artistic things for Tiffany and Company. On a whim she took a small part in a stage production. She made such an impression that other roles quickly became available.
      Intelligent, she manged her own career and took roles that showed her talents. She was drawn to Hollywood and silent film but when talkies came in, her strong voice made her one of the mediums most popular actors. She was in demand right until her death at 84.
      She appeared in more than 100 stage productions and dozens of films. Her name was actually Mary Robison but after a printer's error dropped the "i", she kept the change.

Event 04-19-1861: A quote from History of Woman Suffrage, Vol. II:

When the first blood of the war was shed by the attack upon the Massachusetts troops passing through Baltimore that memorable April 19, 1861, but one person in the whole city was found to offer them shelter and aid. Ann Manley, a woman belonging to what is called the outcast class (prostitute?), with a pity as divine as that of the woman who anointed the feet of our Lord and wiped them with the hair of her head-took the disabled soldiers into her own house, and at the hazard of her life, bound up their wounds. In making up His jewels at the last great day, will not the Lord say of her as of one of old, "She has loved much, and much is forgiven her ?"
B. 04-19-1872, Alice Salomon - German-born, American/international feminist who was stripped of her many honors by the Nazis. AS was founder of one of the first schools of social work and an internationally prominent feminist
      She organized the first German social worker training system and had a school named after her. She co-founded the International Congress of Women (1904).

B. 04-19-1889, E. (Emma) Lucy Braun - U.S. botanist and conservationist.
      ELB's work in vascular plant taxonomy, plant geography, and conservation had vast national respect and influence, in fact, she is credited with developing the plant ecology field in the U.S.
      She used a part of her home garden (she shared a home with her sister) as a laboratory and gathered more material from her extensive field trips. She produced more than 180 publications, including four books. Her work was instrumental in developing plant ecology as a scientific discipline.
      Her mother was interested in botany and pressed plants for study. ELB earned her Ph.D. at the University of Cincinnati (1914) as did her sister older sister Annettee (1884-1978) in 1911.
      ELB rose from an assistant in geology (1910 to botany (1914) to eventually full professor of plant ecology (1946). She was elected the first president of the Ohio Academy of Science who was also a woman (1933) and the Ecological Society of American (1950).

B. 04-19-1892, Germaine Tailleferre - French composer.

B. 04-19-1901, Edith Clara (Baroness) Summerskill - British physician and politician. ECS was a founder of the Socialist Medical Association which spearheaded the National Health Service (1948). She was a member of Parliament 1938-1961, and chair of the Labour Party 1954-55. ECS campaigned against antiquated laws regarding venereal disease that required two complaints. She pressed for women in the British Home Guard to have equal rights with men.
      Realizing that "politicians held the purse strings" to ease misery, pain, and needless suffering, she ran for a seat in the parliament, losing twice before winning. Her victory was made possible by the working women's vote. She then upset the powers that be by taking her seat in her maiden name.
      "I like men very much, but I am an unashamed feminist and I want women to get a square deal."
      [Ever notice how men of authority can say nasty things about women, but every woman of authority has to make statements about her fondness/love of men, especially feminists?]
      She was president of the Married Women's Association and irately challenged the military in Parliament in 1941 when she learned that during a mock invasion drill in the north of England the commanding officer called "for a thousand women to pretend to be hysterical" while the male soldiers save the day. He apologized - and the military never tried that stunt again.

B. 04-19-1902, Jean Lee Latham, - U.S. author of fictionalized biographies for children.

Event 04-19-1916: the right to vote and stand for public office to women of the Canadian province of Alberta was validated. The general enfranchisement of women in Canada occured 05-24-1918.

B. 04-19-1925, Linda Goodman - U.S. astrologer and best-selling author. LG's1968 book Sun Signs sparked mass-market interest in the occult.

B. 04-19-1932, Andrea Mead Lawrence - U.S. Alpine skier. AML won two gold medals in the 1952 Olympics, the only U.S. skier - male or female - to win two medals in skiing to that time.
      Marrying in 1952, she had the third of her five children only four month before she just missed the bronze in the 1956 Olympics (Three children in four years and still retained world class skiing ability!).
      Her Olympic victories, coupled with her U.S. championship titles in the downhill, slalom, and Alpine combined in 1950, 1952, and 1955 and the giant slalom in 1953, earned her a place in the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame.

B. 04-19-1933, Jayne Mansfield - U.S. actor and entertainment personality. Although gifted with an IQ of 163, and charming, JM failed to capitlize on her innate abilities. Her first marriage to 1956 Mr. Universe Mickey Hargity and the emphasis on physical "beauty" may have sidetracked her.
      After a series of grade B movies, she was tagged the walking Barbie doll because of her formidable bust - and some photos that over-showed her breasts in social events detracted from her career.
      The press centered on what they saw as her best qualities and kept mentioning their growth (while ignoring that as an obvious feature of having children).
      Her biggest roles were caricatures of the dumb, big-busted blondes.
      She toured in night club acts to supplament her dwindling film income (she had at one time been one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood) and she was killed in a horrific automobile accident between Biloxi, Mississippi, where she was appearing and New Orleans.
      On June 29, 1967 JM was driving with Ronnie Harrison and lawyer Sam Brody in the front seat. Her children, Mickey, Jr., Zoltan and Mariska sat in the back. As they rounded a curve on a dark stretch of road, the car slammed into a parked semi. Though the children survived with minor injuries, everyone in the front was killed instantly.
      Her daughter Marissa (Mariska) Hargity is the star of Law and Order Sex Victims Unit. Rumor has it that Mansfield was beheaded in the accident but it was her wig that flew off. The autopsy showed that she had had only one drink but the rumors that drinking was the cause of the accident have never been stilled. Scandal reporters seem to ignore the facts when they don't fit their sensationalism.
      [The compiler of WOAH drove the same road a number of times and witnessed a horrific accident one clear, Sunday afternoon that could have mirrored the Mansfield crash. It was on a highway that many people drove at 80 mph and up. It was highly dangerous and the road constantly dips almost like a low roller coaster because of subsidence from the boggy ground under the road.]
      Her children are Jayne Marie (1950), Mickey (1958 aka Miklos), Zoltan (1960), Maria now Marissa (1964 aka Mariska), and Octabiano Cimber (1965 aka Antonio Raphael Ottaviano Cimber). Mickey was Hungarian thus the Hungarian names. Mansfield's second husband was Cimber.

B. 04-19-1937, Elinor Donahue - U.S. actor. Among her hundreds of performances are appearances on TV in Father Knows Best and the Andy Griffith Show. She appeared on film in Pretty Woman.

Event 04-19-1944: Dr. Hilda Thelander becomes the first physician in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps Reserve who is also a woman.

B. 04-19-1949, Paloma Picasso - French jewelry designer and perfume manufacturer. Her mother was the painter Francoise Gilot. (OK, so her father was "the" Picasso.)

B. 04-19-1953, Sara Simeoni - Italian athlete. SS won the Olympic gold medal (1980) and two silvers (1976/1984) in the high jumps. In winning the gold she set an Olympic record of 1.97 m (6 feet 5 1/2 inches).
      She was accorded the honor of carrying her nation's flag into the Olympic stadium in 1984. She became a coach and TV commentator.

B. 04-19-1956, Sue Barker - winner of golf's French Open tournament and the women's singles (1976)

B. 04-19-1957, Belinda Lipscomb - U.S. vocalist. (Midnight Star-No Parking).

Event 04-19-1969: The first horse race in the U.S. that featured all women jockeys was run at Suffolk Downs, Boston, Massachusetts.

Event 04-19-1975: Joan Winn becomes the first black woman to serve as a judge in Texas.

B. 04-19-1975, Inna Dubinka - Ukrainian chess international grandmaster.

B. 04-19-1979, Antoaneta Stefanova - Bulgarian chess international grandmaster.

Event 04-19-1982: Sally Ride was named as the first astronaut who is also a woman to go into space . . . and she dutifully said she was going into space NOT as a woman but a trained astronaut (which she was).

B. 04-19-1987, Jacqueline Blanc - set the women's downhill ski speed record (124.902 mph).

Event 04-19-1989: The news of the horrific rape and beating of a woman jogger in Central Park left for dead burned into the national conscience - but few know what happened to her.
      Her life hung in balance for weeks and she was said to be permanently brain damaged. Doctors held out little hope for a productive life. They doubted if she would ever be able to feed herself.
      However, ten years later this amazing woman has beaten all the odds.
      She is happily married, puts in long hours working as president of a not-for-profit organization that helps people in crisis.
      And in 1995, only six years after she was left for dead she anonymously ran in the New York Marathon, finishing the 26-mile race in a little under 4.5 hours. She still has the athletic body of a serious runner.
      Reporter Heidi Evans, in a 2001 article in the New York Daily News, wrote that the woman whose real name was never disclosed has no memory of the horrific events.
      Dr. Robert Kurtz, the surgeon who is credited with saving the jogger's life said "She had a lot of curiosity about what happened to her (after she came out of the coma). We went through the details a number of times, and she would make charts. She was amazed she went through all these events and didn't have a shred of memory."
      Reporter Heidi Evens wrote:

"At the time of the Central Park attack, the 5-foot-5 woman was a rising star in the corporate finance department of Salomon Brothers. She was 28 and regularly jogged in the park at night after work.
      "On April 19, 1989, about 9 p.m., she was attacked by a pack of young teenagers at the end of an escalating crime spree in the park. She was raped repeatedly, viciously beaten with a pipe and left for dead.
      "The gang left her bleeding and nude, bound and gagged with her bloody shirt, - unconscious for hours in a remote area at the northern end of the park, where she was found by two other joggers at 1:30 a.m. She remained in a coma for two weeks, and doctors feared that if she came out of it, she had only a 50-50 chance of dressing and feeding herself.
      "She spent seven weeks at Metropolitan Hospital, where she gradually began her slow and miraculous recovery. After seven months in rehabilitation at Gaylord Hospital in Wallingford, Conn., she returned to work at Salomon Brothers for a few hours a day."
      Reporter Evans says that according to her friends, her speech is normal. She can read and work long hours. But she still has some problems with her balance and vision. She has not regained her sense of smell.
      But by and large, friends say, she is fine, athletic and happy, commuting several days a week to work in the city.
      In 1997, she married a businessman and lives in Connecticut.
      Friends say she spends her spare time giving back to every institution that helped her reclaim her life, including the rehabilitation facility Gaylord Hospital, the Mount Sinai Medical Center Rape Crisis Intervention Program and the Achilles Track Club for people with disabilities.
      The jogger declined a request for an interview as she has through the years.
      "She wants people to know that she is alive and well," one friend said, "but she wants to remain a private person."
      Despite the horror she experienced, the jogger, who is now 40 still runs in Central Park when she gets the chance.
      "She never stopped loving the park," a frienhd said. "She thinks it's the most beautiful park in the world."


Event 04-19-1996: The first ever Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival is held at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D. C.
      Although it was impossible to bring all important women of jazz together, the sponsors did their best.
      Those who did appear in the 3-day event were singer-pianist Shirley Horn, pianists Dorothy Donegan, Marian McPartland, Renee Rosnes, Geri Allen and Eliane Elias, impressionistic saxophonist, pianist Lynne Arriale, bassist Mary Ann McSweeney, saxophonist Debbie Keefe, trumpeter Rebecca Coupe Franks, drummer Dottie Dodgion, Jane Ira Bloom, jazz singers Dee Dee Bridgewater and Nnenna Freelon, with their own bands, the jazz orchestras led by Toshiko Akiyoshi and Maria Schneider, and the big band DIVA. Also performing were individuals like trumpet phenomenon Ingrid Jensen.
      The list of women jazz musicians is huge, but few ever get to be household names because of the reluctance of critics and writers about jazz (almost all men) do not give them credit.
      But as more and more women join the ranks of jazz performers (as they are in symphony orchestras) the public is accepting them as musicians, not women.
      But there is a glass wall of resistance.
      Maybe if women start spending their money only on women's music and not supporting men whp ignore women's abilities, it would force the recognition of musical talent over prejudice.

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In 1852 Elizabeth Cady Stanton shocked the Women's Temperance Society by saying:
"Let no wife remain in the relation of a wife with a confirmed drunkard. Let no drunkard be the father of thy children.
      "Let us petition our state government so as to modify the laws affecting marriage and the custody of children so that a drunkard shall have no claims on either wife or child."
      At the time women in the United States did not have legal custody of their own children. Sole custody was in the hands of the father who had the right to do anything with them that they cared to do, including giving them to someone else. (What? That doesn't jive with what you're reading in the newspapers written by right wing religious supremacists who want to take over our democracy? How strange.)

(This isn't a feminist statement, just enjoyable writing:)
"On nights such as this, reruns would be just the thing: the mental equivalent of giving a feather to a baby with sticky fingers."
           -- Nevada Barr in Liberty Falling.

"I am proud to say... that there are women who prefer to suffer the extremity of danger and pain rather than waive those scruples of delicacy which prevent their maladies from being fully explored."
            -- Charles Meig, M.D., in his book Females and Their Diseases (1848). Amazingly, many women were ENCOURAGED not to be seen by doctors because it might infringe on their modesty. Many doctors, even in childbirth, avert their eyes when reaching under a woman's clothing. Better to die or be in constant pain than to be "unmodest" as a part of the man-ownership of their wives (or daughters).
      This "modesty" which cost so many women's lives is still in effect (2001) in many Muslim countries where the husband tells the doctor of his wife's symptons and she is never physically examined or looked at by the doctor. No operations are possible. It is rumored that several fundamental churches in the U.S. hold the same views in 2001 and are trying to force them on their women.

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