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October 17

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


Some Herstory You Don't Often Read

Women in War Work were Often Mistreated


QUOTES by Jonathan Franzen, Helen Fielding, Elizabeth Fox- Genovese, Lillian Hellman, and Florence Nightingale.

Some Herstory You Don't Often Read

In 478 BC (recorded 478 BC): Pindar writes of the huntress Cyrene who vanquishes a lion by hand in an unarmed struggle, witnessed by the god Apollo who promptly rapes the woman using his godlike powers.

In 0001 AD: Roman historian Suetonius states that Roman women had races at the Capitoline Game which leads many of today's herstorians to disagree with the past assumptions regarding women's physical activities in Greece and Rome.

In 1619: As a gauge on how life was really like in the American colonies, in 1619 an English sea captain advertised in London for free passage for single women wanting to go to the Virginia colonies to find husbands. He received 120 pounds of fine Virginia tobacco from the men who purchased the women upon their arrival. In a census taken six years later, only six of the 144 women were still alive.

In 1660: Mary Dyer, Quaker martyr, was hanged in Boston. She had been a friend of Anne Hutchinson who was banished from the colony for holding religious meetings and when Anne was killed by Indians, the Massachusetts colony celebrated.

In 1712 William Penn suffered a massive stroke and was no longer capable of handling his or the Pennsylvania Colony affairs. It was his second wife, Hanna, who forged his name to documents, made appointments and managed things so that the British were unable to take back the colony. Among her actions were the guarantee of religious freedom.

In 1715, Lady Mary Montagu suffered a disfiguring case of smallpox. The next year she went to Turkey with her husband, the British Ambassador to Turkey, and witnessed Turkish doctors scratching people with needles infected with smallpox which gave them a mild case of the disease and immunized them. She insisted her son be given the inoculation. On her return to England, she spread the word.

In 1776 - Empress Maria Theresa of Austria built the LaScala in Milan, Italy, one of the finest opera houses in the world.

In 1793, the revolutionary French government outlawed all women's political activity and when women began to ask for the right to vote, they were specifically excluded from laws which widened the franchise for men.

In 1793, Catherine Lidfield Greene discussed an idea of hers with Elie Whitney who was mechanically inclined. Greene, a Georgia plantation owner, supported Whitney at the plantation while he worked on the project and made some changes in his model for the cotton gin for which Whitney got a patent in 1793. Greene's name (as fitting to a proper lady) was never mentioned in the patent application. Women biographers who lived closest to Greene's period give her credit for helping with the invention. Modern historians discount it as folk tales. Early in our history, U.S. patents for devices invented by women were taken out in men's names such as husbands or fathers.

In 1804, the Roman law which prevailed in the south of France before the French Revolution, and gave married woman had some legal capacity, the new Code Napoleon of 1804 was instituted in which married women were classified with children, the insane, and criminals as legal incompetents.

In 1814, Emma Hart Willard opened the Middlebury Female Seminary in her home to teach women, the first real school for women in the U.S. of A. Society and custom in those days prevented women from learning anything but the most elemental reading and writing.

In 1829, a suggestion that women be taught geometry in the United States was vilified by the press and academia.

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Women in War Work were Often Mistreated

       *A woman who hadn't slept in a bed in five months, only grabbing naps while caring for four children and doing cleaning, laundry, cooking, etc., while working full-time at a Navy shipyard during World War II;
      *Women having to take their coats to a location ten minutes away from the entrances when they checked in or out of the shipyard's time clocks while the men's lockers were right there - and threats that the women would get fired if they objected to the situation that cost them 20 minutes of wasted time each day;
      *Not allowing women to join the union so they had no right of grievance;
      *Exploding the myth of high wages paid to women during World War II, Anthony documented women being paid $23 a week with some wages as little as 57 cents an hour at Navy shipyards while men often got $22 a DAY;
      *No women in supervisory positions of any kind;
      *Not allowed to go to the ladies' room to wash grease and work-filth off their hands before going to lunch and being docked or suspended if they tried;
      *Not getting the federally authorized rest breaks;
      *Being made to work 16 hours straight as a disciplinary measure. These are just some of the findings of Susan B. Anthony II in an article "Women in War Plants, 1944" that was printed in The New Republic, May 1, 1944 as it would appear in her book Out of the Kitchen - Into the War (New York: Stephen Daye, Inc.)
      Not quite what you heard happened back then, huh?
      Why didn't the women object? Well, for starters, to whom could they complain? There were no harassment laws and women were generally treated without too much respect in the working world, especially in "blue collar" jobs where the resentment against women taking the man's job was highest.
      Also, the men who controlled the businesses, the unions, and the floor supervisory positions often treated women like slaves and dirt under their heels. With such a united front against them, women did not have a chance. If they objected outside the factory/shipyards, they were accused of anti-war sentiments and treason! And summarily fired.
      Additionally, where could they go to work for as much money, low that it was in comparison to men's wages, it was high compared to the usual waitress, beauty shop, etc., jobs open to those with limited education.
      And these women NEEDED the work because husbands and fathers were off to war or away, leaving the women without funds for caring for the children, and rent and food.
      The allowance for dependents in World War II was often so low it was a joke - and some men didn't declare because they believed it came out of their pay!

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DIED 10-17-1705, Ninon de Lenclos - Parisian philosopher. NL is listed as a courtesan which in those days was a HIGHLY respected profession. Remember, it was the time when kings and cardinals had official mistresses in addition to wives, etc.
      However, she was in addition to conducting a fabulously popular salon that drew the most prominent men of her age, she was a noted philosopher. In fact, the mother of the king ordered her into a convent because of her expressed irreligious attitudes. Her friends got her out. As she aged, she gave up the courtesan side of her life, wrote, and continued the salons that grew in popularity through the years. She died a very wealthy woman. One of her protectors became the wife of Louis XIV. Her best known work is La Coquette Venge (1659; "The Coquette Avenged") that defends her lifestyle.

B. 10-17-1760, Anne Parrish - U.S. philanthropist and activist. AP founded the House of Industry (Aimwell House) in 1795 to train poor girls and women of Philadelphia in domestic skills for work in homes of the area. It was the first organization to help poor women in America. Up to that point, unable to secure education or training, many poverty bound women had few alternatives to prostitution. The House of Industry stayed open until 1923!

B. 10-17-1818, Elizabeth Van Lew - U.S. spy in the Civil War. EVL masqueraded as Crazy Bet, a harmless eccentric who wandered the countryside.. In that guise, she was able to peform extensive intelligence gathering for the Union army as she wandered at will through the Confederete lines, particularly in Richmond. She was given the postmistress job at Richmond as a reward for her spying but she was a social outcast. Her later years were spent in poverty, living at the dilapidated family home. She protested paying taxes because she was not allowed to vote.

B. 10-17-1847, Chiquinha Gonzaga - Brazilian composer. CG is one of Brazil's most popular composers who wrote more than 2,000 works. Her operetta Forrobad¢ had more than 1,500 performances. She was active in the anti-slave movement and used proceeds of her works in the cause.

B. 10-17-1853, Alexandrine Pieternella-Francoise Timme - Dutch explorer. An adventurous sort, APF is best known for her investigation of the course of the Nile River. (The spelling of her name varies.)

B. 10-17-1864, Elinor Sutherland Glyn - English novelist. Explaining her work, she said she authored "slightly seamy romances that shocked many readers on two continents." Her best known works are Three Weeks (1907) and It (1927). Critics complained that they had improbable plots in luxurious settings, but they sold very well.

        HaydenBuilding.gifArtist's Rendering of the Women's Building at the World's Columbia exposition, Chicago. Designed with lots of skylights, it was light and airy. Forty-seven nations sent exhibits of women's accomplishments, arts, and work for the building.

Hayden.jpgB. 10-17-1868, Sophia Gregoria Hayden - U.S. architect. Winner of the competition to design the Women's Building of the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. She received $1.500 for the 1/8th scale working drawings while men architects who designed other buildings for the Exposition received three to ten times as much.
      She won the competition to design the Women's Building of the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago and received $1,500 for the 1/8th scale working drawings while men architects who designed other building at the exposition received three to ten times that amount.
      Construction was a nightmare for everyone in any way connected with the project had changes in mind and (mostly male) critics openly scorned the work as feminine and not worthy to be built, etc., etc.
      The entire construction and design was under the tutelage of several society matrons of Chicago who disdained working women - and treated SGH very badly, very badly indeed.
      She did not appear after the dedication ceremony amid rumors of a mental collapse which led the editors of an architectural magazine to editorialize: "a more telling argument against the wisdom of women entering this especial profession that anything else could." The critics all claimed it was a "feminine" building. She designed one other major building but it was never built.
      Born in Chile of an American father, SH was raised in Boston by her paternal grandparents, she was the first woman admitted to study architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1886. After graduation she taught mechanical drawing in a boy's school before winning the exposition competition.

B. 10-17-1886, Spring Byington, U.S. stage actress turned movie character actor in dozens of films. Starred in the long-running television series, December Bride 1954-59. Her birthdate is also given as 1893.

HumphreyD.gifB. 10-17-1895, Doris Humphrey - U.S. choreographer, dancer, and innovator in technique and the theory of dance movement.
      In order to earn money needed by the family, DH taught social dancing while her mother, a trained musician, played accompanying piano. DH worked with the Denishawn dance company but broke away when she began to develop what would become the basis of American modern dance.
      She defined her experiment in new dance movements as "moving from the inside out." Her book on choreography The Art of Making Dances (1959) was published posthumously and sums up her brilliant insight into the art of dance. Her great discovery was what she called "the arc between two deaths," defined as the region between statis balance and out-of-control fall... the technique of fall and recovery.
      An official website to honor DH and her great contributions to the dance is located at http://www.dorishumphrey.org/

B. 10-17-1902, Rosamund Van Der Zee Marshall - British author of the best seller None But the Brave.

arthur.gifB. 10-17-1905, Jean Arthur - U.S. actor. JA with a voice that "had a poignant catch in it," was a star in both the movies and Broadway. She is best known for her movie roles in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), The More the Merrier (1943), and Shane (1953), and my favorite You Can't Take it With You (1938). On Broadway, her Peter Pan was noteworthy. She suffered a great deal from "camera fright," and had retired before being convinced to come back for what became a Hollywood classic, Shane. She later taught acting at Vassar College.

B. 10-17-1917, Marsha Hunt - U.S. actor.

Hayworth.gifB. 10-17-1918, Rita Hayworth - U.S. dancer and actor.
      Her husbands were as interesting as her films: Orson Wells, innovative director and actor, Prince Aly Khan, playboy of the Moslem world, singer Dick Hymes and British film director James Hill (of Born Free).
      As a film actor, her Gilda (1944) and The Lady from Shanghai (1949) were probably her best. RH was billed as the Great American Love Goddess. Her picture was attached to the atomic test bomb that was dropped on Bikini Atoll in 1946 - considered at the time to be a great compliment.
      She was a very fine dancer. Her mother was one of a long line of English actors. She was a victim of Alzheimer's Disease and her daughter Jasmine (daughter of Aly Khan) remained steadfastly devoted to her through all the bad times.

B. 10-17-1922, Nanette Fabray - U.S. actor as a child and adult. She was a child star in the Our Gang comedies (1927). She succeeded the incomparable Imogene Coca on the Caesar's Hour (1955) on TV and did a sensational job. She . won two Emmys.

B. 10-17-1928, Julie Adams - U.S. actor.

B. 10-17-1943, Vilma Martinez - U.S. activist who founded MALDEF.

B. 10-17-1948, Margot Kidder - U.S. actor and feminist activist. Her best known role is probably as Lois, love interest of Superman. MK is a victim of polar disorder and her misunderstood attacks sometimes made her the star of tabloids.

Jewnison.gifB. 10-17-1956, Mae C. Jemison - U.S. astronaut, physician, and chemical engineer. MCJ was the first Afro- American woman in the U.S. space program. MDJ described herself as a "womanist" and pro-choice in her first press conference.
      Believing she took one small step for equality when she rocketed into orbit aboard the space shuttle Endeavour she accepted the honor with some guilt feelings.
      "I'm very aware of the fact that I'm not the first woman of color, the first African-American woman, who had the skills, the talent, the desire to be an astronaut. I know that I happen to be the first one that NASA selected, right now the only one," Jemison, said.
      A multi-faceted woman, MJ as an MD was an administrator for the Peace Corps in West Africa In her NASA bio, "She entered NASA's astronaut program in June 1987, and as a science-missio specialist on Endeavour she conducted experiments on uses of biofeedback in countering motion sickness, effects of space on human calcium levels and effects of weightlessness on the development of other organisms. Since 1993 she has headed her own technology development firm.
      "Prior to joining the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1987, she worked as a General Practitioner, in Los Angeles with the INA/Ross Loos Medical Group. She then spent two and a half years (1983-85) as an Area Peace Corps Medical Officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia in West Africa. Returning to Los Angeles, she resumed her medical practice, working with CIGNA Health Plans of California."
      Her mother, Dorothy Green, is a teacher and her sister Ada is a psychiatrist.

Event 10-17-1970, the men narrowly voted no - and being the church deputies, their vote meant the Protestant Episcopal Church turned down the ordination of women.

novello.jpgEvent 10-17-1989, Antonia Novello - U.S. Surgeon General and pediatrician. born in Puerto Rico, is appointed U.S. Surgeon General. She is the first woman, as well as the first person of Hispanic origin, to hold the position.
      After her tenure as Surgeon General (1993-1996), she served as the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Special Representative for Health and Nutrition. In particular, she provided leadership toward the global efforts to eliminate iodine and Vitamin A deficiency disorders, immunizing the world's children and preventing smoking and substance abuse in youth. Currently, Dr. Novello is Visiting Professor of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, and Special Director for Community Health Policy.
      On June 18, 1999 Dr. Antonio Novello was confirmed as New York's new Health Commissioner. Dr. Novello is a board-carnified pediatrician. Website information: http://www.phpab.org/bios/novello.html

menchu.gifEvent 10-17-1993, Rigoberta Menchuacute; Tem, a Quiche Indian from western Guatemala, is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
      She had lived in exile since 1981, after her parents and a brother died at the hands of Guatemalan security forces. Menchu dedicated her life to ending 30 years of Guatemalan government repression that killed more than 100,000 people, most of them unarmed peasants. She started a human rights foundation with the $1 million prize money.

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"Writers like Jane Smiley and Amy Tan today seem conscious and confident of an attentive audience. Whereas all the male novelists I know, including myself, are clueless as to who could possibly be buying our books."

"Single girls in their 30s and homosexuals have natural affinities, both being used to being treated as disappointments to their parents and as freaks by society."
            From Fielding's Bridget Jones's Diary.

"Despite differences, most feminists seek equal eonomic rights; support reproductive rights, including right to abortion; criticize traditional definitions of gender roles; and favor raising children of both genders for similar public achievements and domestic responsibilities. Many wish to reform language so that it does not equal man with humanity. Many also campaign vigorously against violence aginst women (wife battering, rape) and against the denigration of women in the media."

"Since when do you have to agree with people to defend them from injustice?"

"The physician or surgeon gives his orders perhaps once or twice a day -- the nurse has to carry them out with intelligence every minute of the 24 hours."

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