Irina Nistor

The stereotypes of film nerds aren’t exactly positive: secretive, obsessive, quiet. But, these are all great traits for someone fighting, in their own way, against a tyrannical regime, wouldn’t you agree?

Irina Nistor was employed by the Romanian Communist regime to translate programmes for the state-run tv channel. Romania was ruled by Nicolae Ceausescu, one of the cruelest dictators of the communist period. Her impact on the falling of that regime can never be measured, but thousands of Romanians believe her role in the fall of communism in Romania should be not be overlooked. What Irina Nistor did was translate western films into Romanian. A simple but very much illegal job. Continue reading Irina Nistor

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Tcheng Soumay

Tcheng Soumay (also known as Tcheng Yu-hsiu and Madame Wei Tao-ming) was a lawyer and campaigner for democracy and women’s rights. She was active in China in the first half of the twentieth century when the ancient empire was toppled and competing factions fought for the soul of the new republic.

Soumay (to use her first name) was born to a wealthy family in Canton. Her father was a government official, her mother was the daughter of a general. It was usual to bind the feet of upper class girls, so their gait was ‘dainty.’ Always a rebellious child, Soumay refused to have her feet bound, ripping off the bandages. Her father was sympathetic, he encouraged her inquiring intellect and, wanting to take her around in public with him, dressed her as a boy. Continue reading Tcheng Soumay

Annie Londonderry

Annie Londonderry was an unknown wife and mother until she became a global sensation as the first woman to bicycle around the world!

Annie Cohen Kopchovsky was born in Riga, Latvia in 1870. Her family set sail for America and a new life when Annie was just a child. There isn’t much record of her childhood, but by 1892 she was married with 3 children and living in Boston. Fame was just around the corner. Continue reading Annie Londonderry

Dora Jordan

If I had a chance to have lunch with anyone living or dead I would most certainly chose to have it with Dora Jordan, one of Western history’s most famous comics who graced the British stage for forty years. Not only would she make me laugh, I would uncover some mysteries about her that have persisted for the past two hundred years.

Dora was born in Ireland to a pair of theater folks around 1761. It’s not known for certain if her father was a stagehand or an actor but it is known that when Dora was thirteen, he abandoned his family for a young actress and left them destitute. Fortunately, Dora took to the stage and acted until she was fifty-four, earning around one hundred thousand pounds (approximately 7 million dollars). Continue reading Dora Jordan