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August 23

Compiled and Written by Irene Stuber
who is solely responsible for its content.
This version of Women of Achievement has been taken
from email distributions of Women of Achievement and Herstory.

Agrippina the Younger


QUOTE by Cornelia Otis Skinner.

Agrippina the Younger

      Agrippina, the Younger (15 AD -59 AD) - Few mothers have been quite as vilified as Agrippina, the mother of Nero and sister of Emperor (Gaius) Caligula. Suppositions and rumors about her alleged depravities are repeated constantly although the original chroniclers were known to be highly prejudiced such as one man who was said to be in lust for her son.
      She was married three times, the third time to her uncle the emperor Claudius who ordered her to marry him. Rumors accuse her of poisoning her second husband to pave the way for Claudius while others say Claudius had it done or ordered Agrippina to do it.
      Claudius agreed to name her son Nero (fathered by her first husband) as heir. Within five years Emperor Claudius died - and Agrippina again was suspected of helping things along. She attempted to act as regent for her son Emperor Nero who would later do a famous fiddling act but as he matured he shunted her aside.
      A motherly - some say incestuous - objections to his affairs with other women and men resulted in an attempt on her life by drowning which failed. Later, however, Nero did have her put to death.
      It should be noted that Roman women had almost no legal powers and were almost entirely subject to their familial men and, of course, the absolute rule of an Emperor.

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B. 08-23-1906, Gertrude Kuenzel, American harpsichordist of international reputation.

B. 08-23-1912, Coya Knutson, U.S. Representative to Congress from Minnesota (9th District), elected 1954 as the farm woman's candidate pledged to 90% parity for farm products. She was raised a farmer.

B. 08-23-1942, Patricia McBride, ballerina with the NYC Ballet (1959).

Event 08-23-1943, along the beaches at Cape Fear outside Camp Davis, A-24 planes flown by members of the Women Air Service Pilots are dragging training targets behind them. The targets are being shot at with live ammunition by men training to be part of anti-aircraft gun crews. Instructors are next to each man to pull a recruit's finger away who is too excited and shoots at the plane instead of the target. It happens often.
      WASP Byrd Granger in On Final Approach, the History of the Women Air Service Pilots wrote:
      "Instructor Lt. Bruce Arnold, son of General Hap Arnold is... too late (as) he reaches to snatch a gunner's hand from the trigger. Dismayed he sees a 50mm round speed with deplorable accuracy toward the A-24, not the target. It will be a direct hit."
      WASP Mabel Rawlinson is piloting while in the rear cockpit is male instructor Lt. Roubillard who is checking her on night flying. Pilot Rowlinson immediately radios they have been hit. Granger writes:

"The engine is rough, faltering. The landing pattern takes the plane, sputtering over the barracks where women pilots hear it. They run out of the barracks as the crippled plane coughs one last time, then plunges into the swampy wood at the north end of the runway. On impact it breaks in two and the front section blazes. Mabel struggles to release the hatch. She cannot open it.
      "Lt. Roubillard, emerging (almost unhurt) from the separated rear section, hears her screams as she burns to death. So do the women WASP pilots running towards the crash. It is 9:20 p.m. It is almost totally dark. And the crash will remain one of the closest guarded secrets of World War II. Roubillard says Rawlinson's flying ability saved his life.
      "... She might have survived if the A-24 cockpit latch had operated. But (the latch which she had written up to be fixed) was (considered too) minor a problem to have repair priority."

      To this day Rawlinson's death as a result of friendly fire is hardly acknowledged and there are many who claim no women were ever killed. Thirty-seven women died in the WASP program.

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      "Women's virtue is man's greatest invention."
            -- Cornelia Otis Skinner (b. 1901), American actor

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