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September 6

Compiled and Written by Irene Stuber
who is solely responsible for its content.
This version of Women of Achievement has been taken
from the 1998 email distribution of Women of Achievement and Herstory.
The full text of this episode of Women of Achievement and Herstory
will be published here in the future.

Jane Addams is probably the most influential woman in U.S. history

A Woman with a Free Will

Zelia Maria Magdalena Nuttall, U.S. Archaeologist


QUOTES by Beverly Stephens and Margaret Sanger.

B. 09-06-1860, Jane Addams is probably the most influential woman in the history of the United States - not only for her personal actions but for what she facilitated - the networking web she enabled.
      Jane Addams was the 1931 co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, the first women to organize and chair a Women's Peace Party in the U.S.(1915), the first to make a nominating speech at a national political convention (for Theodore Roosevelt), the first head of the National Federal of Settlements (1911), and the first woman to receive an honorary degree from Yale University (1910). JA helped found the American Civil Liberties Union in 1920, was president and a founder of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, president of the National Conference of Charities and Correction, president of the International Congress of Women meeting at The Hague, vice- president of the National American Woman's Suffrage Association headed by Carrie Chapman Catt, etc.
      She campaigned endlessly for child-labor legislation, woman's rights and suffrage, world peace, working person rights and living wages, racial equality, education, etc.
      Along with Ellen Gates Starr, JA co-founded Hull House, the first large settlement house in the U.S. that generated programs of education, provided childcare, and classes in English, the fine arts, health, education, nursery and playgrounds with supervision. HH also provided recreation for the immigrant families of Chicago, feeding the inner person as well as their basic needs. Hull House served as a model for social justice and reform and helped people deal with the anonymity of large cities.
      But even more important, Hull House brought together women (and some men) of genius who would wrench society from individualism into a new social ethic of caring for one's sister humans. Among them were Julia Lathrop, Sophonisba Breckinridge, Alice Hamilton, Florence Kelley, Grace Abbott, etc., who would spread out across the nation and in federal positions to extend the networking web. These women formed the under-reported network that enabled the exchange of information, assistance, and caring among almost every important women of the world, including Eleanor Roosevelt, women of the Heterodoxy Club, and leading women of Europe and Asia.
      An ardent feminist, JA left her estate to the first-born girl baby of each succeeding generation.
      JA was named "the most dangerous woman in America" by the Daughters of the American Revolution in the 1920's, although to most, she was the epitome of a socially responsible and caring human being.
      She wrote a number of books that are still source materials for reform, individual rights, and peace. If you read a biography of Jane Addams dated more than ten years ago, read a modern one to find the real woman... (This suggestion applicable to all biographies of women written and approved for publication by the patriarchy.) One exception to this is the biography of JA written by her nephew.
      Although many biographies gloss over the fact of her lesbianism, JA never hid it. Her nephew even included a love poem JA wrote to Mary Rozet Smith in his biography. Ellen Gates Starr was her early partner until their interests led them in separate directions. She lived openly with Mary Rozet Smith for 40 years, even insisting on double beds in hotel room reservations.
      In her autobiography Twenty Years at Hull House (1910), she wrote,
"I gradually became convinced that it would be a good thing to rent a house in a part of the city where many primitive and actual needs are found, in which young women who have been given over too exclusively to study, might restore a balance of activity along traditional lines and learn of life from life itself; where they might try out some of the things they had been taught." (P.85)

Hull House which would eventually include 13 buildings and a summer camp was a rundown mansion in the slums of Chicago where there was no proper clean drinking water, no sewers - and rampant disease and poverty. Within a few years the settlement house organized almost a hundred clubs and programs organized to fit in with the needs of the people of the area. It was also a boarding house where the volunteers lived full or part-time and exchanged views and information.
      Only the Henry Street Settlement in New York ever came close to the influence of Hull House - and they were actually part of each other, different views of what can only be called Jane's Web. The networking that JA's Hull House enabled changed the social conscience of the United States - and taught women they could accomplish just about anything.

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B. 09-06-1795, Frances "Fannie" Wright, a native of Scotland, was a woman with a free will and the money to indulge it. She spent much of her life in the United States writing and lecturing for voluntary unions rather than marriage, birth control, equal rights for women, etc. She bought land in Tennessee and slaves to prove her ideas regarding the practicality of the gradual freeing of slaves, calling the settlement Nashoba. Forced to leave for necessary health treatments in Europe, Nashoba fell to ruins in her absence. After attempting to rebuild the settlement and failing because of rabid local opposition, she took the slaves to Haiti, freed them, and found them jobs and housing.
      In her first visit to the U.S. one of her plays was produced in New York but was not successful. Her travelogue book Views of Society and Manners in America (1821) received high praise and brought her to the attention of the Marquis de Lafayette. Their affair that cooled during his triumphal tour of the U.S. She followed rather than accompanied him to avoid to puritanical American gossip. She was with Lafayette when he met with Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.
      In 1825 Wright published A Plan for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery in the United States without Danger of Loss to the Citizens of the South. Under her plan, Congress would set aside tracts of land for slave relocation, etc.
      Her purchase of the 600 plus acres near Memphis, Tennessee, in December 1825 that she named Nashoba was in keeping with the philosophy expressed in her book. Various scandals broke out while she was out of the country, including that of "free love" - something that FW believed in.
      Following the relocation of the former slaves to Haiti in 1830, she began her lecture career that incited rabid opposition. First because she was a woman who dared speak and secondly for her subjects which were moral obligation to replace forced marriage, rights for women, free education, freedom for the slaves, opposition to organized religion, opposition to the death penalty, rights for married women, birth control, etc. As it is today, birth control incited the most rabid comment from churches and newspapers. In all, she was a total humanitarian who would fit in very well with our most liberal citizens of the 1900s.
      She moved to New York, bought an old church, renamed it the Hall of Science, and lectured to dwindling crowds as she was pilloried from pulpit and condemned in editorials as "The Great Red Harlot of Infidelity." She did marry once following the death of her close and devoted sister. She had two children, one daughter surviving who would continue to live with her father after the divorce.

Other than the marriage, FW never once backed away from a promise or from her stated philosophies. Being rich - her wealthy parents died when she was young and relatives raised her - she was dependent on no one and no one controlled her.

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B. 09-06-1857, Zelia Maria Magdalena Nuttall, U.S archaeologist, one of the most noted of her time. In her book The Fundamental Principles of Old and New World Civilizations (1901), ZMMN was the first to suggest cultural parallels between early American and European civilizations were due to Phoenician explorers. She used pictographic work found in museums in England and Italy to support her theory that has been generally discredited - for the time being.
      Although she had no formal training, her powers of observation were almost magical. While exploring Mexico, the land of her mother's ancestry, she studied and wrote a paper on the terra-cotta heads found in Teotihuacan which received great attention. It won her a special post at Harvard's Peabody Museum and a fellowship from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. During her 13-year stay in Europe she attended numerous forums and examined the contents of many museums. These observations were the basis for many of her later discoveries. She had an amazing facility for putting together pieces of the puzzle.
      Even without any formal training she became field director of the Reid Crocker archaeological mission from the University of California. She was an adviser to the UC department of anthropology. Many of her studies were financed by her friend Phoebe Apperson Hearst noted for her large grants to the University of California. In 1908 ZMMN was named honorary professor in the Museo Nacional of Mexico.
      She renounced the professorship three years later. Having deduced that an older civilization than believed habitat ed Mexico City and Vera Cruz, the official inspector of monuments took credit for her discoveries and theories. Usually such findings were assumed by males as a matter of course, but ZMMN was from the new generation of women and protested in archaeological publications. She was finally given credit and resumed her post at the Mexican museum. She had deduced her theory from fragments found in the home she bought at the outskirts of Mexico City. She also examined archaeological evidence around Vera Cruz that supported her theory of Aztec settlements and worship of Quetzalcoatl on a nearby island.
      During her various trips to Europe and parts of the Western Hemisphere, she also researched the travels of Sir Francis Drake, producing a major historical work and numerous articles. She married before her first trip to Mexico at 19. She divorced, resumed her birth name, and retained custody of her daughter. She never remarried. In later life she became a renowned hostess at her Mexico City home, Casa Alvarado.

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B. 09-06-1761, Gabrielle Capet, although a noted portrait artist, this French artist was barred from membership in the Academe Royale because of its quota system, i.e., only two women could be members at one time - no matter what a woman's talent. Her work was noted for its sensitivity and some say Capet was the best portrait painter of her day.

B. 09-06-1800, Catherine Esther Beecher, American activist campaigned for equal higher educational opportunities for women; wrote and lectured widely on the subject of higher education for women. She was a pioneer in the teaching of home economics. She wrote extensively both in articles and in her book Evils Suffered by American Women and American Children: The Causes and Remedy (1846) which claimed that the main source of a woman's problems were the attempts to take her out of her rightful place in the home - such as into factories.
      She opposed the modern corseted fashions and advocated education regarding women's health and maternity - as well as college training.
      Although she was an advocate of education for women and aided in the establishment of several women's colleges, she opposed suffrage for women because she thought it would influence women from thinking that their lives centered in the home.
      Her sister was Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin which some say was more about freeing herself from a neurotic husband than slavery. Her brother was minister Henry Ward Beecher. CB was half-sister to Isabella Beecher (1822-1907), an early leader for women's legal rights in the U.S.
      When CEB was 71 she wrote Woman's Profession as Mother and Educator summing up her views opposing women's suffrage. More than a bit didactic, CB was opinionated and overbearing but an important element in the movement for college education for women. She never married.

Event 09-06-1837: Known today as Oberlin College, the Oberlin Collegiate Institute of Ohio formally opened its doors to women as four women joined 30 men for college educations.

B. 09-06-1868, Margaret Dreier Robins, American labor organizer. MCR developed training program for women labor activists, served as president of the International Federation of Working Women in 1921, and was a lifetime leader of the Women's Trade Union League.
      She was a prime organizer of the famed garment workers strike in 1910-1911 that gained the first toehold for better wages for working women. Her influence was incremental, one building block after another, without any great bolts of progress. However, after almost 40 years of union work, the overall progress was awesome.

Event 09-06-1870, Louisa Ann Swain of Laramie went to the voting polls early on the morning of September 6, 1870 and voted, the first woman in the U.S. to legally cast a vote subsequent to1807, when New Jersey became the last state to remove women's suffrage after the Revolutionary War. (NJ women had voted until 1807 as a matter of course and no one complained until a close election was obviously decided by the women. The male legislators quickly revised the laws to ban women.) Wyoming was the first U.S. state or territory subsequently to grant women suffrage, having done so in December 1869.
      For more information, see the Woman Suffrage Timeline.

B. 09-06-1898, Dr. Emily H. Mudd, U.S. authority on marriage and marriage counseling who pioneered and directed the Marriage Council of Philadelphia.

Event 09-06-1920: Margie Hobbs aka Ethel Dare did breath-taking airplane wing walking and transfers from one airborne plane to another. She was held in great awe in the 1919-1920 period and made a good living. A former circus trapeze artist, she was billed as the Flying Witch.
      Everything was going alone fine until this date when a man Myron L. "Fearless" Tinney fell while trying to duplicate her act. The next day Ethel Dare dared and did it calmly and as usal without any problems... BUT... the next day she was banned from ever performing the stunt (because a man had failed to duplicate it and died). Other air shows refused to hire her for the wingwalking tricks and she returned to vaudeville and the trapezes. She didn't think it was fair to be banned because a man couldn't do it.

B. 09-06-1937 Jo Anne Worley, U.S. actor who got her start with the hilariously funny TV show Laugh In, the same show that gave Goldie Hawn her start.

B. 09-06-1938, Joan Tower, U.S. classical music composer who formed her own chamber ensemble, the De Capol Players.

B. 09-06-1944, Swoosie Kurtz, noted Broadway stage actor who also starred in a TV series.

B. 09-06-1947, Jane Curtain, U.S. comedic actor. JC was one of the stars of the classic years of TV's Saturday Night Live. In the 1980s she was Allie in the TV series Kate and Allie.

B. 09-06-1964, Rosie Perez, U.S. actor.

Event 09-06-1971: the National Organization for Women officially adopted a resolution defining lesbianism "as a legitimate concern of feminism," the first national organization to take such a stand.

Event 09-06-1975: Czechoslovak tennis star Martina Navratilova while in New York for the U.S. Open requested political asylum

B. 09-06-1981, Delores O'Riordan, U.S. rock singer who starred with the Cranberries

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      "Perhaps it reflects wishful thinking that women will eliminate the problems involved in adjusting to equality by going back home. In any case, it's beginning to look like selling women out is as sure a path to the best seller list as a fad diet."
            -- Beverly Stephens, 1981, in her syndicated column.

      "Woman must not accept; she must challenge. She must not be awed by that which has been built up around her; she must reverence that woman in her which struggles for expression."
            -- Margaret Sanger

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