“Walk Where They Walked”: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony in Wisconsin

S&A 3.inddA woman who read Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony: A Friendship That Changed the World recently contacted me via my website: “After reading your book about their friendship, I’d love to walk where they walked, etc.  I’m from Wisconsin & I wonder if they were here?!”
Here is what I know, although they may have visited on other occasions:
*February 15, 16, 1869, Milwaukee: ECS and SBA spoke at the first convention with national speakers.  The convention adjourned to Madison where ECS & SBA, and Mary Livermore addressed the legislature, Governor Fairchild presiding.                                                               *March 16, 17, 1870, Janesville: ECS, who was on the lyceum lecture circuit crisscrossing the country, many months at a time, from 1869-1880, spoke in Lappin’s Hall.
*Beginning on November 8, 1886: Rev. Olympia Brown, pastor of the Universalist Church, Racine since 1878, held series of nine district conventions in company of SBA and Clara Bewick Colby.  A reception was held at the home of Mrs. M.B. Erskine of Racine, which was followed by conventions at Waukesha, Ripon, Oshkosh, Green Bay, Grand Rapids, Eau Claire, La Crosse, Evansville, and in Madison, where SBA and CBC spoke in the Senate Chamber to a distinguished audience.                                                       (Source History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 4, p. 986.)

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Samantha Smith StatueTomorrow, 9/21, is the International Day of Peace, established by the UN in 1981. On one of my road trips in search of landmarks to women, I went to Augusta, Maine, to visit the statue of peace activist Samantha Reed Smith, who during the Cold War Era when she was 10 years old wrote a letter to the leader of the Soviet Union asking him about the possibility of a war. He replied with assurances and invited her to visit, thus she became America’s youngest goodwill ambassador and a celebrity for peace. Tragically in 1985, at the age of twelve, she died in a plane crash. The bronze life-size statue depicts Samantha smiling with outstretched arms, holding a peace dove in her hands. A bear cub, the symbol of the Soviet Union is by her feet.

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“Tiffany Girls”

Agnes NorthrupBefore I realized that women hadn’t been written into the history I was taught in school, I thought that all Tiffany glasswork was done by Louis Comfort Tiffany himself, alone.  But the fact is that many women worked at the TIffany Studios, including Clara Driscoll, head of the Women’s Glassworking Department, who designed the icon Dragonfly Lamp.  The photo is of the landscape glasswork, “Autumn” by Agnes Northrup, a leading Tiffany designer.  Happily that information was on the small plaque beside the window.  Noone else went up to read the plaque; perhaps they already knew the designer was a woman. But, then again, I suspect they assumed, as I once would have, that it was solely a man’s creation.

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Of the many photos that I took for my book, "Corpses, Coffins, and Crypts: A History of Burial, this one best expresses the feelings for today, the 14th anniversary of 9/11.

Of the many photos that I took for my book, Corpses, Coffins, and Crypts: A History of Burial, this one best expresses the feelings for today, the 14th anniversary of 9/11.

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Author Questions and Answers

corpsesFYI: Here is the list of questions my editor asked me to answer as new bonus material in the August 2015 reissue of “Corpses, Coffins, and Crypts: A History of Burial.” For me, it is easier to write about anything other than myself, but in the end I found the process stimulating and even fun:
What did you want to be when you grew up?
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
What’s your most embarrassing childhood memory?
What’s your favorite childhood memory?
As a young person, who did you look up to most?
What was your favorite thing about school?
What were your hobbies as a kid? What are your hobbies now?
What book is on your nightstand now?
How did you celebrate publishing your first book?
What inspired you to write Corpses, Coffins, and Crypts?
What was the research process like?
What was the most difficult part about writing this book?
Where do you write your books?
What challenges do you face in the writing process, and how do you overcome them?
What was your favorite book when you were a kid? Do you have a favorite book now?
Do you ever get writer’s block? What do you do to get back on track?
What do you want readers to remember about your books?
What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?
What would your readers be most surprised to learn about you?

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Susan B. Anthony

Portrait_of_Susan_B._Anthony_on_her_50th_birthday-255x300Susan B. Anthony’s advice to delegates at the 1895 National American Woman Suffrage Association Convention in Atlanta, Georgia: “Now, don’t all of you come to me to tell me how glad you are that I have worked for fifty years, but say rather that you are going to begin work yourselves.” For more information: www.pennycolman.com

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On Dealing with Death

corpsesJust got a heads up from a friend that the reissue of my book Corpses, Coffins, and Crypts: A History of Burial in a trade paperback edition with a new cover and bonus material, including a Q & A and discussion guide, is now available on Barnes and Noble, where you can pre-order and read my personal prologue. The publication date is 8/11/15. On the back cover is a preview of the paperback cover for Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony: A Friendship That Changed the World, due out in 2016.  There’s a link on the new home page of my website.

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Wildlife Galore

IMG_7936Jarred out of deep-writing-thinking by a cross between growls and bleats in my backyard I looked out the window–3 fawn skittering around, complaining about being caught in a downpour. I took the photo during a recent walk in my neighborhood . . . . wildlife galore around here!

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Women’s World Cup

Excited about watching the Women’s World Cup Final tonight and thinking about historic women athletes, in particular Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias, voted Woman Athlete & 9th Greatest Athlete of the 20th Century by AP. bd637610-40e4-446c-b195-502075716796“She is beyond all belief until you see her perform . .  .Then you finally understand that you are looking at the most flawless section of muscle harmony, of complete mental and physical coordination, the world of sport has ever seen,” wrote sportswriter Grantland Rice.  As a reminder of what Babe and other women were up against here’s what sportswriter Joe Williams thought: “It would be much better if she and her ilk stayed at home, got themselves prettied up and waited for the phone to ring.”

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Susan B. Anthony Crashed the All-Male July 4th, 1876 Celebration

10462597_10202750051735957_5738780758358195327_n-605x764 A lot of hoopla was held leading up to the Centennial 4th of July in 1876, none of it honoring women’s contributions, or even including women as participants.  So, Susan B. Anthony finagled five tickets to the all-male main event in Philadelphia on the 4th.  On an oppressively 4th of July, she, along with Matilda Joslyn Gage, Sara Andrews Spencer, Lillie Devereau Blake, Phoebe Couzins, silently sat in the audience until the Declaration of Independence was read. Then rising, undoubtedly majestically, they walked to the platform, where Susan B. Anthony handed the presiding official the document that she, Matilda Joslyn Gage, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton had written for the occasion: Declaration of Rights of Women of the United States that included these word:  “From the earliest history of our country woman has shown equal devotion with man to the cause of freedom, and has stood firmly by his side in its defense. Together, they have made this country what it is. . . . We ask justice, we ask equality. . . be guaranteed to us and our daughters forever.

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