Lucretia Mott

Lucretia MottHappy Birthday to Lucretia Coffin Mott, the preeminent social reformer, abolitionist, women’s rights activist, Quaker preacher, born this day–January 3rd–on Nantucket Islandc in 1793.  The photo is from an out-of-print book I found in a used bookstore.  Beside it is a profile written by Lucretia Mott’s great-granddaughter Anna Lord Strauss that reads in part: “She was fearless in her approach, and her calmness and skill combined with her quiet humor, earnestness and dignity won over many adherents. . . .Her clear logic, her keen analytical mind, her eloquence, and her healthy balance of good qualities were dedicated to the rights of humanity.”

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Happy New Year

Peace WreathHappy New Year!! On a quick trip to the grocery store, I spotted this particularly relevant wreath (one of four identical ones) hanging outside the front window of a pizza store.  My granddaughter Sophie loves peace symbols so I took a photo to send to her.  I was going to crop it but I kind of like the overlay of the interior and exterior images.

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Happy Holiday Season

Q B Xmas eve 2015Happy Holiday Season and a New Year full of peace and kindness . . . . The photo is our twin grandchildren: Quinn wanting everyone to admire the tree. She’s holding her beloved “Monkey.” Balan, as usual, on the run, off to find whatever he can climb on, up, over, under, in to . . .They are the children of my son, David, who has an identical twin brother, Stephen. Unexpectedly Quinn and Balan were born on the same birthday as David and Stephen!

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Rosa Parks

pasted-graphic-11pasted-graphic-13Sixty years ago today–Dec. 1, 1955–Rosa Parks refused to move from her bus seat. This bronze and stainless steel, over life-size sculpture by Thomas Jay Warren depicts Rosa Parks sitting on a bus seat. The quotation beside her reads: “You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right.” Rosa Parks (The sculpture is located in Veterans Courthouse, Essex County, NJ.)

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Corpses, Coffins and Crypts: A History of Burial

corpsesMetersOne of the 181 photographs, many of which I took in my book Corpses, Coffins and Crypts: A History of Burial. The caption reads: “Archie A “Binkie” Arnold was a practical joker. He was a plumber by trade. He had nothing to do with parking meters. In fact, he disliked parking meters so much that he refused to put money in them and ended up with a stack of parking tickets. After Arnold’s death in an automobile accident, it was revealed that he had purchased two obsolete parking meters. In his will Arnold requested that the parking meters by painted black, the reading set at Expired, indicating that his time had finally run out, the coin slot welded shut so that no one could change the reading, and the parking meters mounted on either side of his gravestone.” p. 155 The 2015 Reissue of my book includes a Question and Answer and Discussion Questions.

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Mother of Thanksgiving: Sarah Josepha Hale

SaraJosephaHaleSarah Josepha HaleThanksgiving Day has a mother, a proper Victorian women, arguably one of most powerful magazine editors in the mid-1800s–Sarah Josepha Hale, who for forty years ceaselessly campaigned for the establishment of a National Thanksgiving, at a time when Americans had only two national holidays to celebrate: Washington’s birthday in February and the Fourth of July. “These are patriotic and political,” she wrote, “Are not the sounds of war borne on the breezes of those festivals? . . . .Should not the women of America have one festival in whose rejoicings they can fully participate?” Her relentless efforts finally resulted in President Lincoln resuming a precedent established by Presidents Washington, Adams, and Madison of issuing a Proclamation of Thanksgiving, “a day of Thanksgiving and Praise.”  In SarahJosephaHale-212x3001876, the centennial anniversary of the United States, Hale wrote: “It is a holiday especially worthy of our people. All its associations and all its influences are of the best kind. It unites families and friends. It awakens kindly and generous sentiments. It promotes peace and good-will among our mixed population . . .”   As for the origins of Thanksgiving that we celebrate today, they cannot be directly traced to the inspiration of a single historical event, such as the 1621 Pilgrim and Indian feast. The true story involves multiple influences–two very old traditions and the activism of  Sarah Josepha Hale–that were finally officially recognized by an act of Congress in 1941. The Sarah Josepha Hale bobblehead is labeled “Mother of Thanksgiving”  Here’s a link to discussion questions for two of my books: Thanksgiving: The True Story and Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony: A Friendship That Changed the World.

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The Crazy History of Thanksgiving Day Parades: Ragamuffins, Hobos, Scary Masks, and Trick or Treat!

TK interview croppedRecently an “audio engineer” came to my house to interview me for a program on America’s Test Kitchen with host Christopher Kimball. The program aired 11/21/15: Here the description and link:  It’s 50 minutes. I come in at about 16 minutes.

The Crazy History of Thanksgiving Day Parades: Ragamuffins, Hobos, Scary Masks, and Trick or Treat!  November 21, 2015

Before marching bands, character balloons, and reindeer-driven sleighs began parading down 34th street every Thanksgiving Day, there were beggars, cross-dressers and mischief makers. This week we speak with several historians and experts about the raucous Thanksgiving tradition of ragamuffin parades, and how they gave way to the star-studded parade we are accustomed to today. We’ll find out what’s hot and what’s not in the world of kitchen gadgets, and we’ll taste wine with expert Stephen Meuse. Then we’ll head into the test kitchen to uncover the secrets to making the best Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy for a Crowd. And of course, we’ll be taking your calls to answer all of your cooking questions.

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Veterans Day

T-Shirt Military cropThere’s an article in today’s New York Times about a book with “500 T-Shirts” that trace “a vein of Hip-Hop History.” So, I said to Linda, “I have enough women’s history T-Shirts to do a book!” Perhaps I will, but for now I’ll post some of them here. In honor of Veterans Day, here’s one that reads: “Women of the Armed Forces Full Partners in America’s Defense.”  I bought this T-Shirt when I went to the Dedication of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial, Veterans Day, 1993, Washington, DC.  The sleeve reads: “Dedication of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial/ Veterans Day 1993 Washington, D.C. Honoring the Service of Women”  The emblems of the 5 branches of military service: Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard

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Saddest Angel

saddest angel cropAfter the lovely indoor celebration of ECS’s 200th, Linda and I went looking for two women’s graves in Woodlawn Cemetery, I have not yet photographed–Celia Cruz and Gertrude Ederle. That’s when I found this angel statue. For my book “Corpses, Coffins, and Crypts” I visited countless cemeteries & this is the “saddest angel” I’ve seen.

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Happy Birthday Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Happy 200th Birthday–November 12, 205–5513251 to Elizabeth Cady Stanton, author of the Declaration of Sentiments, modeled on the Declaration of Independence an presented at the Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention, 7/19-20, 1848:  It began with: “All men and women are created equal” and end with: “Now, in view of this entire disfranchisement of one-third the people of this country, their social and religious degradation—in view of the unjust laws above mentioned, and because women do feel themselves aggrieved, oppressed, and fraudulently deprived of their most sacred rights, we insist that they have immediate admission to all the rights and privileges which belong to them as citizens of these United States. In entering upon the great work before us, we anticipate no small amount of misconception, misrepresentation, and ridicule; but we shall use every instrumentality within our power to effect our object. We shall employ agents, circulate tracts, petition the State and national Legislatures, and endeavor to enlist the pulpit and the press in our behalf. We hope this Convention will be followed by a series of Conventions, embracing every part of the country.”

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