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August 7

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

Caldicot Tried to Hold Back the Nuclear Dangers

Fusaye Ichikawa Served in the Japanese Diet

Mirra Komarovsky - U.S. authority on gender, family, and education

Enid Lyons, first in Australian House of Representatives

Higuchi Ichiyo, Japanese novelist

Notes on Shirley Ann Jackson, Leonora Jackson, Lotte Jacobi, and Harriet Jacobs

DATES, ANNIVERSARIES, and EVENTS featuring Mata Hari

QUOTES by Helen Caldicott, Holly Near, Simone Weil, Florence Nightingale, Agnes Repplier, Katherine Anne Porter.

Caldicot Tried to Hold Back the Nuclear Nightmare

Born 08-07-1938, Helen Caldicott, Australian physician, antinuclear, and anti-war activist.
      Married and the mother of three, HC was a general practitioner as well as pediatrician and director of a medical clinic in Australia but still found time and energy in 1971 to become one of the world's leading antinuclear activists.
      Seen as largely responsible for the defeat of the Australian government that had not protested France's nuclear testing, in 1978, HC and her family moved to the U.S.       A charismatic speaker, she soon abandoned medicine to take up the antiwar and antinuclear campaign full-time. In 1982 she addressed a million people at a peace rally in Central Park, New York City. She founded and headed several anti-nuclear, nation-wide organizations.
      In her autobiography, A Desperate Passion, she says,
"I can see that this desperate passion I exhibited was that of a mother who loved, and a pediatrician who cared for sick and dying children... In no way was I going to allow the incidence of genetic and malignant disease to increase amongst the world's children as a byproduct of nuclear technology."

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Fusaye Ichikawa - First in the Hearts of the Women of Her Nation

      FI was one of the first women elected to the Upper House of Councillors in the Japanese Diet where she served for 18 years. She retired in 1970 but was drawn back in 1974 by thundering support from women.
      FI co-founded the New Women's Association in 1918 that demanded the right of women to participate in political life. By law, women were forbidden to even attend open meetings. She broadened her interests in the 1920s to organizing women workers into labor unions.
      She continued campaigning for women's issues and even spoke out against the growing militarism of Japan. After Word War II, she headed the New Japan Women's League that campaigned for suffrage and women's rights. She also campaigned against legalized prostitution.

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First in Australian House of Representatives

Enid (Muriel) Lyons - Australian politician. EL married the much older Joseph Lyons who would become prime minister of Australia. At his death when she was 39, she entered politics herself and was elected the first woman member of the House of Representatives for Darwin, Tasmania (1939) and then first woman member of the Federal cabinet (1940). She had 11 children.

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Mirra Komarovsky - U.S. authority on gender, family, and education

Mirra Komarovsky (1906-1999) was an innovative authority on gender, family, and education. She served on the faculty of Barnard College for more than 32 years, then came out of retirement to chair the women's studies program in 1978.
      Her book Women in the Modern World: Their Education and Their Dilemmas (1953, Irvington) was vital in the new approach to women's education in which the purpose of education for women was clarified.
      She wrote

"To disagree with the anti-feminist does not necessarily make one a feminist. We can reject the anti-feminist program without having to embrace the old-fashioned feminism with its militant hostility towards, and its disparagement of, the homemaker."
      Adele Simmons, then president of Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., wrote: "The impact of the women's movement on higher education becomes apparent to even the most skeptical reader" when reviewing Dr. Komarovsky's Women in College: Shaping New Feminine Identities (1985) in a review for the New York Times Book Review.
      Dr. Komarovsky observed, as Dr. Simmons put it,
"while attitudes have changed, institutions have not. The gains of the last decade, she warns, will only be secure when society develops permanent measures to support women in the workplace as well as in the home."
      Dr. Komarovsky found that the most highly career-minded students had mothers who had not worked and who regretted that - or mothers who worked and enjoyed it; and her suggestion that the young women sought a mixture of sensitivity, self-awareness and masculinity in men.
      Dr. Komarovsky wrote, on The New York Times Op-Ed page in 1981:
"Young women are becoming aware that the call to equal opportunities for women outside the home is an empty slogan as long as the society insists on traditional role segregation within the family. Some women react to this discovery with equanimity, others with frustration, resignation or indignation. But the real touchstone of their aspirations is the longing for a society in which the rhetoric of equality will be realized as fact. There is no denying that this would require major institutional changes."
      What to do?
"We have much to learn from Sweden," Dr. Komarovsky wrote.
"Modified work patterns for both sexes, housing patterns permitting more-cooperative ties among child-rearing families, accessible child-care centers of high quality for all economic classes."
      Dr. Kamarovsky was born in Baku on the Caspian sea and migrated to the U.S. with her family when she was 17. She earned her doctorate in 1940 at Columbia University.
            -- excerpted from the New York Times obituary, 02-01-1999.

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Higuchi Ichiyo - Japanese novelist

Forced into poverty at the death of her father, HI still managed to write what has been called some of the finest writing of her generation and she remains the only woman represented in the Museum of Contemporary Literature in Yokohama.
      In her last desperate year of life, she wrote an amazing 20 stories. She died at 24 in 1896 of tuberculosis.

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Of Note:

Shirley Ann Jackson - in 1995 she was elected the first woman female director of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Leonora Jackson - U.S. violinist, b. 1879. LJ trained and toured Europe before returning to the U.S. to tour to rave reviews - after initial panning by critics because of an imagined afront to the U.S.
      She would average more than 150 concerts a year until she retired at 28 to marry - twice.

Lotte Jacobi - Berlin-born in 1896, LJ was an amazing photographic innovator. She helped develop the soft image method of photographs without a camera. She was one of the world's most renowed portrait photographers of her generation.

Harriet Jacobs was an African-American slave/freewoman who probably wrote the first autobiography by a black woman. She worked in the North to provide relief to slaves behind the lines of the Union Army but nothing is known of her later life until her death in 1897.

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Event 08-07-1620: Kepler's mother arrested for witchcraft.

B. 08-07-1813, Paulina Kellogg Wright Davis - U.S. women's rights advocate.
      Starting in the late 1840s, she lectured to women on physiology and anatomy - subjects that had been forbidden to women by secular and church law because such education was considered obscene, albeit only for women. Oddly (?) Information about birth was also forbidden. PKD was instrumental in organizing and chaired the first national women's rights convention held in Worcester, Massachusetts, October 1950. From 1853-1855 she published Una, a periodical devoted to women's rights.

B. 08-07-1848, Alice James - U.S. diarist. AJ was the sister of the famed U.S. writers Henry and Williams James.
      Tragically, she was a lifelong invalid caught in the frustrating web of upper middle-class womanhood that at the time time forbade those of her class to do anything useful - except domestic services to the father/husbands.
      She was tagged a hypochondriac because doctors of her day could not diagnose her lifelong debilitating illness. Study of her symptoms by modern doctors indicate she was not only really ill but could have been cured by modern medicine.
      "I suppose one has a greater sense of intellectual degradation after an interview with a doctor than from any human experience," she wrote in her wonderful diaries that indicate she might have been the best writer in the family.

      "Ever since I have been ill, I have longed and longed for some palpable disease, no matter how conventionally dreadful a label it might have, but I was always driven back to stagger alone under the monstrous mass of subjective sensations, which that sympathetic being `the medical man' has had no higher inspiration that to assure me I was personally responsible for."
      She died of breast cancer which was unrelated to her underlying illness.
      AJ maintained a long-standing "romantic friendship," with Katharine Peabody Loring about whom Alice wrote:
"I wish you could know Katharine Loring. She is a most wonderful being. She had all the mere brute superiority which distinguishes man from woman combined with all the distinctly feminine virtues. There is nothing she cannot do from hewing wood and drawing water to driving run-away horses and educating all the women in North America."
Loring (B. 05-21-1849) was a history teacher who finally took over the physical care of Alice in England where AJ had relocated for the waters. Loring's care for many years enabled AJ to live almost a normal life until the fatal breast cancer. Loring nursed her through her final illnesses in England and transcribed her diary when Alice was too ill to do it. Katharine hand-carried Alice's ashes back to America from England where they were interred alongside her parents' graves.
      While Henry James admired the Boston marriage of Sarah Orne Jewett and Annie Field, he was unhappy about Alice and Katharine and probably used his novel The Bostonians to air his distaste.
      Katharine Loring (reading the book) and her sister Louisa are the subject of John Singer Sargent's marvelous watercolor Study in Greens (1917). Highly recommended is Alice James, the life of the brilliant younger sister of Willaim and Henry James (1980) by Jean Strouse. It won the Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship award.

B. 08-07-1864, Ellen Fitz Pendleton - U.S. college president. EFP was the first alumna to be elected president of Wellesley College. After a 1914 fire that devastated the campus, Pendleton had the college reopened after only three weeks in temporary quarters.
      She developed Wellesley into a major learning institution, heading it from 1910 until a few weeks before her death in 1936.

B. 08-07-1865, Bessie Locke - U.S. educator. BL was an amazing fund raiser and organizer for the kindergarten movement in the US. A founder, director, and executive secretary of what became the National Kindergarten Association, and moved to the US Bureau of Education to head it from 1913-1919. She is credited with being instrumental in the opening of more than 3,000 kindergartens.

Mata HariLeft, Mata Hari in show business pose in youth

B. 08-07-1876, Mata Hari - legendary spy in World War I.
      The question of MH's guilt hangs heavy over the French military even today. The trial was such a travesty that the government to this day will not release the records.       We all know the legend: MH was executed by a French firing squad 10-15-1917 as a German spy after blowing a kiss to it. (She did not, but she died bravely.) At the trial, no evidence was ever presented any French secrets to the Germans but French military officers testified she tried to give them German information! She was probably executed for political reasons - and money.
      Her prosecutor, Andre Mornet, stated without apology in an interview forty years later: "There wasn't enough [evidence] to whip a cat."
      She was not allowed to call one single civilian witness.
      Her real name was Margaretha Geertruida Zelle Macleod, born in Holland. An unhappy marriage took to her Java for a few miserable years until she fled to Paris where she assumed the oriental personae in a writhing act with a minimum of clothing at clubs and private parties.

Mata Hari in jailMata Hari, age 41, in jail.

      By the beginning of World War I, her charms were lagging. She was 39 and her showbiz days had become what the French call a "qrande horizontale."
      It was the British who first accused her of spying and after that proved patently untrue, the French arrested her. One of her jailers described her in prison:
      "Had she been pretty? Without a doubt, [judging] from her passport photo. But this woman in my office... had suffered many affronts from time." He described her bloodshot eyes as "big as eggs"; she had a "bulbous nose, chapped skin, a mouth that touched the ears, the swollen lips of a negress, teeth as big as Death Row."
      Why was she executed? Because a French military "spymaster" had her followed for six months and had to vindicate his expenses.
      Why was she suspected?
      Because a German officer put a chit in to his superiors claiming that he had given the money to Mata Hari for spying when in reality, it was for sexual favors.
      That's right. A German gentleman and an officer didn't want to use his own money for his sexual enjoyment so he framed Mata Hari - and some suspect, that's also why French officers were so anxious to shut her up.
      She was old (for her line of work) without friends, and vilified. When she was accused it was the height of the German victories against the French and the French were angry, desperate for a scapegoat.
      And so they chose an aging woman without friends or funds. Forget all the legends, the truth is she faced her firing squad without a blindfold and with only one loose rope around her waist to hold her to the post. She died bravely and with dignity which is more than one can say for the French and German officers who betrayed her.

B. 08-07-1885, Billie Burke - Anglo-U.S. stage and screen actor. In her later days she specialized in fluttery matrons. Her most famous role was as the good witch in the Wizard of Oz (1939).

Event 08-07-1888: The first body of the seven women murdered by Jack the Ripper was discovered in London, England. The last body declared to be his victim was found Nov. 10, 1888. The murderer was never revealed.

Elizabeth Gurley FlynnB. 08-07-1890, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn - U.S. social reformer and labor organizer. Flynn was the first woman to lead the American Communist Party (1961) and was imprisoned for 1955-57 under the Smith Act for advocating the violent overthrow of the U.S. government.
      Her belief was in a Utopian society where all were equal. She disagreed with Stalin and his brand of totalitarianism, calling him a madman. In 1920 she helped form the American Civil Liberties Union. She led important textile strikes in Lawrence, Massachusetts (1912), the silk strike in New Jersey (1916), and the Mesabi Range strike in Minnesota.
      She was a charismatic speaker.

B. 08-07-1929, Ruth Carter-Stapleton - "First sister" of President Jimmy Carter and a noted evangelist.

B. 08-07-1932, Ann Harding - U.S. actor.

B. 08-07-1940, Marlyn Mason - U.S. actor.

B. 08-07-1942, Anjanette Comer - U.S. actor.

B. 08-07-1944, Lana Cantrell - Australian singer of the highly popular "Those Were the Days... my friends, we thought they'd never end... we'd dance and sing (and be forever young)."

B. 08-07-1961, Yelena Davydova - U.S.S.R. gymnast who won the Olympic gold in 1980.

Event 08-07-1983: Grete Waitz of Norway, wins the first all-woman marathon held at Helsinki, Finland.
      Marathons for women were frowned on because it was considered improper for women sweat and become exhausted in public (only in the kitchen and at home). The Olympic committee refused to allow women's marathon running until much later.

Event 08-07-1987: Lynne Cox swims 4.3 km from the U.S. (Alaska) to Russia in the 39 degree Fahrenheit waters of the Bering Sea

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"People need to stop being such big consumers... Refrigerators are destroying the ozone... There are a billion Chinese. If they all start having refrigerators for ice for their Coke, the ozone's gone. Without the ozone, there's no life on earth... We should have mass transport, bullet trains. We should have windmills. We should fill the desert up with solar collectors, which is cheaper now than coal and nuclear, and have the whole nation connected up to a solar grid."
            -- Helen Caldicott

"I write about things that are going on in the lives of my friends: child abuse, AIDS, contaminated water that got into their system and gave them cancer. It's not like I make these things up. The trick for the songwriter - for me - is to take these issues that are too painful to hear about and put them in a context so that you can listen."
            -- U.S. singer Holly Near

"Obvious and inexorable oppression that cannot be overcome does not give rise to revolt but to submission."
            -- Simone Weil

"In disciplinary matters none but a woman can understand a woman."
            -- Florence Nightingale

"We are tethered to our kind, and may as well join hands in the struggle."
            -- Agnes Repplier

"Not-men, not-women, answerable to no function of either sex, whose careers were carried on, and how successfully, in whatever field they chose: They were educators, writers, editors, politicians, artists, world travellers, and international hostesses, who lived in public and by the public and played out their self- assumed roles in such masterly freedom as only a few medieval queens had equalled. Freedom to them meant precisely freedom from men and their stuffy rules for women."
            -- Katherine Anne Porter on nineteenth- and early twentieth-century lesbians.

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