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April 23

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

Obituaries Offer Wealth of Information about Women of Achievement

Astronaut Eileen Collins Threatened, NASA Orders Her Not to Attend Hometown Parade

Evelyn Sharp: Well Worth Remembering


QUOTES by Germaine Greer and Dr. Christine Biaggi.

Obituaries Offer Wealth of Information about Women of Achievement

     Barbara Wardenburg who edited the excellent League of Women Voters' Cybervoters is a reader of WOAH and developed a rather neat way of submitting information about women to us: snail mailing woman-important obituary notices from newspapers in California.
     Later she began emailing copies of what she found on the newspaper web sites as well (which we particularly appreciated because of our growing eye problems.)
      HINT HINT if anyone is interested in carrying on the submissions from their area . . PO Box 6185, Hot Springs, AR 71902 or istuber@undelete.org
     Some of Barbara's last submissions:
     Died at 94 (DOB not given in any of the obituaries - a unique mark of most U.S. obits that I never understood), Katherine Beebe Pinkham Harris who was the first woman hired by the Associated Press west of the Mississippi. She covered the Lindbergh kidnapping as well as the birth of the United Nations in San Francisco. KBPH served as press aide to Adlai Stevenson when he ran for the U.S. presidency in 1952 and 1956.
          [Excerpted from the San Jose Mercury News.]

     Died at 82 in Moscow, Russia, Anna Larina, widow of Nikolai Bukharin, a father of the Boshevik Revolution. When her husband was condemned to death in 1938 she was banished and spent 20 years in Soviet prison camps and in exile. She memorized her husband's final testament so it could not be dscovered in written form and destroyed. It was finally published in 1988 in Anna Larina's autobiography This I Cannot Forget which detailed life inside the prison gaulags and her experiences with the Bolshevik hierarchy. It was an instant best seller. Anna Larina's fate is typical of many wives of fallen statesmen: a wife (although historians do not give her any credit for helping the husband with anything of importance) is condemned (usually executed) along with the husband for no reason except she was married to him.
          [Excerpted from the Associated Press.]

     Died at 82 in Florida, Sophia G. Reuther, the first woman organizer for the United Auto Workers union. Began her activism in the early 1930s when she raised money for striking shipyard workers with a Methodist group. She was hired by the UAW in 1937 and helped organize the General Motors Guide Lamp plant. (The mother of WOA's compiler was also a union organizer and knew Sophia, although not intimately. There were a number of women organizers in the UAW but few got the credit they deserved.)
          [Excerpted from the San Francisco Chronicle.]

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Astronaut Eileen Collins Threatened: NASA Orders Her Not to Attend Hometown Parade

     "I'll be back," vowed the first American woman astronaut pilot in 1995 to her hometown of Elmira, New York. Her appearance in a triumphant parade before 20,000 of her hometown neighbors was cancelled by NASA following a death threat.
     It was the second time Lt. Col. Eileen Collins, 37, now a full colonel, has been threatened and NASA pulled her back to Houston just before she boarded a shuttle plan to her hometown rather than risk her life. At least one male astronaut Richard Covey down played the incident in a left-handed slap. "I won't change anything I do in public. I don't have any fears about it. I fly in rockets."
     Well, so does Collins fly rockets but no one has threatened Covey and it was NOT Collins choice to cancel. NASA *ORDERED* her to stay away.
     Covey never apologized to our knowledge and make any effort to learn a little more about the epidemic of men stalking and killing women for no other reason than they are women. Powerful women are even bigger targets. Covey may fly rockets,but he isn't very educated - and he never had someone stalking him with a gun.
     Effective August 1, 1994, Covey retired from NASA and the Air Force.
      The threat on Collins's life was made in a phone call by a man to the Elmira newspaper office and he said in part "... during the parade tomorrow, I'm going to put a bullet in Eileen Collins' head..."
     Elmira citizens held the parade anyway and were incensed, as one columnist said,

"We were robbed - cruelly, callously, thoughtlessly, robbed by an anonymous caller who probably resented (her) magnificent achievement of becoming the first woman space shuttle pilot.
     "Robbed of a chance to celebrate how a little girl who once lived on welfare in Elmira could grow up to lead humankind on one of its greatest adventures.
     "Robbed of the opportunity to show Eileen Collins how proud we are of her and how much she means to us."

      Collins was verbally threatened two weeks before the scheduled parade by a man during a presentation Collins made in November 1994. She has also been harassed by a man who said he was infatuated with her and became abusive when he couldn't meet her.
     Although the parade went on with Collins' parents and a replica of the space shuttle Discovery before thousands of cheering hometowners, three-days of events, which included the dedication of the Eileen M. Collins Observatory, were cancelled.
     One psychiatrist said women of high achievement in male-dominated fields are natural targets for such anger. "These men (who make threats) might feel there are too many uppity women in their lives. They might want to get back at these women."        Some men feel threatened by successful women like Collins and first lady Hillary Clinton, Dr. John Beziganan explained. Those men are frustrated that they haven't gotten what they expected or deserved in life.
     Collins sent word: "I was with you in spirit if I wasn't with you in body."
     Our gratitude to Judy Blair who sent us copies of the Elmira newspapers containing the information for this sad episode of WOAH.
     It was all over the front page - it WAS the front page showing the immense pride Elmira, NY has in Eileen Collins, a pride shared by all decent people in this world.
     On July 23. 1999, Collins again did what no woman had ever done before. The NASA mission STS-93 Columbia (July 23-27, 1999) was the first Shuttle mission to be commanded by a woman. STS-93 highlighted the deployment of the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. Designed to conduct comprehensive studies of the universe, the telescope has enabled scientists to study exotic phenomena such as exploding stars, quasars, and black holes.
     On STS-93, liftoff July 23, 1999, Collins was the first woman space Shuttle Commander in the history of the world.
     Collins graduated from Elmira Free Academy, Elmira, New York, in 1974; received an associate in science degree in mathematics/science from Corning Community College in 1976; a bachelor of arts degree in mathematics and economics from Syracuse University in 1978; a master of science degree in operations research from Stanford University in 1986; and a master of arts degree in space systems management from Webster University in 1989.
     She has logged over 5,000 hours in 30 different types of aircraft. She served as co-pilot on STS-63 (February 3-11, 1995).

     [While visiting relatives in Florida the compiler of WOAH was fortunate to be on the beach July 23. 1999 to see the launch when Collins did what no woman has ever done before... The NASA mission STS-93 Columbia, the first Shuttle mission to be commanded by a woman.
     The beaches were packed all three nights (there were two postponements) and CHEERS rocked the air as the deep rumble of the rockets shook the ground.
     It was almost as if the voices of thousands of WOMEN on the beach LIFTED that shuttle themselves... and with the problems that occured that we knew nothing about at the time, maybe it was a good thing that so many women were there along the hundreds of miles of Florida's upper east coast helping out... some wag at the time noted that the crowd did not disperse as quickly as time gone by but stayed until there was not even a glimmer of the rocket left in the sky, and still lingered. Did the women know, somehow that they were needed? I thought it was interesting at the time. Now I wonder a bit more about women's intuition...]

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Evelyn Sharp: Well Worth Remembering as a Defender of our Nation in Time of War

Died 04-23-1944, Evelyn Sharp - pilot with the U.S. Women's Airforce Service Pilots. She was the second of 38 women pilots to die in service to her country during World War II.
     WOAH received the following letter from Mike Riddle:
     "Irene: A few years ago I mailed you the Nebraskaland piece about Evelyn Sharp. Knowing your views that the contributions of women are under-reported, I'd like to pass along this editorial from today's Omaha World-Herald. Please note that Nebraska Public TV is doing a documentary about her, and that NPTV's work often shows up on PBS."

      Omaha World-Herald
      Published Sunday, September 10, 2000
      Evelyn Sharp: Well Worth Remembering

      Residents in parts of the Sand Hills could look up in the 1930s and see a miracle. Floating below the clouds was a plane serenely piloted by a teen-ager - Evelyn Sharp.
      Sharp, an Ord resident, made her first solo flight at age 15. She earned her private pilot's license shortly after her 17th birthday, in 1937. A year later, she became a licensed commercial transport pilot.
      A serendipitous turn of events in the mid-1930s had brought Sharp into contact with the then-young world of aviation: A resident of her family's boardinghouse had given her flying lessons in exchange for room and board. Businessmen in Ord, encouraged by local optometrist Glen D. Auble, came to recognize Sharp's talent and spirit and contributed $600 for a down payment on an airplane for her.
     The exuberant young pilot, called "Sharpie" by her friends, repaid the debt in the late'30s by flying the mail route connecting Ord, Greeley and Grand Island and by barnstorming county fairs and rodeos. She named her plane after her hometown. One side of the plane bore the words, "Nation's Youngest Aviatrix." Frequently her co-pilot was her dog, Scotty.
      This month, Nebraska public television will recall those and other exploits from Evelyn Sharp's life in a documentary titled "Sharpie: Born to Fly."

[NOTE: The video on Evelyn Sharp should be available from your local library. Ask your research librarian how to order it as a loan for home viewing.]

     Sharp's flying career reached a turning point in October 1942. After serving during the preceding two years as a flying instructor in South Dakota and California, Sharp became one of 23 women chosen for the Army Air Corps' new Women Airforce Service Pilots. As a WASP, she flew military aircraft from West Coast manufacturing plants cross-country to Eastern shipping points.
      Lois Durham, a former WASP pilot living in Ralston, told The World-Herald in 1998 that the members of the WASP squadron "were women who loved to fly and probably the gutsiest girls I know."
      The dangers involved in the WASP ferrying service became grimly evident on April 23, 1944, when the right engine blew at takeoff on a P-38 fighter Sharp was piloting over rural Pennsylvania. (With no atlitude and no way to fly it higher or far enough to get back to the field) Sharp brought the plane down in a field, but she did not survive the crash landing. She was only 24 years old.
     A white cross and a bronze eagle mark Sharp's final resting place in the Ord Cemetery.
     More than five decades after her death, Evelyn Sharp continues to be remembered fondly in her hometown. Ord named its airfield after her and has held community events in her honor.
     A look back at Sharp's life points up several things: A young woman who realized her special talents and worked hard to make the most of them. Parents who believed in their daughter and gave her the freedom to pursue her dreams. A community that stood behind a hometown teen-ager and helped lift her up. A nation that was served courageously in wartime by a squadron of female pilots, even to the point of highest sacrifice.
      Evelyn Sharp stands as one of the most memorable Nebraskans of the past century. Her example continues to inspire. And to the people of Ord, her memory still soars.

WOAH readers are invited to use the our search engine to look for more information about the WASPs - we have posted many articles about the brave women who sacrificed so much and were so underappreciated by their country.
     Why Sharpie's grave (and those of the other WASPs who died in service to their country during wartime) is not decorated as a veteran of our wars is criminal. Of course, it took those who survived more than 30 years go get any recognition at all.
     Use the search engine for WASPs - and be amazed!
     The following is an VERY, VERY sanitized version of the fatalities suffered by the WASPs:

     AirForce, Journal of the Air Force Association
     April 2001 Vol. 84, No. 4
     WASP fatalities

     Cornelia Fort was instructing a student in Hawaii on Dec. 7, 1941, when they had a near collision with a Japanese warplane attacking Pearl Harbor. She returned to the States and instructed in the Civilian Pilot Training program, then became the second woman to volunteer for the WAFS. On March 21, 1943, the BT-13 she was ferrying collided with another airplane and she became the first American woman pilot killed in line of duty. END BLOCKTUOE
      (Fort was killed by the actions of a MALE hotshot pilot who buzzed her and then swung his plane around and and doze at her. He missed the last time, injuring her plane and it crashed killing Fort. The male pilot was unhurt. As a result WOMEN were forbidden to fly in formations with men. The male pilot was NOT punished.) BLOCKQUOTE
      She was not the last.
     Evelyn Sharp, another of the original WAFS group, had 2,968 hours when she joined the ferry program. She was killed when the engine on her P-38 failed on takeoff. A third WAFS pilot, Dorothy E. Scott, was in pursuit training at Palm Springs, Calif., when she and her instructor were killed in an AT-6 in a midair collision.
     Eleven women were killed during their initial training with Cochran's group. Another 27 graduates were killed while on duty. Most were on ferry missions or on cross-country flights in training airplanes. Four died in A-24 attack bombers, two in B-25s, one in a P-39, and one in a P-63. Overall, Cochran said in her final report, the women's fatality rate was comparable to that for men.

More on Sharpe can be found at http://members.aol.com/bartmanne/sharpie/forward.htm and http://hometown.aol.com/conroeqb/EvelynSharpDay2000 index.html

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B. 04-23-1522, Saint Catherine - Italian Dominican mystic. At the age of 13 she entered the Dominican convent at Prato and served as prioress from 1560 to 1590. She is noted for her letters, her visions and her sigmatas. She was the author of letters (ed. by Fr. Sisto of Pisa, 1912) and other minor works

B. 04-23-1797, Penina Moïse - U.S. poet and writer. PM's many hymns are still used in American Reformed Jewish Services. penina moise

B. 04-23-1804, Marie Taglioni - Italian ballerina. Trained by her father she become one of the first women to dance on the tips of her toes and designed her filmy and flounced costumes that are the forerunner of the tutu.

B. 04-23-1858, Dame Ethel Mary Smyth - British composer. Dame Smyth was recognized as the most outstanding woman musician and composer of her day.
     In 1910 she became the first woman composer to have an opera, The Wreckers, performed at Covent Garden, London.
      She was made Dame of the British Empire 1922.
     Dame Ethel was a leader in the militant suffrage movement and spent two months in jail for her protests. Her March of Women was used extensively in the cause.
     Several prominent conductors of the day, including the great Bruno Walter, considered her works bordering on great music but in the usual fashion, her music (or any woman's music without exception) is quickly ignored in the male-dominated music field.
     In later years, Dame Ethel developed a deep affection for British writer Virginia Wolfe.

Event 04-23-1872: Charlotte E. Ray became the first black woman admitted to the District of Columbia bar. aino acte

B. 04-23-1876, Aïno Acté - legendary Finnish concert and opera soprano.

B. 04-23-1887, Pauline Morton Sabin - U.S. activist. PMS as a leader in the efforts to repeal prohibition. She was a Republican party official and an interior decorator.

B. 04-23-1899, Dame Ngaio Marsh - New Zealand writer, actor, and producer.
     Dame Ngaio is best known for her detective mysteries. She also published more than 30 novels about other subjects, some based on her career as a Shakespearean actor,
     She produced Shakespearean drama in New Zealand for 25 years. She was made Dame of the British Empire in 1966.
     Many of her detective novels featured Inspector Roderick Alleyn of Scotland Yard, and, in later novels, his wife Troy, setting the stage for later authors who centered their tales around Yard detectives.

B. 04-23-1907, Lee Miller - U.S. photographer.
     LM worked as a model for Vogue_, established her own photographic studio in Paris, starred in a French movie and eturned to New York where she was a celebritiy photographer.
     LM photographed the London Blitz in World War II and went to Normandy as a war correspondent covering the war across France to the liberation of Paris and the advance of the Allies into Germany.
     Her best known book is Grim Glory Picture of Britain Under Fire (1940), Many of her photographs appear in the noted collection The Family of Man (1955)..

B. 04-23-1910, Sheila Scott Macintyre - British mathematician. At Cambridge she did research with Mary Cartwright leading to a publication "On the asymptotic periods of integral functions" in the Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society. Scott married the mathematician Archibald James Macintyre. The next year she was appointed as an assistant lecturer at Aberdeen University where her husband taught. While teaching at Aberdeen and raising a family, she also completed her Ph.D. in 1947 under the nominal supervision of Edward M. Wright with a thesis on "Some problems in interpolatory function theory."
     In spite of her family duties (and taking care of her tempermental husband who needed care because of his great profession) Sheila Macintyre continued her teaching and research activities, including the preparation of a German-English mathematical dictionary. In 1958 she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. In the year before her death from cancer.
     Several contemporary mathematicians lauded her and said that her genius was hampered by her family duties to the detriment of mathematics.

B. 04-23-1918, Margaret Avison - Canadian poet. MA revealed the progress of an interior spiritual journey in her three successive volumes of poetry. Her work has often been praised for the beauty of its language and images

right, Janet Blair
Psycho actress

B. 04-23-1921, Janet Blair - U.S. actor of numerous movies but who will always be remembered as the woman behind the shower curtain in the Alfred Hitchcock movie Pyscho.

B. 04-23-1928, Shirley Temple (Black) - child movie star who was Hollywood's greatest box-office attraction by the age of seven. She danced, sang, acted, and beguiled in one escapist, musical hit after hit during the darkest days of the depression.
     By age 12 her appeal dropped and after a series of flops she retired.
     /In later years she became the darling of the Republican party and was appointed to political and/or ambassadorial posts by three Republican presidents, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and George H. Bush, but suprisingly not by Hollywood's own Ronald Reagan.
     ST was appointed a U.S. Ambassador to Ghandi and chief of protocal under President Gerald Ford and then ambassador to Czechoslovakia 1989 to 1992 by Bush I.
      [The untold story of Shirley Temple is that quite inadvertently she turned the lives of many a girl her age into sheer misery because they could not live up to her her hair, dancing, and cuteness, the compiler of WOAH included. "Oh why can't you be cute like Shirley Temple?" Grrrrr. Many of us wanted to put her into the good ship lollypop and send her out into a hurricane. It wasn't her fault, I know, but -.. -- IS]

B. 04-23-1932, Margaret Baxter - Wing Commander of the Australian Air Force, MB served as commanding officer of the women's training Unit, RAAF Laverton.

B. 04-23-1942, Sandra Dee - U.S. film actor.

right, Bernadette Devlin

B. 04-23-1947, Bernadette Devlin (McAliskey) - Irish nationalist and politician.

B. 04-23-1950, Joyce DeWitt - U.S. entertainer.

B. 04-23-1951, Ann Marie Fudge - U.S. corporate executive. AMF was appointed president of the $1.4 billion Maxwell House Coffee corporation in 1994.
     She had moved up the ladder with General Mills after earning her M.B.A. from Harvard University in 1977.
     One of her product developments was Honey Nut Cheerios, a top selling cereal.
      In charge of the Bake 'N Shake team, the sales increased dramatically.
     AMF advanced from marketing assistant to marketing director and then added development as she went up the corporate ladder to vice president before moving over to Maxwell House.
     In her career she introduced and promoted Honey Nut Cheerios into one of the nation's best-selling breakfast cereals. She oversaw the manufacture, promotion, and sales of such familiar name brand products as Minute Rice, Log Cabin Syrup, Good Seasons Salad Dressing, boosted Kool-Aid's stagnant appeal in a drive that has lasted decades.
      She and her team developed a new approach for the moribund Shake 'N Bake, boosting it to amazing sales the very next year.
     Married, she has two sons, both born while she was on the corporate fast track.

B. 04-23-1955, Judy Davis - U.S. actor.
     One of the most solid actors in the business today she has never broken into the top ranks of stars but is much admired.
     Like most really good dramatic actors, she does comedy extremely well.

B. 04-23-1957, Jan Hooks - U.S. actor.

B. 04-23-1960, Valerie Bertinelli - U.S. actor.

B. 04-23-1963, Pia Cramling - Swedish international chess grandnmaster.

B. 04-23-1964, Lou Yun - Chinese gymnast. LY won two gold, two silver, and one bronze in the 1984 and 88 Olympucs. She won both golds in the vault, the first in 1984 and the second in 1988, a very rare occurrence.
     Team combined: silver 1984, vault - gold 1984, 1988, floor exercises - silver 1984, bronze 1988.

left, Donna Weinbrecht

B. 04-23-1965, Donna Weinbrecht - U.S. athlete. DW won the first-ever women's moguls Olympic gold medal in 1992 in Albertville. Moguls is a skiing event. She is 5'4" tall and weighed 125 pounds.

B. 04-23-1971, Amy L. Bagley - state representative New Hampshire State House of Representatives 1993 -.

B. 04-23-1984, Alexandra Kosteniuk- Russian woman's international chess grandmaster.

Event 04-23-1993: the long awaited report by the inspector general of the Department of Defense found that 49 civilian women, 22 servicewomen, six female government employees, six wives, and six servicemen were victims of sexual abuse at the U.S. Navy's 1991 Tailhook convention. The Tailhook convention is for naval pilots and so named because of the hook that is attached to the rear of naval planes to hook onto the safety rope to stop the plane on the carrier deck
      The report recommended that at least 140 officers be referred to the services for possible disciplinary action on charges of indecent assault, exposure, conduct unbecoming an officer, or lying to investigators.
     Not a one single man received anything except a tap on the wrist while a number of the women who were abused were forced out of the service or their marriages were destroyed.
     At the convention, unsuspecting women were forced to run the "gauntlet" down the halls of the hotel with the U.S. Naval officers and gentlemen lined up on each side of the hall groping and tearing the clothes of the women as they ran passed, unable to escape from the dozens of men who attacked them.

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"Women fail to understand how much men hate them."
           -- Germaine Greer in The Female Eunuch.

"That Goddess figurines and statues appear both clothed and nude have attracted scholars attention.
     "Clothing and adornment clearly reflect rank and status. Nudity has traditionally been associated with magical powers and sanctity. Its use as an erotic or sexual stimulus developed only in much more recent patriarchal times...
     "The nude figures could represent the deity as the Goddess of Vegetation, the ensurer of fertility, fecundity, and generous harvests, Her obesity emphasizing her opulence. These figurines could have evoked erotic- mystical emotions in both sexes in the Neolithic Maltese society which was unencumbered by later patriarchal sexual codes that objectify and therefore preclude the mystical in the female body..."
           -- Dr. Christine Biaggi who wrote about the wealth of artifacts and figurines that "directly represent or reflect upon the Goddesses" in her excellent Habitations of the Great Goddess - a highly illustrated and footnoted volume of scientific accuracy.

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