We left Frances as she ascended to a top spot as the Industrial Commissioner of the state of New York, under governor Franklin D. Roosevelt. She was going toe-to-toe in the press with President Herbert Hoover about the state of the economy. He said it was turning, she was proving he was lying. Pretty bold of her, non?(more…)
We knew Frances’ life would take more than one episode, but we didn’t think that it would take three, boy were we wrong! Part Two begins just after Frances’ witnessing of the Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire and it’s impact on the deepening of her resolve to use her skills for the betterment of American citizens. She began in New York State government, first under Governor Al Smith and then Governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt. She used her intelligence, honesty, and connections to help millions of New Yorkers, and setting an example for women along the way. We also explore her life as a married woman and as a mother, too, she wasn’t all business, you know!
First as a member of the New York State Industrial Commission, and then as the Commissioner of that 1800-employee department, Frances received a crash, hands-on course in workplace issues, specifically Labor v. Management disputes. She researched all the angles, faced a great deal of dangers, and created solutions (and laws to back them up) to make workplaces safe and compensation fair for employees. She also was able to focus a great deal of time on orchestrating legislation that gave women and children workers the safety nets that Unions were able to provide for men.
We take Frances through to her public battles with President Herbert Hoover as she saw the finances for the average family about to take a severe hit in the late 1920s, something he and his government denied. But, as we all know, it’s going to be really hard to deny what happened in that regard in 1929.
In Part Three, we’ll take her through the years when she was able to make significant and lasting changes on a federal level–changes still in place today. All media recommendations with be on the shownotes for that episode, although we do talk about this episode on Lillian Gilbreth from 2015 that you might want to listen to before then.
The true story of a woman who, essentially, ruled China for almost 50 years is cloaked by years of inaccurate (read: fabricated) reporting and several sources muddled through translation. Sometimes it feels as if her history is behind the same silk screen where she ruled, a clear outline with veiled detail.
So this’ll be fun!
Yehenara Tsing was born on November 29, 1853. Her name changes several times through her life (and more through translated spellings): Tsing (some sources use her family name which appears first), Lan, Yi and finally the form that she is known to history: Cixi. (more…)
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.
Bessiewallis (not a typo) was born on June 19th, 1896 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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..
Annie Oakley was a top sharpshooter who gained worldwide fame during nearly two decades as a headliner with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.
TIME TRAVEL WITH THE HISTORY CHICKS
Here’s that (unnecessary rabbit hole) to the world’s largest Monopoly board:
The Bowery Boys Podcast’s coverage of the history of Madison Square Garden:
The Annie Oakley Festival: (which is happening ON THE DAY I POST THIS… dang it, there’s always next year! )
The Garst museum of Darke County:
Annie shoots on film (Thomas Edison kinetoscope, no sound)
Modern day lady trick shooter:
Kirsten Joy Weiss
Annie Oakley TV show
“Annie Oakley hits the bullseye with her rough ridin’ straight shootin’ suspense!
Annie v Toby Walker 1935
The whole setup to the contest looks different (somehow) in 1950:
Emily Price Post is most known as an expert on etiquette, but she didn’t even publish her first book on the subject until she was 50-years-old. (Listen up! You’re never too old!) Before that book she was a novelist, journalist, decorator, and architectural consultant. Before those, she was a doted on only child of progressive parents, debutante, heiress, society wife and mother. A very busy life for a woman that COULD have lived a life of leisure.
But where is the fun in that?
Emily Bruce Price was born on October 27, 1872 (according to her gravestone) in Baltimore MD, to Bruce and Josephine Price. Bruce was an upcoming, then quite famous, architect from a wealthy family; Josephine also came from wealth and could trace her lineage straight back to the Mayflower.
Emily was doted on as a child, she spent as little time as possible in school and as much time as possible with her father who showed her how buildings are designed and built and thought it a shame that Emily wasn’t a boy so he could become an architect, too (“progressive” is relative.) The base of the Statue of Liberty and the hills lakes and rustic opulence of Tuxedo Park, NY were her playground.
She did what was expected of her in the 1800s as New York society flipped their calendars to the 1900s: She went to finishing school, had her debut into society, met a man with good breeding and married him. The Edwin Posts had two boys, Edwin worked (hard? lucky? you pick) as a stock broker, and, other than a few years on Staten Island, lived in Manhattan and Tuxedo Park.
Yup, on(and in) the papers they had it all…but no. They couple had nothing in common, Bruce’s financial luck was about to run out and, oh yeah, he had a thing for chorus girls, duck hunting and boating.
After a blackmailing scandal Emily had had enough. Done. Finished. She divorced Edwin and set off to make a name for herself.
We cover her career ups and downs in the podcast, but basically while raising the boys (then sending them to boarding school) she started to write novels, freelance pieces for magazines, and started to work as an architectural and home designer…not too shabby for a woman who probably didn’t have to work for an income in the first place, huh?
After Etiquette was first published in 1922 Emily’s legacy began to solidify. The huge best seller made her name and etiquette synonymous.
She was on tour promoting her book, started regular radio shows, wrote a syndicated advice column but she did have other interests that she continued to pursue (and we talk about them in the show) including this very well received non-fiction book about home design…
…and her new favorite home on Martha’s Vineyard.
Etiquette has been revised over the years to keep up with how people REALLY live and is currently in it’s 19th edition. There is a whole library of other advice and etiquette books written either by her or her descendants.
Dear Emily, If there is an opportunity for you to share something that is quite messy but you think may be well received, should you?
Emily Post died on September 25, 1960 of natural causes (polite nod to Post family), her ashes are buried at the Tuxedo Park Cemetery.
TIME TRAVEL WITH THE HISTORY CHICKS
You should start here at the Emily Post Institute. It has everything from photos, to history, the Awesome Etiquette podcast and an encyclopedia of advice for all your etiquette-based, searchable database needs.
A couple more things we could have talked about for the whole hour but didn’t:
Obviously, you should go pick up a copy (lift with your legs) of Etiquette, but also give her fiction a whirl.
The non-fiction book that isn’t online but if you can find a copy, grab it if only to flip through and appreciate the mountain of knowledge Emily
Emily Post books you can read online (if you can’t find them at your library):
Other books we talked about:
And finally, Mrs Emily Price Post herself: