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September 27

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

Excerpt History of Women in America

Bin Xin gets museum

Linda Greenlaw and the Hungry Sea



Dido (Elissa)

QUOTES by Mary Daly, Christine Ammer, Clemence Dane, and Catherine Beecher.

Posted 06-13-1999

A Taste of How It Really Was
from the highly recommended book
History of Women in America

"Women's activities were much the same throughout the American colonies (late 1600's and 1700's). First came supervision of the house. Women swept, scrubbed, laundered, polished. They made their own brooms, soap, polish. They carried water and did the laundry. They made starch. They ironed. They built fires and carried firewood. They made candles. They sewed everything - sheets, clothing, table linen, diapers. Women were usually in charge of the family bookkeeping. They ordered provisions, paid bills, and made sure the books were balanced. [They had children to care for and, of course, they were pregnant most of the time with child after child until they died.]
      "It is virtually impossible for 20th century people to imagine the enormous job of food preparations in colonial times. Cooking was done on an open hearth that had to be tended constantly. Kettles, made of iron, often weighed 40 pounds. Without refrigeration, meats had to be preserved by salting or pickling... Women kept their own gardens, every fall putting up vast amounts of home-grown vegetables and fruits. They ran home bakeries and dairies, did the milking, made butter, and kept the hen yard.
      "Colonial women also worked outside the home. In the villages, towns, and small cities of the 18th century they performed virtually every kind of job held by men. Women ran taverns, inns, and boarding houses. They were blacksmiths, silversmiths, wheelwrights, sailmakers, tailors, teachers, printers, newspaper publishers, and shopkeepers of every sort." [Most of these rights were taken away from women as soon as the "frontier" dangers passed and the U.S.A. enforced English common law which largely excluded women from property ownership and management... even their own clothes.]
            -- A History of Women in America, by Carol Hymowitz and Michaele Weissman, Bantam Books, 1978. P.3. (This book is seldom found in bookstores but may be easily ordered at an inexpensive mass paperback book price. Women's history as it really was.)

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China Author Honored with Her Own Museum

Firmly established as one of China's outstanding literary figures in an 80-year career, Bin Xin, 97, was honored with a museum dedicated to her literary achievements.
      Opened in her hometown of Changle City in China's Fujian Province in August 1997, the museum cost almost a million dollars and is 4,414 square meters. In additional to letters, manuscripts, and other memoriabillia of Bing Xin, it will act as a educational center. She send word from her hospital bed: "I hope the museum can become a milestone in Chinese literature."

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Linda Greenlaw - fisher to author... to fisher, later

From battling the storms and being one of the most noted commercial fishers of swordfish to a full-page, color glossy in Vanity Fair hasn't toppled Linda Greenlaw from her common sense.
      When her 15 minutes of fame is over, LG will go back to fishing - well, actually she hasn't left fishing. Just postponed it as a day-to-day operation as she wrote her own book.
      LG rocketed into the national attention after the Halloween gale of 1991. She was at the helm when she was brought her 100-foot ship, the Hannah Boden, through the storm while the sister ship Andrea Gail sank 600 miles to the west with all six hands.
      Sebastian Junger described her as one of the best captain on the east coat when he wrote about the two ships in the best-selling The Perfect Storm.
      Although there were only a few lines about LG in Junger's book, a number of publishers sought her story and one finally convinced LG to write her own book.
      Since she was an English major in college, no ghost writer was needed for her book The Hungry Ocean that instead of concentrating on the tragedies of the sea describes a month of sword fishing on the Grand Banks off Newfoundland, It has high drama without the tragedy of The Perfect Storm.
      To catch swordfish, she and her six-man crew set a 40-mile line with 1,000 baited hooks - a daunting task for most to even contemplate. After the fish bite, the work is back breaking and dangerous. Even those who has been around deep-sea sport fishing can only image the hauling and battling of hundreds of swordfish, mile after mile of angry fish with large, sharp saw-like swords nose extensions.
      LG has been fishing 19 of her 38 years and decided to change from the kind of fishing that has taken her up and down the Atlantic from Brazil to the North Atlantic. She is now captain of a vessel doing the more sedate - although backbreaking - work of lobster and crab harvesting. She wants to spend more time with her nieces. But first comes a nationwide book tour.
      At 5'3", LG captained a six-man crew who referred to her as "Ma." She has now relocated to Isle Au Haut in Maine where her lobster boat Mattie Belle will be waiting for her returned from her book tour.
      She told reporters, when her 15-minutes of fame is over, she'll go fishing.

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B. 09-27-1657, Dophia (Alekseyevna) - Regent of Russia. Dophia served as regent of Russia for her brother Ivan V and her half brother, Peter I, from 1682-1689. Her political intrigues failed at to wrest the throne from Peter who then placed her in a convent under heavy guard.

B. 09-27-1772, Martha Jefferson Randolph - daughter of Thomas Jefferson. MJR birthed the first baby born in the White House.

B. 09-27-1808, Lucretia Maria Davidson - U.S. poet. LMD gained great fame as a child poet and her younger sister Margaret Miller (B. 03-26-1823) also showed promise. The two were known "for their precocious, romantic verse," but biographers note more serious views by older sister Lucretia "scattered among the scribblings." Those scribblings were much admired by the leading literary lights of the day including Washington Irving and Catherine Sedowick.
      Today such romantic views are out of favor by critics who seek the more masculine view of life and death. However, the few glimpses of more intense views found in her writing have intrigued many but since Lucretia's mother censored the "more personal" poems following her death, one is left wondering.
      Lucretia died at 17 from tuberculosis - a disease the entire family suffered from and which also killed her sister. The first edition of Lucretia's Amir Khan, and Other Poems (1829) was followed by a more extensive collection some years later. The younger Margaret died at 15.

B. 09-27-1854, Hertha (Sarah) Marks Ayrtoñ - British scientist. HMA is often overlooked by biographers who lionize her husband and almost total ignore the important research she did on electric arc lighting and the motion of waves. Her best known accomplishments were the inventions of the sphygmograph, the familiar device that measures the human pulse and used to take blood pressure, and the Ayrton Fan which dispersed poison gases on the battlefields of World War I.
      HMA was nominated for membership in the Royal Society but not elected because she was a married woman. She sheltered militant English feminist suffragists who were abused under the 'Cat and Mouse Act' which literally allowed the police and authorities to play with women as a cat would a mouse. Arrested, the woman would be force-fed (an extremely painful process in which a funnel-like ended tube was forced down their throats into their stomachs and food dumped into the funnel at the top - all without anaesthesia). The woman would then be released and then rearrested a short time later to be force fed again. The force feeding was because of the suffragists' hunger strikes while in jail.
      In 1898 HMA was the first women elected to Britain's Institution of Electrical Engineers. She also standardized the various types of searchlights for the British military.

B. 09-27-1875, Grazia Deledda - Italian novelist who won the 1926 Nobel Prize for Literature. Although not formally educated, GD read voraciously and keenly observed the human nature drama around her. Born in Sardinia, she moved to Rome following her marriage and it was there that she wrote her finest works - often using the Sardinia locations and the raw emotions of the area. She wrote with deep insight into the problems of passion, temptation, sin and guilt. A prolific writer producing almost 50 novels, her best known books are Dopo il Divorzio (1902) (After the Divorce, 1905); Elias Portolu (1903), the story of a man's love for his brother's bride; Cenere (1904; Ashes, 1910; film 1916), an illegitimate son causes his mother's suicide; La Madre (1920; The Woman and the Priest, 1922; U.S. title, The Mother, 1923), the effects on the mother of a priest son who breaks his vows of chastity. Canne al Vento (1913) (Reeds in the Wind) was her personal favorite.
      One "wit" biographer said that her family members in Sardinia were either ill or involved in crime. She began writing at 17 recounting folk tales from her native land.

B. 09-27-1876, Emily Dunning Barringer - U.S. surgeon and gynecologist. Although EDB graduated second in her class at medical school and finished first in competition for medical appointment at Mount Sinai Hospital, she was refused a position because of her sex. She then took the competition at Gouveneur (Bellevue-Allied) Hospitals. She again finished first and was again refused employment on account of her sex. A reform mayor finally appointed her and she became the first woman ambulance surgeon in New York city. She was Director of gynecology for 21 years at Kingston Avenue Hospital, Brooklyn, NY.
      She was president of the American Women's Association. Perhaps her finest work was in mentoring many women and enabling them to enter the field of medicine.

B. 09-27-1886, Minnie Vautrin - U.S. missionary who saved hundreds of lives during the 1937 Japanese sack of Nanking. MV's life of missionary education was exemplary and included advanced training in the U.S. at Columbia and the University of Chicago while she served as principal of the Disciples of Christ missionary school in Luchow, China. Because of her amazing administrative ability she was elevated to Ginling College at Nanking to head the department of education. The purpose was to provide teachers for inland China. At times she acted as president of the college.
      The area was evacuated when the Knomintang (revolutionary) army marched to Nanking in 1927 but MV returned to open the school. For the first time a native Chinese woman, the noted Dr. Wu Yi-fang, was placed in charge of a university and the two worked closely with each other. Among the innovations were day schools and training for local women. This would be carried further when the Japanese brutally sacked Nanking in 1937.
      MV stayed at the Ginling College campus during the bombing and sacking, then placed in charge along with two other non-Asian women assistants after Dr. Wu fled from certain death. The Japanese at this point of their conquests did not target Americans.
      From May to the December 1937 fall of the city, women and children refugees thronged to the college. As many as ten thousand were jammed into the campus as Japanese troops raped and pillaged the city in one of the most gruesome atrocities ever committed on an unarmed civilian population. MV protected the women and children with amazing courage, personally patrolling the grounds and turning away armed soldiers with just her courage.
      Thousands remained for more than a year as Japanese assurances that the women would be protected failed.
      MV not only saw to it that the refugees were fed and cared for - buried when necessary - but also set up training facilities so the mostly widowed women could earn their living when they were able to resume life outside the campus.
      By 1940 the strain of caring for so many broke her health and she had a nervous breakdown. Taken back to the U.S. under medical supervision, wracked with guilt over those she could not save while ignoring the thousands of lives she did save, MV committed suicide in 1941.
      MV's diary resides at Harvard College Library. Part of it has been published but someone ought to do her biography. Minnie Vautrin was a magnificent hero whose story deserves to be told in detail.

B. 09-27-1900, Clementine Haskin Paddleford - U.S. food editor. CHP was a legend inn her own time as food editor for the New York Herald Tribune and This Week magazine. Yummy pioneer.

B. 09-27-1904, Frieda Barkin Hennock - Polish-born American who is most responsible for the creation of Public television. FBH, an attorney, was the first woman appointed to the Federal Communications commission (FCC) (1948-55). She was appointed through the influence of India Edwards, director of the Women's Division of the Democratic National Committee, who pressured President Truman to appoint women to federal positions.
      FBH campaigned hard to get TV channels set aside for editional purposes while the men of the commission thought it nonsense. She wanted a minimum of 500 TV channels set aside for educational purposes and finally got the male FCC commissioners to set aside 242 which is why Americans now have PBS.
      At the opening ceremony of the first educational television station KUHT-TV in Houston, June 1953 she said, "They said I would not get a channel, that I would not get an application and that a station would never get on the air. Well, it was a pretty good feeling to be there in Houston and see education television become a reality,"
      Her nomination to a federal judge's post failed to win bar association support probably because she was a woman. She withdrew her nomination to the U.S. Senate for confirmation after a grueling, very personal questioning by U.S. Senators about her alleged affair with a married judge - a charge which she vigorously denied. FBH was married and was an orthodox Jew which also didn't help her cause.
      No man has EVER been questioned about his rumored extra-martial affairs during Senate confirmation hearings, not even Clarence Thomas who was charged with sexual harassment.

B. 09-27-1913, Charlotte Thompson Reid - U.S. Congressional Representative from Illinois. CTR served from 1963-1971, resigning to become a member of the Federal Communications Commission. She served in that capacity until July 1976; member, President's Task Force on International Private Enterprise, 1983-1985; member, Board of Overseers, Hoover Institution, 1984 to present.
      A conservative Republican, she opposed the social reforms of President Lyndon Johnson. She called for strong price supports for her agricultural district and stronger regulations of guns. She supported the ERA and the U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

B. 09-27-1914, (Sarah) Catherine Marshall - U.S. author. A writer of inspirational books, her best known work is a A Man Called Peter, the biography of her late husband.

B. 09-27-1926, Jayne Meadows - U.S. actor. With many stage, screen, and TV roles in her resume, she is still remembered best for her wifely role with the Jackie Gleason in the hit series The Honeymooners.

B. 09-27-1934, Barbara Howar - U.S. broadcast journalist and writer. Her biography is Laughing all the Way.

B. 09-27-1939, Kathy Whitworth - U.S. golfer. One of the top golfers of all times, KW was the all-time leading money winner on the woman's pro golf circuit when she retired after a 30-years career. She was the first to win more than $1 million in a year. She served as president of the Ladies Professional Golf Association. She won the LPGA player of the year title seven times. KW was inducted into the LPGA Hall of Fame in 1975, the World Golf Hall of Fame and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1982, and the International Women s Sports Hall of Fame in 1984.

Event 09-27-1944: Lieutenant Colonel Westray B. Boyce director of the Women's Army Corps is awarded the Legion of Merit Medal.

B. 09-27-1947, Barbara Dickson - popular British-born singer.

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Queen Semiramis

Semiramis, Queen - Conquered Mesopotamia, dammed the Euphrates against flooding and built huge aquifers to carry water to the desert. Greek historians credit Queen Semiramis of Assyria with being the construction supervisor of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. She was famed as a construction engineer and inventor. Also known as Queen Sammuramat.

"Semiramis - a celebrated queen of Assyria, round whose personality a mass of legend has accumulated. According to Diodorus, the Greek historian, she was the wife of us, the founder of Nineveh, and flourished about 2100 She is said to have founded Babylon and made it the most magnificent city of the world, and everywhere through dominion she left monuments of her greatness. She leveled mountains, filled up valleys, and had water conveyed by immense aqueducts to unfruitful plains.
      "With a vast army at her command, she conquered many nations, and wherever she went she was said to have built cities and have constructed great works. Ultimately her son plotted against her, and she disappeared in the sixty-second year of her age and forty-second of her reign. Tradition said she was changed into a dove and became a deity. While hisorians differ in their accounts of her, they generally agree that Semiramis was very beautiful, and possessed an unusual genius for war, government and building."
            -- Joseph Adelman, Famous Women, an Outline of Feminine Achievement Through the Ages with Life Stories of Five Hundred Noted Women. New York, The Pictorial Review, 1924.

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The founder of Carthage

Dido - aka Elissa, traditionally the founder of Carthage. Virgil, the Roman historian/writer, claims Dido committed suicide after being abandoned by Aeneas on the orders of Jupiter.

"Dido, a Phoenician princess, sister of Pygmalion, King of Tyre. Her husband Acerbas, priest of Hercules, was put to death by Pygmalion, in order that he might have the opportunity of seizing his immense treasures. Dido eluded the cruel avarice of her brother by withdrawing secretly with all her dead husband's possessions. Accompanied by a number of disaffected Tyrian nobles, and after long wanderings, she at last landed on the African coast of the Mediterranean, where, about 850 B.C., she founded the city of Carthage. Later, the inhabitants of this famous city extended their conquests into Europe, established powerful colonies everywhere, and enjoyed the empire of the seas for more than six hundred years, until Carthage was finally destroyed by the Romans in 145 B.C.
      "After founding the city, Dido was courted by Larbas, a neighboring chief, who threatened war in case of her refusal. But Dido, having bound herself by an oath not to consent to a second marriage, mounted upon a funeral pile and plunged a sword into her breast.
      "After her death she was deified and worshiped as the goddess of luck. Each year a maiden was offered at her shrine in commemoration of her sacrifice and to insure the continuance of material blessings."
            -- Joseph Adelman, Famous Women, an Outline of Feminine Achievement Through the Ages with Life Stories of Five Hundred Noted Women. New York, The Pictorial Review, 1924.

(WOA includes some of the twistings of historical women into myths because they are what form the traditions of what women are supposed to be even today - views formed by the self-serving male historians/ writers/ creators of fiction. Note the emphasis on "beauty" and the traditional sacrifice of women virgins for good luck - never, never ever boys/men!)

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      "Hag is also defined as 'an ugly or evil-looking old woman.' But this, considering the source, may be considered a compliment. For the beauty of strong, creative women is 'ugly' by misogynistic standards of 'beauty.' "
            -- Mary Daly, Gyn/Ecology.

      "At least two ambitious surveys of American music were undertaken by commercial record company, yet the only woman composer represented on any of several dozen records issues was Mrs. H. H. A. Beach. The implication was that there had been no other women composers... [The author notes that she was asked to introduce an all-woman wind quintet and found no reference material.] The implication was that there had been no women instrumentalists. But here, at least, ther was a perceived discrepancy. The school orchestras in which our children play invariably include as many or more girls than boys, whereas the symphony orchestras we see consist predominantly of men. Women have been writing and performing music for as long as men have. But, owing to the social climate of earlier times, their work went unnoticed, unpublished, unperformed, and was quickly forgotten."
            -- So begins Unsung, A History of Women in American Music, by Christine Ammer. Greenwood Press, 1980. ISBN 0-313- 22007-7.

      "...when conditions are evil it is not your duty to submit... when conditions are evil, your duty, in spite of protests, in spite of sentiment, your duty, though you trample on the bodies of your nearest and dearest to do it, though you bleed your own heart while, your duty is to see that those conditions are changed. If your laws forbid you, you must change your laws. If your church forbids you, you must change your church. And if your God forbids you, you must change your God."
            -- Clemence Dane (1861-1965)

      "No woman of spirit can focus her entire life on the raising of two children."
            -- Catherine Drinker Bowen, noted U.S. biographer.

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