Tag Archives: quote of the day

Women’s History: May 22

22 May

Happy Birthday, Mary Cassatt.  Although American, Cassatt was part of the French Impressionist movement.  She was best known for her paintings of women, specifically of mothers and daughters.  Cassatt grew up in the States, but spent much of her adult life in France, thus becoming intimately acquainted with the French Impressionists.  In fact, Cassatt became close friends with Edgar Degas, whom some credit as one of the founders of the Impressionist movement.

Cassatt came from a family of financial means and was able to travel the world with her family as a part of her early education. She was able to attend the World Fair in Paris in 1855, thus being exposed to such greats as Ingres, and Delacroix.  Her later years were almost exclusively devoted to painting and capturing the bond between mother and child.  To learn more about Cassatt and see some of her great work, click here.

Quote of the day:

I am independent! I can live alone and I love to work.–Mary Cassatt


Women’s History: May 21

21 May

May 21, 1935, Jane Addams dies.  Addams was best known as the Founder of Hull House, Peace Activist, and Social Reformer.  Addams was also the very first woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.  Addams fits perfectly into the theme of TSM blog; she stands for social justice and feels morally obligated to help the disenfranchised and the marginalized. She is what I would call a “do-gooder.”  I hope shall leave such a legacy when I am gone and inspire others in the way Addams inspired.  While Addams did consider herself religious and eventually identified as a Unitarian, I do believe those of us that do not subscribe to any organized religion can be just as effective.

Quote of the day:

Old-fashioned ways which no longer apply to changed conditions are a snare in which the feet of women have always become readily entangled.–Jane Addams

Women’s History: May 20

20 May

Happy Birthday, Adela Rogers St. Johns

Happy Birthday, Adela Rogers St. Johns.  St. Johns was best known for her work as a sharp tongued journalist.  There were so few female journalists at that time, she was largely referred to as that “girl reporter.”  She started her journalistic career writing for the San Francisco Examiner, and eventually listed thirteen screenplays to her credit.  Later she wrote for such popular magazines as Cosmopolitan, and The Saturday Evening Post.  One of the big stories people may remember is the article she wrote about Bruno Richard Hauptmann, the man that kidnapped and killed the infant son of Charles Lindbergh. St. Johns also published a series of articles about the poor during the Great Depression, as well as covered the abdication of King Edward VIII.  St. Johns paved the way for women to pursue a career in journalism.

As a follow up to the story yesterday on our Anne Boleyn, it was May 20, 1536 that Henry VIII became engaged to Jane Seymour.  I guess 24 hours was all Henry needed to grieve over the execution of Anne.

Quote of the day:

I wish women would stand together and shackle the men who want to move us backwards.–Adela Rogers St. Johns

Women’s History: May 3

3 May

Happy Birthday, Golda Meir

May 3 is a big day in Women’s History. Today we will be celebrating Maud O’Farrell Swartz, Golda Meir, and Nellie Tayloe Ross.

Happy Birthday, Golda Meir.  Meir was Israel’s fourth Prime Minister, as well as being the first woman to serve in that office.  Meir served as Prime Minister during the very difficult Yom Kippur War.  I personally feel Meir showed great wisdom and restraint and true leadership during this war. It was only a few months later that she resigned at Prime Minister.  I’m not sure how world leaders survive any type of war–regardless of the circumstances, I can only imagine that any war scars the soul.  Hard to believe this Russian born-woman, later a teacher in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, would eventually become one of the key players in establishing the state of Israel in 1948.

Happy Birthday, Maud O’Farrell Swartz.  An Irish immigrant, Swartz became a suffragist here in the States. Swartz became a strong voice in the Women’s Trade Union League (WTUL) and in the labor movement.  Swartz served as president of the WTUL from 1922-1926, during a period when the organizing efforts declined in a business climate less friendly to unions–sound familiar?  Wisconsin and Maine must not be too familiar with history.

Finally, I would like to recognize Nellie Tayloe Ross.  Ross was the first female Director of the U.S. Mint, appointed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Quote of the day:

 It’s no accident many accuse me of conducting public affairs with my heart instead of my head. Well, what if I do? … Those who don’t know how to weep with their whole heart don’t know how to laugh either.–Golda Meir

Women’s History: April 29

29 Apr

Today I would like to honor Charlotte Perkins Gilman.  Gilman was a social reformer, poet, and novelist of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. She is, perhaps, best known for her semi-autobiographical story, The Yellow Wallpaper. The Yellow Wallpaper was one of the first published stories of its kind that addressed women’s health.  Today we would call it a pioneering work of feminist literature.  The main character in the book is referred to as “hysterical.”  I remember working as a therapist in Atlanta many many years ago and found the word “hysterical” to be most misogynistic.  Many of the female patients were called hysterical while NEVER did any of the psychiatrist refer to the male patients as such, another reason why I re-read The Yellow Wallpaper.  The Women’s Movement and women’s health have much to be grateful to for the work of our Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

Quote of the day:

It is the duty of youth to bring fresh new powers to bear on Social progress. Each generation of young people should be to the world like a vast reserve force to a tired army. They should life the world forward. That is what they are for.  —Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Women’s History: April 17

17 Apr

Anna Garlin Spencer

Happy Birthday, Anna Garlin Spencer.  Spencer was a social reformer, suffragist, and Unitarian minister. She was a social worker before there was such a thing.  Spencer was the first woman ordained in the state of Rhode Island.  Spencer was a pacifist who took on a role in the Peace Movement as well as the Women’s Suffragist Movement. She wrote one of the first social work text books adopted by Columbia University. Two of her books are: Woman’s Share in Social Culture and The Family and Its Members. Spencer was also one of the voices that helped to start the NAACP. To learn more about this do-gooder, Anna Garlin Spencer, click here.

Quote of the day:

 A successful woman preacher was once asked “what special obstacles have you met as a woman in the ministry?” “Not one,” she answered, “except the lack of a minister’s wife.”–Anna Garlin Spencer

Women’s History: April 14

14 Apr

Simone de Beauvoir

It was April 14, 1986 that we lost Simone de Beauvoir. Beauvoir is probably best known for her book The Second Sex, which confronts misogyny and the oppression of women.  It was not until 1986 that I read The Second Sex; it and Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch probably stirred the militant feminist in me. It was not just Beauvoir’s feminist voice that I was attracted to, but also her perspective on religion.  While Beauvoir started off a devout Catholic, she maintained that religion was used for the exclusive purpose of manipulation.

Although Beauvoir was bisexual, her long standing relationship with Jean-Paul Sartre and the fact that they were able to sustain a polyamorous relationship seems to be what catches the public eye. In addition to The Second Sex, I would recommend reading The Mandarins which also focuses on issues of existentialism, feminism, and the intelligentsia.  To learn more about Simone de Beauvoir, click here.

It was April 14, 1964 that we lost Rachel Carson. Carson was a pioneer environmentalist and author of Silent Spring. In Silent Spring, Carson documented the dangers of pesticides and herbicides and the lasting ill effects of toxic chemicals in water and on land and the presence of DDT even in mother’s milk.  Needless to say, Carson was attacked by the agricultural chemical industry. Carson died of cancer shortly after the book was published.

Quote of the day:

    Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.–Rachel Carson


Social progress can be measured by the social position of the female sex

11 Apr

Equal Rights Equal Pay

As we witness the most vicious attack on women’s rights in my lifetime, I am reminded of what Karl Marx said: Social progress can be measured by the social position of the female sex. How true these words ring today and how unfortunate we have yet to learn our much-needed lessons from history. Of course, many of our elected officials don’t even know how to spell history, much less have read any (Michele Bachmann et al.).  Last night my husband and I watched Made in Dagenham which I strongly recommend.  While the movie reminded me of Norma Rae, a brilliantly done movie, Dagenham addresses workers’ rights and the need for bargaining. I especially appreciate how Made in Dagenham confronts the issue of gender disparity.  The Equal Pay Act was passed in 1970 In Great Britain. While the United States passed an Equal Pay act in 1963, it is a matter of but not of practice.

Note to Scott Walker, Paul LePage, and John Kasich you are NOTHING without the laborers and unions. Back to history, I recommend the three of you look at Hegel’s master/slave dialectic.  I realize those are big words for you.  Again, we need a mandatory literacy test for all elected officials.  If the ever -growing disparity between what CEOs earn in contrast to union laborers does not bother you, you are not paying attention. Eliminating 38 million from the budget in order to save tax breaks for the rich and for corporations simply does not make sense.

From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.  Karl Marx

Women’s History: April 8

8 Apr

Happy Birthday, Barbara Bodichon

Happy Birthday, Barbara Bodichon, néeLeigh Smith. Bodichon is best known as a suffragist, educator, and as the co-founder of  Griton College.  Her cousin was Florence Nightingale and Bodichon is also related to the Bonham-Carter family, yes as in Helena Bonham-Carter.  While becoming a strong and vocal proponent of women’s rights, she published a pamphlet, A Brief Summary in Plain Language of the Most Important Laws Concerning Women. Other pamphlets published were:Women and Work (1857) and Enfranchisement of Women (1866). There is some speculation that Bodichon was the model for George Eliot’s “Romola”.  To learn more about Barbara Bodichon, click here.


Happy Birthday, Mary Pickford. Pickford helped to co-found United Artist.

Quote of the day:

    Supposing you have tried and failed again and again. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call “failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down.–Mary Pickford



Women’s History: April 5

5 Apr

Happy Birthday, Bette Davis

Happy Birthday, Bette Davis. Davis is known as one of the greatest stars of all time. While my first introduction to Davis was in the 1938 movie, Jezebel, for which she won an academy award, despite her brilliant performance, I thought the movie was a bit campy. It was not until the mid 1980s when I first saw All About Eve that I appreciated Davis for the legendary artist she was. Not a traditional beauty, Davis is absolutely beautiful in All About Eve, her strong yet vulnerable personality make her both stunning and endear her to the audience. Fasten your seatbeltsit’s going to be a bumpy night!, may be one of the most recognized lines in history.

I don’t believe that Davis was ever seen without a cigarette. I remember seeing her on the tonight show with Johnny Carson, cigarette in hand. Unfortunately, Davis died of breast cancer at the age of 81. Davis made over 100 films. She was a modern day woman before the term modern was used in reference to women. She was successfully married three times and widowed once. She had a reputation of being hard to work with in her industry and was often called a “bitch” by the men in her industry–quite the double standard.  Davis was just a woman that refused to be treated in any way less than equal. Although she earned a reputation for being difficult to work with, Davis set a new precedent for women. By 1942, she was the highest paid woman in America. One should take note of Davis’ community involvement. Davis contributed to the war effort by helping to organize the Hollywood Canteen during World War II for soldiers passing through Los Angeles. Happy Birthday, Ms. Davis.

Here is one of my favorite quotes by Davis:

    If you want a thing well done, get a couple of old broads to do it.


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