July 25th in (Feminist) History

800px-margaret_floy_washburnOn this day in 1871 was the birth of Margaret Floy Washburn, a leading psychologist known for her work in motor theory development and animal behavior, and the first woman to earn a PHD in Psychology. Margaret was born in New York City to a father who was an Episcopal priest, and mother from a prosperous local family. Margaret was an only child, raised in Harlem until her family moved to Ulster County when she was nine. She graduated high school in 1886 and entered Vassar College that fall, at the age of sixteen. It was during her years at Vassar that she was first exposed to the field of psychology, though she also developed an interest in philosophy.

It wasn’t until after she graduated Vassar in 1891 that she attempted to begin her studies in Psychology, by applying to Columbia University’s new psychological lab. She was only admitted as an auditor however, because Columbia had not yet admitted a female graduate student. Eventually, at the encouragement of the head of the Columbia program, she attended Cornell University’s Sage School of Philosophy, where she entered into an experimental study of “the methods of equivalences in tactual perception”, which lead to her earning her Master’s degree in absentia from Vassar College. Then, in June of 1892, she gave an oral presentation of her master’s thesis on a similar subject: the influence of visual imagery on judging direction and tactual distance. As a result, she became the first woman to receive a PhD in psychology, and was elected to the new American Psychology Association. (Mary Calkins was the first woman to try to earn the same degree, only to be denied because she was a woman.)

Margaret would spend the next six years as the Chair of Psychology, Philosophy, and Ethics at Wells College in New York, before moving on to spend two years as the warden at Sage College of Cornell University, and then assistant professor of Psychology at the University of Cincinnati. Her final job was as Associate Professor of Philosophy at Vassar College, where she stayed until her stroke in 1937 required her to retire.

During her career she was integral to the development of psychology as a field over all. Part of her experiments and studies involved animal behavior, and the idea that their mental events were both legitimate and important; at the time, psychologists believed that mental behaviors and events were not observable and as such couldn’t be studied scientifically. She also studied motor theory, presenting her complete theory on the topic in Movement and Mental Imagery in 1916. During the 1920s she continued to study and collect data on the topic, pulling in ideas from numerous fields beyond psychology, and numerous experiments beyond the United States. She worked as an editor for numerous Psychological journals during her career, and was the first woman psychologist elected to the National Academy of Sciences, in 1932. Having never married because she chose instead to focus on her career (and taking care of her parents), she died in 1939, having never recovered from the stroke that forced her retirement two years earlier. 


July 22nd in (Feminist) History

emma_lazarusOn this day in 1849 was the birth of Emma Lazarus, a poet best known for her sonnet, which is inscribed on a bronze plaque on the pedestal of the Status of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

She was born into a Sephardic-Ashkenazi Jewish family, the fourth of seven children. Her father’s side of the family were recent immigrants from Germany and her mother’s side was originally from Portugal but had been in New York since before the American Revolution. In fact, her maternal great-great grandmother was also a poet; Grace Seizas Nathan. Emma studied avidly from a young age, not just British and American literature but also several languages including Italian, French, and German.

Emma was known both for her own writings, and her adaptations of German poems, especially those of Heinrich Heine and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Of course, she also wrote many poems of her own, as well as other works, including a novel and two plays. Her first play was The Spagnoletto, a tragic verse drama, and her second was The Dance to Death, which was a dramatic adaptation of a German short story about the Jews who were burned in Nordhausen during the Black Death. 

After the Russian pograms in the 1880s, she began to write articles on the emigration of Ashkenazi Jews fleeing the violence, as well as a book called Songs of the Semite. She also became an outspoken advocate for Jewish refugees, and helped establish the Hebrew Technical Institute, which was a school that provided vocational training to Jewish immigrants who wanted to become self-sufficient. One of her other best-known poems is a poem called “Epochs“; which is actually a “cycle poem” in sixteen parts. She also traveled Europe twice in her life time, and it was after one of those trips that she fell ill and returned home, dying two months later in November of 1887, at the age of only 38.

Her well-known poem “The New Colossus”, was written for an action to raise funds for the Statue of Liberty pedestal, and eventually inscribed upon it in 1903, 16 years after her death. It seems even more fitting today to include this poem in full: 

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

July 21st in (Feminist) History

screenshot2012-02-18at1-26-55pmOn this day in 1565, Elizabeth Key Grinstead became one of the first black women in the U.S. colonies to sue for freedom from slavery and win; not only for herself but for her infant son. She was born in Virginia in 1630; her mother was a black slave, but her father was Thomas Key, a white Englishman and planter who was also a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses. His paternity was officially confirmed in 1636, when Thomas Key was brought to court and charged with fathering Elizabeth. This was often done at the time to force fathers to pay for their illegitimate children.

Thomas originally denied paternity but witnesses testified and eventually he was declared the father. He had Elizabeth baptized in the Church of England, and then put her in the custody of a man named Humphrey Higginson. The custody was actually a 9-year indenture, and the original agreement was that by the time it finished she would be 15 and “of age”, and as such would be considered freed. What happened instead was that Higginson either transferred or sold her indenture to another man, Col. John Mottram, who took her to the undeveloped Northumberland County. Her father having died in 1936, there was no one to enforce the agreement on her behalf. Little is known about her life from this time except that she lived on Mottram’s plantation and began a relationship with William Grinstead, a 16-year old young lawyer who was also an indentured servant. (It was popular at the time to pay for passage to the colonies by becoming an indentured servant for a length of time.) Because of their statuses as indentured servants, they could not marry.

Trouble came after the birth of their son, John. Shortly after his birth, Mottram died and the overseers declared both Elizabeth and her son as “Negroes”. This meant that because they were black, they were basically slaves and part of the estate assets. With William as her attorney, Elizabeth sued the estate with the claim that she was in fact a free woman, with a freeborn son. At the time of the case she was 25 years old, which meant that she had actually been a servant for 19 years– well beyond the original 9 year indenture agreement. More important to the idea of social status at the time, though, was “English subjecthood”, because children who were born to English parents outside of the country became England subjects at birth, or could become naturalized subjects. This wasn’t so easy, however, when only one of the parents were British.

In her case, Elizabeth played up the fact that her father had been an English subject, and had witnesses testify that Thomas Kaye had been her father. Based on the proven paternity and common law, the Court gave Elizabeth her freedom. However, Mottram’s estate appealed the decision and the General Court overturned it, ruling Elizabeth was a slave because of her mother. Elizabeth didn’t give up, however. With the help of William again, the case went on to the Virginia General Assembly, where a committee sent it back to the courts for a retrial.

In the end, she won on three counts, including English common law (her father’s status), her father’s wishes, and  her own status as a practicing Christian; other cases had shown that black Christians could not be kept in servitude for their entire lives. The court not only declared her and her son free, but also ordered Mottram’s estate to give Elizabeth corn and clothing as compensation for the years she had lost. Once William was no longer indentured they married. It was one of the few recorded interracial marriages of the seventeenth century. A large number of their known descendants exist, the most well-known of which is Johnny Depp; Elizabeth was his eighth great-grandmother. (Frankly I imagine she’d be disappointed.)

Unfortunately, rather than sparking change for the better, Elizabeth’s case lead to a law being passed in Virginia (and other English colonies and later American states) stating that the status of children was determined by that of their mother, not their father. This meant that the large number of children born to slave mothers from their white owners would not be able to take the same route that Elizabeth had to earn their freedom; at least, not until the abolishing of slavery over 200 years later.

July 20th in (Feminist) History

Helen Thomas with Pad and PencilOn this day in 2013 was the death of Helen Thomas, an American journalist and member of the White House press corp, who covered 11 U.S. presidents, from Eisenhower to Obama. She was born in Kentucky in 1920, to parents who were immigrants from Tripoli (which at the time was part of the Ottoman Empire and later became Lebanon); they had nine children total, and she was the seventh. Helen was raised mostly in Detroit, where she faced racism from a young age, by fellow students who teased her for her heritage. As a result, she became a believer in the idea of everyone in the U.S. as “Americans”, believing that hyphenated ethnicities (like “Arab-American”, in her case) were only “trends that ever try to divide us as a people”, and that “assimilated immigrants should not be designated ethnically. Or separated, of course, by race, or creed either”.

It was in high school that she decided she wanted to be a journalist, and she pursued that goal with a bachelor’s degree from Wayne University, in Detroit. After college she moved to Washington D.C., and began her career in journalism as a copy girl for the former Washington Daily News, only to be fired after joining her colleagues on a strike. Her career progressed as she began working with the United Press, first on their radio wire service, then to cover their Names in the News column in Washington, and then on to cover the U.S. Dept. of Justice before she was eventually being assigned other agencies, including Capitol Hill and the U.S. Dept. of Health. She came up against the National Press Club several times, pushing at their ban against women members; in time, she would become their first female officer ever.

It was in 1960 that she began covering President-elect John F. Kennedy and the end of the Eisenhower administration, and she officially became the UPI’s White House correspondent in January of 1961. In time she became known as the “Sitting Buddha” and the “First Lady of the Press”, known for her blunt, forceful questions and her stubbornness in getting a response. Fidel Castro was once said to have responded to a tough question from a reporter by saying “I don’t have to answer questions from Helen Thomas”, a response Helen thought was “the height of flattery”. It was Helen who convinced President Kennedy to combined the annual correspondence dinners so that men and women could attend; previously they were separated, and at Helen’s request JFK refused to attend if they weren’t merged.

Her accomplishments included being UPI’s first female chief White House correspondent, a post she held for 25 years. She was also the only female print journalist to travel with Nixon to China, the first female member (and president) of the White House Correspondents’ Association, and the first female member of the Gridiron Club. She was the only member of the White House Press Corps to ever have her own seat in the Briefing Room; all others are assigned to media outlets. After leaving her job at the UPI for Hearst Newspapers she became much more outspoken, which got her into a bit of trouble at times. She once remarked on that in a speech, “I censored myself for 50 years when I was a reporter. Now I wake up and ask myself, ‘Who do I hate today?'” Regardless, she went on to cover eleven presidential administrations in total, ending with Barack Obama’s second year in office. During his first news conference ever, he called on Helen and said, “”Helen. I’m excited, this is my inaugural moment,” and he once brought her cupcakes in the press room for her 89th birthday, despite the fact that Helen frequently complained about his administration’s control over the press. 

After controversy towards the end of her career regarding her outspoken personal opinions towards Israel and Palestine, she resigned from covering the White House. The controversy included accusations of antisemitism, though she was really more anti-Zionist; Helen did not necessarily say anything offensive about Jewish people, but she was a supporter of Palestine and Palestinians. Despite the controversy, she went on to continue both speaking and writing a column. Helen died at the age of 92 at her home, and upon her death, President Obama remarked, “she never failed to keep presidents—myself included—on their toes.” 

July 19th in (Feminist) History

call-to-sf-convention-seneca-county-courier-july-11-1848smallOn this day in 1848, the two day Women’s Rights Convention opened in Seneca Falls. The Convention itself might have been overwhelmingly white, to the point that the only African American in attendance was Frederick Douglass (a man), but it was nonetheless the first ever women’s rights convention and a monumental occasion. The meeting was organized by a group of local female Quakers, along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and they planned the meeting to take advantage of Lucretia Mott’s visit to the area and have her speak at the convention.

The convention included six sessions: a law lecture, a humorous presentation, and several discussions about the role of women in society. The numerous speakers included Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and Elizabeth W. M’Clintock.Two documents were presented, prepared in advance by Stanton and the Quaker women. These included the Declaration of Sentiments, as well as a related list of resolutions that they intended to be discussed, edited, and signed. The meeting included a large debate over these resolutions, most notably over women’s right to vote, which was almost left out. Thankfully it was included, due in large part to the support of Frederick Douglass, who said that as a black man, he could not accept the right to vote if that right were not also given to women, and went on to speak powerfully, “In this denial of the right to participate in government, not merely the degradation of woman and the perpetuation of a great injustice happens, but the maiming and repudiation of one-half of the moral and intellectual power of the government of the world.”  In the end, 100 of the convention’s 300 attendants signed the document; the signatories were about 60% women and 40% men.

The Declaration itself begins by referencing the Declaration of Independence, and then goes on to state in part:  “The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpation on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her.” What follows is a list of the “sentiments”, aka the facts submitted to show the tyranny of man over women. They included lines such as the following:

  • He has made her, if married, in the eye of the law, civilly dead.
  • He has taken from her all right in property, even to the wages she earns.
  • He has made her morally, an irresponsible being, as she can commit many crimes with impunity, provided they be done in the presence of her husband. In the covenant of marriage, she is compelled to promise obedience to her husband, he becoming, to all intents and purposes, her master—the law giving him power to deprive her of her liberty, and to administer chastisement

The meeting closed with the appointing of a committee to publish the proceedings of the convention. Many people, including Stanton, saw this meeting of women and their supporters to be the beginning of the women’s rights movement. Afterwards, the Declaration of Sentiments debated and signed there was said to become one of the “the single most important factor in spreading news of the women’s rights movement around the country in 1848 and into the future”.

July 18th in (Feminist) History

CaptureOn this day in 1900 was the birth of
Nathalie Sarraute, a Russian-born Jewish lawyer and writer who lived and practiced law in France, but was forced to quit practicing law due to her religion. She was born Natalia Ilinichna Tcherniak in Ivanovo, Russia, the daughter of Pauline (a writer) and Ilya (a chemist). After the divorce of her parents, she spent much of her life traveling between Russia and France, but in 1909 she moved full time to Paris with her father.

Nathalie studied at the Sorbonne, with a focus on law and literature; she was especially interested in contemporary literature and was influenced by Virginia Woolf and Marcel Proust. She went on to study history at Oxford, and sociology at a school in Berlin, before she eventually became a lawyer when she passed the bar exam in France. She married Raymond Sarraute, a fellow lawyer, in 1925 and eventually they had three daughters together.

At first she both practiced law and worked on her writing; her first book, Tropismes, was written in 1932 and published in 1939; it was a series of memories and brief sketches, an early example of the usual style and tone of her work. Unfortunately, the advent of World War II changed the direction of her life rather drastically. In 1941 she was barred from working as a lawyer due to the anti-Jewish laws of the Vichy regime; the “French state” which ruled after France had been defeated, and collaborated with Nazi Germany. Nathalie went into hiding for her safety and even attempted during that time to divorce her husband to protect him from persecution. This never went through, however,  and they remained together in the end.

Following the war, she focused entirely on her writing and wrote several books, including her most popular, which is Portrait of a Man Unknown in 1948. It was referred to by Jean-Paul Sartre as an “anti-novel” and along with her follow-up, Martereau, was highly praised in literary circles, though it did not do as well with the public. She is also well known for her essay, L’Ère du soupçon (The Age of Suspicion), in 1956, which was a prominent manifesto for the “nouveau roman literary movement”. As a result, Nathalie became one of the prime figures of this movement and trend in writing (which aimed towards changing the traditional narrative models), along with others like Claude Simon, Michel Butor, Robbe-Grillet, and Marguerite Duras. In 1963, she won the Prix international de litterature for her novel The Golden Fruits, and that same year she began writing plays; eventually she would write seven in total, including Le Silence, Le Mensonge, and Elle est la. 

Nathalie died in Paris, France in 1999, at the age of 99. Her novels have been translated into more than 30 languages, despite the “difficulty” attributed to her experimental style. 

July 16th in (Feminist) History

800px-mary_garrity_-_ida_b-_wells-barnett_-_google_art_project_-_restoration_cropOn this day in 1862 was the birth of Ida B. Wells, an African-American suffragist, feminist, journalist, and newspaper editor, who was known for being a leader in the early Civil Rights Movement, as well as a co-founder of the NAACP. One of eight children, she was born into slavery in Mississippi, just a few months before the Emancipation Proclamation. Following the Civil War, her father became involved in politics and campaigning for local black candidates. Ida later attended the same school as he did, Shaw University, only she was expelled for “rebellious behavior” after a confrontation with the college president.

She had gone to visit her grandmother when, at just 16 years old,  she received the news that the yellow fever had struck and killed both her parents and her baby brother. When their relatives tried to split them up, however, Ida protested. She got work as a teacher at a black elementary school so she could keep them together; she did her best despite the fact that she was paid only $30 a month, while white teachers were paid $80 a month. It was this experience with discrimination that fueled an already present interest in racism and politics. She continued working, and educated herself by taking classes in her spare time at Fisk University.

In 1884, she gained publicity when she refused to give up her seat in the train’s first-class ladies car. She eventually sued the railroad and won, even after her lawyer was paid off by the railroad company and she had to hire a second one. She won $500, but the train company eventually appealed to the Tennessee Supreme Court, who reversed the original court ruling. They actually stated that her only reason for filing the original case was to “harass” the train company and that she should have just tried to find a comfortable seat for the short ride, rather than arguing. She was made to pay the court costs after losing, and responded to the ruling by saying: “I felt so disappointed because I had hoped such great things from my suit for my people…O God, is there no…justice in this land for us?”

Ida continued teaching, but began to write for the Evening Star in D.C., as well as the weekly newspaper The Living Way. She also edited and co-owned Free Speech and Headlight, which was an anti-segregation newspaper that published pieces on racism and injustice. Ida was known for writing the truth about the struggles faced by black people, including incidents involving lunch mobs in Memphis where her writing contributed to 6,000 black citizens fleeing the city to move away. It was following this initial writing that she began to research and document lynchings and delved into investigative journalism, speaking of the issues at black women’s clubs to earn more money to investigate them.

Ida would go on to publish numerous articles and pamphlets about the subject of lynching, and display the way it was not actually a result of criminal acts by black people but rather an attempt to punish and control them by white people. She also supported the suffrage movement, and eventually co-founded the NAACP; though her name was originally left off the list of founders, according to Ida, this was due to W. E. B. Du Bois excluding her purposefully, as they were occasional “rivals” in journalism. She also eventually founded the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs, and the National Afro-American Council.

Ida married her attorney in 1895; according to her diaries she chose her relationships (and thus her husband) based on how they got along mentally rather than involving anything to do with romance or physical relationships, though they did eventually have four children. She was one of the first American women to keep her own name and take her husband’s. She died in 1931 at the age of 68, of kidney failure. She never finished the autobiography she had been writing at the time.

July 15th in (Feminist) History

800px-susan_jocelyn_bell_28burnell292c_1967On this day in 1943 was the birth of Dame Susan Jocelyn Bell Burnell, a Northern Irish astrophysicist who was known for discovering the first radio pulsars, though credit– and the Nobel prize– went instead to her (male) mentor and his (male) colleague. She was born in Lurgan, County Armagh, Northern Ireland, and discovered astronomy through the books of her father, who had been one of the architects that designed the Armagh Planetarium. As a girl she was not allowed to study science, until her parents joined others in protesting the school policy to allow girls to take more than just cooking and cross-stitching.

Jocelyn eventually went to the Mount School in York, then graduated from the University of Glasgow with a BS in Natural Philosophy, followed by the University of Cambridge where she earned a Ph.D. in 1969. At Cambridge, she attended New Hall, and began to work with Antony Hewish, helping to build a radio telescope to study quasars using interplanetary scintillation. It was while studying her chart-recorder papers that she noticed some “scruff”, which she eventually figured out was a signal that was pulsing regularly. Essentially, Jocelyn was the first to discover– or at least notice– radio pulsars. The actual object she was listening to would later be identified as a rapidly rotating neutron star (PSR B1919+21).

Though it was Jocelyn who found and analyzed the pulsars, she didn’t get full credit. When the paper was published it was Hewish’s name that was first, and Jocelyn Bell’s second; and when the Nobel Prize was awarded it did not go to her at all. Instead, it went to Hewish and his colleague Martin Ryle– to the exclusion of Jocelyn. Later, Jocelyn would state that Hewish hadn’t even believed the discovery at first, claiming that it was man-made interference rather than pulsars. Regardless, she nobly claimed not to be upset about not having won the prize, stating: “I believe it would demean Nobel Prizes if they were awarded to research students, except in very exceptional cases, and I do not believe this is one of them.”

Dame Bell Burnell has been as active Quaker for much of her life, and has given lectures on the subject, as well as on relating scientific knowledge to the bible and her faith. She was married once and divorced, but has a son who is an Associate Professor in Condensed Matter Physics at the University of Leeds. Jocelyn herself is still alive today and is currently a Fellow of Mansfield College and a Visiting Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Oxford.

July 14th in (Feminist) History

32045167-51a08892-640On this day in 1925 was the birth of Sheila Guyse, an African-American actress and singer who was known for her performances in several all-black films (at the time were known as “race films”). Sheila was born in Forest, Mississippi, and later moved to New York City with her parents, where she worked at a store right across from the Apollo Theatre. According to her daughter, she also lived for some time in a Harlem rooming house with Billie Holiday.

She began her career in show business when she started performing in amateur shows and won an amateur contest at the Apollo Theater. Eventually, she debuted at a nightclub named Club Zombie, in Detroit in 1945. In her short time in Hollywood, she starred in three independent all-Black films (“race films”) they included: Boy! What a Girl! In 1947, Sepia Cinderella in 1947, and Miracle in Harlem in 1948.  In “Sepia Cinderella”, said to be her best role, she played a girl next door who is overlooked at first by the love interest, a musician played by singer Billy Daniels.

Though not a trained actress, she was said to have a lot of natural talent. She debuted on Broadway in 1945 with Memphis Bound, opposite Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, and later appeared on Broadway in both Finian’s Rainbow and Lost in the Stars, which won an Outer Circle Critics Award. She was said to have a beautiful singing voice, and was on the cast recordings for both those productions. She also released an album of standards called “This is Sheila”, released by MGM Records in 1958, a decade after her biggest period of popularity.

guyse-1-obit-1-master1050-v2She was often compared to Dorothy Dandridge, a popular black actress at the time. Sheila was said to be more talented, but was never given the same opportunities in Hollywood.  She was married three times; her second husband, Kenneth Davis, was a white dancer and they were featured in the magazine Jet, in an article called “Negro Women with White Husbands”. It was with her third husband—a NY sanitation worker who used to follow her in his garbage truck– that she had two children. It was also after marrying him that she stopped performing, as he did not want her to have a career. She became involved with religion, and they remained together until his death in 2012. She died herself in 2013, at the age of 88, from complications with Alzheimer’s.

July 13th in (Feminist) History

marie_equi_281872-195229On this day in 1952 was the death of Marie Equi, a suffragist, lesbian, labor activist, and American physician who provided birth control and abortions at a time when both were illegal. She was born in 1872 in New Bedford, Massachusetts; the youngest of five daughters, born to an Italian immigrant and an Irish immigrant. She attended high school for one year before the dread of her impending future working in the mills lead her to escape with her high school girlfriend (Bessie Holcomb) to an Oregon homestead.

In a time when same-sex affairs were rarely discussed as anything more than “romantic friendships” (or “Boston Marriages”, if you were a wealthy or professional woman) Marie lived with Bessie as “companions” in a small homestead, where Bessie taught at the Wasco Independent Academy. Their life there was relatively quiet, although that wasn’t always the case. Marie caused a stir once, when the superintendent at Bessie’s job refused to pay her for her work, and Marie caught him outside his office and horsewhipped him– to the applause of the people of the town, who viewed him as a crook. (A raffle was held later over the same whip and the money was given to Marie and Bessie).

In 1897 they moved together to San Francisco, where Marie studied medicine first at Physicians & Surgeons Medical College, and then at the University of California. Her relationship ended around 1901, however, and in 1903 Marie moved alone to Portland, Oregon, to complete her studies at the University of Oregon Medical Department. It was there, in Portland, that she met Harriet Speckart, the woman who she would have a long relationship with for over a decade. This relationship, though not legally a marriage due to the laws at the time, eventually involved them adopting and raising a child together in an early and rare (for the times) example of a publicly same-sex family.

Marie was one of the first sixty women to become a doctor in Oregon, eventually starting a general practice in Portland in 1905; though her focus was on women and children, she also had male patients. Following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, she became more widely known as a physician when she joined group of health professionals who traveled there to care for the injured. She received a commendation from the army for her involvement, and was also praised by the Governor of California, and the Mayor of San Francisco.

Marie began providing abortions sometime around 1905-1915, not only despite the ban against it, but regardless of the status (social class, etc) of her patients. She would charge her wealthy clients more, because it allowed her to cover the costs for her less well-off patients. Though she never faced any legal consequences for her work performing abortions –nor as a member of Portland’s Birth Control League, where she helped distribute birth control information at a time when that was also illegal– she was technically arrested alongside Margaret Sanger (who she is said to have had a sexual relationship with) and others in 1916. They were brought in for distributing Sanger’s booklet on birth control, but Marie was charged no fines and continued her work after being released.

Marie went on to campaign for women’s right to vote, and celebrated when they gained that right in 1912. Over time, her politics became what was considered more ‘radical’ at the time, as she began supporting striking workers. In 1913 she joined a group of cannery workers (who were mostly women) protesting poor working conditions and wages (only 5-8 cents an hour) in east Portland. She went on strike with them and joined the protest, becoming a leader of the strike due to her status. The picketing line was eventually stormed by police; when one of them dragged away a pregnant woman, Marie became furious in response and ended up being clubbed over the head by another officer. The strike eventually ended, but it was the police brutality (along with the unsatisfactory results) that resulted in a radicalization of her beliefs. In time, she eventually becoming a voice in the Portland unemployment crisis of 1913-1914, regularly joining marches and calling herself a Radical Socialist as well as an anarchist.

During WWI, she protested against the war efforts, seeing them as an effort for capitalists to gain profits and for the government to indulge their imperialism. She spoke out with her objections the war, and was eventually arrested as a “threat to national security” under the newly revised Espionage Act. She was charged and, dspite her appeals, was convicted to three years; a sentence later commuted to a year and a day by President Wilson. She served her sentence in San Quentin State Prison at the age of 48, the only political prisoner among a group of inmates serving sentences for theft, homicide, and performing abortions. In time, she eventually earned a reduced sentence for good behavior and left after serving 10 months. She continued her medical practice, but lead a quieter life, living with both her daughter and IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) leader Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, who would eventually go on to be a national leader of the Communist Party USA. After Flynn returned to the East, and her daughter eloped, Marie’s life grew even quieter and eventually she became more ill. She was eventually moved to a nursing home and died in 1952 at the age of 80.