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July 5

Compiled and Written by Irene Stuber
who is solely responsible for its content.


Wanda Landowska, high priestess of the harpsichord

Vera Brodsky Lawrence saved music of Joplin and Gottschalk

Sexism of Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra


QUOTE by Letty M. Russell.

Landowska High Priestess of the Harpsichord

LandowaskaWanda Landowska
at her harpsichord.

Landowska, WandaPolish-born, French resident, Wanda Landowska (b. 07-05-1879) was recognized world-wide as the high priestess of the harpsichord.
      She founded Ecole de Musique Ancienne (1925) in a small town near Paris where she lived. The institute was founded for experienced musicians to learn old musical instruments and musical styles. She gave her acclaimed concerts there also. WL was the recognized authority on keyboard instruments of the 17th and 18th centuries. After painstakingly examination of a large number of museum harpsichords, WL had her personal harpsichord specially built to her specification so that her own instrument would reflect the sounds of the mid-1700's - the peak of harpsichord usage. Fleeing before Hitler's armies, she had to abandon her 10,000 volume library and world collection of old instruments.
      Her mother Eve was a linguist in Warsaw, Poland.

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Modern Archeologist of Black American Music

      Vera Brodsky Lawrence, U.S. music historian, pianist, and editor brought the almost forgotten works of Scott Joplin and Louis Moreau Gottschalk to the public attention. Her The Collected Works of Scott Joplin (1971) made the forgotten music available. Lawrence's work was responsible for the resurgence of ragtime in the 1970s.

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White Men-Only Bigotry in Vienna Philharmonic

      Ann Lelkes was the harpist with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra for 26 years but was never recognized as a member of the orchestra nor listed on its program. She was finally made the first woman member of the VPO in face of a threatened boycott of its 1997 U.S. tour of the VPO that provides so much of its money.
      The orchestra chair at the time opposed women, claiming an orchestra containing women ran the risk of being paralyzed by "mass pregnancy." He also said it was an orchestra of white men playing music by white men for white men.
      Under growing pressure from women's groups and musicians who know that musicianship is not dependent upon one's genitalia, the orchestra is gradually hiring women.

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B. 07-05-1839, Hannah Clark Johnston Bailey - U.S. reformer and peace advocate.

B. 07-05-1857, Clara Zetkin - German socialist and later communist and feminist leader. A noted orator, CZ gained prominence in the Socialist Democratic Party and founded the party's newspaper for women aDie Gleicheit which she edited from 1892 to 1917.
      Breaking with the socialists, she was a major factor in the organizing of the German Communist party in 1919. She served in the German Reischstage from 1920 to 1932 as a communist deputy.
      She was most responsible for the creation of International Woman's Day [See Women of Achievement and Herstory 03-08].

Event 07-05-1870: St. Louis passed ordinance requiring prostitutes to be medically inspected (male customers were not inspected) for venereal disease.
      With no women in government or in positions of power, prostitution was seen as a necessary evil and no limits on age or forced prostitution (white slavery) were considered - and only women were arrested for such sex crimes as prostitution.

Event 07-05-1900: Elizabeth Cohn becomes the first woman allowed to second the nomination at a national political convention when she speaks on behalf of William Jennings Bryan for president of the United States in the Democratic National Convention at Kansas City, MO.

B. 07-05-1920, Frances Christine Fisher Tiernan - U.S. author who published under the pseudonym Christian Reid.

DIED 07-05-1996, Anne Hummert (b. 1905) who was considered the mother of radio soap operas, creating such enduring shows as Just Plain Bill, and Helen Trent followed by Stella Dallas and Young Widder Brown.
      In today's TV world, it's hard to imagine the draw of radio drama, but lonely women all alone inside their isolated homes could listen while doing their heavy household and mothering duties. The shows were usually 15 minutes long during the day and those in the evening were a half hour.
      Hummert's evening programs included Mr. Keen, tracer of lost persons and Mystery Theater.
      When TV took over, she and her husband retired and spent the multi-millions she earned with her writing by happily traveling and enjoying the good life. She was active until almost the end of her 91 year life.

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"Women not only seek identity in history but begin to seek out their sisters so that, in community, they can build a strong feminist culture which supports the ideas and actions of those who do not think persons are inferior because of their sex. Here the emphasis is on vertical support from the past and from women of the past, as well as horizontal support from sisters close by, and in every part of the globe."
            -- from Human Liberation in a Feminist Perspective - a Theology by Letty M. Russell. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press,1974.

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