March is Women's History Month. What could present a better opportunity for Monday Muse to ask:
Did You Know. . . .
✦ Famed essayist, novelist, short story writer, poet, and painter Annie Dillard keeps written lists of the books she reads. She's written down every title since 1964. Diaries filled with little more than the books' names are deposited at Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University. (John Freeman, "Such Great Heights", Poets & Writers Magazine, March/April 2016)
Read about Diana Saverin's peek into the Dillard archives in "The Thoreau of the Suburbs", The Atlantic, February 5, 2015.
Dillard's latest collection of new and "old" narrative essays, The Abundance (Ecco Press/HarperCollins), is scheduled for release on March 15.
✦ While head of the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage, Alice H. Wadsworth declared that the proposed (and subsequently ratified) 19th Amendment "would be an official endorsement of nagging as a national policy." Wadsworth's memorial to congressman Charles E. Fuller arguing against the proposed 19th Amendment can be found online at the National Archives.
✦ African-American Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin (1842-1924) edited Women's Era, the first newspaper published by and for African-American women. In addition to being a publisher and editor, St. Pierre Ruffin was a journalist, civil rights leader, and suffragist. (See image to right.)
✦ Nancy Alene Hicks Maynard (1946-2008) was among the first African-American women to report for The New York Times. She and her husband owned and published The Oakland Tribune.
✦ The National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, maintains a Website titled Places Where Women Made History in New York and Massachusetts. In addition to interactive maps, the site features photographs, descriptions of the locations' significance to women's history, and essays on the women's achievements. One example: Maria Mitchell (1818-1889) was "the first person to record a comet sighting in America."
✦ Among other accomplishments, Blanche Ames Ames (1878-1969) received a patent for a water anti-pollution device, designed a hexagonal lumber cutter, and illustrated the seven-volume treatise on orchids produced by her husband Oakes Ames. The Ames Family Papers are in the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College in Massachusetts. The 1,200-acre Ames estate, Borderland, in North Easton, Massachusetts, is a state park.
✦ Elizabeth Shippen Green (1871-1954), who was awarded an exclusive contract as illustrator for Harper's Monthly in 1901, was one of "The Red Rose Girls" (the others were Jessie Willcox Smith and Violet Oakley) who were singled out for their artistic talents. See an online exhibition of Green's illustrations.
✦ Last week, on March 1, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C., launched a social media campaign, "Can you name five women artists?", to call attention to the gender imbalance in art. To take part, use the hashtag #5womenartists when you're on FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms and share what you know about women in visual art. (Tip: To get started, check my Artist Watch columns at Escape Into Life.)