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September 11

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.

Lilith magazine reprint information


QUOTE by Audre Lorde.

Lilith magazine has created anthology packets of articles which have appeared in the magazine. In addition to the reprint packets currently available (listed below), Lilith will help create custom packets of reprints for academic courses.

  • "Meet the Matriarchs"-- midrashim on Biblical women
  • Jewish women's philanthropy
  • New options for Jewish weddings
  • Health and healing
  • Gay and lesbian issues in the Jewish community
  • Bat Mitzvah
  • Women and Yiddish (fiction, new translations, analysis, etc.)
  • Domestic violence and the Jewish community
  • and several others.

There is a small cost for each of the packets.
Lilith is located at Suite 2432, 250 West 57 Street, NY, NY 10107
email LilithMag@aol.com

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B. 09-11-1476, Louise of Savoy, mother of French king Francis I. While acting as regent for her son Francis I of France, Louise negotiated the Treaty of Cambrai, or "Ladies Peace" with Margaret of Austria. Overall she ran things very well during her regencies (1515-16 and 1525-26). For example, she neatly maneuvered the English King Henry VIII to split from his alliance with the Holy Roman emperor. She also ransomed her son from Spain after his capture during a crusade.

B. 09-11-1743, Sarah Franklin Bache, took over the collecting of money to provide clothing for Gen. Washington's army during the American revolution. In order to make the money go further, she took part of it to buy raw linen cloth. She then had the material cut into shirt patterns at her own home, and she and her friends (and servants) hand-sewed 2,005 shirts themselves - a prodigious accomplishment that would have warranted the highest military awards had it been done by men.
      From before her marriage and throughout (along with having seven children) SFB served as host for her father, Benjamin Franklin. In writing about SFB in the past, several readers noted that they were taught in school that Franklin was unmarried. Well, technically, yes, he was unmarried under the law - and absolutely, he was NOT single. Deborah Read was unable to find her husband to divorce him after meeting Franklin. Therefore, in the ways of that time, she and Benjamin Franklin lived together as husband and wife and were accepted in society as a married couple. SFB was the youngest of three children.
      Deborah Read Franklin died in 1774, just before the Revolutionary War. Franklin is buried next to her in the famed Christ Church cemetery as is SFB. Her portrait by John Hoppuer is on display in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.

B. 09-11-1762, Joanna Baillie, highly popular Scottish poet and dramatist whose plays in the way of the times were primarily written in verse. Her Plays on the Passions in three volumes (1798-1812), that gave her great contemporary fame have been erased from modern study but with the increased interest in women's art there are signs that some older literary works may be reexamined for interest to women rather than just to male (critics).

B. 09-11-1839, Mary Ann Palmer Draper, is noted as a U.S. philanthropist, but in actuality she was an astronomer, a full-time assistant to her famed husband Henry Draper who grew famous and wealthy from stellar spectroscopy and photography. MAPD was right there, coating his plates, timing the exposures and so close that many in the scientific community gave her full - if informal - acknowledgment.
      Following the death of her husband, she donated some of his equipment and a substantial amount of money to create the Henry Draper foundation to continue the study of stellar spectra at Harvard University.
      While Professor Pickering takes the lion's share of the Draper fame at Harvard, it was actually Williamina P. Fleming and Annie J. Cannon who did the amazing work of classification that has proved so valuable to the field.
      MAPD was also an expert collector of ancient artifacts from the near East. Described as beautiful, keenly intelligent, and a marvelous hostess who gathered the top intellectuals of her day at her parties, she continued to exert a major force in the scientific community including the formation of the Carnegie Institute.

B. 09-11-1847, Mary Watson Whitney, succeeded Maria Mitchell as professor of Astronomy at Vassar. She continued the Mitchell tradition that developed Vassar's renowned scientific program that enabled women graduates to compete on equal footing with the men in the field of astronomy. Her research on the precise measurements of photographic plates were original studies in the field. Shortly before her death she said, "I hope when I get to Heaven I shall not find the women playing second fiddle."
      Mitchell recommended MWW take a course from a noted Harvard astronomer. Because no women were allowed into Harvard, she had to wait at the gates each day so he could personally escort her to the class - also to a later honors class that only two other men attended.
      A brilliant woman, she was an advanced member of Vassar's first class. She studied in Zurich as well before returning to Vassar as Mitchell's assistant. MWW succeeded Mitchell on her retirement in 1888 and headed the department until 1910, turning out many much-sought-after women astronomers who were equal or better to those graduating from the male-only colleges and universities.
      Her successor Caroline B. Furness said that while MWW's contributions to astronomy were remarkable, her greatest accomplishment was finding and developing talent, and through that development, did more for astronomy than she would ever know.

B. 09-11-1850, Mary Elizabeth Lease, Kansas orator who told farmers to "raise less corn and more hell" as she urged them to protest low farm prices. Farm goods were then resold at very high prices to consumers with the middle men racking in the profits. MEL advocated agrarian reform and woman suffrage and other liberal ideas - even serving as president of the National Birth Control League.
      Although no formal biography exists of MEL, several recorders of her life have commented unfavorably about her, calling her both a liar and unstable - even to the extent of saying that when she left the farm movement, everyone was relieved.
      A tremendous orator, she stomped the Midwest - even California and the South - for the People's party and the Farm Alliance during the times when farmer's were debt-ridden because of low farm prices. She rose to the national level of the Populist party as it sought to become a national political force. Hers was the role of PR - gaining publicity and garnering newspaper headlines - while others did the everyday work.
      She refused to compromise her very liberal views when she got the political plum of president of the Kansas State Board of Charities and was removed by the governor who had appointed her. She left Kansas never to return. She opposed William Jennings Bryan which sounded the end of her Populist party career. She heartily supported William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. Her book, The Problem of Civilization Solved (1895) was an ambitious undertaking in which - among other things - she proposed a federated country of the U.S. and Canada with the islands of the Caribbean that included Cuba in which there would be free trade, nationalizing of railroads, etc. It also opposed militarism.
      She was thrown into bankruptcy and divorced her husband for non support. Even if she had not actually said the famous line, her oratory contained enough to boost the Populist party to power in Kansas and surrounding and eased the plight of farmers. She later served as a political writer for the New York World.

B. 09-11-1865, Grace Giddings Julian Clarke. While director and the national press chair of the General Federation of Women's Clubs (1912-16), she acted as a major influence to gain support for the woman suffrage among the nation's network of women's clubs. When the highly influential federation voted to support suffrage, the moribund suffrage movement was revitalized. GGJC was one of the most important of the suffrage leaders in Indiana, founding and heading a succession of clubs and organizations that prepared the state for its vote for women's suffrage.
      She was the daughter of the congressman who in 1868 introduced the first measure in the U.S. Congress favoring women's suffrage

B. 09-11-1877, Rosika Schwimmer, Hungarian-born American pacifist who was denied American citizenship because of her belief in peace. In 1948 RS was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize but she died before it could be announced. The Nobel doesn't honor deceased people, so no award was given that year. (The same thing occurred to Eleanor Roosevelt.)
      Before she emigrated to the U.S., RS headed various groups of Hungarian women women workers and became the head of the the Hungarian Council of Women. She gained a high reputation throughout Europe for the content of her speeches, and for her strong editing of feminist magazines as well as her stories and articles.
      Stranded in London at the start of World War I while acting for one of the women's alliances, she began organizing feminist and peace leaders in an attempt to use mediation among the warring countries. She sailed to the U.S., got the cooperation of Carrie Chapman Catt but could not convince President Woodrow Wilson.
      With Catt, Schwimmer, and Jane Addams the Woman's Peace party was organized in 1915. The group dispatched peace delegates to the governments of 14 European countries and returned with favorable reports of their reception to mediation but Wilson was adamant. Some of the women who formed 0the various peace delegations were RS, Addams, Dr. Aletta Jacobs Netherlands) and Crystal Macmillan (UK).
      Schwimmer was an advisor for the ill-fated Henry Ford 09-11 Peace Ship that sailed to several ports in Europe during 1915/16, attempting mediation. Historians claim the American delegation was poorly chosen, and some say that RS was imperious, causing crippling descent. An ailing Ford left the mission and later Jane Addams withdrew her support.
      Following World War I, RS was named part of the group named by the Allies to reorganize Hungary, but she was forced to flee when the communists took over in 1919 and revoked her civil rights.
      She made it back to the U.S., settled in Chicago but was subject to a fierce defamation campaign by so-called patriotic groups which today are called right wingers, or ultraconservatives. Even the American Legion opposed her for her pacifist work. She was called a German, communist, or Jewish conspiracy spy-- depending on the mood or the setting of the attackers. Later she won a defamation suit against several of her attackers.
      A few historians even claim that it was RS's actions that caused Ford to become a rabid anti-Semite although Ford testified that RS was a devoted peace person who believed in mediation and compromise.
      Her application for American citizenship was refused in 1921 because she refused to sign the pledge that she would bear arms in case of war.
      In 1929 the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the denial of her citizenship with Justices Oliver Wendell Holmes, Louis D. Brandeis, and Edward Stanford in the minority.
      Holmes wrote one of the great statements of what freedom should be in the U.S.: "If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other, it is the principle of free thought not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate."
      RS was officially a woman without a country as she lived the last nine years of her life in the U.S. as an alien but she continued her writings for peace.

B. 09-11-1894, Helen Douglas Mankin, U.S. lawyer, state legislator (1937-46), and congressional representative. HDM was the first woman elected to Congress from Georgia. Her mother was an attorney who graduated from law school with her husband. However, when he established a thriving law firm, her mother was excluded because a woman could not get a Georgia bar license. In 1920, her mother was admitted to the Georgia bar along with HDM.
      HDM was elected to Congress in 1946 in spite of having been disavowed by her party because she actively sought black and labor votes. Following her graduation from law school, HDM opened a private practice and had no corporate business, only the poor and blacks sought her services. She had toured the U.S. with her sister earlier because with her liberal views she felt like a freak in the ultra-conservative, antiblack area of Atlanta. HDM even drove an ambulance in France for the French army during World War I.
      After her marriage and more traveling, the couple settled in Atlanta and she resumed her law practice, again limited to the poor and blacks. Her politics continued to be liberal and when the legislature turned a deaf ear to child labor legislation, she ran against five men and won because of the black vote.
      She supported liberal voting laws including abolishing the poll tax. When a seat came open for the Congress, she ran and won because although blacks were barred from voting in open election, they were allowed to vote in special elections. HDM was subject to vicious attacks by the white politicians including Gov. Eugene Talmadge, a staunch white supremacist.
      Calling her names as he contemptuously jeered at Atlanta Negroes for sending a white congresswoman to Washington to do their biding. In a series of vicious political maneuvers HDM was refused the primary reelection she had won on votes because of a peculiarity of the Georgia voting laws never before invoked - and Talmadge removed of her name from the ballot.
      "There were five good reasons why my mother did not practice (law)," HDM said later, "I was one of them." HDM's mother attended Rockford (Ill) Women's Seminary at the same time that Jane Addams did and there was a close family association. HDM even drove an ambulance in France for the French army during World War I.
      In later years she campaigned for a Jewish homeland.
      For more information go to Congresswomen's Biographies.

B. 09-11-1902, Alice Tully, donor of Alice Tully Hall, the chamber music recital hall in the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

B. 09-11-1917, Jessica Mitford, Anglo-American author whose The American Way of Death was a runaway bestseller. It exposed in an irreverent manner the shocking inside details of the U.S. funeral business. She said that undertakers had "successfully turned the tables in recent years to perpetrate a huge, macabre and expensive practical joke on the American public." She pointed out the cost of dying was rising faster than the cost of living.
      Her other works railed against those who tried to stop dissent over the Vietnam War, against a brutal and in-humanizing prison system, and a greedy medical profession.
      Her childhood in Britain was strange. Her mother did not believe in an education for girls. Jessica set up a "running away account" with the family banker when she was 12 and used it at 19 to elope with her second cousin.
      One of Miss Mitford's elder sisters, Pamela, aspired, as a child, to be a horse.
      Another, Diana, wanted to be a Fascist and succeeded in becoming the wife of Sir Oswald Mosley 09- 11, the ranking Fascist leader of Britain.
      Another daughter, Unity, went to Germany, became a disciple of Hitler, shot herself and died nine years later in a nursing home.
      Her eldest sister, Nancy Mitford, became a novelist, and is best remembered for The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate.
      Jessica herself became a communist in the 1940s but left the party early on. She was also a union organizer, a bartender at a Miami restaurant, a clerk in a Washington dress shop and a typist and later an investigator at the Office of Price Administration in World War II.
      Late in life, she was asked what sort of funeral she wanted. "An elaborate one," she replied with her noted deadly wit, "with six black horses with plumes and one of those marvelous jobs of embalming that take 20 years off." She added that she wanted "streets to be blocked off, dignitaries to declaim sobbingly over the flower-smothered bier, proclamations to be issued -- that sort of thing." She was 78 at her quiet death July 1996.
      [Our thanks to Barbara Wardenburg who so often supplies us with information on interesting women.]

B. 09-11-1937, Jennifer Tipton, won the 1977 Tony award as the best lighting designer of a Broadway play for her work with the revival of The Cherry Orchard on Broadway. She is also the winner of many other theater awards.

B. 09-11-1943, Lola Falana, U.S. singer.

Event 09-11-1943: Agnes Rifner, 16 and a girl, became the fullback of Indiana's New Castle High School football team.

Event 09-11-1951: Florence Chadwick was the first woman to swim the English Channel from England to France and did it faster than any man.

Event 09-11-1954: Lee Meriwether was the first Miss America to be crowned on network television as the pageant debuted on the new medium. It was a good omen because she is one of the few winners to have a successful acting career.

Event 09-11-1973: Hanna Holborn Gray was named the first woman acting-provost of Yale University. She suddenly took herself out of consideration for the presidency of Yale to become the first woman president of the University of Chicago, and as Chicago president was called the first woman president of any major university.
      Ironically, Yale now claims to have had the first major university woman president in Gray because she was Yale's interim acting president. (Persistent rumors at the time said she would not get the Yale job officially because she was a woman and had already been taken off the long list of candidates under consideration when she chose Chicago.)

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      "What are the words you do not yet have? What do you need to say? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence?
      "Perhaps for some of you here today, I am the face of one of your fears.
      "Because I am woman, because I am Black, because I am lesbian, because I am myself - a Black woman warrior poet doing my work - come to ask you, are you doing yours?"
            -- Audre Lorde in "Talking back: feminist responses to sexist stereotypes."

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