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August 8

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

Were Lavoissier's Discoveries Actually Those of His Wife?

French Obstetrics Pioneer

Esther Morris's Forceful Personality Won the Vote


QUOTES from Sheri S. Tepper.

Were Lavoissier's Discoveries Actually Those of His Wife?

      WOAH has been able to confirm and publish a number of examples about the all to customary mis-attribution of scientific discoveries to the nearest available male when the discoveries were actually made by a woman.
      However, WOAH has not been able to confirm the following note to us and would welcome any information. We post is because it has the ring of truth:

      "In the first chapter of almost any chem book, one always reads about how Antoine Lavoisier established that oxygen is essential to combustion and from that, with many careful measurements and exhaustive lab work, formulated the Law of Conservation of Mass, a fundamental chem law that says matter cannot be created or destroyed in a chem reaction... Well guess what gals? Hahahaha, he was a politician. His wife did all the work.
      "And I am sad to say I have forgotten her first name. Old Antoine was particularly keen on the politics of his day and spent most of his waking hours at the local pub arguing with his mates. His political philosophy caught the attention of the local authorities who didn't like it very much and ooopsy, he lost his head: guillotined off... Anyway there are many examples of women doing the work, men taking the credit, in many fields. And many examples of women posing as men in order to be published or work... in music, literature, performance, etc."
            [The message is signed Kelly]

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French Obstetrician

Marie Lachapelle (1796-1821) was a French obstetrician who devised method of shortening labor. Her Pratique des accouchements (1821-25) in three volumes, summarized 40,000 childbirths. Her mother and her grandmother had been noted midwives.
      Among her most noted innovations was the immediate repair of perineum that was torn during delivery instead of waiting until later when the success of the repair was much less. She trained hundreds of midwives and her modern methods, had they been followed, would have saved thousands upon thousands of women's lives.
      She studied obstetrics in Heidelberg, Germany, and operated her own hospital for women and children.

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Esther Morris's Forceful Personality Won the Vote

Esther MorrisBorn 08-08-1814, Esther Morris - U.S. activist and political figure.
      EM is known as the mother of women's suffrage in Wyoming for being instrumental in the passage (1869) of the territorial women's suffrage legislation. EM is said to have "nagged" the all-male legislator with her forceful personality into passing woman's suffrage and it was finally approved as a joke, thinking that the governor could certainly veto it. He did not and Wyoming, in 1869, became the first place in modern western civilization to lift the masculist's ban on women's right of franchise. Attemps to rescind the act failed and when the territory of Wyoming was admitted to the U.S., its constitution that allowed women's voting was retained.
      Morris was appointed justice of the peace for South Pass City, a job for which, Despite the rough character of the gold-mining town of saloons and fewer than 500 people, her robust frame and blunt fearlessness well suited her. In her 82 months in the post she tried over 70 cases expeditiously and without reversal. She was the first woman ever to hold such a position.
      By the way, Morris didn't parade or the like. She worked hard to get her man elected to the Wyoming legislature and he immediately repaid her by introducing the woman's suffrage bill. Now THAT's how political power works!

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B. 08-08-1849, Vera Ivanovna Zasulich - Russian revolutionary who founded the first Marxist organization in Russia. She was a leader in the group who opposed the Bolsehviks in 1917. VIZ spend much of her life in jail, in hiding, or in exile. In 1878 VIZ shot and wounded the governor of St. Petersburg but was acquitted by the jury in a much-publicized trial. She was born into a noble family. She favored legal changes in the system rather than violence.

B. 08-08-1896 B. 08-08-1857, Cécile-Louise-Stéphanie Chaminade - French composer and pianist. CSC was the recipient of the ribbon of the Légion d'Honneur for her more than 500 songs and 200 piano and orchestral works.

B. 08-08-1863, Florence Augusta Merriam Bailey - U.S. ornithologist and author. She produced the Handbook of Birds of the Western United States and Birds of New Mexico (1928) as well as a half dozen other bird guides. She also produced some books with the help of her husband whom she married after her major publications.
      Her powers of observation veered off into another direction when she was diagnosed with tuberculosis and went to Arizona and southern Calfiornia for convalescence. There she researched a devastating book My Summer in a Mormon Village (1894) that revealed the stiffling life of Mormon women. She was wondrous after seeing the suffering of women under polygamy but who retained their faith in it.

"The spirit that is first and best in woman - her power of self-sacrifice in the face of abstract rights - has been used as a tool or torture and it will be used successfully until education teaches her that there is a higher light for her to follow."
and later,
"I recalled with a shudder the statistics I had known about the number of farmers; wives who go insane."
During this period she also wrote A-Birding on a Bronco 1896, and Birds of Village and Field (1898).
      FAMB was the first woman associate of the American Ornithologists' Union. She won its Brewster medal in 1931 for her comprehensive report on the birdlife of the Southwest in Birds of New Mexico. A variety of California chickadees were named in her honor.
      She attended Smith College. Her first book was Birds Through an Opera Glass (1889). Her mother was a graduate of Rutgers Institute.

B. 08-08-1882, Olga Smaroff - U.S. pianist and musician who followed in the footsteps of her mother and grandmother to become another generation of concert pianists.
      She was the first American woman to win a scholarship to the Paris Conservatoire. She performed with the New York Philharmonic and the Boston Symphonic Orchestra among others in the U.S. and Europe.
      She gave up her successful concert career in 1911 to marry but gradually returned to it and her nationwide concert tours even before after her divorce in 1923 to the dictatorial orchestra conductor Leopold Stokowski. However, her performing career was cut short by an arm injury in 1925.
      She became a much honored faculty member of Juilliard graduate school and the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music. OS established the Schubert Memorial to aid musically talented young Americans to overcome the prejudices against American-trained artists.
      She lectured world-wide and was a prolific author of books introducing classical music to the layperson. She joined the faculty of Juilliard graduate school and the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music. Her autobiography is An American Musician's Story (1939.)
      Her first piano lessons were by her mother and then her grandmother who was a noted concert pianist.

B. 08-08-1884, Sara Teasdale - U.S. poet, one of the finest lyricists of her generation. Her later works became haunted and subtle with great style and depth with an economy of words. She was awarded the 1918 Pulitzer Prize in poetry for Love Songs (1917).
      Most biographers point to a divorce and "an unhappy life," but she was known to have had a lasting relationship with at least one woman, She died of an overdose of barbiturates while ill in 1933.

B. 08-08-1891, Sally Butler - U.S. attorney and president of Business and Professional Women who pushed for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment pledging, "[We] will not rest until trained, equipped women, representing more than half our population, are elected in large numbers to both the Senate and the House and to leading posts in state, county, and local government."
      When the ERA failed before Congress on July 19,1946, Butler promised that the fight for its passage would continue. The fight for equal rights for American women continues into the 21st century.
      Her other aims were appointment of American women to U.S. Commissions "extension of the merity system in government with promotion not dependent on employee's sex," adequate appropriate for the Women's Bureau of the U.S. Dept of Labor, federal aid in support of public education with state control and funds and policies guaranteed, universal jury service for women, enactment of the equal rights amendment, and equal pay for equal work, and legislaltion restricting child labor.
      "The road ahead is rugged but it is plainly marked. We shall advance surely and steadily to make the world of tomorrow a man's and a woman's world."

B. 08-08-1896, Majorie Kinnan Rawlings - U.S. writer. Her novel The Yearling (1938) won the Pulitzer Prize. She had been a reporter, but it wasn't until she divorced and moved by herself to Cross Creek, Florida, that she found her fiction writer's voice.
      Perhaps her autobiographical Cross Creek (1942) is her finest as she weaves in poetical voice how she discovered her Florida home and the richness of the land. She had suddenly broken off her reporting career and her marriage to move to the 40 acres of orange trees in northern Florida. Writing of the people and the place, she won the O. Henry memorial Award for her short story "Gal Young Un" (1933). Other lesser known works followed until The Yearling burst onto the scene to become an instant classic and win the Pulitzer. It was also made into a movie. MKR remained at her beloved Cross Creek home until her death in 1953.

B. 08-08-1901, Nina Nikolayevna Berbérova - Russian novelist, poet, historian, biographer, and autobiographer. NNB began writing poetry before the 1917 Revolution when she emmigrated. She lived in Paris until 1950 when she moved to the U.S. where she taught Russian literature at Yale and Princeton Universities. Her best known novel is The Accompanist (1935) but it was her collection of her poetry from 1921 to 1983 that she was finally recognized as a supreme artist. Her novellas are also much admired.

B. 08-08-1910, Sylvia Sidney - U.S. stage, film, and TV actor who was still on the boards and acting before TV cameras in her 70s. She was type-cast in Hollywood films as a lower, middle-class victim of life although she was an accomplished sophistical actor and comedian. In later years, her long-time hobby of needlepoint led to her to publishing several creative books that featured her original designs and kits.

B. 08-08-1914, Erica Collier Anderson - Austrian-born film maker and photographer.

B. 08-08-1922, Dr. Gertrude Himmelfarb - historian, expert on Victorian England.

B. 08-08-1923, Esther Williams - Hollywood actor and swimmer.

B. 08-08-1937, Tootsie, alias Dustin Hoffman who discovered the feminine side of his nature (at least in the movie).

B. 08-08-1938, Connie Stevens - U.S. singer/actor.

B. 08-08-1948, Svetlana Y Savitskaya - Russian astronaut who was the second woman in space (Soyuz T-7, T-12).

B. 08-08-1950, Geraldine Stuber - a chip off the old block. The middle child of Irene Stuber, and granddaughter of a woman union organizer, Geri worked her way up to manager of a restaurant in Hollywood, FL that was part of a national chain. When the corporation that owned her restaurant was taken over by another corporation - one directed by foreign nationals who opposed women's rights - she and all other women in management for the entire chain were fired. She filed suit and the anti-woman corporation settled handsomely out of court. Attagirl, Geri! Have I told you lately how proud of you I am?

B. 08-08-1958, Deborah Norville - U.S. broadcast journalist who replaced Jane Pauley on the Today show and who was replaced herself after she had a baby (and after she was shown in a magazine article breast feeding her son.) Her mother was merchandising vice president of a manufacturing firm before her marriage. DN was a beauty pageant queen. She continues in TV.

Event 08-08-1983: A jury in Kansas City, MO, awards TV anchorwoman Christine Craft $500,000 in sex discrimination suit against KMBC-TV for removing her from her anchor position because she was too old, too fat, and not deferential to men. The judgment was later overturned by an appeals court. The judgment of discrimination was upheld but no money awarded.

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From Gibbon's Decline and Fall by Sheri S. Tepper. Sheri Tepper keeps getting better and better and better. What marvelous insights into the what-if future her novels give us! And what pride in women! Oh do read her books!

      "So we go back to men doing what they want and women doing what men want...       "Mankind is a good word.
      "Or humankind. I'm afraid we've spent a lot of feminist energy on meaningless symbols rather than essential functions. All through the seventies and eighties we should have been pushing for a truly bicameral government: a men's Senate and a women's Senate, a men's House of Representatives and a women's House, with each sex electing a president in alternate terms.
      "Instead of gingriching issues affecting primarily women and children, like pregnancy, child-birth, abortion, welfare, childhood education, and the like, men would leave them to women to decide. Men could then pay full attention to issues of preeminent concern to men, like restructuring professional baseball."

      "We have such different ideas about what women are. For instance, in your religion your priests say woman brought sin into the world when she bit into the apple, but my people would say man brought sin into the world when God asked who did it and Adam blamed Eve. Which is the greater sin? Intellectual curiosity? Or betrayal? Scientific experimentation? Or disloyalty?"

      "But now [she] wanted to slow down and give her mind some room. She wanted to become what [was] called a Baba Yaga: an old hen, crouching on the top rail of the fence and clucking warnings to the chicks. If the rooster would just come up there and hunker down and stop crowing, they could talk about life and share the last of their time together.
      "But no; he still had his cock-a-doodle, and he would not trade it for this satisfying androgyny of experience. If the hen will not submit - or, perhaps, regardless of whether she will or not - the rooster will go down among the pullets and begin again.
      "The hell with it! Estrogen replacement and plastic surgery be damned. One could not pretend to pullethood forever."
            -- Sheri S. Tepper, Gibbon's Decline and Fall.

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