Archive for January 2012

The Music Show

Posted 26 January 2012 by
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The Music Show – Shownotes

Posted 26 January 2012 by
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The only history that we look at in this episode is the history of the music we have chosen for Seasons 1 & 2! During each episode we try to pair music with the woman that we are discussing. Sometimes we shoot for a mood, a period tone, a literal reference… and sometimes, we pick a piece of music just because it makes us smile.

If you have never listened to the podcasts all the way through to the very end of the last musical selection, you may want to go back. We have been known to tuck outtakes in there!

For this podcast we have chosen some of the music that listeners liked the best from the past year, and hope you enjoy it as well!

Playlist:
1. “Cookin’ at Home” by Rick Fink and his Gas House Gorillas
From Episode 15 : 1950s Housewives

2. “Black Coffee” by Stefanie
FROM: Episode 18 : Ella Fitzgerald

3. “Daughters of History” by Morning Spy
From : Episode 09 : Gilded Age Heiresses

4. “Under Paris Skies” by Phoebe Legere
From Minicast: Sophie Blanchard

5. “Cool Kids” by Natalie Walker
From Episode 8 : The Mrs Astor

6. “Worth The Fight” by Marie Hines
From Episode 16 : Mary Wollstonecraft

7. “The Killer in Me’ by Amy Speace
From Episode 5 : Lizzie Borden

8: “Most Popular Girl in the World” by Ari Shine
From Episode 11 : Queen Victoria

9. “Keep on the Path” by Mystery Body
From Minicast : Red Riding Hood

10: “Straighten Up and Fly Right” by Jerry Costanzo
From Episode 18 : Ella Fitzgerald

11. “It Was Meant to Be” by Clayton
From Episode 19: Madame de Pompadour

12. “Pillsbury Cookie Dough” by Paul and Storm
From Minicast : Betty Crocker

Please visit musicalley.com to buy songs or to read more about the featured artists.

(And if you’re getting married, wouldn’t “It was Meant To Be” be the BEST first-dance song? )

Minicast – Sophie Blanchard

Posted 20 January 2012 by
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Minicast Shownotes: Sophie Blanchard

Posted 20 January 2012 by
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Our subject for this minicast is a woman who let her adventurous life soar! High above France, Sophie Blanchard was the first female professional balloonist and given the title “Aeronaut of the Official Festivals” by Napoleon Bonaparte during his reign.

Sophie Blanchard

Born March 25, 1778, Marie Madeleine-Sophie Armant was, by the few accounts of her, a nervous, petite and unremarkable woman…that is until her marriage to Jean-Pierre Blanchard. Blanchard, a professional balloonist was looking for a new gimmick and found it in his wife. We speculate as to what type of conversation it would take to get a woman like this into a balloon basket, but up she went, the first woman to take to the skies in this new -fangled, and dangerous, contraption. She as the first woman balloon pilot as well as the first professional female balloonist.

Hold on tight, Sophie!

We discuss early ballooning, what type of antics the competition of the Blanchards were up to, and exactly how scary these flights must have been during this time. In 1809 Jean-Pierre died in a ballooning accident and Sophie took over his business.

For as brave and daring as her husband was, he left his business in a financial pickle. Sophie did her best to cut corners and created some new ballooning stunts which she performed all over Europe, sometimes, to disastrous results. We cover those in the podcast, of course. But none were more disastrous than her last flight over the Tivoli Gardens in Paris in 1819. And by “last flight” yeah, we mean last anything. Sophie perished at the age of 41 doing the one thing that she had excelled in before any other woman.

A daylight ascension – 1810

The last show, 1819.

TIME TRAVEL WITH THE HISTORY CHICKS
We discuss an indie, animated documentary about Sophie that is in production. Here is a link to the site about this project. We have not seen it, have not contributed, were not asked to talk about it but are very excited about the premise so we link you up here!
Interested in finding out a little bit more about the history of ballooning?

And we know you like books! Here is one you might enjoy!

 

The Little Balloonist, by Linda Donn

Episode 20 – Nellie Bly

Posted 13 January 2012 by
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Episode 20: Nellie Bly

Posted 13 January 2012 by
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For this episode we focus on a woman who embodied sass, drive, creativity, brains, bravery and heart. She was a journalist, a novelist, an adventurer, an inventor, an advocate for social reform and did it all under a name that wasn’t her own!

The most famous image of Nellie Bly headed off around the world (we think her bag is small, but very cute!)

Elizabeth Jane  Cochran was born May 5, 1864 in Cochran’s Mill, PA. Her father, Judge Michael Cochran was a self made man who had purchased  a great deal of land, and several of the businesses- changing the name from Pitt’s Mill to Cochran’s Mill was a no-brainer. Judge , a widower, had ten children in various ages by the time he married Elizabeth’s mother, Mary Jane. They had two other boys before Elizabeth was born. Mary Jane dressed her daughter not in the dark blacks and browns as was the custom at the time, but in pinks earning young Elizabeth the nickname Pink.

What a colorful name for a girl who was rough and tumble, but smart.  The family was very affluent and built a beautiful, large home on several acres . One year later, when Pink was six, tragedy occurred and her father died. Although he was a lawyer and a former Judge, he died without a will.

SWOOP! (That’s the sound of his children showing up with their hands out.)

Mary Jane was forced to sell their beautiful home, and the family moved to much less lush surroundings. Of course, we will tell you the rest of the tale in the podcast, but let’s just say that the family hit some hard times. Mary Jane had a less than successful marriage, Pink had a less than successful education, and the family saw a gritty side of humanity.

But these times taught her survival skills, to use her wits, to guard her heart, and so many other lessons that would serve her well in the exciting adventure that was her life.

It was during the floundering years that Pink read an article in the Pittsburgh Dispatch that would change her life. Enraged with the message, she penned an anonymous letter signed, “Lonely Orphan Girl”. The letter led to a job, and a nom de plume based on a Stephen Foster Song, Nelly Bly.

We chat about her days at the Pittsburgh Dispatch and her first adventure in Mexico  as a correspondent (and we won’t hold the fact that she didn’t care for peppers stuffed with cheese against her). We talk about the nerve of her move to New York, her wit and schemes that landed her  her first undercover assignment, “Ten Days in a Mad House”.

Nelly may have been trying to earn a living, stand out and survive in a male dominated world, but her daring adventures led to social reform,too. BONUS!

The professional life of Nellie Bly was legendary and by the age of 25 she was the most famous woman in the world.… ROCKSTAR!  She led her readers Around The World in 72 Days and into story after story trailblazing a trend, not only in stunt journalism, but in WOMEN journalist. She wrote in a very readable style, not unlike contemporary bloggers or columnists (leading Susan to a really daft theory of time travel).

Personally, she also had some adventures and very quick romance that led to marriage to a man 40 years her senior and a second career as a head of industry. But, ten years later, her husband died and she was sent into financial ruin thanks to some scrupulous employees.

But, this is NELLIE BLY! She doesn’t whine into her fur! No! She goes back to the career that started it all, journalism. And what a fine time, as Woman’s Sufferage was peaking and  World War I was just breaking out- let’s go to Europe!

The latter years subjects of Nellie’s stories were more about social reform than attention grabbing gimmicks. She rallied for poor women and mothers and was a champion for orphans. She worked tirelessly…really, as in: she worked herself sick. She neglected her health and medications and a developed pneumonia. Elizabeth Cochran, Nellie Bly, died at the age of 58 in 1922.

While Nellie is often thought of as a role model for young girls, she was only a young daring adventurer for a short time. Most of her life played out thanks to mature hard work, dedication, and an eye for not only a good story, but a way to bring about change.

Nellie shortly before her death

Time Travel With The History Chicks

Both of us began our adventure with Nellie by listening to the Librivox recording of Around The World in 72 Days . Download from itunes or check out their website! You can read that as well as 10 Days in a Madhouse online .

Yes, we know, some of you are more visual learners! There is a PBS American Experience for that!

Is there a Nellie Bly website? Of course there is! Right here It seems aimed at a youngish demographic, but there is a lot of research material on it that is not all juvenile.

Gee, we wonder if a certain podcast/website that we adore and is based in New York ever did anything about Nellie since she lived there? Well of course the Bowery Boys did, here is a piece about the asylum where she got her start. Wait, that sounds bad…

Books! Here is what we felt was the best biography about Nellie that we found:

Nellie Bly: Daredevil Reporter Feminist by Brooke Kroegor

Another one we would recommend

A Bio of Nellie Bly by Kathy Emerson

And for the younger crowd (or those of you who like lots of pictures…no shame in that!)

National Geographic, Bylines: Nellie Bly

You know what would be neat? If someone made a musical out of Nellie’s story! Oh wait, they did! If anyone has ever seen this, we would love to hear what you thought! Stunt Girl! The Musical!

Minicast – Annie Chambers

Posted 4 January 2012 by
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Minicast : Annie Chambers

Posted 4 January 2012 by
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For this minicast we discuss a madam far removed from Madame de Pompadour. Another country, another time period, a different social class. However, both used  similar tools to gain power and influence; both used brains in addition to body to make their marks, and both had ties to a title that they were not born to.  The madam du jour is Annie Chambers, the Queen of the Kansas City Red Light District!

Annie, later in life

Because we live in Kansas City, this woman’s life was physically close to us- but she was brought to our attention by one of our listeners! A sweet man named Donald sent us an email suggesting that we research this woman whose history he had become fascinated with many years ago while on a visit to our fair city. Just a quick search and we were hooked.  We can’t tell you enough, your suggestions really do influence who we discuss- usually if you are interested in learning more, so are we!

Born in Kentucky in 1842 she was given the name Leannah Loveall  (That’s enough to grab your attention right? A woman of negotiable affections has LOVEALL as her surname?) The family moved to Sullivan, Indiana when Annie was just a young girl so that Dad could operate a hotel.

If Annie’s story was a novel, it would begin on a day that was different, a day when change began. That day was when Abraham Lincoln was campaigning for the 1860 election and he came through Sullivan. Annie, against her father’s desires, rode on horseback in the parade.

She made a decision and marched in that parade for Abraham Lincoln, and it changed her life. We talk about what happened in the podcast- her life as a teacher, and as a woman who married very much like many women did at the time. We talk about her son, his death, and another three days of tragedy that sends her life off on an entirely different path that takes her from sporting houses in Indiana to her own resort in Kansas City.

Annie's neighborhood. Her house was on the corner of 3rd and Wyandotte

Annie’s is a story about pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. Yes, it is also a story about prostitution and brothels,about the Kansas City Red Light district and  “sporting life”. A tale of a Madam with a heart of gold who tried to treat her girls right. But she was a smart business woman  who was always looking for ways to expand, always looking for the best for both her clients and her girls. She guided the woman who came to her to improved lives, and  boasted a very high success rate for sending her “girls” off to respectable lives and marriage.

Even in death, she used her wealth wisely. Her estate was bequeathed to the City Union Mission, an organization that is still providing support to the people of Kansas City. Of course, we go into all those details in the podcast,  name drop again (Carrie Nation! ) And chat on about details of her life including a VERY May/December romance and marriage later in her life!

Annie Chambers died March 24, 1935 and is buried in Kansas City, her grave marked with the last legal married name that she had, Leannah Kearns.

The story of Annie Chamers is a remarkable adventure during a very exciting time in the history of the United States and we are thrilled to be able to share it with you.

TIME TRAVEL WITH THE HISTORY CHICKS

A good place to continue your journey learning more about the life of Annie Chambers, is this short video produced by the Kansas City Public Library and available through KCPT . It’s not boring and dry, really! Check it out!

And here is recommended reading about this woman and her times from the Kansas City Public Library.

Another really informative stop is this family ancestry blog. After reading about Annie, we will confess that we clicked around  the site and read more about the other people and times that are contained in this website although they are not directly related to the topic at hand. We just get nosey like that sometimes. You never know what you are going to find!

Books, you like your books. We found a historical fiction novel about Annie that did a decent job of filling in the blanks and bringing her story to life. We got our copy through our local library. (Have we spoken our love of libraries enough?)

Annie Chambers by Lenore Carroll

Annie’s house was destroyed in 1946, but her legacy lives on in the  history of Kansas City and the good work done by those at the City Union Mission. Want to learn what that is? City Union Mission

We know that sometimes we introduce you to women you may not have known, this time it was one of our listeners who introduced us and we are so very grateful that he did!

As always, music comes courtesy of Music Alley. Visit them at Music.mevio.com