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September 12

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.

Florence Kelley was one of the giants...

"Georgia's greatest woman."


QUOTES by Anna Quinlan, Olivia Goldsmith, and Katharine Hepburn speaking as an attorney in the movie Adam's Rib.

Florence Kelley

B. 09-12-1859, Florence Kelley was one of the giants of that generation of women who worked so hard to force American industry to adopt humane conditions.
      FK was a primary figure in that fantastic network that surrounded Jane Addams and Hull House, that network that was so instrumental in forcing America on its course of modern social conscience.
      FK was strongly involved with the rest of the U.S. women's network that included Bryn Mawr's M. Carey Thomas, and Helen Wald and her Henry Street Settlement House - and the Heterodoxy Club.
      Florence Kelley joined the Jane Addams' Hull House settlement in Chicago after a failed marriage and a stint in radical politics.
      Starting in 1892 in Chicago, she did extensive investigative work for the federal and Illinois bureaus of labor delving into slum and sweatshop conditions. Her findings and articles sparked the Illinois legislators to limit women's working hours, prohibit child labor and regulate sweatshops. She was appointed chief factory inspector for Illinois. She and her staff continued to expose violations.
      Her devotion to the cause led her get a law degree to facilitate the prosecution of cases she built, but industry didn't change willingly. She was relieved of her job by a new administration.
      She was accomplishing all this while the sole support of her three children and her mother who cared for them in a residence near Hull House.
      FK was then appointed to head the National Consumer's League in New York that developed from Josephine Shaw Lowell's Consumers' League of New York. [SEE Lowell B. 12-16-1943].
      Moving to Helen Wald's Henry Street Settlement House in New York, FG continued her battles against inhumane working conditions. She particularly emphasized child labor and those terrible sweatshop conditions that in particular ruined the lives of so many women.
      She helped organize 60 local and state consumer leagues that carried the battle against inhuman labor conditions across the nation.
      Another accomplishment of this remarkable woman included the founding of the National Child Labor Committee which led to the formation of the federal Children's Bureau. She was also instrumental in groundbreaking legislation for minimum wages.
      FK was a founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, president of the Debs Socialist Party of America, and vice president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.
      Florence Kelley is a major figure in that legion of important and influential women who, after women got some power, were able to make the world a better place for all humans to live.
      FG was refused attendance at the University of Pennsylvania graduate school following her graduation from Cornell University. She followed the advice of M. Carey Thomas and enrolled at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. (Thomas who became the head of Bryn Mawr College had also sought higher education in Europe because of the regulations and social antagonisms against education for women in the U.S.)
      While in Europe, Kelley became a socialist and remained active in the movement when she returned to the U.S. with her Polish-Russian husband. After her divorce and her expulsion from the party and moved into Jane Addams' Hull House settlement in Chicago in the early 1890s.
      She was also a founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, president of the Debs Socialist Party of America, and vice president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.
      Mary Kenney O'Sullivan was her assistant in Chicago and Josephine Goldmark whose brother-in-law was Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis was her assistant in New York. Both women did most of the directing of her enterprises since she was not a noted administrator but she was noted for finding the right people and inspiring them as well as hands-on work that produced results.     
Florence Kelley      Kelley was known as a hothead and her method of accomplishment was confrontational while, it is said, her close friend Julie Lathrop adopted the more circumspect method that was the mark of Jane Addams herself.
      Recent biographies: Sklar, Kathryn Kish. Florence Kelley and the Nation's Work. New Haven : Yale University Press, c1995.
      Saller, Carol. Florence Kelley. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books, c1997.

For more on Florence Kelley, see http://www.myhero.com/hero.asp?hero=f_kelley

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"Georgia's greatest woman."

B. 09-12-1853, Celestia Susannah Parrish whose tombstone reads "Georgia's greatest woman." CSP was one of the nation's great teachers who fought her unstintingly for women's education and against ignorance and bigotry that blocked education.
      Orphaned during the Civil War, CSP fought to get an education for herself. After attending several women's seminaries and female colleges and after teaching for a number of years in women's colleges, she finally won her degree from Cornell University in 1896 after attending summer sessions while continuing to work and support herself, several relatives, and their children.
      It had taken her 20 years of bucking men's prejudices against women's education for her to gain her much desired degree from a "recognized" college.
      Her work at Randolph College at Macon in training teachers was outstanding. It was there that she established the first pedogagic/psychology laboratory in the South.
      After further training and becoming a devotee of Dewey's progressive education ideas, she transferred to Georgia State Normal School (now George Peabody College of Education of the University of Georgia) where Peabody financed her teaching methods - and protected her when her methods drew harsh criticism. She developed thousands of teachers who became a wave of progressive education although many expressed dismay at finding less than ideal conditions when they went out into the community to teach.
      Perhaps it was that dismay that led CSP to end her career with Georgia State and take up the position as head of the North Georgia rural school system. Unfortunately, the area consisted of some of the poorest, least educated people of the entire nation.
      The battle was not about changing to progressive education but getting any "larnin'" at all for the children. Only 20% of the teachers had the equivalency of a high school education and many had not reached the sixth grade. Few of the more than two thousand schools had community taxation to support them and the school facilities and pay of the teachers was pitiful. Not knowing what education could do for them, the people resisted change.
      She traveled by buggy and rough wagons to visit and teach at each school, gave talks on the importance of education, and attempted to raise community participation.
      It appeared to be her only failure in life as the ingrained institution of poverty based on ignorance and indifference held.
      She was active in setting up mother/teacher support groups and other institutions.

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B. 09-12-1590, Maria de Zayas y Sotomayor. Almost nothing is known of this early Spanish novelist's personal life even though her writings were very popular and widely read. She was an outspoken feminist who chided authorities and Spain's traditions that did not train or give women the power to repel seducers or escape physical and sexual abuse. She is the first known woman to publish in the Castilian dialect.

B. 09-12-1894, Dorothy Wrinch, British mathematician and biochemist, member of the faculty of Oxford, London University, and Smith College in the U.S.

B. 09-12-1897, Irène Joliot-Curie, French chemist, winner with her husband of the 1935 Nobel prize in chemistry for artificially induced radio-activity. In 1940, IJC who was the oldest daughter of two-time Nobel laureate Marie Curie was awarded the Barnard Gold Medal for Meritorious Service to Science. IJC authored 54 books on scientific subjects.
      Yet, in most reviews, IJC is given a back seat to her husband.
      It was only after his marriage to Irene that Jean Frédérich Joliot got his license to teach. He learned lab techniques from Irene and her mother. Like Marie's husband, Joliot was elected to the Académie des Sciences, but unlike the senior Curie, he accepted the post. Marie's husband turned it down because Marie was not elected to site on the prestigious panel because she was a woman (as was Irène).
      Two years after her marriage in 1926, IJC began to sign all her articles jointly with her husband. By the time of the Noble prize, IJC's lungs had begun to be affected by radiation poisoning, as yet not a fully recognized danger.
      Both were avowed liberals and felt a responsibility for social affairs because of their positions. As a high government official for scientific research, IJC helped form what would become the National Centre for Scientific Research.
      When the Nazi threat became obvious, the couple began to withhold publishing of their research which had always been open in keeping with the tradition of Marie Curie.
      In fact, they sealed their definitive research on nuclear reactors late in 1939 and it remained secret until 1949.
      Both were active in anti-Nazi activities during World War II and by 1944, IJC fled to Switzerland with her two children while her husband remained behind in Paris under an assumed name. He secretly used their laboratory to make munitions.
      Following the war, HE was awarded the Croix du Guerre and elected to the Académie des Sciences and authorized by the government to work on the research Irène and he had sealed six years before. Irène, the greater scientist, was relegated administration as history gives Frédérich credit for the 1948 activation of the first French nuclear reactor.
      Frédérich who had become a Communist during WWII was soon removed from office and a short time later, non-communist Irène was also removed. Irène's health went into a decline but she was still able to plan for a new nuclear physics laboratory. Almost visibly melting from leukemia that had also killed her mother, IJC died at age 59. Her husband took over her position as professor at the University of Paris although he himself was dying. Most biographies of the couple are personal and emphasis the husband even though Irène was the more distinguished scientist.

B. 09-12-1903, Ethleen Diver, a Boston, MA attorney who practiced law until she was 90 years old. She had gained a law degree in 1930 while working as a legal secretary for the firm of Choate, Hall and Stewart but they refused to allow her to practice law until 1950.
      Diver then practiced family law with CHS until retiring to private practice in 1971, the same year the firm accepted its first woman partner - passing over Diver.
      A working mother, she was a member of the MA Association of Women Lawyers (president 1961-62), ABA, MBA, National Association of Women Lawyers, and the International Federation of Women Lawyers.
      Her son Colin S. Diver became dean of the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
      "Although she did nothing earth shattering, her quiet persistence helped open the way for women in former all-male fields," said Margaret Russell who is a trustee of Undelete: Women's Internet Information Network, Inc., which oversees the publication of Women of Achievement and Herstory on Internet.

Event 09-12-1922: The Protestant Episcopal church removed the word "obey" from the woman's part of the marriage vows - at last!

B. 09-12-1931, Kristin Hunter, U.S. author wrote with humor and irony of relationships between whites and blacks. Her novel, The Landlord was made into a very popular and critically acclaimed film.

B. 09-12-1938, Tatiana Troyanos, renowned for her warm voice that could portray a broad range of emotions. She is primarily a recording artist.

B. 09-12-1941, Linda Gray, actor, best known for her role in the hit TV series, Dallas.

B. 09-12-1943, Maria Muldaur, U.S. pop vocalist.

B. 09-12-1949, Irina (Konstantinovna) Rodnina, legendary Soviet figure skater who won 10 world championships (1969-78) and three Olympic gold medals with two different partners.

Event 09-12-1954: The long-running TV show Lassie premiered on TV. The Lassie character was a female dog that was portrayed by a succession of male dogs because male dogs are easier to train and more obedient according to the dog trainer for the show.

B. 09-12-1957, Rachel Ward, U.S. actor.

Event 09-12-1977: Azie Taylor Morton takes office as first African-American woman Treasurer of the United States.

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      "Every time a woman looks at her daughter and thinks 'She can be anything' she knows in her heart, from experience, that it's a lie. Looking at this little girl, I see it all, the old familiar ways of a world that still loves Barbie. Girls aren't good at math, dear. He needs the money more than you, sweetheart; he's got a family to support. Honey - this diaper's dirty.
      "It is like looking through a telescope. Over the years I learned to look through the end that showed things small and manageable. This is called a sense of proportion. And then I turned the telescope around, and all the little tableaus rushed at me, vivid as ever.
      "That's called reality.
      "We soothe ourselves with the gains that have been made. There are many role models. Role models are women who exist and are photographed often- to make other women feel better about the fact that there aren't really enough of us anywhere, except in the lowest paying jobs. A newspaper editor said to me with no hint of self-consciousness, 'I'd love to run your column, but we already run Ellen Goodman.'
      "Not only was there a quota; there was a quota of one."

            -- Anna Quinlan, "Public and Private, The Glass Half Empty," article in the New York Times.

      "Are you premenstrual, by any chance?" (the man asked).... "Yeah, and I've got a bad case of PMS," Brenda growled. "It makes me cranky and erratic, so for two days a month, I behave the way men always do."
            -- From Olivia Goldsmith's The First Wives, a wonderful tale of revenge on the accepted and approved practice of successful men dumping their first wives for second, younger, trophy wives. The scorned older women who sactificed everything to get their men ahead seek revenge but most of all, find themselves and become whole women, not just wives. The book is MUCH better than the movie. The movie, in our opinion, was an insult.

      "Now look, all I'm trying to say is that there are lots of things that a man can do, and in society's eyes it's all hunky-dory. A woman does the same things - the same, mind you - and she's an outcast... All I'm saying is why let this deplorable system seep into our courts of law, where women are supposed to be equal?"
            -- Katharine Hepburn speaking as an attorney in the movie Adam's Rib.

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