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June 16

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from the draft of an unpublished book based on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.

Barbara McClintock Waited 32 Years for Her Nobel Prize


QUOTES by Barbra Streisand.

Barbara McClintock Waited 32 Years for Her Nobel Prize

mcclintok.gifBarbara McClintock (b. 06-16-1902) American geneticist whose groundbreaking work in genetics and the precursor of DNA was published in 1951 had to wait 32 years to be honored with the Nobel Prize.
      She was 49 when she published and 81 when she was awarded the Nobel.
      BM received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
      That McClintock had not received the Nobel was becoming quite a scandal - but a scandal that is usually settled when the person dies since the Nobel is never granted posthumously.
      There was very little controversy about her qualifications. Her contribution was such a great leap in scientific thinking - chromosomes were not stable and genetic material could change in a short period of time - that the scientific community considered it a crackpot theory when she postulated it.
      Yet it took FIVE Nobel awards to men who worked on McClintock's crackpot theory to verify her thinking - and it was still almost another 20 years after they got their Nobels growing out of her work for McClintock to get her Nobel award.
      In 1962 three of them, Maurice Wilkins, James Watson, and Francis Crick, received the Nobel, leaving out any mention of Rosalin Franklin whose vital basic work on the double helix theory - a proving photograph - was stolen, but Franklin had conveniently died at 37 to end that controversy - but it still left a living McClintock and the fact of her basic work.
      Her father opposed education for girls and her mother thought her interest "unfeminine."
      McClintok did her heredity/genetic studies using maize.

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B. 06-16-1738, Mary Katherine Goddard - Colonial printer and publisher. Her widowed mother worked in her son's printing plant in Rhode Island as did MKG.
      When he moved away leaving it in debt, the women continued the business and published the Providence Gazette. They sold it and moved to Philadelphia to repeat the same story as the son moved to Baltimore and they published the Pennsylvania Chronicle.
      Again the process was repeated in Maryland and in1775 but this time MKG was formally recognized as the editor and publisher of the Maryland Journal which she published right through the Revolutionary war. She was the first to publish the Declaration of Independence.

B. 06-16-1892, Ellen Schulz Quillin - founder and director, San Antonio Museum and director of the Witte Museum.

B. 06-16-1892, Jennie Grossinger, Austrian-born American hotel executive and philanthropist. JG managed a small family inn operating on a small chicken farm taking in summer boarders to one of the most famous resort hotels in the world: Grossinger's in the Catskills Mountains.
      At her death in 1964, Grossinger's resort consisted of 35 buildings on 1,200 acres and served 150,000 guests a year.
      Her children carry on the tradition.
      In the beginning, her mother was the cook for the guests, her father did the maintenance, and Jennie was both chambermaid and bookkeeper.

B. 06-16-1898, Marita Bonner, part of the U.S. Harlem Renaissance who published a number of plays, essays, and short fiction.

B. 06-16-1899, Helen Francesca Traubel - U.S. opera, nightclub and movie singer.
      HT turned down an offer by the Metropolitan at age 23 feeling her voice wasn't ready. She supported herself by singing in local St. Louis churches and synagogues. Finally in her early 30s she began singing lead roles at the Met becoming the first American woman to star in Wagnerian operas.

B. 06-16-1917, Katharine Meyer Graham, U.S. newspaper publisher who guided the Washington Post (and Newsweek magazine) to a place of prominence. Under her direction they challenged such national newspapers as the New York and Los Angeles Times, and Time magazine.
      She hired a strong staff of reporters and editors. She personally gave the go ahead to Post stories that exposed the Nixon political abuses and led to his resignation.
      She never - in the face of horrendous pressures - flinched nor failed to support her staff. In fact, Nixon's Attorney General had chortled after a Post article on the corruption of the Nixon administration that "this time she's got her tit in a wringer." He was that confident of the administration's power to crush her. He went to jail instead.

B. 06-16-1938, Joyce Carol Oates, U.S. writer. One of this era's most honored writers, JCO is a professor at Princeton University (1987).

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      "Why is it men are permitted to be obsessed about their work, but women are only permitted to be obsessed about men?"
            -- Barbra Streisand commenting when accused of being too focused on her work.

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