The Liz Library presents Irene Stuber's Women of Achievement - Women's History Month

Episode #WHM-17 for Day 17
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Compiled and Written by Irene Stuber
 who is solely responsible for its content.

Contents of this article may be freely reprinted for educational and nonprofit use.
We would appreciate credit and request that the philosophy of the material not be changed.

Feminists have instigated a new and sometimes acrimonious field of discussion regarding wars. Traditional historians and military men have blissfully discounted civilian efforts and their casualties in the ongoing stampede to glorify the accomplishments and sacrifices of military personnel.

R.A.F. 507 - civilians 43,000+

Yet in almost every action in World War II when bombing and large-scale invasions brutalized the helpless civilians, the civilian losses (mostly women and the very young and the very old) is only a minor postscript. The fact is that more *women* were killed in the invasion of France in WWII than solders!

The following quote from a column by Jack Anderson's column of November 1999 makes the point:

"...Churchill would praise the R.A.F. in a speech summarizing the Battle of Britain: 'Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.'

"But Home Secretary and Minister of Home Security offered another credit:

"If the morale of London had cracked, it could have lost the war. If the morale of the women of London alone had cracked, we could have lost the war. But it did not. They stuck it. They decided London could take it, and London did. So did the. rest of Britain."

The battle s statistics tell the tale: RAF personnel killed 507; British civilians killed more than 43,000.
              --Jack Anderson's column, November 1999

The killing of civilians - massacres after rapes - were as common in many "older" wars fought with spears and maces as those fought with planes and rockets. In fact, the genocide (usually excepting only breeding age women) of villages or locals were common.

Aleksandra Mikhaylovna Kollontay

Aleksandra Mikhaylovna Kollontay (b. April 1, 1872) not only was the first woman to formally serve as a representative of her country in a foreign nation but was the first person in U.S. history to be forbidden passage through the U.S. on moral grounds.

AMK was a top ranking Bolshevik leader in the revolution to overthrow the Czarist government. She became a Soviet Russia diplomat who became the first woman to formally serve as a minister or ambassador to a foreign country. Although the post appeared to be a high one, in actuality it was to a small country and was simply a way to get her away from the centers of power in the Kremlin.

She became a pain to the Red leaders as she fought for women's rights and she was shunted aside in the Bolshevik movement for it. Women pushed aside after victory is a common experience for women who fight in revolutionary or human rights causes. The men, after the winning, expect the women to retreat to the kitchens and bedrooms, i.e., do the woman things and leave the governing to them. Freedom was for them, not her.

Her public love affairs with a several men then caused the United States (perhaps encouraged by the Soviet hierarchy) to formally refuse her passage through this country when she was on her way to Mexico as a representative of the Soviet Union. The hypocrisy of singling out a woman for morals violations in a world where male leaders had official mistresses who often traveled with them in the U.S. is beyond comment.

Matilde Franziska Giesler Anneke

Matilde Franziska Giesler Anneke (b. 04-03-1817) is a wonderful example of how men join together to repress women.

MFGA was a German-born American translator, poet, playwright, author, editor, suffragist, and fighter for women's rights.

In Germany during 1848 she published Neue Kolnische Zeitung a revolutionary journal and Deutsche Frauen Zeitung, the first women's publication in Western Europe. Married to a revolutionary, she went into battle at his side during skirmishes against police in the streets of her city.

Losing, they fled Germany to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with their six children. There she reestablished the Deutsche Frauen Zeitung, a monthly feminist journal which employed only women even as printers and compositors.

The publication was forced to close because a (male) German typographical union demanded that printing firms fire any women who worked as printers and compositors. . .or else. She moved to New Jersey where she published her woman's rights journal for almost three more years.

She divorced her husband and went to Switzerland with Mary Booth to whom she dedicated several poems. Returning to Milwaukee after the Civil War she founded the Wisconsin Women's Suffrage Association (1869) and helped found the "Tochter Institut" (no "e") where she was both principal and a teacher.

Marie Iowa, Marie Aine, Ayvoise, L'Aguivoise, Marie Toupin, or Marie Dorion

Survived 53 days of the
Oregon bitter winter in a lean-to
- with two small children

This tale will exhaust you - and make you proud to be a woman!

Marie Dorion, a member of the Iowa-tribe whose tale of survival and protecting her small children should rank as one of the world's greatest examples of a woman's (or man's) bravery and spirit. While pregnant, this Indian woman along with her guide/translator Indian husband and two children traveled with an overland expedition from St. Louis to Astoria, Oregon, at the mouth of the Columbia River.

She gave birth in what is now Oregon after many male members of the expedition fell out exhausted. Remember, these guys didn't have the additional duties of family care giving, mothering, sexual demands, or pregnancy.

Her children were offered a horse to ride, but since the youngest was only two, she mostly carried him on her back as she walked. Her newborn child only survived a few days under the harsh conditions which included such things as her having to ride a horse 20 miles the day after the birth to keep up with the men who wouldn't pause for such woman things.

Her husband then led his family on a beaver-trapping expedition, trekking more than 300 miles away from the main post at Astoria. He and the men with him built a rough cabin near what is now Kingman, OR. Some of the men including her husband went out for beaver.

She went after him in what some sources say was an attempt to warn her husband of danger but her husband's group was massacred before she - along with her two children - could reach them. With her children, she made her way back to the cabin only to find the men there also murdered.

Marie Dorion loaded what provisions she could find onto her horse and led her children towards the Columbia River, going some 120 miles before being trapped by a snow storm in the Blue Mountains. She constructed a lean-to of branches and packed snow where she and the children survived 53 days of the Oregon bitter winter. When the food was gone in mid-March (even the horse was killed for food) she attempted to reach safety on foot.

She quickly became snow- blind but somehow found a Wallawalla Indian village. The friendly inhabitants gave her and her children refuge. Passing fur traders then took her to a post in northeast Washington.

She had three more children in two more relationships, the latter two with Jean Baptiste Toupin whom she married. Her descendants still live in the area.

The facts of her struggles are well documented although after her death, her bravery failed to reach historical importance.. Her name was variously recorded as Marie Iowa, Marie Aine, Ayvoise, L'Aguivoise, Marie Toupin, or Marie Dorion in trading and in extant church records.

© 1990-2006 Irene Stuber, Hot Springs National Park, AR 71902. Originally web-published at We are indebted to Irene Stuber for compiling this collection and for granting us permission to make it available again. The text of the documents may be freely copied for nonprofit educational use. Except as otherwise noted, all contents in this collection are © 1998-2009 the liz library.  All rights reserved. This site is hosted and maintained by the liz library.