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

Episode #WHM-18 for Day 18
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Compiled and Written by Irene Stuber
 who is solely responsible for its content.

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Memorabilia from a Dusty HIStorical Closet

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 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. Even George Washington gave his troops the "cowpox" treatment in the American revolutionary war. It was commonly done among the "peasanty" but it was Edward Jenner who has been given credit for "discovering" the inoculation for smallpox. He used a slightly different method that proved to be safer but the accounts of the dangers facing him by giving the initial innoculation to a young boy are "slightly" exaggerated.

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 had widened the franchise for men.

In 1793, Catherine Lidfield Greene discussed an idea of hers with Elie Whitney who was mechanically inclined. Her husband was a Georgia plantation owner. The couple gave Whitney room and board and an "allowance" while Whitney worked on the project. Legend (and accounts written by women close to the event) indicated CLG made "suggestions" for his model for the cotton gin that Whitney got a patent for in 1793. Greene's name (as fitting to a proper lady) was never mentioned in the patent application. Society decreed that women's names should never be mentioned in public documents except marriage, births, and deaths.

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.

© 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.