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June 26

Compiled and Written by Irene Stuber
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Antonia Brico, Dutch-born, American symphonic orchestra conductor and talented pianist


QUOTES by Pius XI.

Antonia Brico, Dutch-born, American symphonic orchestra conductor and talented pianist.

      Born June 26, 1902, Antonia Brico, Dutch-born, American symphonic orchestra conductor and talented pianist.
      Brico studied Bach for 15 years with Albert Schweitzer, studied conducting for six years with Karl Muck, conductor of the Boston Symphony (1913), first American to graduate from the Master School of Conducting at Berlin State Academy of Music, made her debut February 1930, conducting the Berlin Philharmonic, the first woman to conduct a concert in Berlin, and that July conducted at the Hollywood Bowl. In 1933 conducted unemployed New York and Westchester musicians at the Metropolitan Opera House as a fundraiser and famed singer John Charles Thomas refused to appear on the program because her fame would have upstaged him.
      In November 1934 she organized an orchestra of 100 women musicians who performed at New York's Town Hall sharing profits since there was no money for salaries. Although highly praised by Sibelius amongst others, her conducting career only lasted a short time because, as she explained,
"I was a novelty at first and by 1937 the conducting jobs disappeared."

      In actuality Arthur Judson, who had a monopoly on conductors and managed the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra, was merely following the opinions of Mrs. Charles S. Guggenheimer (B. 10-22-1882) whose purse strings were able to enforce her opinion "(that) the greatest disgrace in the world (is) for a woman to conduct the New York Philharmonic."
      In 1942, Brico began directing and conducting the Denver Businessmen's Orchestra in its five-concerts-a-year and continued for more than 30 years without a contract. In 1948 she was named permanent conductor and in 1969 the orchestra was renamed The Brico Symphony in her honor.
      She had turned to the teaching of voice, piano, and conducting to earn her living. One of her pupils was folksinger Judy Collins who with Jill Godmilow produced the award-winning film Antonia: A Portrait of the Woman, (1974) to highlight a career stymied by gender prejudice. She received an honorary Ph.D. from Mills College (1938) as well as more than eight other honorary degrees.
      As a result of the feminist activism, at 73 for a brief moment she had what should have been hers for a lifetime as she conducted at Avery Fisher Hall in Los Angles to an overflow audience who listened with their ears and not their gender prejudices.

1694: England. Early feminist Mary Astell writes "A Proposal to the Ladies," which is not widely distributed because of reigning social restraints against women - the very thing she protested.

Artemisia of Halicarnassus was probably the first woman to have a price put on her head and certainly the first for being the scourge of a naval fleet. Artemisia took command of her husband's five-ship fleet at his death in battle. She was one of the important commanders of Xerxes (there were several women generals) and the Athenians after the battle of Marathon offered a reward for her capture. She was never captured.


B. 06-26-1767, Sarah Pierce - U.S. educator who founded the highly influential Litchfield Academy. Among her students were Catharine Beecher, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Henry Ward Beecher.

B. 06-26-1812, Fanny (Frances Flora Bond) Palmer - U.S. lithographer and staff artist for Currier and Ives. Critics consider her most important work under the C&I imprint as "The High Bridge at Harlem, N.Y" but she did dozens and dozens of others. FP helped perfect the lithographic crayon. She was able to draw directly on the lithographic stone and taught Americans how to print background tints.

B. 06-26-1881, Jessie Field Shambaugh - U.S.rural educator known as the mother of 4-H.

B. 06-26-1890, Jeanne Eagels - U.S. dramatic actress who played Sadie Thompson in Rain almost 1,500 times in four years on Broadway and on tour.

B. 06-26-1892, Pearl S. Buck was one of the first writers to try to explain the Far East to Western readers. She won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1938 for her many novels of Chinese life, especially among the peasantry. She had won the 1932 Pulitzer Prize for her classic novel The Good Earth which was made into a terrible movie.
      PB also wrote some historical novels with an American setting under the pseudonym John Sedges. She adopted nine children and established the Pearl S. Buck Foundation to support or find homes for Amerasian children who are abandoned by their American fathers throughout Asia and for abandoned children worldwide. Family pressures had forced her to turn to writing when she was almost 40 and in all, she published more than 100 books, innumerable articles and delivered hundreds of speeches.
      Modern critics have attempted to downgrade her novels in the usual fashion of erasing women from history by saying they were propaganda.
      She was the daughter of American missionaries who served in China,

B. 06-26-1911, Babe Didrikson Zaharias, named the world's greatest woman athlete for the first half of the 20th century. The Babe was named top woman athlete in the U.S. for 1931, 1945-47, and 1950, and 1954. She won two gold medals at the 1932 Olympics in track and field and set the world records in the javelin throw and in the 80-meter hurdles. Babe won a total of 114 golf tournaments, 83 amateur golf tournaments, 31 on the P.G.A. tour, with a string of seventeen consecutive major women's tournaments. She won an AAU championship in 1932, was on the amateur all-American basketball team from 1930-32, and even pitched exhibition for the St. Louis Cardinals. The 1911 birthdate is according to her sister and baptismal records.


      "Any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offence (sic) against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin....
      "However we may pity the mother whose health and even life is imperiled by the performance of her natural duty, there yet remains no sufficient reason for condoning the direct murder of the innocent...."
            -- Pius XI: Casti Connubii, December 31, 1930.

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