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May 20

Compiled and Written by Irene Stuber
who is solely responsible for its content.
This version of Women of Achievement has been taken
from the draft of an unpublished book based on
Irene Stuber's files on women of achievement and herstory.
The full text of this episode of Women of Achievement and Herstory
will be published here in the future.


The first woman minister in U.S. history


QUOTE by Roseanne.

The first woman minister in U.S. history

Although Antoinette Brown graduate in theology from Oberlin College in 1850, she was refused ordination by a number of churches. She was finally accepted by the Congregational Church in South Butler, New York (1852-54) to become the first woman minister in U. S. history.
      Antoinette Brown (b. 05-20-1825) married into the renowned Blackwell family (Elizabeth was the first woman physician in U.S. history and her sister Emily, also a physician, was one of the organizers of the first woman's hospital.)
      ABB had six children and abandoned her battles for women's rights. Later she resumed her women's rights activities to become one of the most sought after speakers in the nation. She also published a number of well received books, her last book The Social Side of Mind and Action (1915) was written when she was 90. She lived to 96, long enough to see women get the vote.

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B. 05-20-1768, Dolley Madison, a widow, married a rather nobody, tiny James Madison whom she helped mold into a future president of the United States.
      During the British invasion of Washington, D.C., in the war of 1812 she escaped with valuable state papers from the White House before it was burned by the British.
      Strong-willed, she hung her wash in the east room of the White House to show her disdain for those who thought the presidency was royalty. She was a noted and charming hostess in the complex game of Washington society.
      She acted as hostess for George Washington and her charm paved the way for the solemn Madison to become president.

B. 05-20-1872, Madeline McDowell Breckinridge, U.S. social activist who began by organizing and taking part in grassroots movements in her native Kentucky battling for educational and health facilities.
      She campaigned for juvenile courts, branched out into fighting political corruption while heading charity organizations and was even instrumental in building a tuberculosis hospital (a disease she suffered from most of her life).
      MMB headed the Kentucky Equal Rights organization which not only successfully passed suffrage in a southern state (!) but also obtained rights for married women that "allowed" them to keep their own earnings, have joint custody of their own children, etc.

B. 05-20-1882, Sigrid Undset, Norwegian novelist, winner of the 1928 Nobel prize in literature. Most noted for her Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy that traces 47 years of a woman's life with deep and penetrating analysis.
      SU was a woman with deep troubles. As an 11-year old she turned against her mother when her father died.
      She changed her philosophical direction from writing about women trapped in marriage to idealizing women who commit themselves to God and family - the ideal being self-sacrifice.
      Oddly enough, although she was adamant in opposing racial and religious bigotry, she favored limited freedom for her female characters.

B. 05-20-1901, Doris Fleeson, U.S. journalist and syndicated columnist. She skewered politicians who failed the people or she saw as corrupt. She was a militant feminist in the 1940s and 1950s when one of the big battles was to get sufficient women's washrooms in the Capitol building, a complaint that dated back to the early 19th century. She actively aided young women reporters.

B. 05-20-1904, Margery Louise Allingham, English detective fiction writer.

B. 05-20-1915, Shelley Mydans, U.S. journalist who was trapped in Manila when the Japanese invaded the Philippines and was interred in a prison camp for 24 months.

B. 05-20-1949, Nancy Friedman Atlas, judge U.S. District Court, Texas, 1995-.

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      "Why is it so shocking to see a woman kiss another women but not to see a woman raped, mutilated, and murdered every two seconds?"
            -- Roseanne commenting on the controversial kiss between two women on her March, 1994 RoseanneTV series episode.

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