Women's History Month Discussion/ March 1998


Query From Irene Stuber istuber@direclynx.net 02 Mar 1998

This being women's history month, how about celebrating by posting information about your favorite woman of history and why you admire her ...

Or the most underrated women of history ...

Or women whose accomplishments have been misdirected to men ...

Or something - at LEAST SOMETHING -

Irene Stuber

PS - then there's that wonderful classification of stories about historical women that we KNOW are lies but are repeated and repeated in history texts ...
istuber@direclynx.net ....... istuber@undelete.org http://www.undelete.org
women's history - biographies - documents Archives of Women of Achievement and Herstory and Catt's Claws Submissions on women's history, biographical studies, and documents accepted

Responses:

From Eleanor Hudson eh3612@ark.ship.edu 05 March 1998

I have this fascination with rebels and malcontents, so I really appreciate women like Boudicca, numerous Plantagenet ( no wimps in that family), the Empress Matilda. The flamboyance of their revolts against contemporary feminine stereotypes is more than a little intriguing. Boudicca got intensely bad press from the Romans: I have often wondered how that story would have been received through the centuries it it had been the Iceni who had kept the records of that revolt. A case could be made for stating that Eleanor of Aquitaine was an abused woman. Her granddaughter, the Countess of Leicester, remained in defiance of her brother, Henry III, even after the gruesome death of her husband, Simon de Montfort. These women had guts --their mention may be predictable, but they maintained their strength and dignity in the face of overwhelming opposition.

But I am also fond of the trobairitz of the 12th and 13th centuries. If you read their lyrics carefully, you will find a very strong thematic statement directed towards the men of their culture: "Get me the H*## off this pedestal, you idiot, and treat me like a human being!...and while you're at it, kiss me! Now!" Great stuff.

From Joy Hammersla hammersla@paul.spu.edu 05 Mar 1998

An extraordinary woman about whom I have been reading is Susannah Annesley Wesley, 1669-1742. She knew Greek and Latin as well as English (and possibly French), married an Anglican priest Samuel Wesley and bore 19 children in 21 years, 9 of whom died in early childhood. She was a devoted wife and praised by her husband for her commitment to and obedience to him. And yet, she refused to say "Amen" to his prayers for the monarch whom she considered a usurper. Samuel, in anger, declared that if they had two kings they must have two beds, and departed, staying away for 12 months!

His mismanagement of money, compounded with other problems, kept them perpetually and disgracefully poor and landed him in debtors' prison. Susanna, however, managed the slim resources well educated all her children, and was their lifelong advisor. She is known as the "Mother of Methodism" because of her contributions, theological and organizational, as well as maternal, through her sons John and Charles, founders of Methodism. About her, Adam Clarke wrote: "I have traced her life with much pleasure and received from it much instruction; and when I have seen here repeatedly grappling with gigantic adversities, I have adored the grace of God that was in her, and have not been able to repress my tears. I have been acquainted with many pious females; I have read the lives of several others, and composed memoirs of a few; but such a woman, take her for all in all, I have not heard of, I have not read of, nor with her equal have I been acquainted. Such a one Solomon has described in the last chapter of his Proverbs; and to her I can apply the summed-up character of his accomplished housewife: Many daughters have done virtuously, but Susannah Wesley has excelled them all."

From Tiffany B. Dziurman arc@arrownet.com 07 Mar 1998

I am currently researching the early life of Dr. Sarah Van Hoosen Jones (1892-1972). Sarah was a woman dairy farmer who operated the Van Hoosen Farm of Stony Creek in what is now Rochester/Rochester Hills, Michigan.

Sarah earned a master's degree in Animal Husbandry in 1916, and in 1921 her doctorate in animal genetics. She was the first woman to receive such degrees. Under Sarah's direction, the Van Hoosen farm supplied the majority of milk consumed in in Detroit in the 1930s and 1940s. Her family farm was the first farm in Michigan to produce "certified milk."

In 1932 Sarah was named Master Farmer. She was only one of two women in the U.S. to hold this title, and was the first woman to be honored as "Premier Breeder" of Holstein cattle. Sarah Van Hoosen Jones has been inducted in the Michigan Woman's Hall of Fame for her accomplishments.

I am writing a book about Sarah's childhood growing up on the farm, and about her adolescent years during which she traveled across Europe with her family, and began her university education at the University of Wisconsin.She wrote an autobiography, _Chronicle of Van Hoosen Centenary Farm_, which is still in print.

From Penny Kanner pkanner@ucla.edu 07 Mar 1998

I would like to introduce a variation to this inquiry---who are your most admired women historians--any country--and why--what did they write, how was it related to their life circumstances, and how are they now remembered?

From Lara Kozak larak@tomco.net 23 Mar 1998

I'd like to put a word in for Helen Pitts Douglass, an activist for civil and women's rights. With the pressure of being the second wife of Frederick Douglass and being disliked by his children, she had a clear vision of memorializing Frederick Douglass and all he stood for. Her will and its drafts are detailed and caring instructions to memorialize the causes for which Douglass stood for. In particular, her efforts were for the preservation of their home at Cedar Hill, Anacostia, D.C., to be used for educational and memorial purposes. The thoughts and words of Helen and Frederick ring true today and were clear predictions of the social problems we face now. Both could forsee the harm to come by the failure after the Civil War to declare firmly the wrongs of slavery and work for a just society. In a speech written on the Southern Convict System, Helen stated, "Had Abraham Lincoln lived, some method would have been devised for countinuing the work so grandly begun by him. As it was, these four millions of human beings were turned lose upon the world, empty handed, with empty pockets, and no provision for their daily bread; and they soon found that they, from whom their masters had systemmatically stolen everything, could, in turn, take nothing, even to save life." -