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December 10

Compiled and Written by Irene Stuber
who is solely responsible for its content.
This document has been taken from emailed versions
of Women of Achievement. The complete episode
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Emily Dickenson


QUOTE by Gloria Steinem.

Emily Dickenson

      Born 12-10-1830, Emily Dickinson, the great poet of Amherst, Massachusetts. Criticisms of her work have ranged from condescendingly referring to "that little wisp of a girl" (at 53!) to calling her the greatest female poet since Sappho, and now many seem settled on adoring her as the greatest American poet of either sex.
      Her reclusiveness is believed to have been the only method she had of protecting her craft and individuality in the male-dominant culture of the 19th Century when marriage meant constant pregnancies and complete servitude to children and husband.
      She experimented with poetic rhythms and rhymes. With the exception of only three poems, all her work was published posthumously.
      Almost as intriguing as her poetry is the riddle of her life. She dressed all in white, was a recluse, and yet carried on an extensive correspondence with a large number of people. Yet almost no one knew she wrote poetry and certainly not in the quantity her sister discovered after her death.
      Her surviving letters never fully reveal her "love interests," but she expressed great emotion for several women, while standard biographer/critics claim she had unrequited love for several men. Again, read several biographies and by all means her correspondence and her poetry. Again try to get the latest publications since many of her earlier biographies as well as her poetry and correspondence were censored. Regardless of her "love" life, like so many artists, men or women, she lived most truly for her art.

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B. 12-10-1741, Aagje (Agatha) Deken who with Betje Wolff-Bekker authored the first Dutch novel De historie van mejuffrouw Sara Burgerhart (The History of Miss Sara Burgerhart) in 1782.

B. 12-10-1815, Augusta Ada King Lovelace, English mathematician, created a program for the prototype of a digital computer invented by Charles Babbage. She has been called the first computer programmer.

Event 12-10-1869, the Wyoming territory adopted woman's suffrage amidst laughter - it was a joke to the male legislators who anticipated rescinding it later.

B. 12-10-1891, Nelly Sachs, German writer won the Nobel Prize in literature (1966) for her poetry; known for her writings describing the sufferings of Jews during W. War II.

B. 12-10-1903, Mary Norton, British children's writer who created the Borrowers, a race of people only 15 cm tall who secretly lived with humans and borrowed what they needed to live

B. 12-10-1907, Rumer Godden, British author of Black Narcissus and In This House of Brede. Her sister Jan G. has written more than ten novels. RG's children's books are almost as famous as her adult novels. She was raised in India. Her first husband's debts used up the royalities from her earlier books.

B. 12-10-1925, Clarice Lispector, Brazilian novelist and short-story writer.

Event 12-10-1931: Jane Addams is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the second woman given that honor. She gives all the money to the Women's International League.

Event 12-10-38: Pearl Buck becomes the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Recently critics began downgrading her work as "sentimental," but one must wonder if this is another case of trying to erase women from history instead of giving her books the time and space that older books by men are awarded.

Event 12-10-1948, adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations, perhaps Eleanor Roosevelt's finest hour.

Event 12-10-63: Maria Goeppert-Mayer becomes the first American woman to win a Nobel Prize for physics (for her work on the shell structure of atomic nuclei) and the second woman of any nationality to receive the award in physics. Marie Curie was the first in 1903.

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      "A white minority of the world has spent centuries conning us into thinking that a white skin makes people superior - even though the only thing it really does is make them more subject to ultraviolet rays and to wrinkles. Male human beings have built whole cultures around the idea that penis-envy is 'natural' to women - though having such an unprotected organ might be said to make men vulnerable, and the power to give birth makes womb-envy at least as logical.
      "In short, the characteristics of the powerful, whatever they may be, are thought to be better than the characteristics of the powerless and logic has nothing to do with it."
            -- Gloria Steinem in her essay If Men Could Menstruate.

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