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

Episode #WHM-19 for Day 19
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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.

Flotsam from the "Happened in January" Historical closet

Event 01-01-1923: Aimee McPherson opened the doors of her Angelus Temple in Los Angeles to the sound of trumpets. McPherson, one of the most famous evangelists of her day, baptized 40,000 during her ministry. Her Angelus temple was topped with a rotating electric cross visible for 50 miles.

Event 01-02-1611: the trial of Countess Erszebet Bathory began in Transylvania. Tagged the Countess Dracula in modern books, she supposedly killed 610 people, mostly young women, and used their remains for medicinal purposes, i.e., to stay young and beautiful.

Event 01-02-1906: the New Hampshire State Supreme Court rules women cannot be notary publics.

Event 01-02-1974: a federal court struck down as unconstitutional a Georgia law that forbade a woman from voting in Georgia if her husband maintained a legal residence in another state.

Event 01-03-1933: Minnie Davenport Craig was elected Speaker of the North Dakota House of Representatives, the first speaker in U.S. history who was also a woman.

B. 01-06-1412 France's greatest hero Joan of Arc was probably born 01-06-1412 into a peasant family in the province of Lorraine. She was burned at stake 05-30-1431, when she was 19.
      When she was 13, Joan began having visions, hearing voices that told her she was to free France from the English and crown the Dauphin as Charles VII.
      The townspeople gave her a horse and men's clothing, and she went to Charles. She led victorious battles, but Charles failed to follow up, instead negotiating with the English.
      His delays allowed Joan to be captured and then ransomed to the English enemy, who interrogated her long and hard in cooperation with the Roman Catholic Church.
      Her sometimes humorous and certainly honest answers to the charges of witchcraft and other such things infuriated the questioners.
      They finally convicted her of wearing men's clothing, a sin for women under church law in those times.
      Her recanting of her "abjuration" only two days after signing it allowed her to be convicted of heresy.
      The Church turned her over to the English (the church did not actually do the punishing), who burned her at stake 05-30-143,1 at age 19.
      Twenty-five years later when she would have been 44, the Roman Catholic Church said, "Oops, we're sorry," and declared her innocent.
      They canonized her in 1920 as a saint of the Roman Catholic church when she would have been 508.

Event 01-06-1913: Clara Munson becomes the mayor of Warrenton, Oregon, the first mayor on the west coast of the U.S. who was also a woman.

Event 01-06-1973: the first vote for a woman in the history of the U.S. Electoral College is cast for Theodora Nathan of Oregon, the Libertarian party's vice-presidential candidate.

Event 01-07-1955: Marian Anderson, breaks the color line at the Metropolitan Opera when she sings Ulrica in Verdi's The Masked Ball.

Event 01-07-1991: Chicago's Illinois Masonic Hospital agrees not to perform elective abortions as part of the agreement to purchase needed land from the Roman Catholic Church.

Event 01-09-1990, as a result of a case filed in 1985 by Chinese-American Dr. Rosalie Tung, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously struck down the university practice of keeping their tenured rolls secret. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which congress extended in 1972 to educational institutions, prohibits employment discrimination based on age, sex, national origin, or religion.

B. 01-11-1795, Barbara Heinemann or Heynemann, French-born U.S. spiritual leader of the Community of True Inspiration who supported Christian Metz in his moves from Europe to Iowa and organizing the network of the seven communities known as the Amana Society. As spiritual leader she held the society together after Metz's death.

Event 01-12-1985: Commodore Roberta Hazard becomes the first woman to command the largest U. S. naval training facility, the Naval Training Center, Great Lakes, IL

Event 01-12-1976: The life expectancy for a white woman in the United States is now 75.9 years, and for nonwhite women 72 years according to an announcement by the U.S. Census Bureau.
      The second half of the 20th century thus marks the first time in recorded history that women are outliving men. Birth control and spaced birthing has made the difference.
      In 1900, the life expectancy for all women in the U.S. was 40 years, much less than men's primarily because of excessive child birth, which made the average life expectancy of a married woman 35.
      In the 16th century, the life expectancy of a married woman was 25 even though menarche (and the start of child bearing) usually began in the late teens because of diet (girls usually received less food, often just the leftovers) after the men got their fill. This tradition of men-first continues today in many American communities controlled by fundamental religions.

B. 01-15-1842, Mary McKillop, Australian religionist, formed the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart. A bishop disbanded the congregation and excommunicated her, but she was soon reinstated and eventually won the fierce struggle against the church hierarchy's desire to control the Josephite sisters.
      On January 19, 1995, Mary became the first Australian ever to be beatified by the Roman Catholic Church.
      (Background provided by Judy Redman, Chaplain, Monash Uni -Gippsland Campus, Churchill, Australia.)

Event 01-15-1969: In South Florida Barbara Jo Rubin, 19, was to ride as the first woman jockey at a major race track - and then was taken off her mount by track officials. BJR was an experienced rider who exercise and schooled (trained) race horses in the early morning hours at the track.
      However, when she wanted to try real racing, the boy jockeys threatened to strike. The little gentlemen also threw things at her dressing room door and shouted some rather ungentleman-like words and phrases. They also said a woman in a race would make it too dangerous for the men riders.
      But it was money, not chivalry that was at the heart of the matter. A winning jockey gets ten percent of the purse and the jockeys, always a very touchy group because of their smallness and their constant dieting, didn't want to share the pots of gold (and ego) with a GIRL! Finally, on February 22, 1969, Jo was able to ride at Charles Town, West Virginia without the world stopping - and she won her first race.
      Using the publicity as the first woman jockey, she got what are called live mounts, i.e., horses that are figured to win or be in contention. She crossed the finish line first in 11 of her first 22 starts.
      Unfortunately Jo at 5'5" was tall by jockey standards and was still growing. Her height combined with an old knee injury ended her racing career in less than a year.

Event 01-19-1990: Elizabeth M. Watson became the first woman to head the police force of a major American city. Houston Mayor Kathryn Whitmire appointed Watson, who would later wore maternity "uniforms," probably the first police chief in history to birth a baby while on active duty.

Event 01-21-1908: the Sullivan Ordinance is passed in New York City making it illegal for women to smoke in public, punishable by a fine of $5-25 and ten days in jail. And they arrested women!

B. 01-21-1840, Sophia Louisa Jex-Blake, after a strenuous campaign SLJ gained legislation permission for women to receive an M.D. degree and be licensed to practice medicine and surgery in Britain (1876). She was forced to get her own M.D. degree at the University of Bern in Switzerland and be licensed in Ireland to practice medicine in Great Britain!

Event 01-22-1973: Excerpted quotes of the Opinion of the Court issued 01-22-1973, Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973) as written by Justice J. Blackmun:
"To summarize: "1. A state criminal abortion statute ... that excepts from criminality only a lifesaving procedure on behalf of the mother, without regard to pregnancy stage and without recognition of the other interests involved, is violative of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
      "(a) For the stage prior to approximately the end of the first trimester, the abortion decision and its effectuation must be left to the medical judgment of the pregnant woman's attending physician.
      "(b) For the stage subsequent to approximately the end of the first trimester, the State, in promoting its interest in the health of the mother, may, if it chooses, regulate the abortion procedure in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health.
      "(c) For the stage subsequent to viability, the State in promoting its interest in the potentiality of human life may, if it chooses, regulate, and even proscribe, abortion except where it is necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother...
      "This holding, we feel, is consistent with the relative weights of the respective interests involved, with the lessons and examples of medical and legal history, with the lenity of the common law, and with the demands of the profound problems of the present day.
      "The decision leaves the State free to place increasing restrictions on abortion as the period of pregnancy lengthens, so long as those restrictions are tailored to the recognized state interests.
      "The decision vindicates the right of the physician to administer medical treatment according to his professional judgment up to the points where important state interests provide compelling justifications for intervention.
      "Up to those points, the abortion decision in all its aspects is inherently, and primarily, a medical decision, and basic responsibility for it must rest with the physician."

Event 01-23-1955: The U.S. Presbyterian Church votes to accept women as ministers.

Event 01-26-1951: Paula Ackerman becomes the first woman in the United States to serve as spiritual leader with rabbinical duties and authority.

Returned 01-02-1914 - In the southwestern part of Utah is the city of Kanab. Slipped in among all that chamber of commerce stuff is a fanciful article by Barbara Pyles who comments that sand was hub deep the last 15 miles of the road leading into Kanab when men were chawin' in disbelief over the vote.
      Pyles writes,
"The men lived in a cow town on the Utah-Arizona border. It was 1911, and the town of about 900 people had just elected an all-women town council." (The first in Utah and perhaps the first in the U.S.)
      Pyles explains that it all started as a prank, but no one else ran so Mary Woolley Chamberlain, Luella Atkin McAllister, Tamar Stewart Hamblin, Blanche Robinson Hamblin, and Ada Pratt Seegmiller.
      The women ordered the licensing of peddlers and traveling merchants, built a dike above the town to protect homes from the flash floods that had been a menace, appointed a board of health forced control of animals that had been allowed to run wild and constructed wooden culverts where irrigation ditches crossed the sidewalks.
      They turned the government back to the men on 01-02- 1914. There is a monument and a plaque to the women, but Pyles says,
"one gets the feeling there should be more."
      To read more, go to

Quote du jour
"One need not be married to achieve status."
            -- Ms. Piggy's reply when asked what her marital status was.

© 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.