Author Archive - The History Chicks

Episode 115: Belle Starr and Calamity Jane

Posted 27 November 2018 by
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Everyone has a lesson to teach us, even the hard living, hard drinking, crime breaking ones who bucked convention and survived in a dangerous time and place. These two women of the American wild west fall on a side of the life-choices spectrum that we don’t usually talk about, but it’s time that we did. We thought it was time to tell the stories of two women with fabulous, well-known nicknames that mask who they really were.  (Lady Gaga and Madonna are amazing but come back in 120 years and we’ll talk.)

Belle Starr and Calamity Jane (aka Myra Maybelle Shirley Reed Starr and Martha Canary)

 

Calamity Jane

Her name wasn’t “Jane,” it was Martha Canary and most of her autobiography was a fabrication, but -damn!- she made great copy as the poster girl for women of the wild west! Susan debunks as many myths as she can and gives you the story of this woman who grabbed life by the horns, held on tight, got up when she was flung off, and when someone got her story wrong she didn’t correct them. We’ll save the good parts for the podcast but here’s a big myth busted: we see photos of Calamity Jane in men’s clothing A LOT, but for the most part? In her real life she wore a dress.

 

Circa 1895 Courtesy DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University 

 

We feel like we should put more pictures of her in a dress than in pants to help balance out all the other photos of her in pants.

 

Contrary to the myth, she and Wild Bill Hickok weren’t close, but she got close to his grave shortly before she, herself, died circa 1903.

Belle Starr

Beckett separates the fact from the legend of the woman who was given the name of Myra Maybelle Shirley at her birth, but most of us know her as Belle Starr.

 

Time Travel with The History Chicks

Museums!

The town of Deadwood South Dakota can help you learn more about the life of Calamity Jane and those around her. Deadwoodhistory.com

BOOKS!

Calamity Jane’s Autobiography is on Project Gutenberg, if you have 10 minutes, you can read her tall tale.

Belle Starr books:

 

 

Calamity Jane books:

 

 

 

Of the books Susan read, there are two that tell not only Martha Canary’s story, but all addresses the myths swirling about Calamity Jane. This by James D. McLaird…

 

…and this by Richard Etulian

Movies!

1937, Calamity Jane

 

1953 with Doris Day, the squeaky cleanest Calamity Jane in the history of Calamity Janes.

 

1995, Grittier but with that dad gum love story

 

1941

 

1981 It’s time, Movie People! We need a new Belle Starr!

 

 

 

 

Episode 114: Anne Frank

Posted 9 November 2018 by
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Anne Frank’s life was only 15 years long, but her legacy? It’s going to outlast us all.

 

Annelies Marie Frank was born on June 12, 1929 in Frankfurt, Germany, second child to Otto and Edith who were both from well-to-do, German Jewish families. Otto was a decorated officer in the German army, well traveled, spent a couple years in the United States and went back to Germany to work at his family’s bank and throat lozenge company. Edith graduated from a Protestant girl’s school, and worked for her family’s business. (more…)

Episode 113: Jane Addams Part 2

Posted 14 October 2018 by
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When we left Jane in part one, she and her friend Ellen Gates Starr had just opened Hull House. The Settlement movement in the US was about to take off, and in Chicago the community was embracing the work being done by Jane, Ellen and the many women like them that came to share their time and talents by settling in the impoverished, immigrant community and working together with neighbors to provide social services. (more…)

Episode 112: Jane Addams Part 1

Posted 23 September 2018 by
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Library of Congress

Jane Addams is called the “Mother of Social Work”; which is impressive enough, but really doesn’t cover her whole story. You know what else won’t cover her whole story? One episode. Jane’s life was so packed that we decided to  break it into two parts to cover it thoroughly. (If you’re looking for the media recommendations, they’ll be on the shownotes for Part Two.) (more…)

Episode 111: Clara Barton Revisited and Refreshed

Posted 1 September 2018 by
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To end the summer we thought we would revisit and remaster our 2011 episode about the life of Clara Barton. Her story touched both of us when we recorded it but she’s come to our minds a lot since then. The lessons from her life, including strength, perseverance, bravery and compassion are ones that we can all use in our lives at any time.

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Episode 110: Georgia O’Keeffe

Posted 12 August 2018 by
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The line between Georgia O’Keeffe’s childhood in Wisconsin to her death nearly 100 years later is as jagged, complex, colorful, unique, ever- changing and interesting as the vistas outside her final New Mexico homes.

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Episode 109: Grace O’Malley

Posted 21 July 2018 by
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Gráinne Ui Mháille, Grainne, Granuaile, Gráinne MhaolGrace, That Irish Pirate Queen From the 16th Century…whatever you call her, her life and legacy as a strong, independent, bold, fearless (and yes, criminal) woman doesn’t change.

Statue at Westport House, Co Mayo, Ireland

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Episode 108: The Statue of Liberty

Posted 30 June 2018 by
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She’s neither alive nor dead; she exists but has never taken a breath; her innards are as hard as steel, but just the sight of her has brought men to grateful, hopeful tears. The Statue of Liberty is a she, which makes her fair game for one of our conversations.

 

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Episode 107: Mary Pickford

Posted 11 June 2018 by
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Mary Pickford was an actress, writer, director, producer, studio head and entrepreneur…but she’s often remembered as “that pretty girl with the curls in silent movies.”

Excuse us? Oh no, that just won’t do.

Library of Congress

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Episode 106: Beatrix Potter Revisited and Refreshed

Posted 19 May 2018 by
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This week we’re taking a look back at one of the women who surprised us both, in the most delightful of ways-Beatrix Potter. As time and technology has allowed, we’ve gone back and quietly remastered the audio in a number of our older shows and Beatrix is the latest. When we know better, we do better! (more…)