Archive for May, 2013

Happy Mother’s Day from NWHM!

May 12th, 2013

The National Women’s History Museum wishes mothers everywhere a very happy Mother’s Day! On the second Sunday in May, people all over the country honor their mothers with chocolates, flowers, and cards. Mother’s Day is especially important to NWHM as it served as a jumping off point more than a decade ago for our Museum. Our first project—to move the Suffrage Statue (Portrait Monument) out of the Crypt into the U. S. Capitol Rotunda—came to fruition on Mother’s Day 1997.

NWHM honors Mother’s Day, every day, 365 days a year.  One of our exhibits, “Profiles In Motherhood,” is unique and a preview of a future exhibit in the physical Museum that will be focused on “Everyday Women.” Take a look at one of the profiles featured in the exhibit from our Bill Sponsor, Rep. Carolyn Maloney:

“When I got the news in 1980 that I was pregnant with my first child, my first reaction was joy that I was about to become a mother. My second reaction was fear that my career might never be the same. There were two major questions: Should I quit my job to take care of my child full-time, and would my employer give me any choice? Read the rest of this entry »

Mother’s Day Give Away: Altruette Charm Bracelets

May 10th, 2013

By: Sydnee C. Winston, Project Coordinator

There are two things that have always been near and dear to Julie Schlosser’s heart—charities and charms. Her mom had a special charm bracelet that Julie admired throughout her childhood. And Julie was always inspired by her mom’s work helping others and wanted to do more herself. That’s why she and her colleague Lee Clifford founded Altruette Charm Bracelets, a company that champions philanthropy by designing beautiful jewelry to raise money for causes that they believe in.

Since 2009, the company has been using its jewelry (charms, bracelets and necklaces) to tell stories about the important work that people are doing to improve our world and make positive changes in people’s lives. There’s a Christmas tree charm for Toys For Tots, a baby buggy charm for Embrace, a house charm for Architecture for Humanity, and many more. When someone makes a purchase, 50% of the net profit from the sale of Altruette’s charms goes to its cause partners. For sales on its website, they donate $15 per charm for women’s gold and silver charms, and $1 per charm for girls charms to the causes they represent.

When Altruette approached us to be one of the many causes that it supports, we were both excited and humbled. The company has created a special charm for the Museum, a key, which symbolizes our ongoing work to build a permanent home for women’s history on the national mall and the key to opening the physical building.

I had an interview with Julie last month to talk about her work with the company and why they chose to support the Museum.

“It’s important to help causes of different sizes and get in front of people who you’ve not heard of them,” she said. “A friend of mine called to tell me about the Museum and the importance of building it. I didn’t need much convincing when I learned about the NWHM’s mission and goals. I identified with the role of women especially having covering women in business for many years. It just made sense.”

Before founding Altruette, both Julie and Lee worked as journalists at Fortune Magazine in New York City. As they explain on their website, “the best part about our jobs was tapping into the energy and optimism of the people we covered: entrepreneurs, philanthropists and radical thinkers who were trying to change the world for the better. We couldn’t help but be inspired.”

As a special Mother’s Day give away, the ladies at Altruette are donating one of their silver Key Charms that honors the Museum on an Altruette “Ellie” bracelet. (The “Ellie” bracelet is named to honor Julie’s mom.) We will be posting a short mother’s day quiz on our Facebook page at 11am (EST). Make sure to tune in on Sunday, May 12th to play. The prize is one of these wonderful bracelets!

NWHM is both inspired and grateful to Altruette for its support of our work. We thank them for their helping to spread the word about the need for a permanent home for women’s history.

#Foodie Friday: Women, Food & the Jazz Age

May 10th, 2013

By: Sydnee C. Winston, Project Coordinator

Photo: Library of Congress

There’s been a whole lot of jazz about the Jazz Age lately. With all the buzz over the recent release of The Great Gatsby, it seems that this high-rollin’, party loving, decadent era in our nation’s past has officially been resurrected! So we decided to join the celebration and focus this week’s Foodie Friday post on what women were cooking, eating and serving their families in the roaring 20s.

Read the rest of this entry »

#Throwback Thursday: American Women on Bikes

May 9th, 2013

By: Sydnee C. Winston, Project Coordinator

Photo Courtesy Library of Congress

It’s #Throwback Thursday at NWHM and today we’re paying homage to the bicycle. May is National Bicycle Month and we thought it would be fun to highlight some the ways that this zippy invention has historically impacted the lives of American women. So what do bikes have to do with women?  It turns out  that they had a revolutionary impact on the women’s movement of the early 20th century. Here are some interesting facts:

Fact #1: The origins of the bicycle are shrouded in mystery—it’s very difficult to attribute just one person to its invention. But on June 26, 1819, W. K. Clarkson, Jr. of New York received a patent for a velocipede (a human-powered land vehicle with one or more wheels), and beginning in the 1860s Americans, both men and women, began to show an interest in the contraption. Read the rest of this entry »

Historical Women Who Rocked: Katherine Siva Saubel

May 6th, 2013

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Katherine Siva Saubel was a member of the Cahuilla Indian tribe of California and one of the last speakers of the Cahuilla language.  As a child, Saubel attended a public school where she was told to speak only in English and saw other Native American children beaten for speaking their native language.  Though she witnessed the firsthand affects of not abandoning her background, she felt it was important to preserve the Cahuilla language and she spent a lifetime ensuring her culture was not erased from history. Read the rest of this entry »

#Foodie Friday: To Grill or Not to Grill?

May 3rd, 2013

By: Sydnee C. Winston, Project Coordinator

Spring has officially sprung and has brought along many traditions—cherry blossom festivities, planning vacations and barbecuing. May is national barbecue month and I for one can’t wait to dust off the ol’ grill and toss a few steaks on.

But as much as I love down home barbecue as much as a next person, the image of me, a woman, outside grilling might raise some eyebrows. Grilling, even today is still considered to be a largely male pursuit and is a remaining bastion of stereotyped gender roles for women and men: “women cook, men grill.”

The stereotype is so pervasive that the Land O’ Lakes Company recently released a press release that probed this mysterious “female grilling phobia.” According to a study commissioned by the company, “more than 84 percent of women would be at least a little nervous or afraid to use the barbecue grill on their own.” Read the rest of this entry »

#ThrowbackThursday: Battle of the Sexes

May 2nd, 2013

By Elissa Blattman, NWHM Intern

This May marks the 40th anniversary of the original Battle of the Sexes tennis match between Bobby Riggs and one of the top two female tennis players in the game at the time…Margaret Court?  Today, many people are not aware that Riggs played another woman before Billie Jean King, but he did.

In 1973, Riggs, a 55 year old former tennis champion and self proclaimed “tennis hustler,” believed he could make money off challenging a female tennis player at the top of her game to a match.  Riggs regularly made bets and used gimmicks in challenging other players, such as adding chairs as obstacles and targets to his side of the court and holding a dog on a leash while playing.  He began making comments in the media along the lines of, “girls play a nice game of tennis…for girls” and “we’re going to put those women right back where they belong, like they used to be…around the house.  They were home builders.  They didn’t try go out and get the man’s job away from them.  And now when they can’t even do it half as good, they still want the same money.”  Riggs challenged King, the other half of the top two female players at the time, to be the woman to take him on.  King declined, so Court stepped up to the plate.  Riggs and Court faced off on Mother’s Day, 1973 in a match that received a moderate amount of publicity and fanfare.  Court’s nerves apparently got the best of her during the match, and she ended up losing quite badly.  After his victory over Court, Bobby Riggs found himself on the covers of Time and Sports Illustrated magazines.

Billie Jean King was a well known tennis great by the time Riggs first challenged her, having won many tournaments and receiving many awards and accolades.  In the early 1970s, she began playing on the newly established Virginia Slims tour, the first professional women’s tennis tour.  The Virginia Slims tour struggled to receive support in the world of tennis during its early years.  When Court lost to Riggs, King felt she needed to redeem women’s tennis and do something to keep the Virginia Slims tour alive.  She accepted Riggs’ $100,000 challenge.

After a media circus that included press conferences and a 60 Minutes promotional appearance by Riggs, Riggs and King faced off at the Astrodome in Houston, Texas on September 20, 1973.  Unlike the Riggs vs Court match, this match drew in over 50 million television viewers in the United States alone.  The atmosphere inside the Astrodome, which was filled with over 30,000 people, started out much like a circus as well.  King was carried onto the court like Cleopatra by the male track team of Rice University.  Riggs entered the court in a rickshaw pulled by models he called “Bobby’s Bosom Buddies.”  Riggs wore a warmup jacket that said, “Sugar Daddy.”  King gave him a baby pig to represent his chauvinistic views, much like the one drawn on his shirt on the Time cover.  Once the match got underway, though, the circus-like air died down.  King won the first set and received a standing ovation from the women in the Astrodome.  Howard Cosell, who was leading the commentary of the match, stated that many women watching at home must have done the same.  King won the next two sets to beat Riggs in the best of five sets match with 6-4, 6-3, and 6-3 final scores.

The significance of King beating Riggs went beyond the single match they played on that September night in 1973.  Signed into law the year before, Title IX provided more opportunities for women in sports, however, the men of sports were not always open to letting women into their arena.  King proved that a woman could play a sport at the same professional level as a man, and even beat him at his game – women’s tennis was decided in best of three sets matches, while men’s tennis and the match King played against Riggs were decided on a best out of five basis.  Billie Jean King has since become a proponent of Title IX and its importance to female athletes in the United States.

Watch below the first of five parts of an ESPN Classic interview and look back at the Battle of the Sexes with Billie Jean King.

Sources: ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Time cover image, Sports Illustrated Cover image