Fantastic news Janeites! The Bank of England has revealed Jane Austen is taking Charles Darwin’s place on the £10 note. Subsequently, this makes Jane only the 3rd woman, after Florence Nightingale and Elizabeth Fry, to grace British currency. Whatcha waitin’ for America?
Just in time for the end of Comic Con, I stumbled on a great Tumblr post on Jackie Ormes, the first African-American woman cartoonist. Considering how frackin’ groundbreaking/awesome she was, it’s a travesty of Catwoman (2004) proportions that she’s been forgotten. But we’re going to remedy that right now; hold onto your phasers y’all, I’m ‘bout to drop some knowledge!
Though her name is relatively unfamiliar today, during the early ‘20s Mabel Stark ruled the big-top as the world’s first woman tiger trainer. Like the cat’s she adored, many aspects of her life are mysterious. She was born around 1889, maybe in Princeton, Kentucky. Her parents died before she reached adulthood, and when she turned eighteen, Mabel started nurse’s training.
Okay, so I missed the Fourth of July by a few days, but I’m still going to celebrate by dropping some knowledge about one the American Revolution’s overlooked heroes. Her name was Mary Katherine Goddard; she was a printer, newspaper publisher, and likely first women postmaster in Colonial America. That’s neat, but what Mary’s most famous for is being first to print the Declaration of Independence with the names of the signers.
Mary was born June 16, 1738, in New London, Connecticut. When she was 24 years-old her father died, and Mary, her mother, and brother, William, re-located to Providence, Rhode Island. The family opened a print shop and published the city’s first newspaper, The Providence Gazette. Later, William moved to Philadelphia; there he managed The Pennsylvania Chronicle and Universal Advertiser. Mary and her mother came a few years after. Mary assumed control of the business after William left to found a revolutionary newspaper in Baltimore, The Maryland Journal, and Baltimore Advertiser. Selling her claim she joined her brother, again taking responsibility for the periodicals as he gathered support for his Constitutional Post, a mail service between New York and Philadelphia.
This past Monday, July 1st, was the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. The carnage dragged on for three bloody days and was fought in sweltering heat. Gettysburg was the Civil War’s deadliest skirmish. The number of dead, wounded, and missing soldiers totaled 46,286. Among the slain were two women disguised as men. Hold-up, what? Yeah, apparently these women weren’t anomalous; during the Civil War it’s guesstimated roughly 400 women disguised themselves as men and served the Union and Confederate armies. They signed-up for the same reasons as men-love of country, upholding a cause, searching for adventure, or looking to earn money. Because women weren’t permitted to enlist, they had to pose as men; luckily, the physical exam pretty much consisted of, “Can you hold a musket? Good.” After joining they kept to themselves, and many female soldiers’ gender was never exposed.
“She is not what you would describe as a classic beauty.” -From "Mary, Queen of Scots: Dundee University Create Facial Reconstruction" No, seriously, tell us what you really think! This remark by Professor Caroline Wilkinson (you might remember her from such facial reconstructions as Richard III) concerns a new 3D virtual sculpture of Mary, Queen of Scots. The rendering was created, under Wilkinson’s guidance, for an exhibit on Mary’s life at the National Museum of Scotland.
Historical Heroines Right at the top of the page, the author of this blog cites the familiar phrase, “Well-behaved women rarely make history,” then notes “These women misbehaved, but where are they in our history books?” For real, what’s up with that! This site focuses on less mainstream historical heroines like anarchist/labor organizer, Lucy Parsons and Jeanette Rankin, the 1st woman to serve in Congress. Check it out discover more badass ladies history’s forgot.