Guaranteed Content Poll 2018

Posted 16 February 2018 by
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Every year we let you pick a woman that we cover! The Guaranteed Content Poll has brought us some of our most memorable episodes- Jane Austen, Catherine the Great, and the Romanovs, for example- now it’s time to do it again. Voting will close on March 2, 2018 and you’ll only get one vote so choose wisely!

 

Episode 101: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Part One

Posted 9 February 2018 by
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Only the most iconic of women can simply go by one name, and Jackie is one of them. Her life was a complicated collage of privilege, challenge, balance and reinvention. In this episode, we talk about the first half of that life from baby of affluence born exactly when the wealth of the US crashed, to just before she headed off on a trip with her husband to Texas in 1963.

Jacqueline Lee Bouvier was born on July 28, 1929 to John and Janet Bouvier. If you head over to the JFK Library and Museum website you can watch the silent film of the Bouvier’s wedding! Her parents “struggled” through the depression with very little money of their own but they lived in a Park Avenue  duplex and summered in the Hamptons.

Make sure you put the back of your hand to your forehead before you swoon on the fainting couch.

Jacqueline Bouvier, 1935. David Berne, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

It wasn’t all champagne wishes and caviar dreams-Jackie and her little sister, Lee, became children of divorce (and a bitter divorce at that) when Jackie was 11. Her father was the wild Let’s Have Fun parent and her mom was the, you know…ACTUAL PARENT. Mom taught her things like competitive horseback riding and manners; dad taught her things like how men are out for one thing only and to play stupid. *sigh* Jackie’s mother re-married fairly quickly to Hugh Auchincloss…of the Standard Oil Auchinclosses? Mom married up into a much bigger tax bracket and the gang moved to a huge spread in Virginia and summered at a little cottage in Newport, RI.

 

The cottage. Hammersmith Farm, wikicommons

Jackie followed a pretty traditional, wealthy kid path: High school at Miss Porter’s in Connecticut, college first at Vassar, then the Sorbonne via Smith College (like one does) and finished up with a degree in French Literature from George Washington University. She made her debut, too, not only coming out in Newport and New York society but being named “Deb of the Year” by a Hearst Newspapers society columnist. Let’s just say she has a LOT going for her- she’s fluent in French, picks up other languages very easily, is very, very well read, well traveled, she has a very quick wit, is quite a flirt, hangs in elite circles and, did we mention? She’s beautiful.

After college, Jackie won a very prestigious gig with Vogue magazine…and quit on her first day.

Oh, we talk about that. A lot. Jackie headed back to Washington and took a job as a secretary with the Washington Times and quickly worked up to a journalist position as Inquiring Photographer with her own column.

Jackie went through her training fiance, John Husted, Jr- but called that engagement off within a year. He wasn’t the guy for her, but she was dating this John Kennedy fellow. A handsome Senator from Massachusetts, he was a war hero and came from a large, loud, competitive, very wealthy family. Jack liked Jackie, but Jack liked A LOT of women.

The two dated and Jack’s father, Joe (who often got exactly what he wanted) thought Jackie was the perfect wife for his up-and-coming politician of a son. But Jack didn’t want to get married.

Until he did. 26 year-old Jack and 24 year-old Jackie were married in Newport. Library of Congress

In the next five years the couple would look, from the outside, like they had it all but Jack never slowed down his womanizing and Jackie had a miscarriage and a stillbirth with very little support from him. In other marriages in other families with other careers this marriage would have ended- but it didn’t.

The more you know-Aga stove (note the cement base–The House of Wood would need a little work for this.)

When Jackie was 28 she gave birth to a healthy daughter, Caroline, and three years later a son, John, Jr was born. Three years later the family was also about to move–into the White House.

August 1962 President Kennedy and family, Hyannis Port.
Cecil Stoughton, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

Once Jackie became First Lady she set off almost immediately to define her role, and her cause: preserving the history of the White House. She began a renovation project on the old mansion with a goal to bring the history of the White House back to it.

80 MILLION people watched her tour of the White House when it aired, re-aired and was distributed world wide. If you still can’t add yourself to the un-factorable numbers who have watched since, you should fix that.

Jackie also proved to be a valuable political asset. She charmed heads of state, set fashions and ideals for women around the world, and brought a very cultured, youthful, and glamorous image to the presidency and to the country. Men loved to look and talk to her; women wanted to be like her.

Our world’s collided when Jackie met this Recappery subject in 1961. Queen Elizabeth hosts the Kennedys.  John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

There were some dark corners in the Kennedy lives- Jack and his women and Jackie gave birth to a third child, Patrick, but he died only two days afterward due to a lung condition.

As Jackie was recuperating from that heartbreak, Jack asked her to go with him on a trip to help gather support for his re-election. Jackie agreed and made plans to accompany her husband to Texas in November of 1963.

Image result for Year of yes

This is the book Beckett was talking about.

 

Beckett has put together quite the Jackie Pinterest board!

All of our other media recommendations will be on the shownotes for Part Two.

Episode 100: A Celebration!

Posted 17 January 2018 by
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We’re celebrating our 100th full-length episode and our 7th year by pulling back the curtain and taking a look at some women and moments that we will never forget.

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Episode 99: Pocahontas

Posted 23 December 2017 by
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The only image of her done in her lifetime and this was close to the end of it. Marketing materials of the Virginia Company

The story of Pocahontas is legendary: Native American Princess saves early English settler’s life, they fall in love, she thinks he dies so she moves in with the English, converts to Christianity and marries another Englishman only to learn her original love was still alive. Pocahontas. Captain John Smith. Ring any bells? But do the bells in that story ring true? At all?

Did she really save John Smith from being murdered? Photo: U.S. Capital building, Architect of the Capital

Pocahontas was a young Powhatan who was instrumental in the survival of the earliest English colonists and did live with them, but “princess”? Not exactly.

“Young woman?” How about little kid?

“Love with Captain John Smith?” Friendship, yes, love…not so much.

“Moves in with English?” Try imprisoned. “Pocahontas” wasn’t even always her name, she had several: Amonute, Matoake and Rebecca. “Pocahontas” was a nickname.

And that “colonist” thing? Let’s use “emigrant,” shall we? The English didn’t discover the land around the modern Chesapeake Bay on the eastern shores of the current United States, that land was already home to a very large nation of native American tribes all governed under the umbrella of the Powhatan Chiefdom and led by the Paramount Chief–the English stole it. Heck, they weren’t even the first Europeans to land in the area, the Spanish beat them by decades.

First English map of the area, by John Smith

Pocahontas was the daughter of that chief. When she was about 11, John Smith and friends landed in her backyard and never left. In this episode we give you all the sides to that story from her birth up, through her imprisonment by the English, marriage to John Rolfe, influence on the economic home-run that was Virginia tobacco…all the way until her early death at the age of 21 when she was on tour in England.

 

TIME TRAVEL WITH THE HISTORY CHICKS

Books!

Oral history of the Mattaponi Reservation People, one of the tribes in the Powhatan Chiefdom

 

 

 

Paula Gunn Allen a more spiritual look at her life

 

YA by Gail Fay

 

 

Movies!

If you feel you must (and go in knowing the real story)

1995 Disney “White men are dangerous.”

 

Straight to video (and best seen at fast forwarded speed)

 

2005, lovely to look at (the dressing in English clothing scene is probably pretty spot on) but…argh, why must there be a romance??

 

The diet of the early British settlers in the Powhatan territories was very limited…and ghastly. Smithsonian article about cannibalized girl, the Powhatan Chiefdom, and more about life in general for the Jamestown settlers.

Jamestown and Williamsburg, Virginia have a lot of of early American historical activity waiting for you (and don’t forget to #historychicksfieldtrip on Instagram):

Historic Jamestown

Jamestown settlement living history museum

Visit Williamsburg

You wouldn’t have to travel much farther to get to the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington or New York City.

And you could travel and travel and travel but you wouldn’t be able to get to the National Women’s History Museum because, well, it doesn’t exist…yet. Read about the efforts and how you can play a part in helping to establish this very important museum in Washington, D.C. as well as some great articles about women that need to be remembered.  National Women’s History Museum

Home

It’s a little cheesy, but kids might like this Virginia Department of Education video about the 11 currently recognized Virginia Indian tribes.

 

And, in closing, we leave you with the only good song from Disney’s Pocahontas…

Episode 98: Coco Chanel

Posted 5 December 2017 by
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Gabrielle Chanel wasn’t born into the type of wealth she would earn or life she would live; she created everything she had from her signature look, scents, fortune, reputation, and image–good or bad.

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Episode 97: Queen Lili’uokalani

Posted 11 November 2017 by
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She was the first Queen to rule and the last monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii, but Queen Lili’uokalani’s story is the story of Hawaii.

Lili’uokalani at Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887 (via Wikicommons)

Lili’u Loloku Walania Kamakaeha was born on September 2, 1838. She was given an English name at her baptism, Lydia (which we never used in the podcast) and raised in a Hawaiian tradition called hanai, a sort of adoption, by Abner Paki and his wife, Laura Konia. Hawaii, at Lydia’s birth and for most of her life, was an independent nation, with a legislative government, a constitution, laws, a system of land ownership and Lili’u was a part of the ruling class. (more…)

Episode 96: Sojourner Truth

Posted 22 October 2017 by
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Sojourner Truth was a slave, a mother, a freewoman, a preacher, a speaker and an activist at a time in US history that was full of change but also full of obstacles for a woman who was any of those things.

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Episode 95: Hypatia of Alexandria

Posted 30 September 2017 by
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Yeah, your guess is a good as the illustrator’s here. No one knows what she looked like. wikicommons

Hypatia of Alexandria was a scholar, teacher, mathematician, philosopher and astronomer. She was the daughter of another intellectual, Theon of Alexandria, lived in the waning years of the Roman Empire and died in 415 A.D…and the rest of the details of her life are a bit sketchy. They had to be puzzled together from the writings of others that reference her and a lot of puzzle pieces are still missing. (more…)

Episode 94: Wallis Simpson, Part Two

Posted 10 September 2017 by
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When we left Wallis in 1936, her boyfriend just got a major promotion that would, more than likely, leave her in the rear view mirror of his life. She was cool with that, but he had a whole different vision: Wallis in the passenger seat.

While on a cruise of the Dalmatian coast they were photographed…a lot.

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Episode 93: Wallis Simpson, Part One

Posted 22 August 2017 by
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Puppet? Manipulating social climber? Misunderstood? Deeply in love? However you see her, the fact remains that a king abdicated his throne, defied his family and lived in exile to marry twice divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson.

That sounds like a woman we should talk about.

Wallis, about age 40

Bessiewallis (not a typo) was born on June,19th, 1869 to Teakle Wallis and Alice Montegue Warfield. Contrary to the way she was portrayed later in her life, she came from two, long-established, southern-American society families who made money, a lot of it. Her father’s held on to it and took life very seriously, and her mother’s, well, they were “eccentric.”Both families objected to the marriage for, essentially, the same reason: Teakle was ill with tuberculosis and in no position to marry beautiful, charming Alice (and her family thought she could do better, anyway.)

Guess what happened? Teakle died before Bessiewallis’ first birthday and Alice was left penniless with a baby–the two would become financially dependent on Teakle’s veeeery proper mother and his unmarried, wealthy, live-with-Mom, meanie brother, Solomon.

Wallis and Alice, 1899

Alice and Wallis (she dropped the “Bessie” as quickly as possible) moved around the Baltimore area for all of her childhood. Wallis was bright, charming, very polite and had just enough mischief in her to make her quite interesting. Her Uncle Sol did pay for the right schools (have to keep the family name in the right places, you know, plus…control) and when Wallis emerged from high school, Oldfield’s, he (sort of) paid for her debutante season.

Wallis, 1919, a couple of years into her marriage to Win

What does a properly raised society girl do after all that? She’s going to Disney Wor…oh, well, close: Pensacola, Florida where she met and quickly married, handsome, sophisticated, military pilot Earl Winfield Spencer. But Win wasn’t the guy she thought he was. The marriage was horrible. He drank a lot and emotionally and physically abused her. As an officer’s wife she lived nicely in different places around the country, but after ten years (not all living together), Wallis was finally able to divorce him.

Wallis and Win, 1917

Instead of going home, Wallis spent a full year in China, a time she later called her “Lotus Year.” This time traveling alone created myth and intrigue later in her life, but it was a good transition from Military Wife to Divorcee Socialite. But Wallis wasn’t one to sit around and wait. She was a master at making social connections and soon was married again to an English-American, Ernest Aldrich Simpson.

The slow boat China Wallis took, USS Charmount

The couple lived in London where Ernest worked in the family business, a ship brokerage, and Wallis mastered London society. Her parties were marvelously different…SHE was marvelously different than what people had known. They climbed the social ladder fairly quickly (Wallis was very good at this) and, one day, found themselves in the upper tier: a weekend hunting party with Edward, Prince of Wales, the future King of England who also had a thing for married American women.

Dapper Prince

At first Wallis and Ernest ran with the princely crowd…then it was only Wallis running with them and, a few years later when his father died and Edward became king, Wallis was Edward’s American woman and he wanted to make her his queen.

The two enjoyed a kind of media bubble when they traveled, it was’t really reported on. Ski trip. 1935 Yeah, the You’re Not The Boss of Wallis in Wonderland, Earnest, ski trip.

The country loved the future king…but the Prime Minister didn’t think he was the Prince for the job, what with his sympathies for Nazis and all. Edward, it seems, was successfully courted by Adolf Hitler (not directly) and he gave every indication that he was on board with Hitler’s plan. Add to his lack of appeal as king: Wallis was divorced, would have to be divorced a second time…and an American? Oh, no, this wouldn’t do.

We give the basics about the Nazi involvement in this story, but this one is a very interesting read for more information and speculation.

But then this happened, King George V died and Wallis’ boyfriend was now King Edward VIII!

And the rest of the story will be told on part two….

Go check out Beckett’s amazing Pinterest board for Wallis Simpson, that’s where all the truly fabulous pictures are.

All media recommendations will be on part two.

Our flask recommendation is right here at our Zazzle shop..

Or you could get a t-shirt…or a tote bag…coffee cup…