National Women’s History Month

Mar 25 2019, 11:39 am in ,

Let’s talk Women in Time of War. 

There are so many, little known, brave women in our world history. 

In 1716, Winifred Maxwell, Countess of Nithsdale, successfully smuggled her husband, Lord Nithsdale, out of the Tower of London, the day before he was due to be executed for his role in the 1715 Jacobite uprising . She supplied the guards with drink and then with friends created diversions while her hub’s beard was shaved and he was dressed in women’s clothes. Slick as anything William left with his wife’s friends. To buy time, Winifred stayed in the cell and carried on a conversation for the guards to hear. On her way out, she asked the guards not to disturb her husband because he was praying.  Dang. The woman had courage.

In WWl a 17-year-old French woman, Emilienne Moreau, assisted the Allies and set up a first-aid post in her home.

Russian peasant Maria Bochkareva, twice wounded in battle, led the all-women combat unit the “Women’s Battalion of Death” on the eastern front. Look it up.

American journalist Madeleine Doty, determined to make a difference, traveled to Germany during the war to report the truth.

During WWll actress Hedy Lamarr developed a radio guidance system for Allied torpedoes which used spread spectrum and frequency hopping technology to defeat jamming by Axis powers. The principles are now incorporated in wi-fi and Bluetooth technology.

Julia Childs was a world-renowned chef. She was also a SPY. At the onset of World War II, she went to work for a newly formed government intelligence agency the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). She went on assignments around the world and played a key role in the communication of top-secret documents between U.S. government officials and their intelligence officers.

Nancy Augusta Wake. She ran away from her home in Australia at age 16. Worked as a nurse, traveled to New York and London. Married a wealthy Frenchman and became the single biggest thorn in the German’s side during WWll. The Gestapo called her the White Mouse because she eluded capture. She was their most wanted person and they put out a five million-franc reward for her capture. In a WWll movie if you see a woman depicted doing extraordinary things it is more than likely something Nancy actually did. She died in 2011 and I truly wish I had met her. There is simply too much to say about this amazing woman. I suggest you research her.  

The women of London who, during the war, sent their children to the countryside in hopes they’d be safe then went about enduring the almost daily bombings of the city. Can you imagine?  

Women Airforce Service Pilots, or WASPs. About 200 women flew planes during World War II but weren’t considered “real” military pilots. No flags were draped over their coffins when they died on duty. And when their service ended, they had to pay their own bus fare home.

An incredible group of Soviet women, most under 20 years of age, flew bombing missions during World War II. Many flying more than a thousand missions. The Germans feared them and gave them the name The Night Witches.

Rosie the Riveter, a name for American women who worked in factories during WWll, many in plants that produced munitions and war supplies. Rosie’s Canadian sister was just as determined and dedicated. 

In 1945, Olivia Hooker became the first African-American female admitted into the United States Coast Guard. Dr. Hooker later earned a doctorate in psychology and had a long and distinguished career as a professor in New York, retiring at the age of eighty- seven. She is amazing.

Rose Valland a French art historian, and member of the French Resistance, a captain in the French military, and one of the most decorated women in French history. Rose is one of the greatest and yet unknown heroines of World War II. For four years, Rose risked her life daily to locate and return works of art stolen by the Nazis during their occupation of France. Her remarkable story remained unknown to the broad public until it was revealed in the book and movie The Monuments Men.  I’ve stood in galleries admiring the art she saved and never knew about her until the book was released. It makes me sad the world didn’t know to thank her.

The contributions these ladies made are huge. Without them our world would be very different.

Rita 

 

March is Women’s History Month.

Mar 23 2019, 10:15 am in , ,

History.

I have a love hate relationship with history. I love learning history. I hate that it can be a less than accurate representation of what really happened. Why? Because history is being told through the lens of the writer. What they perceive. Their interpretation of the events, as an eyewitness, or of the facts from their research. Now, through the ages, history has been written by men. Stories told though the lens of a male eye. I’m not saying historians lied, only they rarely saw things from the woman’s point of view.

In the US we rarely hear about women in our early history.        

I think of the women who came from all over Europe to settled North America. All the little mama’s, with children in tow, who had the courage to leave everything they knew, follow their husbands and get on a tiny, leaky boat and go to an unknown new world. They didn’t have a smart phone to check the weather, complain on social media the boat didn’t dock on time, or call an Uber driver to take them to an Inn. These women stood shoulder to shoulder with their man helping to build cities and colonize the wilderness. Traveling across prairies, mountains and wastelands in wagons.

I am fascinated in women’s roles in the American Revolution. How much do we actually hear about ladies during that time? There was Penelope Barker a loyal patriot of the American Revolution. Barker rallied 50 women— the first recorded women’s political demonstration in America—to sign a resolution boycotting British tea known as the Edenton Tea Party. North Carolina’s version of the Boston Tea Party. Don’t ya love it?

And there was Agent 555, an extraordinary woman, who was a member of the Culper Spy ring that George Washington says helped win the revolutionary war. To this day her identity is unknown.  Anyone out there know?

For more stories about ladies in the Revolutionary War go here

Have you heard of Dr. Mary Walker? She is the only woman to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor for her efforts to save lives during the civil war. Congress eventually revoked her medal saying she was a civilian and asked for its return.  Mary, quite the outspoken character, refused and wore the medal proudly every day until she died.

Rose O’Neal Greenhow was a Confederate spy. A Washington, D.C., socialite, with friends in high places made her an excellent spy. Jefferson Davis said she was responsible for the South’s victory at the First Battle of Bull Run.

Frances Clalin disguised herself as a man, and she and her husband enlisted in a Missouri regiment.  A wife and mother of three children, she fought alongside Union forces for a year.  

To discover more about women during the Civil War go here

Rita

March is National Women’s Month.

Mar 20 2019, 10:32 am in , ,

As a writer I’m asking you to take some time and talk to the women in your family to get the other half of the story. Other half of the story? Yes. World events, disasters, family triumphs and celebrations told from their unique point of view. The vast majority of historical events is written from a male perspective. Hearing a woman’s point of view can be enlightening.

Where they were, what they thought when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon.

Who in your family remembers rationing during WWII?  Ask how difficult it was during that time to go months without letters from a loved one.

Find out what it was like to have a family member in Vietnam and, for the first time in history, see the war on the news every evening.

What they remember about Jackie Kennedy.

Their first car. Boyfriend. The time they met Elvis. The real reason Aunt Gertrude left town. How Uncle Johnny got all his money.

Have you ever spoken to your mom about the day you were born?

Do you know the black sheep of your families? 

How did the women in your family meet the love of their life? What they thought when they did. I asked this question at a ladies gathering. One gal shared how she met the love of her life and then told us how she met her husband. Do you want your children to know how you met their father?

A family member was going to reveal a huge—her word—family secret to me. We’d set up a time for me to go over and hear this secret. She died before she could tell me. I’m left with a bazillion questions and a great deal of regret.

Don’t have this happen to you. Transfer your family stories to words on the page so they will never be lost.

Rita

Women’s History Month

Mar 1 2019, 12:42 pm in ,

 

March is National Women’s History month.

I write about strong, extraordinary women. This month I’ll be posting about women I admire. Women who have moral courage and an ability to get beyond danger and do what is right because it needs to be done. Women from around the world who I think have made a difference.

In the meantime please check out the marvelous web page of The National Women’s History Museum http://www.nwhm.org/ and the Women throughout American History on the Library of Congress page  https://womenshistorymonth.gov/

And be prepared to spend some time on those pages. 🙂 

                                   Rita 

 

March is National Women’s Month.

Mar 6 2017, 9:19 am in ,

As a  writer I’m asking you to take some time and talk to the women in your family to get the other half of the story. Other half of the story? Yes. World events, disasters, family triumphs and celebrations told from their point of view.  And write it down. The vast majority of historical events is written with a male perspective. Hearing a woman’s point of view can be enlightening.  Where they were, what they thought when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. Who in your family remembers rationing during WWII?  Ask how difficult it was during that time to go months without letters from a loved one. Find out what it was like to have a family member in Vietnam and, for the first time in history, see the war every evening on the news. What they remember about Jackie Kennedy. Their first car. Boyfriend. The time they met Elvis. The real reason Aunt Gertrude left town. How Uncle Johnny got all his money. Have you ever spoken to your mom about the day you were born?  Do you know the black sheep of your families?  How did the women in your family meet the love of their life? What they thought when they did. I asked this question at a ladies gathering. One gal shared how she met the love of her life and then told us how she met her husband. Do you want your children to know how you met their father?

My Aunt was going to reveal a huge—her word—family secret to me. We’d set up a time for me to go over and hear this secret. She died before she could tell me. I’m left with a bazillion questions and a great deal of regret. Don’t have this happen to you. Transfer your family stories to words on the page so they will never be lost.

There is a perfectly wonderful National Women’s History Museum web site to learn more about women of this country and inspire you. I particularly like the online exhibits page.  

I write about strong female characters. Women at the top of their fields. On the left in the scrollin bar you can see the courageous women who have inspired me.  

   

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