Tag Archives: Gender History

A NY Woman Who Belongs On The $20 Bill

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800px-Frances_Perkins_cph.3a04983Recently the Treasury Department has announced its intent to place a prominent woman of historical importance on the U.S. currency. There is no one who is more deserving of this honor than Frances Perkins, a New York woman, who was probably the most significant and important female government official of the 20th century.

As Secretary of Labor throughout President Franklin Roosevelt’s four terms and the first woman ever to hold a cabinet position, Frances Perkins designed most of the New Deal Social Welfare and Labor Policies, such as social security, the minimum wage, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and protections for unions, and reshaped America. Continue reading

Billie Jean King Will Be Susan B. Anthony Birthday Luncheon Speaker

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BJK headshot 2013_2_ Andrew Coppa Photography (3)(1)The National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House has announced that the keynote speaker for the 2016 Susan B. Anthony Birthday Luncheon will be Billie Jean King, sports icon, humanitarian, and champion of equal rights. The annual luncheon will be held Wednesday, February 10, 2016, at the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center.

A native of Southern California, Billie Jean King has won thirty-nine Grand Slam singles, doubles, and mixed doubles titles during her tennis career. She famously defeated Bobby Riggs in the 1973 “Battle of the Sexes” match. King is the founder of the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, which seeks to address inclusion and diversity issues in the workplace, and the Women’s Sports Foundation. In 2009, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor, and, in 2010, was appointed to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition. Continue reading

Converting A Historic Jail To Women’s Activism

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Women exchanging ideas. Photo:Kathleen HulserArt deco murals, decorative brick work, mosaics – not quite what you expect to encounter at a women’s prison. The Bayview Women’s Correctional Facility at 550 West 20th Street in Manhattan was built in 1931 as a YMCA for merchant sailors. Converted to a prison, it was closed after Superstorm Sandy flooding and is now being converted to a Women’s Building. As an adaptive reuse, the main building will be preserved with some elements that reflect the history, even as the site is re-purposed as a women-focused community facility. Continue reading

Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s 200th Birthday Celebration

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Inside Wesleyan ChapelElizabeth Cady Stanton’s 200th birthday dawned on November 12, 2015, my birthday. I used the occasion to drive the eight hours round-trip to Seneca Falls, NY to sit among the crowd of about 200 people at Wesleyan Chapel, the restored site of the legendary 1848 women’s rights convention.

The program sponsored by the Women’s Rights National Historic Park on November 14 was one of two programs in New York State designed to bring attention to this historic figure. The large turnout at Cooper Union in New York City for Stanton’s birthday on November 12 was another indication of the increased interest and honor being paid to New York’s historic women in the first wave of the movement that started in the Finger Lakes region. Continue reading

Corset Portraits of the Loves of Aaron Burr

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Madame+Jume_RGB.BillOrcuttArtist Camilla Huey has a close to the skin interpretation of founding father Aaron Burr. While we know about his schemes to gain and keep political power, Huey tempts us to think about Burr’s gender politics. Was the former Vice-President who shot Alexander Hamilton in a duel, a full-fledged Lothario, or might there be another story?

The film “The Loves of Aaron Burr: Portraits in Binding and Corsetry”  premiering at Symphony Space at 95th St. and Broadway in Manhattan on Saturday, November 14 at noon offers a much more complicated and nuanced view of the man and his significant female others.  As Thomas Paine wrote in that revolutionary era “If we take a survey of the countries and the ages… we will find the women adored and oppressed. Man who has never neglected an opportunity of exerting his power,  in paying homage to their beauty has always availed himself of their weakness… at once their tyrant and their slave.” Continue reading

Suffrage Centennial: Historians, NYS Tourism Officials Clash

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Suffrage CentennialIn early October, the New York Cultural Heritage Tourism Network under the leadership of Spike Herzig, a member of the Tourism Advisory Council, hosted a meeting in Seneca Falls for the Women’s Suffrage Centennial.

There were about 85 attendees, mainly from the central New York region. The purpose was to meet, learn, and plan for the upcoming centennials of women gaining the right to vote in New York State (2017) and the United States (2020). The event’s agenda was abandoned as members of the history community began to air their frustrations over Empire State Development’s role in heritage tourism. Continue reading

Betsy Ross & The Making Of America

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ben_franklins_worldHow did every day men and women experience life in colonial America?

How did the American Revolution transform their work and personal lives?

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, we explore the answers to those questions by investigating the life of Betsy Ross with Marla Miller, professor of history at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and author of Betsy Ross and the Making of America (Henry Holt & Co, 2010). You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/050

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