Famed Female Trail Blazers
I am Woman, Hear me Roar
Women of Substance and Genius
Seneca Falls New York is situated between Rochester and Syracuse. There, at 76 Falls Street, stands “The National Women’s Hall of Fame,” founded in 1969 and appropriately based in the city where the first Women’s Rights Convention was held in 1848.
Throughout the years women have been chosen for induction into the Hall of Fame based upon the value of their contribution to society or specific groups within society, and toward the progress and freedom of women. They are women who have contributed through their ambitions and accomplishments in numerous and varied fields such as, art, science, education, humanities, philanthropy, government, business and athletics. An important basis for induction as well, is the enduring value of these achievements.
There are literally thousands of women who are honored and celebrated within The National Women’s Hall of Fame at Seneca Falls, New York.
Politics: One of three extremely intriguing and highly controversial women I have chosen to introduce to you today is Victoria Woodhill, born Victoria California Claflin, September 23, 1838 in Homer, Ohio.
At the age of 15 Victoria married 28 year old Channing Woodhull, a self-proclaimed Ohio medical Doctor at a time when formal medical education and licensing were not required to practice medicine in that state. Two children and a few years later, painfully aware of Channing’s alcoholism and womanizing, Victoria found it necessary to work outside the home to support her family.
Through sheer determination and her high degree of intelligence, Victoria, along with her sister Tennessee, found themselves the first female brokers on Wall Street where by the way, they made a fortune. These ladies used their money to found a paper, Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly, in publication for six years and notorious for publishing controversial opinions on taboo topics of that era.
Victoria’s experiences with her career on Wall Street as well as with her weekly newspaper, opened up the way for her to attempt to penetrate the all-male world of politics. In 1871 Victoria spoke at the National Woman Suffrage Association’s third annual convention in Washington. Her argument so powerful and logical, she became their revered champion and ultimately a leader of the suffrage movement.
Her fame and notoriety spread and at a time when women still could not vote, she was nominated for President of the United States by the newly formed Equal Rights Party.
The Arts: Elizabeth Marie Tallchief, born in Fairfax, Oklahoma on June 24th. 1925 to a father who was the chief in the Osage Nation and a Scots-Irish mother.
As a child, her love of music and dance, especially ballet, grew into a desire to pursue a career in the arts, despite this dream being a considerable challenge for a Native American child in those days.
Her family moved to Beverly Hills, California in 1933 where “Maria” studied ballet with Bronislava Nijinska for five years.
Maria Tallchief left Los Angeles at the age of 17 to audition in New York city where she joined the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and easily rose to the status of featured soloist. Her performances of utter perfection at the Paris Opera elevated Maria Tallchief to the world stage.
She originated the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy in Balanchine’s version of The Nutcracker Suite". The list of honors bestowed upon Maria throughout her career as Prima Ballerina goes on and on.
She received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1996, and in 1999 was awarded the American National Medal of Arts by the National Endowment of the Arts in Washington D.C. On November 7, 2006, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York presented a special tribute to Maria titled “A Tribute to Ballet Great Maria Tallchief.” In addition to more honors, it is noteworthy that Maria made cameo appearances in Hollywood films as well as feature documentaries. From 1990 to the present day, she has been artistic adviser to Von Heidecke’s Chicago Festival Ballet.
Reading of Maria’s life and dreams, her hard work and dedication in perfecting her talent and love of ballet, tells a story of great inspiration to young women everywhere.
The Sciences: I believe if you look up the word Pioneer or Trailblazer, you’ll surely see a picture of Florence R. Sabin. This is a woman of "Firsts." Born November 9, 1871, in Central City, Colorado, she was an American medical scientist.
Florence was the first woman to graduate from John Hopkins University School of Medicine and the first woman to become a full professor at this same medical college. In 1924 she was elected the first woman president of the American Association of Anatomists and the first lifetime female member of the National Academy of Sciences.
By September 1925 she was head of the Department of Cellular Studies at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in New York City. Her involvement in a Colorado subcommittee on health resulted in the Sabin Health Laws which modernized that state’s public health system.
Shall we ask Florence,"So, What did you do in your spare time?"
The very next opportunity available, I’m on my way to Seneca Falls. Everything you need to know can be found a few taps and a click away. It’s all there...address, phone number, e-mail, admission fee (Seniors $1.50 !) hours of operation and directions.
Hope to see you there!!