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Women in History

topic posted Sat, December 15, 2007 - 9:08 PM by  Unsubscribed
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I would love to do a thread on Women in History. Please feel free to post your choices.

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Although we all think birth control was a relatively modern issue, here is a little blurb on Emma Goldman, early proponent of birth control and the anarchist act of "stiking"

Emma Goldman

(June 27, 1869 - May 14, 1940)
anarchist, feminist, birth control activist

Emma Goldman is known as a rebel, an anarchist, an ardent proponent of birth control and free speech, a feminist, a lecturer and a writer.

Born in what is now Lithuania but was then Russia, in a Jewish ghetto, moved early to Königsberg and St. Petersburg, where she became involved with university radicals. Emma Goldman left for America in 1885 with her half sister Helen Zodokoff, working in the textile industry in Rochester, New York.

Briefly married in 1887, Emma Goldman moved in 1889 to New York where she quickly became active in the anarchist movement. She became one of the most outspoken and well-known of American radicals, lecturing and writing on anarchism, women's rights and other political topics. She also wrote and lectured on "new drama," drawing out the social messages of Ibsen, Strindberg, Shaw, and others.

Emma Goldman served prison and jail terms for such activities as advising the unemployed to take bread if their pleas for food were not answered, for giving information in a lecture on birth control, for opposing military conscription, and in 1908 she was deprived of her citizenship.

In 1917, with Alexander Berkman, Emma Goldman was convicted of conspiracy against the draft laws, and sentenced to to years in prison and fined $10,000.

In 1919 Emma Goldman, along with her long-time associate Alexander Berkman and 247 others who had been targeted in the Red Scare after World War I, emigrated to Russia on the Buford. But Emma Goldman's libertarian socialism led to her Disillusionment in Russia, as the title of her 1923 work says it. She lived in Europe, obtained British citizenship through marrying the Welshman James Colton, and traveled through many nations giving lectures.

Without US citizenship, Emma Goldman was prohibited, except for a brief stay in 1934, from entering the United States. She spent her final years aiding the anti-Franco forces in Spain through lecturing and fund-raising. Succumbing to a stroke and its effects, she died in Canada in 1940 and was buried in Chicago, near the graves of the Haymarket anarchists.

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    Union and Confederate military leaders actively recruited women for undercover operations. Their familiarity with particular regions made them valuable assets. Because of this, many operatives in the South stayed on the family farm or in the family townhouse, supplying critical information about the daily activities of soldiers, military leaders, and even other undercover operatives. Those with social connections threw parties, inviting enemy officers, who often let slip some tidbit of information that the hostess reported back to her contact.

    As the Civil War unfolded, there was a major shift in how women operatives were viewed and utilized.

    At the beginning of the conflict, women were considered as their ancestors in the Revolutionary War had been: innocent and non-threatening. Such thinking slowly gave way as commanders on both sides began to truly understand and appreciate the immense value of women operatives. Because of the intelligence data they routinely procured and the harsh conditions under which they obtained it, political and military leaders no longer looked upon women in general as above suspicion. This changing perception of gender roles made Civil War intelligence gathering much more dangerous for females, especially those serving undercover.

    During the Civil War, both male and female operatives found themselves working within something of a more formalized intelligence gathering system than at any other time in U.S. history. Field agents reported to designated handlers—military or civilian case officers responsible for a particular agent and his or her activities. Recruitment and what passed for training also became more structured. Elaborate clandestine networks were established and managed by each side across the country, with women serving at all levels, including as scouts, encryption specialists, agent handlers, and spies.

    Rose O’Neal Greenhow (1817 -1864)

    Spymaster and operative for the Confederate States of America; with her spy network, operated out of Washington, D.C.
    Socialite; hosted social gatherings for military and political leaders to secretly obtain intelligence.
    Wrote and sent coded messages concerning Federal troop movements, supplies, and military strategy.
    Secret communication she sent to General Pierre G.T. Beauregard helped the South win the First Battle of Manassas (Bull Run).
    Credited by Jefferson Davis for providing information that aided the Confederate victory at First Manassas.
    Arrested and imprisoned in her home by Allen Pinkerton in August 1861.
    Continued her espionage activities while under house arrest.
    Employed ingenious methods, such as hiding a secret message inside a hair bun, to relay intelligence information.
    May 1862 was released and ostracized from the Union and sent to Richmond, Virginia.
    Toured England and France on a diplomatic mission as a representative of the Confederacy.
    To read several original documents relating to Greenhow, such as letters to
    and from her, at Duke University’s Online Collection.

    Antonia Ford Willard (1838 – 1871)

    Spy for the Confederacy based in Virginia.
    Courier for Rose Greenhow.
    Reported on conversations between Union officers quartered in
    her house to General J.E.B. Stuart and Colonel John S. Mosby.
    Before the Second Battle of Manassas (Bull Run), rode 20 miles by carriage and in the rain to warn Stuart about a Union plan to use Confederate colors (flags) to confuse his soldiers.
    Arrested in 1863 and imprisoned for spying and helping Colonel Mosby kidnap General Edwin H. Stoughton.
    Turned-in by Frankie Abel, who, unknown to Willard, was an undercover female agent working for the Union

    Elizabeth Van Lew (1818-1900)

    Union spymaster operating in the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia.
    Worked with fellow spy, Mary Elizabeth Bowser.
    Used her eccentric personality as a cover; led some to label her “Crazy Bet."
    Supplied clothes, medicine, and food to captured Union troops held in Libby Prison; helped many of these prisoners escape.
    Was instrumental in positioning Mary Elizabeth Bowser as a spy at President Jefferson Davis’s home.
    For more photos of Van Lew as well as links to some of her letters and newspaper articles about her, visit Civil War Richmond.

    Mary Elizabeth Bowser (1840 -?)

    Born a slave in the Van Lew household; emancipated with other household slaves by Elizabeth Van Lew in 1851.
    Remained as a freed Van Lew family servant.
    With Elizabeth Van Lew, spied for the Union Army.
    Became a valued “agent in place” assigned to the household of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
    Davis incorrectly assumed Bowser was illiterate; left important dispatches on his desk, which she read and memorized.
    This information was provided to Van Lew, who passed it along to grateful Union officers.
    Bowser's clandestine work for the Union was never compromised.

    The layered fashion look of the Civil War era allowed female operatives to use their clothing for operational purposes, including hiding secret written communications inside the many tucks and folds characterizing the garments.

    Emeline Pigott (1836 - 1916)

    Confederate agent who lived on a farm along the North Carolina coast.
    Covertly gathered and distributed mail, food, medicine, and clothing for Confederate troops.
    Hosted socials for Union soldiers and local fishermen; these parties provided valuable intelligence concerning Federal military and naval installations.
    Concealed pieces of paper with intelligence information, along with a variety of contraband items, within the folds of her clothing and pockets of her hoop skirt; at times, carried as much as 30 extra pounds.
    Came under suspicion in 1865 as a spy.
    When unexpectedly confronted, was able to swallow some incriminating documents she was relaying; other hidden objects were discovered in her skirt.
    Imprisoned for spying and faced the death penalty; was eventually released with no explanation.
    Activities were carefully monitored by Union forces during the remainder of the war.

    Sarah Emma Edmonds (1842-1898)

    Using the alias Frank Thompson, enlisted in the Second Michigan Infantry disguised as a man.
    Performed espionage missions behind Confederate lines in Yorktown.
    After coloring her head, hands, and arms with silver nitrate, infiltrated enemy lines as a black man.
    During one three-day mission, gathered information on troop locations,
    movements, and military supplies.


    Women covertly aided guerrilla operations throughout the war.

    Nancy Hart (1846-1913)
    Served as a Confederate spy, guide, and scout for the pro-southern Moccasin Rangers stationed in the West Virginia mountains.
    Reported Federal outpost strength and activities to General Bill “Mudwall” Jackson.
    Arrested early summer of 1862 by Lt. Colonel Starr of the 9th West Virginia Infantry.
    In July 1862, escaped after killing one of her guards and stealing Lt. Col. Starr’s horse.
    Returned a week later with 200 of Jackson’s Cavalry to raid the town of Summersville, in present-day Nicholas County, West Virginia.
    During the engagement, Confederate forces set fire to three homes, destroyed two wagons; also took eight mules, twelve horses, and several federal prisoners, including Lt. Col. Starr.



    Some women served as “conductors” for the Underground Railroad.

    Harriet Tubman (c.1820 – 1913)

    Born a slave in Maryland; escaped in 1849.
    Hired as a scout, spy, and nurse for the Union war effort.
    As a “conductor” for the Underground Railroad, made 19 trips into the
    South, freeing approximately 300 slaves.
    Because of Tubman’s work with the Railroad, had detailed knowledge of different towns and transportation routes throughout the South; this greatly aided Federal forces planning military operations in a particular theater.
    Used the cover of an aging and frail woman to gather intelligence about sectors under Confederate control.
    Established citizen-based networks in different communities to supply Union
    forces with information concerning troop placements, supply lines, and fortifications.
    Served as a guerrilla operative for the Union Army; led successful raids
    behind enemy lines.
    Introduced a variety of herbal and holistic remedies to ailing soldiers,
    helping to combat debilitating and often fatal infections and diseases.





    • Nancy Ward was called upon to show the depth and strength of her character as a young bride while assisting her husband during a battle against the Creeks. When he was shot and killed, Nancy picked up his gun and continued the battle, rallying the Cherokee to victory. The Cherokee paid homage to Nancy and made her a Beloved Woman, a position reserved for brave and wise women who have served the people well.

      As a Beloved Woman, Nancy had full voice and full vote in all tribal councils, held the power of life and death and, with the other Beloved Women of the Council, was the final arbitrator of any and all disputes and decisions affecting the Cherokee. Her first official act as a Beloved Woman was to save the life of a white woman condemned to die.

      Nancy was a devout believer in peaceful co-existence with the whites. She earned the respect of both the white government and her own people by her successful negotiations and mediations. She had been educated by Moravians who had been allowed to settle in the area, and she served as interpreter when the need arose. Nancy constantly traveled the territory diverting conflict between the European settlers and her people, and was the driving force behind many peace agreements - she was a true politician.

      Nancy was instrumental in negotiating the very first treaty between the white government and the Cherokee, known as the Treaty of Hopewell, and was present at its signing. During the years, Nancy watched her work being destroyed as treaty after treaty was broken, and she became increasingly suspicious of the white government.

      She began to speak out against the continuing sale of Cherokee lands to the whites, but her fears were not taken seriously. She moved into Tennessee where she operated a successful inn until her death.
      Nancy Ward is highly regarded by the Cherokee Nation, and many honors have been bestowed in her name. A Tennessee chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution is even named for her.
      • Pine Leaf was born into the Gros Ventre tribe in 1806. About the age of 10, she was captured by the Crow and adopted by a man who had lost his sons to conflicts with the Blackfoot. Much like Lozen of the Apache, Pine Leaf had no interest in learning or pursuing the duties and obligations of the women of her tribe. While she was very feminine in her dress and appearance, Pine Leaf chose the path of the warrior and the activities of the males in her tribe. She was encouraged in these pursuits by her foster father who, along with other men in the village, began teaching her male responsibilities while she was still quite young.
        Her determination to follow the path of the warrior was set while she was still with her own people, the Gros Ventre. Accounts have it that she had a twin brother who had been killed by the Blackfoot. She vowed to take no husband until she had killed 100 enemy warriors with her own hands. She became equally skilled in the use of Native war weapons as well as the white man's gun, and soon became a mighty force in the Crow camp. Pine Leaf achieved the status of warrior when she single-handedly turned a Blackfoot ambush in order to protect a fort that was sheltering both Crow and white families. With her new standing and respect in her village, Pine Leaf gathered ambitious young men around her and led them to successful raids against the Blackfoot. Her victories were many, and were counted by her growing herd of horses and the scalp locks she collected.
        Her accomplishments were not ignored by the tribe, and Pine Leaf was soon made a part of the Council of Chiefs. There, she became known as Woman Chief, the name which is best known among white historians. So powerful was she that she was ranked third in a band of 160 lodges. She acquired four women who took care of her home, her holdings, and performed the womanly duties she had no taste for.
        White men who crossed Pine Leaf's path along the fur trade route were totally confounded by her. They had never seen, or even heard of, such a woman who could strike such terror in the hearts of men. They were confused, fascinated, and intimidated by her very presence. Since there was nothing in their own cultures they could compare to Pine Leaf, she became known as the Absaroka Amazon among the white traders. She became almost a mythical figure to them.
        Following the Treaty of Laramie in 1851, Pine Leaf gave up her warrior ways to became active in peacemaking with the tribes of the upper Missouri and often visited her own people, the Gros Ventre. While there was an uneasy peace which lasted for several years, Pine Leaf was ambushed and killed by her own blood – the Gros Ventre – in 1858.
        While there is not a lot written about Pine Leaf, the two sources which shed the most light on her life were written by Edwin Denig, who knew her personally, and by James Beckwourth, who lived among the Crow for a number of years. In Beckwourth's autobiography, it is clear that he was quite smitten by Pine Leaf . By his own words, he pursued her with great fervor, but she would have none of him. Beckwourth became separated from the Crow for some time and was believed dead. However, he made his way back to the tribe and, according to him, Pine Leaf did agree to marry him. After only five weeks of married life, he left the Crow and never saw Pine Leaf again. It's interesting to note that Denig's careful telling of the story of Pine Leaf/Woman Chief parallels the Beckwourth story in many ways, but this one important point is not mentioned by Denig. Whether or not this really happened, or was just wishful thinking on Beckwourth's part, is known only to them.
        • The English translation of Wetamoo, and all of its various spellings, was Sweetheart which led the English to believe that she was easily led. A mistake.

          Wetamoo was born the daughter of the Sachem of Pocasset, Chief Corbitant. The Pocasset were located in and around present day Rhode Island, and the word “Sachem” ties them to the language of the original Lenni-Lenape; a grandfather Nation to many Nations of North America and Canada. When Chief Corbitant died, Wetamoo became the Squaw Sachem.

          When Wetamoo's brother-in-law died mysteriously, she became convinced that he had been poisoned by the English. This belief led to a hatred of the whites that dominated her life. During the great war of the northeast against the Pilgrims/Puritans/English, Wetamoo joined forces with the great Wampanoag Sachem, Chief Philip. Since the whites could not understand the concept of tribal living, or the role of the chief, Philip became “King Philip” to them, and the resulting war lives in history as “King Philip's War”.

          Wetamoo married several times but, each time, her husband became sympathetic to the whites. When this happened, Wetamoo quickly sent them on their way. She was known for her great beauty and for diplomatic skills as well as her skills as a warrior. She was ever the fighter for her people against the unfairness of white rule. She was a powerful and regal Sachem and, at the height of her tenure, she commanded some 300 warriors.

          Wetamoo and her warriors were hunted continually by the Plymouth colonists during King Philip's War, but they always were successful in evading the enemy. However, during one escape down the Fall River, Wetamoo lost her footing and drowned. The Pilgrims promptly cut off her head, and displayed it on a pike in the town of Taunton.

          The most complete history of Wetamoo and her leadership as Sachem of the Pocasset can be found in the memoirs of Mary Rowlandson, a white woman captured by Wetamoo during King Philip's War.

          (Note From Julia: The following information was sent to me by Sandra Lomastro, of the Pocasset-Wompanoag Tribe of Fall River. Since my information is limited to what can be found in research materials, I am always grateful to tribal members who take the time to add information. This is Sandra's note: “It was not her brother in law that was killed but her husband, the eldest son of Massasoit. He was called Alexander, but his Native name was Wamsutta. Also Wetamoo did not capture Mary. Mary was given to her by one of her husbands who was a Narragansett chieftain. She spent two years in Wetamoo's service.” Thank you, Sandra.)
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    Here is a lady who has always fascinated me. Her determination and resolve to be an individual, as well as her "commonality" and her compassion for the people. She was played in the movie "Titantic" by Cathy Bates, who couldn't have done a better job, I think at portraying Molly Brown. She looks remarkably like Molly Brown, as well, which was interesting. MAybe they will do a remake of "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" with Cathy Bates in the lead...it would be a great movie, for sure!



    Margaret Tobin Brown (July 18, 1867 – October 26, 1932), more widely known as Maggie Brown or Molly Brown, was an American socialite, philanthropist, and activist who became famous as one of the survivors of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. She became known after her death as The Unsinkable Molly Brown, although she was never called Molly during her life.

    Margaret Tobin was born July 19, 1870[1] in Hannibal, Missouri, one of six children of Irish immigrants. At age 18, she moved to Leadville, Colorado, with her sister, obtaining a job in a department store. It was here she met and married James Joseph Brown (J.J.), an enterprising, self-educated man, in 1886. Brown had always planned to marry a rich man but she married J.J. for love. She said, "I wanted a rich man, but I loved Jim Brown. I thought about how I wanted comfort for my father and how I had determined to stay single until a man presented himself who could give to the tired old man the things I longed for him. Jim was as poor as we were, and had no better chance in life. I struggled hard with myself in those days. I loved Jim, but he was poor. Finally, I decided that I'd be better off with a poor man whom I loved than with a wealthy one whose money had attracted me. So I married Jim Brown."

    It was also in Leadville that she first became involved in women's rights, helping to establish the Colorado chapter of the National American Women's Suffrage Association, and worked in soup kitchens to assist miners' families. The family came into great wealth when J.J's engineering efforts proved instrumental in the production of a substantial gold and copper seam at the Little Jonny mine of his employers, Ibex Mining Company, and he was awarded 12,500 shares of stock and a seat on the board.

    In 1894, the Browns moved to Denver, Colorado, which gave the family more social opportunities. Margaret became a charter member of the Denver Woman's Club, whose mission was the improvement of women's lives through continuing education and philanthropy. In 1901, she was one of the first students to enroll at the Carnegie Institute in New York. Adjusting to the trappings of a society lady, Brown became well-immersed in the arts and fluent in French, German, and Russian. In 1909 and 1914 she ran for Congress; she also assisted in the fundraising for Denver's Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception which was completed in 1912. Margaret also worked with Judge Lindsey to help destitute children and establish the United States' first juvenile court which helped form the basis of the modern U.S. juvenile courts system. Her lifelong career as a human and labor rights advocate earned her prominence in the aftermath of the Ludlow Massacre in Trinidad, Colorado in 1914.

    Margaret and J.J. privately separated in 1909, but stayed connected and cared for each other. He died in 1922.

    The Browns' first child, Lawrence Palmer Brown, was born on August 30, 1887 in Hannibal, Missouri. Their second child, Catherine Ellen Brown, nicknamed Helen, was born on July 1, 1889 in Leadville, Colorado.

    Margaret was on a European tour with her daughter Helen in April 1912 when she learned that her first grandson, Lawrence, was ill. She immediately booked first class passage back to the U.S. on the first ship that was available, the Titanic. When the ship collided with the iceberg and began to sink, she helped many others to the lifeboats before being forced into one herself. Once on the water, she demanded that women be allowed to row as well as men, she and the other women in lifeboat no. 6 worked together to row and keep spirits up despite the alleged panic and gloom of Quartermaster Robert Hichens. After being rescued by the RMS Carpathia, Brown helped prepare lists of those who had been rescued, acted as an interpreter for other survivors, and headed the Titanic Survivors' Committee, a group of wealthy survivors which raised funds to help those less fortunate among surviving passengers and crew. The Committee collected $10,000 from survivors and Carpathia passengers by the time the ship made port in New York City. She later raised funds to reward Captain Rostron and his crew; she personally presented Rostron with a loving cup on behalf of the Titanic survivors in New York City. The media acclaimed her as one of the heroines of the hour for both her grace under pressure and her useful contributions. She was quoted as saying that her survival was attributable to "typical Brown luck... we're unsinkable". She later became known as the Unsinkable Molly Brown.

    She was also one of those behind the creation of the Titanic Memorial in New York City.

    Her fame as a prominent Titanic survivor helped her promote the issues she felt deeply about - the rights of workers and women, education and literacy for children, and historic preservation. During World War I in France she worked with the American Committee for Devastated France to rebuild areas behind the front line, and helped wounded French and American soldiers.

    She was awarded the French Legion of Honour shortly before her death for her "overall good citizenship" including her relief work in France, her efforts for Titanic survivors, and her activism and philanthropy at home in America.

    Margaret Tobin Brown died in her sleep on October 26, 1932, at age 65
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    When Elizabeth Cady married abolitionist Henry Brewster Stanton in 1840, she'd already observed enough about the legal relationships between men and women to insist that the word obey be dropped from the ceremony.

    An active abolitionist herself, Stanton was outraged when the World's Anti-Slavery Convention in London, also in 1840, denied official standing to women delegates, including Lucretia Mott. In 1848, she and Mott called for a women's rights convention to be held in Seneca Falls, New York. That convention, and the Declaration of Sentiments written by Stanton which was approved there, is credited with initiating the long struggle towards women's rights and woman suffrage.

    After 1851, Stanton worked in close partnership with Susan B. Anthony. Stanton often served as the writer and Anthony as the strategist in this effective working relationship. After the Civil War, Stanton and Anthony were among those who were determined to focus on female suffrage when only voting rights of freed males were addressed in Reconstruction. They founded the National Woman Suffrage Association and Stanton served as president.

    When the NWSA and the rival American Woman Suffrage Association finally merged in 1890, Stanton served as the president of the resulting National American Woman Suffrage Association.

    In her later years she added to her speech- and article-writing a history of the suffrage movement, her autobiography Eighty Years and More, and a controversial critique of women's treatment by religion, The Woman's Bible.

    While Stanton is best known for her long contribution to the woman suffrage struggle, she was also active and effective in winning property rights for married women, equal guardianship of children, and liberalized divorce laws so that women could leave marriages that were often abusive of the wife, the children, and the economic health of the family.

    Elizabeth Cady Stanton died in New York on October 26, 1902, with nearly 20 years to go before the United States granted women the right to vote.

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