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August 19

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

A Nation Holds Its Breath

A Few Women from the C-alpha list


QUOTES by Marie Manning and Golda Meier.

WOAH Continues Recording the Climax of the Greatest Civil Rights Movement in the History of the U.S.A.

      Eighty years ago the nation held its breath for six days as the anti-woman forces in the U.S. centered all their efforts on the Tennessee Legislature and its anti-woman governor. By the one vote of Harry Burns, the Tennessee legislature had voted to guarantee women's suffrage in the U.S. by becoming the carrying state of the two-thirds needed to confirm the 19th Amendment to the U.S constitution.
      However, the anti-woman legislators/governor pulled off a number of tricks that included leaving the state before they were forced to behave in accordance with their pledges as state officials by the Tennessee Supreme Court.
      The nation held its breath as the maneuvers continued...

      Mrs. Katharine Dexter McCormick who would later fund the development of the first birth control pill was first vice-president of the National American Woman's Suffrage League in February 1920 when the NAWSA held its pre-victory convention of her organization.
      A review of her remarks plus those of President Carrie Chapman Catt throw things into perspective as the nation watched in disbelief at the political machinations of those opposing woman's suffrage made its final bids to stop the federal enactment of basic human rights for women.
      Had the Tennessee ploys of the anti-suffragists won, gaining back just one vote, the woman's suffrage movement would have been stopped in its tracks - and several states were poised to rescind their approval.
      There is some debate in historical circles on whether woman's suffrage would have been stopped for decades - some estimate victory could not have come before the 1940s! - or whether another year would have seen victory.
      Some revisionists, not taking into account the strong feelings of the time, claim that Connecticut would have ratified the amendment two months later if Tennessee had not. However, the Connecticut governor had said he would not put the issue before his legislature and then changed his tune after women became eligible to vote (him and his cronies out of office) when Tennessee carried the ratification.
      Fortunately, we'll never know - although the fact that Maryland did not ratify the 19th amendment until 1941 (and the governor did not forward it until 1956) gives us insight into the times.

Mrs. McCormick said in part in what was to some an overly optimistic victory convention in February 1920:

      "When we met at St. Louis a year ago in the 50th annual convention of our association, we knew that the end of our long struggle was near. We comprehended in a new sense the truth of Victor Hugo's sage epigram : There is one thing more powerful than Kings and Armies - the idea whose time has come to move.'
      "We knew that the time for our idea was here, and as State after State has joined the list of the ratified we have seen our idea, our cause, move forward dramatically, majestically into its appropriate place as part of the constitution of our nation. We have not yet the official proclamation announcing that our amendment has been ratified by the necessary thirty-six States, but thirty-one have done so and another will ratify before we adjourn; three Governors have promised special sessions very soon and two more Legislatures will ratify when called together.
      "There is no power on this earth that can do more than delay by a trifle the final enfranchisement of women. The enemies of progress and liberty never surrender and never die.
      "Ever since the days of cave-men they have stood ready with their sledge hammers to strike any liberal idea on the head whenever it appeared.
      "They are still active, hysterically active, over our amendment; still imagining, as their progenitors for thousands of years have done, that a fly sitting on a wheel may command it to revolve no more and it will obey.
      "They are running about from State to State, a few women and a few paid men. They dash to Washington to hold hurried consultations with senatorial friends and away to carry out instructions... It does not matter.
      "Suffragists were never dismayed when they were a tiny group and all the world was against them.
      "What care they now when all the world is with them?
      "March on, suffragists, the victory is yours!
      "The trail has been long and winding ; the struggle has been tedious and wearying ; you have made sacrifices and received many hard knocks; be joyful to-day.
      "Our final victory is due, is inevitable, is almost here.
      "Let us celebrate to-day, and when the proclamation comes I beg you to celebrate the occasion with some form of joyous demonstration in your own home State.
      "Two armistice days made a joyous ending of the war. Let two ratification days, one a National and one a State day, make a happy ending of the denial of political freedom to women!
      "Our amendment was submitted June 4, 1919, and today, eight months and eight days later, it has been ratified by thirty-one States. No other amendment made such a record but the time is not the significant part of the story.
      "Of the thirty-one ratifications twenty- four have taken place in special sessions. These mean extra cost to the State, opportunity for other legislation and the chance of political intrigue for or against the Governor who calls them.
      "These obstacles have been difficult to overcome, far more difficult than most of you will ever know, and in a few instances well-nigh insurmountable, but the point to emphasize to- day is that they were overcome.
      "As a whole the ratifications have moved forward in splendid triumphal procession. There have been many inspiring incidents of daring and clever moves on the part of suffragists to speed the campaign and there have been many incidents of courage, nobility of purpose and proud scorn of the pettiness of political enemies on the part of Governors, legislators and men friends.
      "On the other hand there have been tricks, chicanery and misrepresentation, but let us forget them all.
      "Victors can afford to be generous."

Referring to the added cost to the taxpayers of the special state legislative sessions that were called to ratify, Mrs. Catt said:

      "If the Governor is a Republican tell him that had it not been that two Republican Senators, Borah of Idaho and Wadsworth of New York, refused to represent their States as indicated by votes at the polls, resolutions by their Legislatures and planks in their party platforms, the suffrage amendment would have passed the 65th Congress.
      "It then would have come into the regular sessions of forty-two Legislatures with more than thirty-six pledged to ratify and without a cent of extra cost to any State!
      "When a Republican Governor calls an extra session in order to ratify he merely atones for the conduct of two members of his own party. They, not he, are to blame that it became necessary.
      "If the Governor is Democratic say that had it not been for two northern Democratic Senators, Pomerene of Ohio and Hitchcock of Nebraska, who refused to represent their States on the question as indicated by their Legislatures and platforms, Congress would have sent the amendment to the 1919 Legislatures and it would have cost the States nothing.
      "The Democratic Governor who calls a special session only makes honorable amends for the misrepresentation of members of his own party...
      "We should be more than glad and grateful to-day, we should be proud-proud that our fifty- one years of organized endeavor have been clean, constructive, conscientious.
      "Our association never resorted to lies, innuendoes, misrepresentation. It never accused its opponents of being free lovers, pro-Germans and Bolsheviki.
      "It marched forward even when its forces were most disorganized by disaster. It always met argument with argument, honest objection with proof of error.
      "In fifty years it never failed to send its representatives to plead our cause before every national political convention, although they went knowing that the prejudice they would meet was impregnable and the response would be ridicule and condemnation.
      "It went to the rescue of every State campaign for half a century with such forces as it could command, even when realizing that there was no hope. In every corner it sowed the seeds of justice and trusted to time to bring the harvest. It has aided boys in high school with debates and later heard their votes of yes' in Legislatures.
      "Reporters assigned to our Washington conventions long, long ago, took their places at the press table on the first day with contempt and ridicule in their hearts but went out the last day won to our cause and later became editors of newspapers and spoke to thousands in our behalf.
      "Girls came to our meetings, listened and accepted, and later as mature women became intrepid leaders. . In all the years this association has never paid a national lobbyist, and, so far as I know, no State has paid a legislative lobbyist.
      "During the fifty years it has rarely had a salaried officer and even if so she has been paid less than her earning capacity elsewhere. It has been an army of volunteers who have estimated no sacrifice too great, no service too difficult."

(Mrs. Catt enumerated some of the immortal pioneer suffragists and said:)

      "How small seems the service of the rest of us by comparison, yet how glad and proud we have been to give it.
      "Ours has been a cause to live for, a cause to die for if need be. It has been a movement with a soul, a dauntless, unconquerable soul ever leading onward.
      "Women came, served and passed on but others took their places... How I pity the women who have had no share in the exaltation and the discipline of our army of workers!
      "How I pity those who have not felt the grip of the oneness of women struggling, serving, suffering, sacrificing for the righteousness of woman's emancipation! Oh, women, be glad today and let your voices ring out the gladness in your hearts !
      "There will never come another day like this. Let joy be unconfined and let it speak so clearly that its echo will be heard around the world and find its way into the soul of every woman of every race who is yearning for opportunity and liberty still denied..."
            (Speech text from volume six of the History of Woman's Suffrage published by the National-American Woman's Suffrage Association.)

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Some Noted Women from the C-alpha file (DOB unknown)

      British king George IV ascends the throne at age 57 still wanting to honor the woman he loves. Only problem is, he's legally married to Caroline, Queen of England, of Brunswick-Wolfenbiittel.
      The king gets the parliament to propose a decree:

"Her Majesty Queen Caroline Amelia Elisabeth of the title, prerogatives, rights, and privileges of queen consort of this realm (are revoked) and... the marriage between His Majesty and said Caroline Amelia Elisabeth (dissolved)."

      The common folk, however, objected mightily and after months of haggling, the proposed decree was withdrawn. Three days of celebration occur throughout England and Scotland! The adulterous King George had offered Caroline a pension of 3,000 as a bribe to stay away from England and never to claim the title of Queen. She refused and had to get a passport as a common traveler to get into the land of her husband from the continent where she had been sent years before.
      Just another princess story that didn't end happily ever after.
      The pension she was offered was less than one-third of what George was giving his mistress (10,000).
      When George was crowned in Westminster Abbey, Caroline, 53, was forbidden entrance. For two years she had been vilified, persecuted, and humiliated in England. The barring of her entrance into the Abbey appeared to be the last straw for she became gravely ill the next day (poison?).
      She left a will that requested her casket be inscribed
"Here lies Caroline, the injured Queen of England."
      George even attempts to block her funeral cortege from entering the city of London and had soldiers fire into the crowd. However, the crowd wanting to escort the casket grew so large the soldiers gave up trying to stop the procession.
      George had fallen in love with a CATHOLIC woman, Mrs. Fitzherbert, and married her when he was young. The marriage was not recognized by British law. He then married Caroline but he refused to honor her. Caroline was truly the innocent, injured party and George nasty and belittling. It is claimed he did love Mrs. Fitzherbert and when he died he still carried her picture.

Kyung-Wha Chung was a Korean-born violinist who was co-winner of the Leventritt violin prize of 1967.

Lucy Campbell - U.S. cellist won a share of the Mendelssohn prize in 1889 at the Berlin Royal Conservatory - the first cellist man or woman to win the honor.

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B. 08-19-1596, Elizabeth Stuart - Queen of Bohemia.
      The life of a royal princess of the realm so very seldom ended in a "happy ever-after." In fact, their lives were often nightmares; that of Elizabeth Stuart typlifies the life of so many royal women.
      By all accounts, she was a beautiful girl and should have had her pick of suitors. However, her father James I of Great Britain (who succeeded Elizabeth I) married his daughter Elizabeth to Frederick to strengthen his political power with the Protestant factions in Europe. He was not her choice because royal princesses were married/traded to a powerful man for favors to the father/brother regardless of the wishes of the princess.
      Frederick was crowned king of Bohemia and Elizabeth queen in 1619. The very next year she had to flee for her life when he was deposed.
Elizabeth remained in exile in the Hague, then forced to remain after her husband died in 1632. She was not allowed to go home to England, nor given any recognition (or money) from Bohemia after one of her sons was restored to power.
      Her pitiful pension from the Hague was discontinued in 1650 and it wasn't until 1661 - after 40 years in exile - that her royal nephew Charles II allowed her back into England - after making it very obvious he didn't want her.

B. 08-19-1743, Jeanne Becu, Comtesse duBerry, (Madame DuBerry) - official royal mistress (maîtresse en titre) of King Louis XV of France who reigned 1715-1774.
      She was married in name only to Count DuBerry because an official royal mistress had to be married to a nobleman. (Yes, a royal mistress was an official title and she was welcomed and recognized at the court. France was a Roman Catholic country at the time. There were, of course, no comparable, approved lovers for queens.)
      Madame DuBerry was known for her support of the arts and her generosity to those in difficulty. She went to London several times to give financial aid to Those of the French nobility who fled from the French revolution.
      She always returned to France to support the resistance instead of seeking safe haven or living a quiet life on her estates. She was arrested and guillotined in 1793 for actively aiding royalists during French Revolution.

B. 08-19-1796, Agnes Strickland - English biographical writer.

Event 08-19-1812: Lucy Brewer disguised herself as a male, named herself George Baker and fought aboard the USS Constitution (Old Ironsides) in its naval battle with the British frigate Guerriere during the War of 1812.

B. 08-19-1814, Mary Ellen "Mammy" Pleasant - Afro-American activist.
      MEP is often called the mother of black civil rights in California. Much of her life is clouded in legend which says that she freed slaves who were being held illegally in free California. Very little of her life is factually known except for court documents which recount several scandals.
      She worked to win the rights at African Americans to have their testimony accepted in court (1863) and helped to end discrimination on California streetcars with Pleasant v North Beach and Mission Railroad Company (January 1868).
      Her civil rights actions are part of the black folklore of California in which some claim she worked as a stop on the underground railway before moving to California while others say she helped financed John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry.

B. 08-19-1871, Florine Stettheimer - U.S. artist.
      After failing to sell a single painting in her first showing, she never offered for sale a single painting in her lifetime although in her maturity, her work was sought after.
      At her death, FS's sister Ettie mounted a memorial show at the Museum of Modern Art that received rave reviews and Columbia University established a room for her work.
      Her refusal to sell was backed by a substantial fortune which she shared with her two sisters. At an early age, the three sisters decided they would never marry (forming what has been called a "cult of virginity" and do creative things. One sister became a novelist under the name "Henrie Waste."
      The sisters were described by contemporaries as having "exquisite taste." They opened the memorable Stettheimer gallery which drew many of the top artists of the day.
      The sisters themselves were works of art as they dressed in old-fashioned Bohemian styles.
      FS in particular was daring and her staging of an opera using amazing creations - sets and costumes - of cellophane drew more praise than the opera by Virgil Thompson with lyrics by Gertrude Stein.
      As one critic wrote, "Florine Stettheimer now occupies a unique and exquisite niche in American art."

B. 08-19-1874, Katherine Bement Davis - U.S. prison reformer.
      Even though Katherine Bement Davis had no experience in running a prison, Mary Belle Harris handpicked her to head the newly created position of superintendent of women at a prison where 700 women were crowded into 150 cells. Davis had expressed strong concerns and opinions about the treatment of women in prison.
      After setting in motion a number of successful prison reforms that were all built on common sense, she became superintendent of the State Reformatory for Women in New Jersey (1918), again with spectacular results.
      MBH was then appointed head of the newly authorized Federal Industrial Institution for Women in Alderson, W.Va, a facility she helped plan. The Alderson prison resembled a girl's boarding school rather than a pile of rock and became known as a "community of women working together under the guidance of other women."
      She believed that women should "build within them a well of self-respect" and should learn skills that would enable her to earn her own living without dependence on a man or the community.
      She promoted education and vocational training with physical activities for women, all things that male prisoners had been given for many years. Abuse by male guards of their female prisoners - physically, mentally, and sexually - was considered normal before Mary Belle Harris.

Coc ChanelB. 08-19-1883, Coco Gabrielle Chanel - French dress designer.
      Coco Chanel was the preeminent Parisian haute couture and premier arbitrator of western women's fashions for almost six decades.
      Coco Chanel almost single-handed changed women's wardrobes from works of architectural wonders to clothes that allow a woman to move.
      Her clothes were first designed for working girls, but soon wealthy women flocked to her small shop to find the clothes that freed them from the abusive corsets.       Chanel, for the first time in history, presented women with clothing that fit a woman's body and did not force a woman to fit her designs. She was also one of the first women to make it big in the women's fashion industry.
      She presented bobbed hair, trench coats, jersey dresses, sweaters, bell-bottom slacks/trousers as well as the classic straight-line skirt as knee length with a boxy jacket that allowed freedom of motion.
      She retired in 1939 but came back in 1954 when Dior and others started a "romantic" fashion that threatened to return women's clothing to the turn of the century. She raised hems, introduced the chemise dress, the classic Chanel suit look we know today as a simple boxed jacket with a straight skirt with enough room to walk and climb, and, of course, the staple in every wardrobe, "the little black dress."
      In 1922 she developed a fragrance that is still one of the most highly sold fragrances in the world: Chanel #5.
      She was orphaned a age six. Her early years are obscure but there were no wealthy men behind her when she opened a small millinery shop in Paris in 1913 and within a very short time, her comfortable clothing had made her the rage of post World War I Paris. At her height, she employed 3,500!
      CC was described by Vogue as "a revolutionist, a non-conformist, a lone rebel who let women out of the prison of tight corsets. She led women to cut their hair in the 1920's, raise hemlines, stripped away trimmings and feathers, and produced a simplicity that freed women."
      CC said in a 1954 interview, "There are too many men in this business and they don't know how to make clothes for women. All this fantastic pinching and puffing. How can a woman wear a dress that's cut so she can't lift up her arm to pick up a telephone?"

B. 08-19-1885, Grace Hutchins - U.S. labor researcher and social reformer.
      Along with longtime friend Anna Rochester (1880-1966), GH worked for the Fellowship of Reconciliation, a Christian pacifist organization and traveled worldwide.
      Discouraged by the growing conservatism of the Christian movement, joined the communist party in 1927. Both women spent the rest of their lives working for the health and welfare of workers, particularly women and children.
      Rochester was a Marxist scholar while Hutchins was more the activist although both wrote extensively. Rochester and Hutchins were devoted friends who lived together in an apartment in Greenwich Village for more than 40 years.
      Rochester worked in a Boston settlement house, lobbied for the nine-hour work day for women, investigated child labor conditions and served under Julia Lathrop chief of the United States Children's Bureau.

B. 08-19-1885, Elsie Ferguson - U.S. stage and pioneer silent screen actor.

B. 08-19-1900, Colleen Moore - U.S. actor.
      CM reflected the quintessential flapper with short hair and skirts and but long on wise-cracks.
      With credits in more than 100 films she parlayed her limited funds into a fortune in the stock market. She wrote a book describing how women could do the same. Her doll collection became a museum exhibition.

B. 08-19-1908, Josephine Jacobsen - Canadian author.

B. 08-19-1916, Marie Wilson - U.S. actor.

B. 08-19-1933, Debra Paget - U.S. film actor.

B. 08-19-1938, Diana Muldaur - U.S. film and TV actor.

B. 08-19-1938, date uncertain, Micheline Coulomber Saint-Marcoux - Canadian composer best known for her Modulaire.

B. 08-19-1940, Jill St John - U.S. film and TV actor.

B. 08-19-1946, William J. Clinton, 42nd President of the United States. BC appointed more women to important government posts than all the presidents in history combined. His presidency was marred by a sex scandal but his impressive support of women's rights supersedes his personal failings.
      He made his wife Hillary Rodham Clinton a full partner in his administration and enthusiastically supported her candidacy for U.S. Senator from New York.

B. 08-19-1948, Tipper Gore (Mary Elizabeth Aitcheson) - social activist.
      TG, wife of U.S. president Al Gore. TG was never a wife in hiding but an activist in fighting pornography in modern music lyrics and devoted to a number of causes to aid the enviornment. Her work to remove the stigma from sufferers of mental health has been outstanding. She holds a master's degree and is a professional photographer. She married Al in 1970 and they have three children.

B. 08-19-1955, Cindy Nelson - U.S. Alpine skier.
      Although she never won a gold medal in the Olympics, CN was a major star of the U.S. ski team for 13 years winning several world championships. Her ability to organize and her leadership saved the U.S. ski program from collapse in a period of extreme discontent.
      Her off-slopes affair with tennis great Martina Navrotalova overshadowed her skiing prowess for a time. (Olympic-bronze-1976)

B. 08-19-1962 Valerie Kaprisky - French actor.

DIED 08-19-1962, Kerstin Hesselgren - First woman to sit in the Swedish parliament.

Event 08-19-1969: The EEOC, after years of pressure by women's groups and a growing number of federal court decisions, rules that a state's protective laws that applied to only women were in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
      Protective laws, instead of protecting health often protected men from women infringing on their high paying jobs. For example, one company refused to hire women because they said the chemicals used were harmful to women's reproductive systems. In a suit it was proved that men (because of their exposed genitalia) were more prone to danger than women.

B. 08-19-1971, Marie-Joe Fernandez - U.S. athlete.
      MF won two gold medals and a bronze in the 1992 and 1996 Olympics. She won the bronze in the 1992 singles and the golds in the doubles in 1992 and 1996 paired with Gigi Fernandez (no relation).

B. 08-19-1979, Svetlana Khorkina - Russian gymnast. She won the Olympic gold on the uneven bars in 1996 and four world championships.
      Tall for gymnasts, SK is 5'4.5" tall and weighed 103 when in gold medal form.

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      "Unbelievable today was the apologetic spirit in which tax-paying women asking for a trifling betterment of laws concerning women and children. Children at that time were working 8-10 hours a day in cotton mills and the gentlemen on (Capitol) Hill were quoting scripture to prove that the system was all it should be."
            -- Marie Manning, aka Beatrice Fairfax in her autobiography Ladies Now and Then (1944).

      Some years ago I read in Golda Meir's autobiography that there had been a problem with rapes occurring in Tel Aviv near the beginning of her term as Prime Minister.
      One of her (male) ministers suggested enacting a curfew forewomen.
      Golda Meir responded (I'm paraphrasing here) "Why should women obey a curfew? It is men who are doing the raping; let them obey a curfew."
            (Quote suggested by Nancy Rudins.)

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