Elisabeth Eidenbenz ( 1913 – 2011 ) – Was a Swiss nurse who set up a maternity home for pregnant Spanish refugee mothers in SW France. She also flouted Swiss neutrality and risked her life to offer a haven to Jewish mothers escaping the Nazi Gestapo.
In 1939, an extraordinary woman Elizabeth Eidenbenz ( 1913 – 2011), opened Maternitat d’ Elne,( the maternity home of Elne). Elne is a small town in South East France. She wanted to offer a safe haven for pregnant women, many of whom were Spanish Republicans who’d escaped into France during ‘The Retirada’ or retreat as a consequence of the Spanish Civil War. The story of what had taken place there had been forgotten Continue reading Elisabeth Eidenbenz
Before Sarah Blaffer Hrdy came along, maternal nature had been largely defined by highly romanticized Victorian notions, essentially, wishful thinking. Yet, through her research on other primates and cultures, Hrdy learned that polyandrous matings, abortion, infanticide, and abandoning of offspring occur across the natural world. Motherhood comes with a price and when females don’t have the resources or social support they need, they naturally put their own health and the health of the children they already have first. In a crunch they may retrench, or even bail out altogether. Continue reading Sarah Blaffer Hrdy Reassesses “Maternal Instincts”
Did you know that during the English Civil War, there were so many reports about women going into battle (on both sides) that in 1644, King Charles 1 of England passed a law to ban women from wearing men’s clothes and forbidding them from fighting?
Trooper Jane Ingilby was one of these women. Continue reading Trooper Jane Ingilby
Born Izetta Jewel Kenney on November 24, 1883, in Hackettstown, New Jersey, actress and activist Izetta Jewel arguably impacted all of our lives in a significant and lasting manner.
An incredibly popular stage actress, Izetta Jewel performed on Broadway, and all around the country, moving to Washington, DC around 1912, after her acting career blossomed on the West Coast. Continue reading Izetta Jewel
England recently released a new ten-pound note, featuring beloved author Jane Austen. She will become the second woman only to the Queen to grace the front of an English bank note, which is clear evidence in her continuing fandom and the enduring interest in her work.
The author of the classics Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Northanger Abbey published her work anonymously and did not claim notoriety until her siblings took it upon themselves to publish two previously unprinted books following her death. It was, therefore, not until the mid-19th century that she gained widespread notability. Continue reading Jane Austen
My first encounter with a female archaeologist was when I discovered the Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters, which recounts the adventures of the fictional Egyptologists and archaeologists Amelia Peabody, her husband Radcliffe Emerson, and their extended family. Amelia is based on Amelia Edwards, English novelist, journalist, traveler and Egyptologist, who advocated for researching and preserving ancient monuments and relics from being destroyed by modernization and tourism. Continue reading Gertrude Caton Thompson
Josephine Baker (1906 – 1975) – Resistance fighter, Civil Rights activist, writer…
And yes a dancer too!
I’ve visited the Chateau des Milandes on the Dordogne River in France twice now. It is in a spectacular setting on a cliff side of the meandering Dordogne. It was the home of the cabaret dancer Josephine Baker, and the glamorous dresses and memorabilia from her career during the 20s and 30s in Paris attract many thousands of visitors. They are displayed on the lower floors of the Chateau. The beautiful chateau has numerous lavish bedrooms with splendid bathrooms that were installed after Josephine Baker lived there, and began to adopt orphans of many nationalities. But, like me, many of these tourists are unaware of her other achievements. They overshadow her dancing career and display her courage, bravery and moral integrity. The real story of Josephine Baker can be discovered on the top floor of the chateau. Continue reading Josephine Baker