Great women of the Gilded Age


B

Bob Cruise

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And don't you forget her, either:

(to the tune of "Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-yay")

"Lizzie Borden took an axe,
Gave her mother 40 whacks.
When she saw what she what she had done,
Gave her father 41."

As the great Carl Sandburg once wrote in "Rootabaga Stories": "Ax me no questions!"

bob
 
Aug 29, 2000
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Miss Lizzie does indeed qualify as an Edwardian gal although being born in 1860 would technically make her a late-Victorian model. Not quite the fragile dainty morsel her defending attorney tried to portray- she was five feet 4 inches of red-haired, grey-eyed steel nerve and resolute will. She died in 1927 at home in her Maplecroft mansion on the hill- following several years of ill-health, surrounded only by her loyal servants and a few close lady friends. Guilty or innocent- she paid a dear price for her creature comforts and in later life would mourn not moving away from Fall River. Like Titanic, she is an enigma for eternity.
I will be thinking of you as I hack my way through the Borden House next weekend, the anniversary of the crime- 20 tours in 2 days! This week will be spent in creating her wardrobe, decorating hats and dyeing my hair red. Wish you were here!
Actually the nasty ditty sung under her window by naughty children should go:
Lizzie Borden may-or may not have- taken a HATCHET
and given her STEPMOTHER 19 whacks.
When she saw what she had done- she gave her Father - 13. Not as catchy though!
Come visit to talk about Lizzie:
http://www.geocities.com/revdma2/secondstreet.html
 
Aug 29, 2000
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Hats off to Elizabeth Blackwell today- the first American woman to to obtain a medical degree after 29 rejections from medical schools. A few of them suggested she change her name and dress in pants! Geneva College in upstate New York admitted her at last and amid taunts and cruel jests of her male classmates and ridicule from the Ladies' College-she graduated in the top of her class. 20,000 turned out to see her graduate. "I should like a little fun now and then. Life is altogether too sober" she quipped. Liz, M.D. went on to her heavenly reward in 1910.
 

Tracy Smith

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Nov 5, 2000
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And don't forget Elizabeth's two sisters-in-law, Antoinette Brown Blackwell, the first female ordained minister, and Lucy Stone, the first woman to keep her own name after marriage (1855). And I include Antoinette's and Lucy's husbands, Elizabeth's brothers, who had the maturity and insight to appreciate such forward looking ladies.
 

Kris Muhvic

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Jul 3, 2001
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Hello- here I'd like to throw in a couple of other gals who took a risk:
Margaret Sanger took the "not to be discussed" out of women's medicine. Her legacy, and it's controversies, still persist today.
And we should remember Nellie Bly- THE investigative reporter for Pulitzer's "N.Y. World". After that, she went on to be "CEO" of a couple of million $ corporations...all before WWI!
Cheers!
Kris
 
Mar 20, 2000
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All,

I'm glad we're leaning towards celebrating feminists since they were not widely considered in the old days to be "ladies" at all. Of course, today we know better.

Three notable exceptions to the general impression of "suffragettes" among Edwardians were the Pankhursts - Mrs. Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters Christabel and Sylvia, who founded the controversial Women's Social and Political Union which was at the forefront of the militant women's movement. They were always considered ladies, despite their sometimes ill-advised demonstrations throughout the early 1900s, and were even revered by their staunchest adversaries.

One of their members and friends was the now legendary Emily Wilding Davison who drew world-wide attention and sympathy by committing suicide in the name of the women's cause at the Derby races in 1913 by throwing herself under King George's horse. This was not only caught by photographers but was filmed by the newsreels. It was an absolutely terrifying and sorrowful event and shocked the world; her funeral was attended by many thousands and the huge ceremonial procession viewed by many more.

Hats off to the courageous Pankhursts and to the heroic Miss Davison.

Randy
 

Tracy Smith

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Just a little nitpicking Randy.
proud.gif
I think they preferred to be referred to as "suffragists", believing the word "suffragette" trivialized their cause, much in the same way that the term "feminist" is preferred to the term "women's libber" (remember that one?) today.

And, of course, I never claimed to be lady, myself. You'd have to find me a lord, or a Lord, however the case may be, for that.
proud.gif
 
Mar 20, 2000
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Tracy,

I'm not so sure about how other feminists viewed the term "suffragette" but the Pankhursts definitely preferred it to "suffragist." Sylvia Pankhurst's books were: "The Suffragette" (pub. 1911) and "The Suffragette Movement" (1931). You may be right that the American feminists of the time used "suffragist." I don't know. I've really only read in depth on the Pankhursts.

My reference for the above info, btw, came from a great book called "Shoulder to Shoulder: The Stirring History of the Militant Suffragettes" by Midge Mackenzie, pub. by Random House/Vintage 1988. It has the longest subtitle I've ever seen - "The Voices, the Faces, the Deeds, the Memories, the Personal Testimony of the Remarkable Women who Fought - and Won - the Battle for the Vote."

Whew!

I don't know how to do the smiley faces or I'd put one on for you. How do you do that?

Randy
 

Tracy Smith

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There are three faces I know how to make: the simple smile which is a colon and a right parenthesis
happy.gif
, the frown, which is a colon followed by a left parenthesis
sad.gif
, and the cheeky grin, which is a colon followed by a capital O.
proud.gif


I know more about the early American feminists, so maybe the suffragist/suffragette thing is a difference between Americans and the British, as you said.
 

Kris Muhvic

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Jul 3, 2001
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Good day, fellow emancipationists!
Yes, the suffragette/suffragist (sorry, now I'm confused!) movement was a most important aspect in history- now often trivalised to nostalgia. At a time when some women could not own property or a business, and ridiculed, by both sexes, if they tried, their efforts are quite monumental.
I think of the part in Wyn Craig Wade's book "The Titanic: End of a Dream", he mentions how the suffragettes were empowered, and disabled somewhat, by Titanic. The whole "Votes for Women!/Boats for Women!" argument. In spite of this, there was still a signifigant march of suffragettes(-gists) down 5th Avenue (including a band of male supporters!) in May 1912.
Just another something that we take for granted today, yet what a struggling feat it was!
Yours-
Kris
 

Kyrila Scully

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I just got a catalog today that has twenty-three books about Edwardian and Victorian clothing and accessories, including a dictionary of costumes and fashions, hats and undergarments. If anyone is interested, the website for these books is www.mjdtools.com. Their toll free number to order the catalog is 1-800-869-0695. I have a couple of the books and they're great! I wish I could afford to order the others!

All the best,
Kyrila
 

Kris Muhvic

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Jul 3, 2001
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Although they might not have considered themselves magnificent, I do think a certain respect should be owed to the teachers, then as now. The following came to me as a "junk fax", funny history sort of thing. I do not know where the information came from, but I'll share it anyway:

"Some Actual Rules for Teachers from the early 1900's in the U.S.:

-To keep the school room neat and clean, you must:
*sweep the floor at least once daily
*scrub the floor at least once a week with hot, soapy water
*clean the blackboards at least once a day
*start the fire at 7a.m. so the room will be warm by 8 a.m.
-You will not marry during the term of your contract.
-You are not to keep company with men.
-You must be home between the hours of 8p.m. and 6 a.m. unless attending a school function.
-You may not loiter downtown in ice cream stores.
-You may not travel beyond city limits unless you have permission of the chairman of the board.
-You may not ride in a carriage or automobile with any man unless he is your father or brother.
-You may not smoke cigarettes.
-You may not dress in bright colors.
-You may under no circumstances dye your hair.
-You must wear at least two petticoats.
-Your dresses must not be any shorter than two inches above the ankle."

I really don't know what to say after all that, save for a deeply, heart-felt thank you to those who educated my Grandparents!

Yours~
Kris

P.S. What WAS going on in ice cream stores back then?!?
 
Dec 31, 2000
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Hello Kris,

Just think if this was still the rule for teachers today, how many would we actually have teaching???

I know that teachers have a hard enough time this day and age without the added pressure of "not getting married" or "loitering in ice cream stores"

Your'e right, what WAS going on in ice cream stores back then? Was that the local meat markert that we call "Night Clubs" today?

Former Teacher,
Beverly
 
Mar 20, 2000
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Kris,

This is very funny. A quaint time it was then - carriages, ice cream parlors, and petticoats. What nostalgia!

And I agree that a salute is always owed to teachers. My mother is a teacher and so enough can't be said for them as far as I'm concerned.

Thanks for sharing this sweet bit of the byegone.

Randy

PS) Those ice-cream and soda fountain counters were akin to dens of sin apparently - does anyone recall the scenes in The Music Man? Shirley Jones in her go-to-hell hat sipping wistfully whilst deflecting advances from a "feller".
 

Kyrila Scully

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Apr 15, 2001
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I love this thread! And I wish those who bemoan the fact that there are no good roles for actresses these days should come here and read about the inspiring ladies of the Edwardian age (and make more movies with more lovely costumes from that period!) James Cameron, are you lurking? Here's new material! Why the story of Marjorie Stinson would be a great vehicle for a young actress! Hey, Randy! Wanna collaborate on a script?

Kyrila
 

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