Category Archives: Historical

Edith Wharton was Born

English: Photograph of writer Edith Wharton, t...

English: Photograph of writer Edith Wharton, taken by E. F. Cooper, at Newport, Rhode Island. Cabinet photograph. Courtesy of the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Edith Wharton was born nee Edith Newbold Jones on January 24, 1862 in New York City to George Frederic Jones and Lucretia Stevens Rhinelander. She was related to the Rensselaer family who were thought of to be of high class and prestige. Have you ever heard the saying “Keeping up with the Joneses“? That was based on her family. She met many public figures like Theodore Roosevelt.

She married Edward (Teddy) Robbins Wharton in 1885 and they lived in Philadelphia, at his estate, The Mount. She married into the same social class; Edith loved to be creative and designed the gardens around the estate and well as the interior design of the house. Teddy Wharton was twelve years older then she, and a regular sportsman. In 1897 she co-authored and wrote her first book with Ogden Codman called The Decoration of Houses. In 1905 she wrote The House of Mirth. She had been writing many short stories during this time including ghost stories. Unfortunately in 1908 her husband suffered from depression which was discovered to be incurable. She divorced him in 1913.

In her spare time when she wasn’t working on the house or gardens she was writing. Sometimes she would write short stories, other times, books on design. She wrote about the world and society she knew about. She moved to Paris, France after the divorce.

She assisted in the war effort with the relief effort. She was a supporter of French imperialism. In 1920 she wrote The Age of Innocence which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1921.

In 1923 she received an honorary doctorate degree from Yale University. That was the only time she returned to the states.She returned to France. In 1937 she died of a stroke. She died leaving over 85 stories and many books for us to read. She found the irony in life. 

References
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edith_Wharton

Cassandra

 

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Elizabeth Blackwell becomes the First Female Doctor

English: portrait of Elizabeth Blackwell

English: portrait of Elizabeth Blackwell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Elizabeth Blackwell is awarded her M.D. by the Geneva Medical College of Geneva, New York, becoming the United States’ first female doctor on January 23, 1849.
She was born in Bristol, England; her family owned a sugar refinery. She was the youngest of three girls. Her father was a Congregationalist or separatist so they were considered later on to be Puritans. In 1828 they moved to America, and by 1836, they had established the sugar refinery in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her father did not survive the trip, and died three weeks later. The move put them into tremendous debt.
Blackwell and her sisters opened a school called The Cincinnati English and French Academy for Young Ladies. They provided room and board for the girls, and taught them the most important subjects for girls at that time. The tuition became their source of income for their family. The school didn’t last and she ended up private tutoring.
Blackwell became involved with St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in 1838 due to her sister’s influence. In 1839 she met William Henry Channing who was a Unitarian minister and she became interested in her education and other areas of reform. She studied art, wrote short stories, went to lectures, and other intellectual pursuits.
She didn’t decide to study medicine until one of her dear friends was in the hospital. Her friend was uncomfortable with her male doctors and their bedside manner. The disease was very painful and thought to be perhaps uterine cancer. Her friend liked when her friend was in attendance.
Although Blackwell’s interest in intellect and education were powerful, they didn’t help her feel teaching feel very rewarding. By October 1847 she was accepted to Geneva Medical College, now part of Upstate Medical University, in upstate New York, as a medical student. In order to be accepted they put it to a vote to 150 male students. Her education later took her to Europe.
After she graduated she set up practice in New York City. She did have some patients. She published a book called The Laws of Life with Special Reference to the Physical Education of Girls in 1852, and gave lecturers. She set up a small dispensary near Tompkins Square in 1853. Her sister Emily also obtained a medical degree, and she assisted other women pursuing careers in the medical field including Marie Zakrzewska.
When Civil War broke out in the United States she assisted the North and the nurses, and worked alongside Dorothea Dix in training nurses. She was working for social reform. She was friends with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Florence Nightingale. Blackwell stuck to her beliefs, and when she reached out, she found others that would help her in her pursuit to help others.

References
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Blackwell

Cassandra

 

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The New York City Sullivan Ordinance was Passed on January 21

On January 21, 1908, the Sullivan Ordinance was passed in New York City by the board of aldermen making it ‘against the law for a hotel or restaurant proprietor, or anyone else managing or owning a “public place” to allow women to smoke in public’ as expressed in the title of a New York Times article from 1908.
Eleven women were present at this meeting, and fifteen men were present, including Katie Mulcahey.
A forward thinking Dr. Charles J. Pease wanted it to be a crime for “any person or persons” to smoke in a public place where women were present who could be forced to inhale the fumes.1 One Alderman opposed it claiming it wouldn’t be legal. They couldn’t prevent the men from smoking if that was what they choose to do. That was their right.
John Henry Smith, a member of the public said they should be paying more attention to the poor rather than wasting time discussing smoking. If they were to do anything why didn’t they stop boys smoking who were under the age of 21?
Alderman Doull claimed that was unconstitutional.
The ordinance passed.
The reporter spoke to the women who attended the meeting to see what they thought about the Ordinance, and they felt the board should not have been passing anti-smoke ordinances.
The board really didn’t think ahead as to whether or not women would break the law. The women were supposed to behave as they were told and that they wouldn’t argue about and they would just obey the law. The worst that would happen is that her husband or father would punish her.
Katie Mulcahey who attended the meeting was later cited for breaking the Ordinance and fined $5. She refused to pay and was arrested. The ordinance never mentioned any fines so she was released the next day. The ordinance also didn’t say anything about women not being able to smoke in public places.
This was definitely an Ordinance written with a play on the word ‘public’. Since anyone managing or owning a place is really privately owned, but opened to the public.
In this case language is everything.
References
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sullivan_Ordinance
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9503E1DD113EE033A25752C2A9679C946997D6CF
1This is word for word from the New York Times article above published in 1908

Cassandra

 

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Albert Schweitzer was Born

List of Nobel Peace Prize laureates

List of Nobel Peace Prize laureates (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Albert Schweitzer was born January 14, 1875, in the province of Alsace-Lorraine. In 1952, he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his philosophy for his “Reverence for Life“. Growing up he had an interest in music and he became an acclaimed organist, then his interest grew to theology and he became a church pastor, and a university professor with a doctorate in philosophy. Albert Schweitzer once said, “Ethics is nothing else than reverence for life.” Schweitzer believed that all life mattered, whether it was an animal or it was plant life, it had its place. He worked in hospitals in Africa and he saw how at times one person was scarified for another life. He was friends with Albert Einstein. When the Hydrogen bomb went off in Japan and there was H-bomb, testing Schweitzer didn’t like what was happening so he spoke up to the CIA. They were not happy at first with the alert and they tried to stop him. Schweitzer studied his information, President Eisenhower finally listened, and the testing was stopped. I think at times he saw an attitude that man had toward each other that was cold, that showed a lack of humanity. What was so sad was that we are all that we have on this earth besides the plant and animal life. Sometimes man is bent on destruction.When we set at work to destroy one person, we are often destroying ourselves.

Here is one of Schweitzer’s writings entitled Teaching Reverence for Life.

 

References

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Schweitzer http://www.albertschweitzer.info/ http://www.salsa.net/peace/conv/8weekconv1-6.html

Cassandra

 

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Alice Paul writer of the Equal Rights Amendment born January 11

English: Alice Paul, full-length portrait, sta...

English: Alice Paul, full-length portrait, standing, facing left, raising glass with right hand. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Alice Stokes Paul was born January 11, 1885 and she an American suffragist, women’s rights activist, and the original author of the equal rights (nineteenth) amendment that is part of the United States Constitution. She was very educated with an undergraduate from Swarthmore College, a M.A. and a P.H. d. from the University of Pennsylvania and a Law degree from the Washington College of Law at American University.

Paul became interested in the suffragists while in Britain after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania from Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU)..She was arrested several times. When she came back to the states she joined the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) in Washington DC. They were fighting for a woman’s right to vote! Paul had learned about all kinds of campaigns. She planned parades, and hunger strikes and everything that would make people aware of their cause. Flags were made and put up. This was what Paul had dedicated her life to.

In 1923 she penned what was to become the nineteenth amendment. It did not become a amendment until 1972. That is an awfully long time to wait for amendment to pass.

This video explains more

Everyone has rights, men and women, black or white, or Asian, or what ever race you are, fat or thin. Everyone has equal rights. Sometimes I think as a people we get confused as to what rights each one of us has. In some ways its just like all of us having an equal vote, which was what Alice Paul was fighting for. Her battle at the time may have been for women, really her voice was speaking louder, and bigger perhaps for something or why would the equal rights amendment have ended up in the Constitution.

References
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Paul

Cassandra

 

 

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Hattie Caraway became the First Woman Senator on January 12, 1932

English: Portrait of Senator Hattie Caraway

English: Portrait of Senator Hattie Caraway (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hattie Caraway won a special election on January 12, 1932 with the Arkansas Democratic party‘s backing and became the first woman elected to the United States Senate. She was the first woman to serve a full term. She took office after her husband, Thaddeus H. Caraway, passed away. She had originally been appointed by the Arkansas governor Harvey Parnell to take his place.

Caraway helped to bring in Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, which were ways plans of recovery during the depression. She voted for anything, which were for the prohibition. She also did not believe in lynching.

When up for reelection in 1938, she beat Republican C. D. Atkinson of Fayetteville. John Little McClellan, another Democratic Senator often challenged her because he felt a woman just was not up to the task looking out for the state’s best interests.

She was known on the floor as “Silent Hattie” because she often let the men do the talking. She believed woman she be at home caring for their families. She was well aware of the families who were suffering.

In 1943, she cosponsored the Equal Rights Amendment although she wasn’t interested in woman’s suffrage.

She did not win the 1944 election but was appointed to the Employees’ Compensation Commission. In 1946 Harry Truman appointed her to the Employees’ Compensation Appeals Board.

She was known to encourage women to take on larger rolls, that may have been considered just for men, because she knew that woman could do more. Women aren’t property belong to men. They can do so much more.

Caraway may have been a conservative in the way she presented herself in office with the other members of Senate, but she let the men carry on as they normally did and voiced her votes as her constituents desired. Her biggest opponent was that men felt women couldn’t handle looking out for the state’s best interest. She worked on economic recovery legislation. Caraway knew people were out of work and needed jobs, needed support to keep their homes, and all the necessities just like we do today. That was why the New Deal was so important in those days.

The New Deal was a Progressive idea. They needed bank reform, monetary reform, securities regulations, and to stimulate the housing industry. There was the Wealth Tax Act (Revenue Act of 1935) which recovered over $250 million in additional funds. The New Deal was claimed by some to be Communism, and their were charges of fascism. These were the reforms that she and others voted on that helped raise the GDP.

References
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hattie_Caraway
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Deal

Cassandra

 

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It is Gypsy Rose Lee’s Birthday!

Gypsy Rose Lee, full-length portrait, seated a...

Gypsy Rose Lee, full-length portrait, seated at typewriter, facing slightly right / World Telegram & Sun photo by Fred Palumbo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have always loved the musical “Gypsy Rose Lee”, as this is the real life Gypsy Rose Lee’s Birthday. She was born Rose Louise Hovick on January 9, 1911 to Rose Hovick (née Rose Evangeline Thompson) and Norwegian-American John Olaf Hovick. She also had a younger sister, Ellen Evangeline, better known as June Havoc on the vaudeville circuit.

It was a hard life for Gypsy Rose Lee, or Louise as she was called, and she was always playing a secondary role to her sister June. It was their mother, and the girls, and the boys they hired as backup singers. The girls eventually outgrew the act but Rose insisted because it was such a hit, than June ran off with one of the backup singers. Then it was just Louise and her mother. They were always scrounging for money. Times were hard. Louise was able to sew so she created the costumes and mended them as needed. Then her mother got her a booking at Minsky’s Burlesque. Louise knew they needed the money, but this theater known for its strippers. Louise got into one of her fancy outfits and hopped on stage. She was very nervous, for one, because she had never stripped before, but she talked to the girls backstage and they told her all about their routines. The rest is history.

Gypsy Rose Lee worked as an actress, and was able to fulfill other passions in writing. She performed in movies. She wrote three books, The G-String Murders, (which was made into a film shortly thereafter titled Lady of Burlesque); Mother Finds a Body and Gypsy: A Memoir. She also wrote a play entitled The Naked Genius.

Lee married three times; she even had a son, Erik Lee Preminger, and son of film director Otto Preminger. She was a political activist. She loved art and received art as gifts from many of her admirers.

The road in which she traveled, it would have appeared as if stripping was what she was suppose to do. If she hadn’t tried, she would have never have gotten to try and succeed at all the other things she did. She only really did because her family needed the money to survive. Now I am not saying that you should go and start stripping because that is where Gypsy Rose ended up, because you still have to remember, then came there thinking that they were going to perform vaudeville.

Here is Gypsy Rose Lee performing one of her routines edited of course.

References
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gypsy_Rose_Lee

Cassandra

 

 

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The Birth of Joan of Arc

Painting of Joan of Arc by Jules Bastien-Lepage

Jehanne d’Arc was a simple middle class girl of the 14th century. She was born in the village of Domremy to Jacques and Isabelle and was the youngest of five siblings. She was born on January 6, 1412. She was a simple girl, she loved being in the garden, and playing with her friends like other kids. At the age of thirteen, one day while she was in the garden she had a vision. Some say the angels, some by God, visited her and other by the fairies, but that one day changed her life.

She followed her heart, and believed in herself. She was willing to stand up for what she believed in. She could not prevent it. She was a great leader, and she knew what was necessary. There must have been moments when she knew what she said sounded slightly strange because of these visions, but she knew France needed to be saved and she loved her homeland. For many it may have seemed strange because she was just a girl.

She was told she must save her country from the English. She had to raise the siege of Orléans, and see to Charles VII’s coronation. So yes, this may have definitely have seemed wild, how many girls dress in armor as men, and go to battle? Or would even think of leading an army?

Sure, people may have laughed, but her true friends they believed her. All the people that followed her on her journey believed and didn’t care if she was a girl. So what if they laughed at first.

This one vision took her and her friends on a tremendous journey and adventure. Jehanne d’Arc would become known as Joan of Arc, the Saint. She led armies and she was only seventeen years of age. She earned a coat of arms.

Coat of Arms of Joan of Arc

Many including the gifted writer Mark Twain in Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, Volumes 1 & 2, have foretold her story.

Joan of Arc had a quest she felt she had to follow thru, where ever it took her. She worked to accomplish her tasks, and accepted help when she needed it. Like her, we all have quests and adventures in front of us, we just have to work for it, and listen to our ourselves. Joan gave of her life in the name of her quest because she believed that much in what she was doing. We all at times pick up swards and work as Joan to make our dreams come true. Joan became a martyr for her dream. Some people are called to give up that much, but if you work in some to make your own dreams materialize you can have as much courage as Joan of Arc.

Reference

http://www.maidofheaven.com/joanofarc_quick_life_facts.asp
http://www.maidofheaven.com/joanofarc_long_biography.asp#mission
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan_of_Arc

Cassandra

 

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General Tom Thumb was Born

Salt Print of Charles Sherwood Stratton

Salt Print of Charles Sherwood Stratton (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Charles Sherwood Stratton better known as General Tom Thumb was born on January 4, 1838 in Bridgeport, Connecticut to Seth Sherwood Stratton and Amy Sharpe. Charles Sherwood Stratton was given the name Tom Thumb due to his height. By the age of around, he had stopped growing, stood around twenty-five inches in height, and weighed fifteen pounds.

Phineas Taylor Barnum, a relative, heard about Stratton and asked him if he wanted to join his show where he played characters such as Cupid, Napoleon Bonaparte and was even able to sing. Stratton toured the world as Tom Thumb and was able to meet the Prince of Wales, and King Edward VII. How many celebrity midgets are there in history?

All this happened because Stratton was abnormally short. It was believed he had a form of dwarfism but it was never researched medically. If he weren’t short, he wouldn’t be having all this adventure. Everyone was amazed at how short he was that he became part of the American sideshow.

By 1851, General Tom Thumb stood two feet five inches high. On October 3, 1963, Stratton became a freemason, and stood now two feet, eleven inches high.

He might and been a small man, but with the help of Barnum, he became very wealthy, and he managed his money wisely. Stratton soon became business partners with Barnum. He purchased a home in the Thimble Islands, in Branford, CT, and had a home in New York for him and his wife.

By the age of 45, Stratton stood three feet four inches high and seventy-one pounds, he had a stroke. Barnum had a life-sized statue of Tom Thumb placed at Mountain Grove Cemetery in Bridgeport, where he was buried, next to his wife.

Stratton led an extraordinary life due to his height and Barnum’s imagination. It is not often you get such opportunities at such a young age. He relives every time someone goes to see the play, Barnum. He is the one who reminds us that bigger is not always better.

References
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Tom_Thumb
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thimble_Islands

Cassandra

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The Tradition of the Annual Ball Drop in Times Square

from usnews.nbcnews.com

On December 31, 1907, the tradition of the annual ball drop began in Times Square, formerly Longacre Square. Times Square is at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue and from West 42nd to West 47th Streets. It is considered the Theater District and it is full of pedestrians. Adolph Ochs, owner of The New York Times, who took care of the New Year’s Eve fireworks, felt he needed a ball drop to promote The Times, and had it designed by Artkraft Strauss, organized the event. The ball for us has changed over the years since originally, it was made in wood, but millions of people watch the event. The Times building sits on one Times Square.

from jewishcurrents.org

I have been to Times Square dozens of times, but never for this event. I am sure by the scores of people there, it must be a regular traffic jam to go home, unless you are lucky enough to have booked a hotel in the city or to live in the area.

Reference
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Times_Square_Ball
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Times_Square

Have a Happy New Year!

Cassandra

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