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July 19

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

She Cooks, She Cleans, She Wins the Nobel

Stanton Will Not Seat Men at the Head of the Cradles


QUOTES by Rosalyn Sussman Yalow.

She Cooks, She Cleans, She Wins the Nobel prize.
-- newspaper headline, 1977

yalowRosalyn.gif"We still live in a world in which a significant fraction of people, including women, believe that a woman belongs - and wants to belong - exclusively in the home... The world cannot afford the loss of the talents of half its people if we are to solve the many problems which beset us."

Born 07-19-1921, Rosalyn Sussman Yalow, German- born, U.S. Nobel prize scientist. After graduating Hunter College at 19, Yalow was unable to get a graduate school assistantship because she was a woman AND Jewish AND poor. She had to take a low-paying secretarial job with a biochemist at Columbia University:
"The idea was (that) if I was a good girl, I could take a course there," she said.
      World War II intervened and because the draft had depleted the ranks of male students, there was room for her in the University of Illinois physics department as a graduate assistant - the first woman in the department since 1917 during the other world war.
      She received her doctorate in 1945 and worked at a Veterans hospital in the Bronx as a part-time consultant in radioisotopes, at that time an advanced tool just available.
      She converted a janitor's closet at the hospital into a makeshift lab and constructed and designed her own apparatus.
      In 1950, Yalow joined forces with a young internist Dr. Solomon Berson. Combing his medical skills and her training in physics over the next 22 years they developed the RIA technique. It is basically a way to measure minute substances by using radioactive particles as tracers.
      The RIA has revolutionized medical diagnosis more than any treatment since the X-ray. A great deal of modern, miracle science is dependent on the RIA discovery.
      In 1976 she was awarded the prestigious Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award, the first woman to ever receive it.
      And in 1977, she became the second woman to win the coveted Nobel Prize for medicine and the sixth to win in any category over the 77 year history of the awards.
      Her long-time collaborator Dr. Berson had died in the early 1970s else he would have shared the award with her. She fully acknowledged his work and said so in her speech at the presentation. No Nobel is given posthumously.
      Yalow and her husband Aaron Yalow, a physics professor, raised two children.
      RY is the daughter of poor, first generation Jewish immigrants. When as a child she needed braces on her teeth, she sewed to earn the money. Neither parent attended high school.

[A personal aside. When we sent out the first WOAH article about Rosalyn Yalow through email in 1994, we received a note from RY's son noting that he heard about his mother winning the Nobel from friends he was playing with. He didn't know how important it was or how important his mother was. All he knew was that she worked and most of the mothers did not. His pride in his mother, however, was bursting through his words. WOAH's compiler sent a note of thanks to Dr. Yalow because no only do I admire her as a person for having accomplished so much under such difficult circumstances. but her "invention" of the MRI was instrumental in diagnosing a brain tumor in my granddaughter that enabled it to be successfully diagnosed and treated. Dr. Yalow sent a return note that I cherish. -- is]

"We must believe in ourselves or no one else will believe in us... I never got the message that girls were not as important as boys."

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Stanton Will Not Seat Men at the Head of the Cradles

Event 07-19-1848: Henry Stanton, attorney from Seneca Falls, New York, and his pretty young wife Elizabeth Cady went as delegates to the world antislavery convention at London, from which, at the last moment, women were excluded.
      Among the excluded was the famous U.S. Quaker preacher and abolitionist, Lucretia Coffin Mott.
      This absurdity was too much for two strong women. Out of their humiliation as they sat whiling away the day on the front porch of the boarding house where the couples were staying (while their husbands attended the convention) grew an alliance. During those long, bitter afternoons they made plans for a woman s rights convention, which finally took place eight years later.
      It was an oddly assorted little audience, partly made up of brave men, to which Mrs. Stanton delivered the keynote address on that warm July afternoon at Seneca Falls in 1848

Elizabeth Cady Stanton Keynotes the First Woman's Rights Convention 07-19-1848:

"Man cannot fulfill his destiny alone, he cannot redeem his race unaided.
      " We have met here today to discuss our rights and wrongs, civil and political, and not, as some have supposed, to go into the detail of social life alone.
      "We do not propose to petition the legislature to make our husbands just, generous, and courteous, to seat every man at the head of a cradle, and to clothe every woman in male attire. None of these points, however important they may be considered by leading men, will be touched in this convention.
      "As to their costume, the gentlemen need feel no fear of our imitating that, for we think it in violation of every principle of taste, beauty, and dignity; notwithstanding all the contempt cast upon our loose, flowing garments, we still admire the graceful folds, and consider our costume far more artistic than the his.
      "Many of the nobler sex seem to agree with us in this opinion, for the bishops, priests, judges, banisters, and lord mayors of the first nation on the globe, and the Pope of Rome, with his cardinals, too, all wear the loose flowing robes, thus tacitly acknowledging that the male attire is neither dignified nor imposing.
      "No, we shall not molest you in your philosophical experiments with stocks, pants, high-heeled boots, and Russian belts. Yours be the glory to discover, by personal experience, how long the kneepan can resist the terrible strapping down which you impose, in how short time the well-developed muscles of the throat can be reduced to mere threads by the constant pressure of the stock, how high the heel of a boot must be to make a short man tall, and how tight the Russian belt may be drawn and yet have wind enough left to sustain life.

"But we are assembled to protest against a form of government existing without the consent of the governed to declare our right to be free as man is free, to be represented in the government which we are taxed to support, to have such disgraceful laws as give man the power to chastise and imprison his wife, to take the wages which she earns, the property which she inherits, and, in case of separation, the children of her love; laws which make her the mere dependent on his bounty.
      "It is to protest against such unjust laws as these that we are assembled today, and to have them, if possible, forever erased from our statute books, deeming them a shame and a disgrace to a Christian republic in the nineteenth century. We have met

"To uplift woman's fallen divinity
Upon an even pedestal with man's.

"And, strange as it may seem to many, we now demand our right to vote according to the declaration of the government under which we live. This right no one pretends to deny.
      "We need not prove ourselves equal to Daniel Webster to enjoy this privilege, for the ignorant Irishman in the ditch has all the civil rights he has. We need not prove our muscular power equal to this same Irishman to enjoy this privilege, for the most tiny, weak, ill-shaped stripling of twenty-one has all the civil rights of the Irishman.
      "We have no objection to discuss the question of equality, for we feel that the weight of argument lies wholly with us, but we wish the question of equality kept distinct from the question of rights, for the proof of the one does not determine the truth of the other. All white men in this country have the same rights, however they may differ in mind, body, or estate. The right is ours. The question now is: how shall we get possession of what rightfully belongs to us?"

(Continued in the WiiN library where ECS's complete speech is available.)

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B. 07-19-1817, Mary Ann Ball Bickerdyke - known as Mother Bickerdyke for her nursing and sanitary commission work during the Civil War. She turned to the work after witnessing the appalling conditions that male nurses and doctors considered normal for hospitals.
      She would serve at the site of 19 battles.
      She petitioned in vain for pensions for veterans and nurses after the hostilities.
      MB was not always popular with the doctors and nale nurses. She once ordered a staff member to strip off the clothing he had donned that had been meant for wounded soldiers. She also reported drunken physicians for reprimand.

B. 07-19-1858, Alice Barber Stephens - U.S. illustrator. Her works were printed in a number of magazines and books of her era. The originals are much sought after today. She did illustration for a number of books including works of Louis May Alcott.

B. 07-19-1860, Lizzie Andrew Borden, suspected but acquitted of the double murders of her father and her step-mother.
      There was a great deal of circumstantial evidence, but lack of a murder weapon or blood on her clothes stymied prosecutors.
      The women of the city of Fall River, Massachusetts, supported her by crowding the courtroom - and then after the acquittal ostracized her. Their attitude plus other factors indicate that she was an abused child/woman.
      If she committed the murders, she had to have help from people outside the home to cover up the evidence. Contrary to some rumors, the murder hatchet was never found.

B. 07-19-1900, Anna M. Rosenberg - first woman who was assistant secretary of defense, was regional head of the National Recovery Administration, was regional head of U.S. War Manpower Commission, and was regional director of the Social Security Board.
      A magazine article in the 1940's said of this Hungarian-born dynamo: "[She] gets along with the mayor, arbitrates and settles labor disputes, participates in the activities of more than 14 organziations, speaks at meetings, at conferences, and on the radio, AND is a housewife, and keeps her lipstick smooth."

B. 07-19-1935, Tessa Daphne Birnie - Australian pianist. Her tours included USSR, USA as well as Europe and Asia. She is the founder and conductor, Sydney Camerata Orchestra (1963).

B. 07-19-1941, Edith Lejet - French composer. EL taught harmony at the Sorbonne Institute of Musicology, was titular professor Paris Conservatoire (1975), and winner of several prix awards including Prix de Rome (1968).

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      "I believe it would be a great loss to the community as well as to women if talented women did not have children. They should have at least as many, if not more, children than less talented women. [I am] concerned with the need for universities, industry and particularly government to take the initiative in providing for expert high-quality day-care for children."

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