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December 15

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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Ellen Demorset


QUOTES by William Leuchtenburg, Marianne Williamson, and Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English.

A Ninteenth Century Businesswoman

      "I do not claim that all women, or a large portion of them, should enter into independent business relations with the world, but I do claim that all women should cultivate and respect themselves with an ability to make money as they respect their fathers, husbands and brothers the same ability."
            -- Ellen "Nell" Louis Curtis Demorset, a businesswoman both before and after her marriage. She and her husband (who had not been successful before marriage in fact was a chronic loser) packaged paper dress patterns, and promoted them through a magazine that was outspoken in support of women's rights, abolition and temperance.
      She was sole administrator of the company and supervised the manufacturing - one of the first employers in the U.S. who hired blacks on equal terms with whites where they worked side-by-side. Not surprisingly, there was some who refused to buy the patterns because of her integration policy. In 1876 alone, more than three million Mme. Demorset's paper patterns were sold.
      Demorset's attempts to claim prior design of paper patterns failed; Eleanor Butterick has that distinction. In addition to her multi-million dollar business, Demorset founded Sorosis, a women's organization, as well as a home for abused women and children.

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B. 12-15-1787, Mary Russell Mitford, British dramatist, poet, and essayist.

B. 12-15-1861, Vida Dutton Scudder, helped organize the Women's Trade Union League, professor of English at Wellesley College, joined a semi-religious order to promote social harmony, and authored a number of scholarly books.

B. 12-15-1887, Marianne Moore, 1952 Pulitzer Prize winning poet.

B. 12-15-1896, Eslanda Cardoza Goode Robeson, anthropologist and author.

B. 12-15-1906, Betty Smith, novelist best known for A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1943).

B. 12-15-1913, Muriel Rukeyser, writer, poet, translator, noted for her writings on feminism, other social/political issues, social injustices with dramatic and lyrical power, member of Bd. of Directors of Teachers-Writers Collaborative, 1967.

Event 12-15-1931, Maria Teresa Norton became the first woman to chair a Congressional committee.

B.12-15-1932, Edna O'Brien, Irish novelist, short-story writer, and screenwriter, whose works are banned in her native country because of her honest portrayal of women, their lives, and their desires.

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      "By 1930 more than ten million women held jobs. Nothing did more to emancipate them!"
            -- William Leuchtenburg.

      "This is a book about a woman's inner life. Here, we are our real selves, while in the outer world we are impostors. We're not sure why we're posing, except we have no clue how not to. We have forgotten the part we came here to play. We have lost the key to our own house. We're hanging out outside the door. The stress of being away so long from home is hurting us, even killing us. We must not stay away; we must find the key. For until we do, we will continue to shrivel - our faces, our breasts, our ovaries, our stories. We are drooping down and falling apart. If we knew how to moan, they would hear us on the moon.
      "But the dirt around us is moving, making room for tiny sprouts. Like every woman, I know what I know. Something is starting to happen. New things lie in store for the earth, and one of them is us. Womanhood is being recast, and we're pregnant, en masse, giving birth to our own redemption."
            -- Williamson, Marianne. A Woman's Worth New York: Random House, 1993. ISBN 0-679-42218-8.

      "...in our legacy of repressed energy and half-forgotten wisdom, lies the understanding that it is not [women] who must change but the social order which marginalized women in the first place and with us all 'human values.'
      "The romantic/rationalist alternative is no longer acceptable: we refuse to remain on the margins of society, and we refuse to enter that society on its terms. If we reject these alternatives, then the challenge is to frame a moral outlook which proceeds from women's needs and experiences but which cannot be trivialized, sentimentalized, or domesticated."
            -- From that incisive and well researched For Her Own Good, 150 Years of the Experts' Advice to Women by Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English. In the book, Ehrenreich and English recite how men have tried to twist and turn women's bodies and lives to fit their needs and obsessions. The duo makes a strong case for the feminism of women's values as the true human values.
      The Mother Jones magazine review:
"A sophisticated and penetrating analysis of 150 years of quiet warfare between American women and 'expert' professionals."

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