|09-01 TABLE of CONTENTS:
Part 2 of Dr. DiFonzo's review of
the Michael Grossberg book exploring a Victorian Age custody battle
DATES, ANNIVERSARIES, and
Lucy Stone and Marianne Williamson.
To read this entire article,
see: | 1 | | 2 | | 3
| | 4 | | 5
Part 2 of Dr. DiFonzo's
review of the Michael Grossberg book exploring a Victorian Age custody
[Part 2 of Dr. DiFonzo's review
of the Michael Grossberg book exploring a Victorian Age custody battle
when common law doctrine granted full sway to a father's decisions regarding
child custody and family residence. Reproduced with permission of Dr. DiFonzo.]
"In 1837, Ellen Sears, daughter of Boston
money, married Gonzalve d'Hauteville, son of Swiss nobility. Each family
had much to gain. The d'Hautevilles would establish a link to a Boston
family of tremendous wealth; the Sears would enlist a titled aristocrat
in theirquest for social acceptance.
"Unfortunately for these great familial expectations,
Ellen and Gonzalve wed in an era when the claims of patriarchal authority
were adjusting to a subtle challenge from the romantic temper of the times
and the nascent springs of feminine autonomy. Their marital relationship
Pregnant and unhappy, Ellen left Gonzalve's home in
Switzerland for Boston, giving birth to Frederick soon after.
Gonzalve followed, demanding that his wife and son
return home. The parties alternated efforts at negotiation with a cat-and-mouse
game of forum shopping. Ultimately, the couple turned to the American version
of King Solomon, the judiciary, and a highly-popularized custody trial
commenced in Philadelphia in 1840.
"That the matter was even contested should
be surprising. Common law doctrine granted full sway to a father's decisions
regarding child custody and family residence. 
"Indeed, as Grossberg observes, Ellen's claims
to autonomy `voiced a standard of marital expectations at odds with the
law (p. 43). Gonzalve's self-image as paterfamilias conflicted with
Ellen's growing sense of herself as mother tormented by an unfeeling spouse.
But hierarchical claims had always trumped those of mutuality. Ellen thus
faced a seemingly insurmountable obstacle. Since Gonzalve had not physically
abused her or violated any other obligation of his marriage oath, she had
no right to seek a divorce. 
"Yet the law refused to intervene on behalf of
married women. All were subject to their husbands' power and protection.
Grossberg describes in fascinating detail how Ellen
and her Philadelphia lawyers devised a strategy that would challenge the
accepted legal formulation along its emerging cultural fault line. Essentially,
their scheme was to emphasize Ellen's maternal role, and to characterize
Gonzalve's actions as mental cruelty, which, though insufficient to warrant
a dissolution of the conjugal union, rendered him unfit to usurp the mother
in the care of an infant. Gonzalve's legal team, on the other hand, focused
on Ellen's marital fault in deserting the husband's home, and relied on
Gonzalve's paternal rights to custody of his child."
To read this entire article, see: | 1
| | 2 | | 3 | | 4
| | 5 |
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09-01 DATES, ANNIVERSARIES, and
B. 09-01-1789, Marguerite Gardiner Blessington, Countess of Blessington,
accomplished British writer. When only 15, her father sold her to a
sadist-husband. She escaped after a few months and later married Count
Blessington. She took up with a young man and was forced to write to support
him after they spent all his money in extravagant living.
She conducted a notable
salon in London besides her writing.
B. 09-01-1791, Lydia Sigourney, U.S. writer of more than 67 books
and a thousand articles. Recognized as one of the most popular writers
of her day, much of her work was concerned with the womanly morals of the
day. Before her marriage she ran a school in Hartford, Connecticut, only
writing seriously after her husband's business crumbled. Known as the "Sweet
Singer from Hartford," her poems were much sought after by
many national publications making her one of the most popular poets of
B. 09-01-1849, Elizabeth Harrison, American educator who founded
the influential Chicago Kindergarten College in Chicago. She also helped
in founding the forerunner of the National Congress of Parents and Teachers.
EH was a pioneer in the
kindergarten movement and insisted on high educational requirements for
teachers. She was an early supporter of Dr. Maria Montessori, having observed
her movement in Italy.
EH's extensive authoritative
writings on the kindergarten movement and the education of young children
included A Study of Child Nature (1890) that went through more than
50 editions and translated into most major languages.
B. 09-01-1854, Anna Botsford Comstock, U.S. naturalist who helped,
without compensation, her husband's work as he rose to become chief entomologist
at the U.S. department of Agriculture. However, her illustrations in "his"
books that she helped write were so notable that they noticed her on her
She gained her degree
at Cornell and continued to help her husband by creating more than 600
wood cuts for his three most noted volumes - which she also helped write.
Her drawings won international prizes. By the turn of the century she was
writing her own books (and illustrating them). She was soon recognized
worldwide for her engravings and her independent nature studies.
ABC was a pioneer in
nature studies for both college and public schools and developed a nature
experimental course used in high schools. One of her nature studies went
through 24 editions.
After years of international
fame, ABC was finally named a full professor in nature study at Cornell
In 1923 she was chosen
one of the 12 greatest living American women by the members of the League
of Women voters.
Event 09-01-1878, Emma Nutt became the first woman telephone operator
at $3 a day. They hired women to replace teenage boys who were considered
too rude when dealing with the public. The change opened the career gates
for women in the telephone industry. A job with the telephone company often
meant lifetime security at a decent wage for women who seldom had too many
other options in the white collar class.
Born 09-01-1882, Sara Bard Field, American suffragist and poet
whose life reflected that side of women's experience not often reflected
in mainstream historical summations. She was one of the seldom recognized
women who followed her own dream, refusing to live up to society's requirement
that women sacrifice themselves for their husbands - and children.
Raised in a home ruled
by a strict Baptist father, he banished her sisters from the home for disobedience.
SBF was forbidden a college education because it might give her independent
ideas. By marrying an older man to get away from her father, she jumped
into the proverbial fire. A missionary, her husband took her to India where
the indolent living of the whites based on the sweat of the poverty-stricken
natives repulsed her.
She left him with their
children and returned to the U.S. where she divorced him and took back
her birth name. She became a paid organizer in Oregon for the woman's suffrage
movement of that state. She led it to victory in 1912 and assisted in the
Perhaps best known for her highly publicized, three-month auto trip
from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., in 1915 during which she collected
500,000 signatures supported women's suffrage. She presented them to President
Woodrow Wilson 12-06-1915 who stoutly opposed women's suffrage until outfoxed
by the wily Carrie Chapman Catt.
CCC as the head of the
National American Women's Suffrage Association whose membership would swell
to 3.5 million encouraged women to become active in the World War I efforts
to prove they were worthy of the vote. The maneuver boxed Wilson into a
corner and he was forced to add his support in 1918.
She lived with Charles Wood from 1918 and they were finally married
in 1938 after Woods' wife died. They gathered artists and writers around
them. Fields' main volumes of poetry were Pale Woman (1927) and
Darkling Plain (1936).
B. 09-01-1898, Marilyn Miller. Blonde, beautiful, and talented,
MM was the reigning queen of Broadway musical comedy from 1914 to her sudden
death in 1936. She made several movies including Sunny (1930). MM introduced
a number of standards including her trademark "Look for the Silver
B. 09-01-1906, Eleanor Burford Hibbert, one of the most popular British
authors in history.
Well, you know her as
a.k.a. Victoria Holt, a.k.a. Jean Plaidy, and a.k.a. Philippa Carr,
the pseudonyms on more than 100 novels. She was never critically honored,
after all they were merely women's books, but her books sold (and continue)
to sell very well, thank you. The various pseudonyms were to separate her
various methods. Under Holt she wrote best-selling Gothic suspense, under
Carr she wrote more romantic stories, and under Plaidy she wrote historically
B. 09-01-1908, Este, Lauder, American entrepreneur. In 1946 she
founded the huge beauty and cosmetic company that bears her name and expanded
her enterprises with such products as Clinique allergy-tested cosmetics
and Aramis men's products. By the early 1970s, the company had evolved
into a one-hundred million dollar enterprise with all the stock held by
The philanthropy of the
Lauder family has been extensive and the French government gave EL an award
for her financial help in restoring the Palace of Versailles. Unable to
find an advertising company that would take their small account when they
were starting, EL hit on the idea of offering free samples that soon brought
return customers to their product line of skin care items and cosmetics.
The couple separated
during the early years of the company but a division of labor with EL holding
the primary authority reconciled them.
B. 09-01-1908, Irene Otillia Galloway became the 4th director
of the Women's Army Corps in 1953 with the rank of colonel.
B. 09-01-1910, Dame Peggy van Praagh, British ballet dancer.
She was dancer with the Ballet Rambert, was dancer and co director of the
London Ballet, then teacher and dance at the Sadler's Wells. She assisted
a number of companies in Europe and the U.S. Suggesting a national company
for Australia, the government agreed but insisted that she head it. A good
choice. She developed a distinctive company with a strong Australian artistic
Event 09-01-1910: Nan Jane Aspinwall, starts a solo horseback ride
from San Francisco to New York City that takes 301 days and breaks every
convention set up for feminine behavior.
B. 09-01-1914, Annemarie Selinko, Viennese writer. Her novel
Desiree (1950) sold more than a million copies in the U.S. alone.
B. 09-01-1924, Yvonne DeCarlo, U.S. film actor who usually played
exotic, seductive roles.
Event 09-01-1929, Ila Fox was licensed as Iowa's first woman pilot.
To finance her flying lessons, she dressed in a snappy rendition of the
classic aviator costume of boots, trousers and leather jacket to promote
the Curtis Flying Service. Like all women, she had a difficult time finding
any male pilots who would teach her. The feeling was that if a woman could
do it, what macho pride could a man take in it? This macho attitude led
many men to sabotage or otherwise discourage women pilots.
B. 09-01-1933, Ann Richards. In ten years AR rose from a county
commissioner (1972) to the Texas state treasurer (1982) to governor of
Texas (1990). Noted for her snow white hair and biting humor she was sill
not given much of a chance against a wealthy good 'ole boy ranch owner
in the race from governor. However, the race turned upside down when her
opponent said women should relax and enjoy rape (!) He also alluded to
her "drug" habit. She was a recovering alcoholic when she entered
Her victory marked the
first time that women noticeably voted differently from men. It was estimated
she received almost 65% of their votes, many crossing party lines. The
AR autobiography is Straight from the Heart (1989)
B. 09-01-1939, Lily Tomlin, actor, feminist, and comedic genius.
Known for her inventive and versatile talent, Tomlin brought her characters
to life in a variety of media. In the 1960s she appeared on television
comedy shows. In the 1970s she released comedy albums, had a one-woman
stage show, and made several television specials. Her second solo stage
show The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe written
by her longtime domestic partner Jane Wagner won her a Tony award.
Wagner also collaborated
with Tomlin on a number of her best known routines. Tomlin won a second
Tony as well as several Grammy and Emmy awards for other projects. LT starred
in several films.
B. 09-01-1948, Gail Davies, U. S. country singer/songwriter was
the first woman in the country music field to produce her own records (1979).
B. 09-01-1951, Mary Elizabeth Cunningham, U.S. businesswoman.
MEC was forced to resign her high ranking corporate position with Bendix
Corp., when her love affair with Bendix chairman William Agee was revealed.
HE did not have to resign. Cunningham and Agee were later married.
B. 09-01-1957, Gloria Estefan, Cuban-born American pop singer
and songwriter, the queen of Latin pop music.
Her mother was a schoolteacher
in Havana. The family fled Cuba when Castro came to power in 1959.
B. 09-01-1961, Dee Dee Myers, first press secretary of President
Bill Clinton and the first woman to act as a presidential press secretary.
A rumored drinking problem shortened her career.
Her sister remains as
head of the White House's Women's Outreach program.
Event 09-01-1963: Colonel Mildred Irene Clark became the 12th
chief of the Army Nurse Corps, succeeding Colonel Margaret Harper who served
-------- Conway, Lady Anne Finch - often called the "forgotten
woman of science" having written The Principles of the Most
Ancient and Modern Philosophy.
-------- Crain, Gertrude - took over as chair of the Crain
Communications publishing company after her husband's death and operated
it for more than 20 years.
The group publishes such
journals as Advertising Age, Automotive News and Electronic Media. In 1982,
GC was a founding member of the Committee of 200 which brought together
the top 200 women business owners and executives of the country for networking.
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QUOTES DU JOUR
was only one will in our home and that was my father's."
-- Lucy Stone (1818-1893) who worked as a
schoolteacher to pay her way through Oberlin College.
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."
-- Marianne Williamson, A Woman's Worth,
New York: Random House, 1993.
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