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June 15

German stamp honoring
Hildegard von Bingen

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from the draft of an unpublished book based on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.

Bessie Coleman Was First Black Woman Aviator

MZB's Remarkable "Oath of the Free Amazons"

Chinese Woman's Language


QUOTES by Jacquest de Vitry as quoted by Allen Guttman and Hildegard von Bingen.

Bessie Coleman Was First Black Woman Aviator

colemanbessie.JPGBessie Coleman,
first internationally licensed woman pilot

Event 06-15-1921: Bessie Coleman becomes the first Black woman to earn a aviation pilot's license in the world - and the first woman to earn an international aviation license from the from the Federation Aeronautique Internationale.
      A native of Texas, she went to France to get her pilot's license because of the bigotry of those in U.S. aviation who opposed her training because she was a woman and because she was black. No black U.S. aviator would train her either.
      A native of Texas, BC learned to speak French and saved enough money to go to France. It was not simple but BC got through it and fulfilled her dream of flying. On her return to the U.S. she taught other black women to fly as well as doing the usual (for the time) barnstorming in air circuses to keep flying.
      "Queen Bessie," as she was known was a highly popular draw for the next 15 years. However, on 04-30-1936, while practicing for a show in Orlando, Fla., the controls on her plane jammed and her plane crashed to the ground killing her instantly.

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"Oath of the Free Amazons"

Few SF-fantasy writers have enjoyed the lasting affection of so many readers as the late Marian Zimmer Bradley whose Mists of Avalon is one of the great tellings of the goddess in Ancient England. Her extensive series that takes place on the faraway planet nicknamed Darkover, however, produced the legend of the free amazons. Women who wished to be free of the ancient and complete patriarchal rule took the following oath (and MZB always maintained she was NOT a feminist.)
"From this day forth, I renounce the right to marry save as a freemate. No man shall bind me 'di catenas' and I will dwell in no man's household as a 'barragana.'
"I swear that I am prepared to defend myself by force if I am attacked by force, and that I shall turn to no man for protection. From this day forth I swear I shall never again be known by the name of any man, be he father, guardian, lover or husband, but simply and solely as the daughter of my mother.
      "From this day forth I swear I will bear no child to any man save for my own pleasure and at my own time and choice; I will bear no child to any man for house or heritage, clan or inheritance, pride or posterity; I swear that I alone will determine rearing and fosterage of any child I bear, without regard to any man's place, position or pride.
      "From this day forth I renounce allegiance to any family, clan, household, warden or liege lord, and take oath that I owe allegiance only to the laws of the and as a free citizen must; to the kingdom, the crown and the Gods.
      "I shall appeal to no man as of right, for protection, support or succor: but shall owe allegiance only to my oath-mother, to my sisters in the Guild and to my employer for the season of my employment.
      "And I further swear that the members of the Guild of Free Amazons shall be to me, each and every one, as my mother, my sister or my daughter, born of one blood with me, and that no woman sealed by oath to the Guild shall appeal to me in vain.
      "From this moment, I swear to obey all the laws of the Guild of Free Amazons and any lawful command of my oath-mother, the Guild members or my elected leader for the season of my employment. And if I betray any secret of the Guild, or prove false to my oath, then I shall submit myself to the Guild-mothers for such discipline as they shall choose; and if I fail, then may every woman's hand turn against me, let them slay me like an animal and consign my body unburied to corruption and my soul to the mercy of the Goddess."

Amazons were heterosexual or lesbian, worked at jobs ranging from midwives to guides to bodyguards. Many bore children while Amazons and even married but they married as equals.

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Chinese Woman's Language

A secret woman's language that was used for more than a thousand years was unearthed in China, according to 1991 newspaper reports. Researchers found hundreds of poems, stories, and letters in a unique script invented by rural women for their own secret use.
      The China Daily newspaper said the script recorded women's emotions and enabled them to share them with female friends in the male-controlled society.
"Men dare to leave home to brave life in the outside world. But we women are no less courageous - we can create a language they can't understand," explained a elderly woman.

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menkenada.JPGAda Isaacs Menken
in her most famous role "Mazeppa"

B. 06-15-1835, Adah Isaacs Menken - U.S. poet and one of the most notorious actresses on the international stage.
      The part that made her (in) famous was when she was bound, nearly naked, to the back of a horse that galloped about the stage. She fascinated a number of famous men including Mark Twain and Charles Dickens.

B. 06-15-1861, Ernestine Schumann-Heink - rich voiced Austrian operatic contralto with an extraordinary range. She became a U.S. citizen in 1905.
      One of her sons fought for Germany in World War I and another against it.
      For years she sang "Silent Night" on Christmas Eve on radio and many considered it as part of the season's celebration.

Event 06-15-1871: Phoebe W. Couzins becomes the first woman to graduate from a university law school.

Event 06-15-1876, Sara Andrews Spencer addressed the Republican National Convention, stating "the right to use the ballot inheres in the citizens of the United States."

hoffmanmalvina.JPGMalvina Hoffman in her studio

B. 06-15-1885, Malvina Cornell Hoffman - U.S.sculptor. Internationally admired, MCH received the largest sculptural commission ever given to man (or woman). It consisted of 110 life-sized bronze statues for the Hall of Man, Field Museum, Chicago.
      She studied with Rodin in Paris (after being turned away five times) and made a series of sculptures interpreting dance. Her forte was portraiture busts. Her mother was a talented amateur pianist.

B. 06-15-1895, Elinore Morehouse Herrick - U.S. labor relations expert and manager. Divorced and without developed skills, she had to go to work in a factory to support herself and her sons. She rapidly advanced to production manager of the textile division of DuPont industries, but since the company refused to promote women beyond this level, she left.
      She served as executive secretary of the Consumers' League and helped drafter state minimum wage and child labor laws. EMH was appointed the only woman regional director in the history of the National labor Relations Board. As executive vice chairman of the Regional labor board she handled more than 1,000 cases the first year. Her mother had resumed her career as secretary / school registrar after her husband's death when EMH was 9.

B. 06-15-1920, Amy Clampitt - renowned U.S. poet who failed "to get any of her poetry published until 1978." And she's quite good.

B. 06-15-1926, Carol Fox, opera producer, co-founder and general manager of the Lyric Opera of Chicago that became known as the LaScala of the west because of its international emphasis.

B. 06-15-1938, Jeanette W. Hyde - U.S. Ambassador to Barbados, St. Vincent, St Lucia and Dominica 1993-. She was founder and member of the board of directors, Triangle Bank and Trust, Raleigh, N.C. 1987-93.

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      "(The nuns) melted together in wondrous love for God until it seemed that they bowed under the burden of desire and for many years they did not leave their (solitary) beds except on rare occasions... Resting in tranquility with the master, they became deformed in body but comforted and made strong in spirit."
            --Notable 13th century Roman Catholic theologian Jacquest de Vitry as quoted in Allen Guttman's Women's Sports, a history. New York: Columbia University Press, 1991.
      Guttman went on to write, "Vitry also wrote admiringly of Mary of Oignies (1177-1213) that the contemplation of Christ induced her to cut off pieces of her own body and to bury them in the ground."

      "We cannot live in a world that is not our own. In a world that is interpreted for us by others. An interpreted world is not a HOME. Part of the terror is to take back our own listening. To use our own voice. To see our own light."
            --Hildegard von Bingen, 12th century mystic, writer, and abbess

      "Hey, stop blaming the hormones - they're doing fine. Just accept them for what they are. What's wrong with a cry? Cleans the eyes. Makes you feel better afterwards.
      "What's wrong with acting 'like a woman?' What's the point in having emotions if you don't use them? You don't want to be like a man and hold these marvelous mood swings inside and until they choke you!
      "Haven't you ever wanted the weather to just change because it was boring? Well, that's what hormones and menopause are all about... a change in the internal weather to clear out the dust.
      "Afterwards, the sky was never bluer.
      "So cry.
      "So moan.
      "And to help, rent a really, really sad movie and pig out with a box of tissues - and a box of chocolates.
      "Yeah, it's a girl thing."
            -- Irene Stuber in a discussion on menopause moods swings.

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