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June 9

Bertha Suttner
First recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize

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from the draft of an unpublished book based on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.


Trip that Gave Women the Driver's Seat

Salute to the Immortal Barbara


QUOTE from Time magazine.

Trip that Gave Women the Driver's Seat

    Ramseyalice.JPGDriver Alice Ramsey, 2nd from left, and her three women "passengers" after the first coast to coast automobile by women. The women actually made up a support team such as backs up the cars in the NASCAR races rather than being just passengers.. The women made all the repairs from changing sparkplugs to flat tires.

The trip that changed women's attitude towards automobiles started 06-09-1909.
      Alice Huyler Ramsey, 22, with three women friends as passengers got behind the wheel of a topless motor car in New York City and headed west.
      Predicted to turn for home within days, the women sped across the U.S. to San Francisco in 41 days and proved that women could drive "just like a man."
      The new Maxwel Ramsey drovel could hit 40 on the few good roads there were. Most of the "roads" were nothing more than rutted wagon trails.
      Sponsored by the Maxwell company, the women's trip was well publicized. Ramsey did all the repair work herself like changing sparkplugs and fixing flats. The women "passengers" were called a working crew by Ramsey.
      AHR drove cross country almost 70 more times, doing it once a year until her death at 96. She held a valid driver's license.
      In accepting an AAA award for her part in proving that
"automobiles are here to stay rugged and dependable enough to commend any man's respect, gentle enough for the daintiest lady," AHR included herself among "the great women drivers who were convinced we could drive as well as most men."

Ramseyroads1909.JPGA 1909 "in town" race of women drivers show the cars and the race conditions in cities. But outside the cities, there were virtually no roads - just wagon trails.

For years many women were afraid to drive because it infringed on the male prerogative. Men were men and could not be expected to trust a woman behind the wheel of a car. Most women chose not to challenge for the driver's seat since it made the man look less virile.
      Another reason was that a woman behind the wheel of a car caused rampant road rage as men deliberately crashed into the cars driven by women to teach them not to challenge men's rights.
      Women were encouraged to drive sedate electric cars which did not go fast and could not travel more than 30 miles from home.
      Women, respectfully disagreed, and continued driving gas cars.
      Today, trucks are the hottest selling vehicle because ... women are buying and driving TRUCKS. WOAH recommends Taking the Wheel - Women and the Coming of the Motor Age by Virginia Scharff (1991).

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A Salute to the Immortal Barbara
by Christian Le Gall

[Le Gall is a French writer and a classical singer whose "written English is not that fluent." With permission WOAH did a bit of editing but not too much. In this special to WOAH, Le Gall wants readers to know how special Barbara is still to the French people almost 40 years after her death.]
"Maybe you can give more depth to her biography by adding these phrases...'le mal de vivre', death, 'la mort', 'a mourir pour mourir', despair, 'le soleil noir', love, 'ma plus ..', 'dis, quand reviendras-tu ?', 'pierre', 'gottingen', 'une petite cantate'...sleeping and dreaming ,'l'aigle noir'.
      "For instance, it is hard (to imagine the huge) impact on her audience 'with her own creations in the 60s... people who would be interested in knowing more about her unique art, I give them the advice (or recommend) they buy the DVD Barbara au Chatelet to give you an idea of her very strange and artistic stage presence...
      "Or (listen to) records like L'album …la rose, one of her masterpieces. Once she said 'j'ai d‚cid‚ d'‚crire des chansons parce ce que je chantais ‚taient des chansons ‚crites par des hommes, Brassens, Brel, et je voulais chanter celles d'une femme'. (
'I have decided to write my own music and lyrics because I have so far only sung songs written by men like Brel or Brassens and I wanted to sing songs written by a woman.')
      "Barbara is a main reference for artists like Depardieu for whom she wrote the musical 'lily-passion', Marcel Bejart (who wrote a ballet which was a tribute to her songs 'lumiŠre'), Barishnikov who invited her at the Met, and for many intellectuals, gay and lesbians for whom she is now an icon.
      "She inspired male and female sculptors and painters, and also film-makers and writers.
      "She died a very little time after her voice broke and she decided she was no more able to go back on stage. At the age of 35, she had said 'le jour o- je ne chanterai plus, je me tuerai' (
"the day i won't be able to sing, i shall commit suicide"). There was little surprise that she left this world just after she released her last album, one she she did not like because of her growing voice and breathing problems.
      "If Edith Piaf opened the way with Marguerite Monnot (composer) to female's own creations, Barbara was the first french female artist to reach such a level as both a writer and composer.
      "l'album… la rose (1965), the album that won several awards, was a kind of feminist revolution in the 1960s.
      "Her songs are studied in French schools and several thesis have been written about her.
      "She had a very special and absolute love relationship with her audience for whom she wrote 'ma plus belle histoire d'amour'.
      "Just to end, a little anecdote, Catherine Deneuve sang that very song as a tribute to Yves saint-Laurent (who adored Barbara) at the end of his last défilé when he decided to leave 'la haute couturé'.
      "In French speaking world people's mind she is the equivalent of Piaf now, and much more because of her feminist point of view.
      "It is a little bit as if la callas (Maria Callas) had written her own music."

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AndersonElizabethGarrett.gifB. 06-09-1836, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, first woman to qualify as a doctor in the British Isles (1865) and in 1908 became the first woman mayor in British Isles history.
      Not allowed into medical schools because of her sex, she qualified by studying privately with doctors and in a hospital. She created the first hospital to train women physicians in Britain.

B. 06-09-1843, Baroness Bertha Suttner - Austrian novelist and world renownd pacifist whose book Lay Down Your Arms influenced Alfred Nobel - the inventor of dynamite and other explosives that make modern warfare possible - to create the Peace Prize.
      She was the first recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

B. 06-09-1887, Gertrude Agnes Muller, U.S. businesswoman and inventor. Her widowed mother ran a boarding house and sold her homemade doughnuts to support the family. It was from her that GAM learned her keen business sense.
      GAM invented the "toidey seat" as well as other baby and young child aids and was one of the first developers of a child safety seat for automobiles.

B. 06-09-1930, Barbara, the haunting Parisian cabaret singer, pianist, and composer known as "la chanteuse de mimuit." Little known outside of France, she was named that county's best woman singer. She dressed in black and often sang of death and loneliness.
      Barbara continued singing into her 60s and often distributed condoms to her fans while preaching AIDS prevention. [See article, above.]

B. 06-09-1939, Ileana Cotrubas - world renowned Romanian lyric soprano. Her mother was illiterate, typical of the time and place.
      Although she had sung all over Europe, her most spectacular debut came at La Scala 01-07-1975 when she flew through inclement weather from England to Italy to substitute for an ailing diva - arriving only 15 minutes before curtain. She sang Mimi opposite the famous Luciano Pavrotti's Rodolfo in La Boheme.
      Belatedly she made her debut with the Metropolitan March 23, 1977.

Event 06-09-1970: Anna Mae Hays and Elizabeth P. Hoisington become the first women in U. S. military history to reach the rank of brigadier general.
      On 06-17-1971, Jeanne M. Holm was promoted to brigadier general in the U.S. Air Force, the first woman to gain that rank in the Air Force. In 1973, Holm is promoted to major general.

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TIME magazine:
      "Who can dispute that the war between the sexes boils down to who gets to sit behind the wheel? With a man driving, the woman is frail, vulnerable, and dependent. A woman in the driver's seat is an Amazon, the car an extension of her own body... Marketing mavens know that men are the emotional ones when it comes to buying cars, while women are rational. Ads aimed at women stress safety, security and economy. Focus groups have found that women gravitate to terms like 'antilock brakes,' 'dual airbags' and 'remote keyless entry.' "
            -- Time magazine, 1996.

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