August 16, 1913, Tōhoku Imperial University (now known as Tōhoku
University) became the first Japanese university to admit female
students. The university allowed four women to take the entrance
examinations at its discretion. The Ministry of Education sent a
letter, stating that, “As there are no precedents for women to
enter the Imperial University, this is a serious incident that must
be discussed thoroughly” and demanded an explanation. The
university ignored their demands and accepted three of the four,
Chika Kuroda (March 24, 1884–November 8, 1968), Raku Makita, and
Ume Tange. They became the first female baccalaureates and spent
several years as junior assistants and graduate students.
Chika Kuroda and Ume Tange received their degrees in chemistry and
Raku Makita in mathematics.
Kuroda graduated from the Women’s Department of Saga Normal School and taught for one year before going to the Division of Science at the Women’s Higher Normal School and went on to enroll in a graduate course there. She completed the course two years later and became an assistant professor at Tokyo Women’s Higher Normal School (now Ochanomizu University), before continuing her studies at Oxford. After returning to Japan, she became a worked for her mentor Rikoh Majima at Riken as a non-tenured part-time researcher, working with safflower pigments. In 1929, she became the second woman to received a Doctor of Science degree in Japan, the first being Kono Yasui who received hers from Tokyo Imperial University in 1927.
Her research on onion skin pigment contributed to developing Keruchin C, a drug to treat high blood pressure.
graduate school, Tange
went to the United States where she received her Ph.D. in agriculture
from Johns Hopkins University in 1927.
On returning to Japan, she became a professor at her alma mater,
Japan Women’s University and worked at Riken under Umetaro Suzuki
also returned to her alma mater Tokyo Women’s Higher Normal School
to and joined the faculty. But she resigned her position when she
married Heizo Kanayama, a Western-style painting artist.
Imperial University had the highest female enrollment among the
imperial university system and women were in the law, liberal arts,
departments. In 2001, the university established the Gender Equality
and Multicultural Conviviality to promote gender equality, and
adopted the Tohoku University Declaration for Gender Equality the
following year and incorporated the Tohoku University Gender Equality
Encouragement Prize, also known as the Sawayanagi Prize, named for
the first President of Tohoku University, Seitaro Sawayanagi, who was
instrumental in the allowing the first female students to enroll.
1999, the Kuroda Chika Prize was established to encourage female
researchers in their scientific research and careers. 45 have been
awarded over the last 15 years. The prize is awarded by the Aoba
Society for the Promotion of Science, a group of mainly Faculty of
Science alumni, which honours a female graduates who have produced
outstanding achievements during their scientific doctoral studies.
This prize is awarded to female students selected from the whole
doctoral cohort across the Graduate School of Science and the
Graduate School of Life Science at Tohoku University. This prize was
founded in 1999 to encourage female researchers in their scientific
endeavors and careers, and 45 female students have been awarded over
the last 15 years.
July 29 was apparently a popular day for royal marriages and coronations.
From the British Library
Queen of Scots (December 8, 1542-February 8, 1587) was born less
than a week after her father King James V of Scotland died. He and
his army had been fighting the English when they were defeated at the
Battle of Solway Moss. He collapsed on December 6 and died on
was heir to Scotland but also a great-niece of Henry VIII of England
through his sister Margaret Tudor, giving her a claim to the English
secure an alliance between England and Scotland, Mary was initially
arranged to marry King Henry VIII’s son Prince Edward, but the
Scots refused. King Henry attacked Scotland again and Mary was sent
to France in 1548 to marry the French prince the Dauphin, to secure
Catholic allies against the English Protestants. They married in
April 1558 when they were around fifteen. Francis inherited the
French throne in 1559 when he was 15 and Mary was 16. However,
Francis was not strong and he died in December 1560 after only 17
months and Mary returned home to Scotland.
By the time Mary returned, Scotland was in the middle of a
While Mary looked for Catholic husbands, including Don Carlos, heir
to the Spanish throne,
Elizabeth I wanted Mary to marry a Protestant and proposed Robert
Dudley, the Earl of Leicester, her favourite courtier. Neither Dudley
nor Mary wanted the match and Dudley proposed Henry
Lord Darnley, Duke of Albany, a Catholic. Mary and Darnley were
cousins through their grandmother Margaret Tudor and more distantly
related through King
James II of Scotland. They were married on July
29, 1565.The marriage was a disaster.
ruled alone and did not give Darnley any authority. His constant
demands to be crowned King of Scotland in his own right alienated
Mary and the nobles.
He became a drunk, and, jealousy of Mary’s secretary and favourite
David Riccio, he and several others murdered Riccio in front of Mary
in Holyrood House. She was six months pregnant with the future King
James VI of Scotland at the time.
son, the future King James VI of Scotland and I of England, was born
19, 1566 and baptized a Catholic, alarming the Protestants.
Darnley’s behaviour worsened after James was born and the marriage
did not last much longer. He and his men were found murdered at Kirk
o’Field, Edinburgh on February
10, 1567. The house he was staying at was blown up, but Darnley’s
body was found in the garden after the explosion. He had died of
How involved Mary was has never been determined.
third husband was James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, who was accused of
murdering Darnley but found not guilty. Shortly after he was
acquitted, Bothwell forced Mary to marry him.
The Lords of Congregation did not approve.
After Mary failed to repress a rebellion by Scottish peers, she was
not only imprisoned in Leven Castle but also forced to abdicate in
favour of her one-year-old son James who became King
James VI of Scotland. The family was never together again as
Bothwell fled to Dunbar and died in sane in Denmark in 1578.
Mary escaped from Leven Castle in May 1568 and gathered a small army
that was defeated at Langside by Protestants. Mary then fled to
England, hoping that Elizabeth would help her. Instead she became a
pawn and was imprisoned in various castles for the next 19 years.
Eventually Mary was found guilty of treason when incriminating
letters of her plotting against Elizabeth were intercepted.
Mary was executed in 1587. Her son became King James VI of Scotland and King James I of England after Elizabeth died in 1603, uniting the countries. In 1612, he had Mary’s body exhumed and reburied in a place of honour at Westminster Abbey, and moved Elizabeth to a less prominent tomb nearby.
James VI of Scotland and I of England
(June 19, 1566-March 27, 1625) was crowned King James VI of Scotland
on July 19, 1567, exactly two years after his parents were
married. Without his parents, James was the pawn of four regents who
tried to control him. The only constant was his tutor George
Buchanan, who raised him to be a Protestant and unsuccessfully tried
to teach him to hate his mother.
Two years after Queen Elizabeth signed the death warrant for his mother Mary Queen of Scots, James married Anne of Denmark. The couple had three sons and four daughters of whom three survived infancy: Henry, Prince of Wales, Charles I and the ‘Winter Queen’, Elizabeth of Bohemia. They were happy at first, but eventually drifted apart.
On March 24, 1603, Queen Elizabeth died and named James her successor, allowing James to achieve his ambition of ruling England. He went to England to claim the crown. Though he wanted the two countries to be completely united, Scotland retained its parliament, Church, and educational systems.
years after James became king, on November 5th 1605, the
Gunpowder Plot to kill James and his government was foiled. Guy
Fawkes was caught with barrels of gunpowder beneath the House
Gunpowder Plot, to kill James and his government on the 5th of
November 1605, was foiled. Guy Fawkes was caught with barrels of
gunpowder beneath the House of Lords.
1606 James granted a charter to establish a colony in North America,
named “Jamestown” in his honour. It became the first permanent
British settlement in America. When Pocahontas visited England with
her husband John Rolfe in 1616 she met King James.
Though he was king of Scotland, he only returned once, in 1617. The following year, he forced through the Five Articles of Perth, to bring Church of Scotland government and worship into line with the Church of England. However, after strong opposition, he did not enforce the articles and made no further attempts to change the country’s religion
July 29, 1981, Charles, Prince of Wales (Born: November 14, 1948) and
Lady Diana Spencer (July 1, 1961–August 31, 1997) married at St.
Paul’s Cathedral in London. He is the eldest child of Queen
Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. She was the youngest daughter of John
and Frances Roche Spencer, then the Viscount and Viscountess Althorp.
Diana was born The Honourable Diana Frances Spencer and received the
style Lady Diana Spencer in 1975, when her father became the 8th
Diana was named for an ancestor also Lady Diana Spencer, later the
Russell, Duchess of Bedford, and her mother Frances.
Spencers had a long history with the royal family. Viscount Althorp
was Equerry to King George VI and Queen
Elizabeth II. Her
maternal grandmother Ruth,
Lady Fermoy and paternal grandmother Cynthia,
Countess Spencer were ladies-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth II’s
mother, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.
Diana and Prince Charles married at St Paul’s Cathedral in London on
July 29, 1981. An estimated 1,000 million watched or listened to the
at 750 million, it was the most popular program broadcast on TV
– and hundreds of thousands lined the route from Buckingham Palace
to the Cathedral. There were around 3,500 guests at the church. The
day was declared a national holiday.
There were even children re-creating the wedding.
was the first Englishwomen to marry an heir to the throne in 300
years, since Anne Hyde married the future James II, Diana’s
ancestor. On their marriage Diana became Her Royal Highness The
Princess of Wales.
couple had two sons, Princes William in 1982 and Henry (Harry) in
1984. They divorced in 1996 and Diana continued to be a member of the
royal family as mother of the heir to the throne. After the divorce,
Diana became Diana, Princess of Wales, without the style of ‘Her
Royal Highness’. She died on Sunday, August 31, 1997, after a car
crash in Paris.
Julia Chang Lin (May 4, 1928-August 1, 2013) was born Ming-hui Tsang in Shanghai to Tsang Foh-Sing and Sung Zong-Cui in Shanghai, China. She grew up there and in Amoy, a small southern coastal town. Her mother Julia was a nurse, her father was an ophthalmologist educated at the University of Pennsylvania. One of his patients was
Madame Sun Yat-sen. Both of her grandmothers were doctors, long before women were allowed to have such professions.
She attended St. Mary’s Hall School for Girls and St. John’s University in Shanghai. On May 24, 1949, the day that the Communist troops marched into Shanghai, Chang received a telegram announcing her acceptance to Smith College and awarding her a scholarship. Her family’s housekeeper Liu Ma sewed the telegram and $20 into Julia’s clothes. Chang and her best friend Shirley Wang were smuggled out of the country in August on a fishing boat as the Nationalist government bombed the coast. She would not see her brothers for three decades and she would never see her father, grandmothers, or Liu Ma had died.
The pair went to the Zhoushan Islands, a group of small islands still occupied by the Nationalist government. They were detained there for several weeks before Chang arrived at Smith in October, 1949. While her godmother had hoped Chang would go into medicine, Chang discovered English literature and graduated with a BA in English in 1951.
She received her MA in English from the University of Washington in 1952 and entered the University of Washington for her Ph.D. in an emerging field, Chinese Language and Literature. Chang spoke several languages: Mandarin, Shanghainese, an Amoy dialect, English, Cantonese, French, Fukienese (her husband’s native tongue), and some Japanese. One of her professors Theodore Roethke, liked her poem, “Song of the Crazy Monk,” so much that he mailed it to Botteghe Oscure, a prominent literary journal, which became Chang’s first publication. Her Ph.D. thesis was published as Modern Chinese Poetry: An Introduction. Her publication was completely shortly after Nixon allowed Americans to visit China. Chang traveled to gather materials and became friends with many poets. Chang received her Ph.D. in 1965.
Chang met Henry Huan Lin, whose father Lin Chang-Min was a politician and calligrapher and helped establish the Chinese League of Nations. His stepsister Lin Huiyin, was considered the first female architect in China. The couple moved to Athens, Ohio in 1959. Lin taught English at Ohio University for thirty years and helped establish the Chinese language courses. She was the only member of the Asian Studies department, which introduced students to The Tale of Genji and Journey to the West. She wrote four books, bringing Chinese women poets to western audiences.
In 1999, she was one of 29 women honored by Smith College for “achievements representing the accomplishments of generations of Smith alumnae.” She was writing her auto-biography when she died in New York in 2013.
Her daughter Maya Lin, then a Yale student, deigned the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The design was chosen in a nationwide competition which had over 1,400 submissions. Maya Lin received an honorary degree from Smith in 1993 and was chosen to re-design Neilson, the college’s social sciences and humanities library. It also includes the Smith College Archives, the Mortimer Rare Book Room, and the Sophia Smith College, one of the world’s largest and most important women’s history archives.
March is Youth Art Month originated as Children’s Art Month in 1961, which the Art & Creative Materials Institute (ACMI) created to show children the value of visual art education. Eight years later, secondary school students were added and it was re-named Youth Art Month. Youth Art Month recognizes that art is necessary for developing a better quality of life and fosters critical thinking. Youth Art Month also encourages commitment to and creating opportunities and support for art and art education. In 1984, ACMI created The Council for Art Education (CFAE) a non-profit that advocates for visual art education, which coordinates national Youth Art Month. There are local and state events at libraries, museums and state capitol buildings. As of 2018, New York has received an award honoring New York State (NYS) art educators at the National Art Education Association (NAEA) conference. The 2018/2019 theme is “Your Art, Your Story”.
Maria Anna Angelika Kauffmann, known as Angelica Kauffman (October 30, 1741-November 5, 1807) was the daughter of muralist Johann Joseph Kauffman, who trained her. During the 1760s, she worked as her father’s assistant, traveling with him through Switzerland, Austria, and Italy. This allowed her to copy classical and Renaissance paintings and meet leaders in the burgeoning movement, Neoclassicism. She stayed in Italy for three years, gaining a reputation as a portrait painter. She also painted history paintings.
She was elected to the Rome’s Accademia di San Luca in 1765, to recognize her accomplishments. The following year, she moved to London and immediately became successful as a portrait painter. She was one of two women founding member of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1768 and held regular exhibitions there, working for many aristocratic and royal patrons. She married painter Antonio Zucchi in 1781. He succeeded her father as her business manager. When she died, her funeral was directed by Antonio Canova, a famous Neoclassical sculptor who based it on the funeral of the Renaissance painter Raphael.
Wang Yani (Born: 1975) is a painter, whose father is a self-taught oil painter. He gave up his painting to prevent his style from influencing hers, and to help promote her career.
Wang began painting when she was two and had her first exhibit by six. By 1989, she had shows in West Germany, Britain, and Japan. She gave her painting “Impressions of the Zoo,” which she did at fourteen, to the city of San Francisco in 1989 when she was 14. It was done in the xieyi or “idea writing style,” depicting a flock of flamingos at the zoo. Her work was displayed across the U.S. over several months. That year, she became the youngest person to give a solo exhibition at the Smithsonian Institute, with a show at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery for Asian art in Washington. The exhibit was called “Yani: The Brush of Innocence” and ran from June to October 1989.
In 1991, she returned to the U.S. to promote a children’s book about her life and paintings, A Young Painter: The Life and Paintings of Wang Yani-China’s Extraordinary Young Artist by Zheng Zhensun and Alice Low. It was written after Zheng Shensun, a journalist and photographer visited Wang’s family home in rural Guocheng.
By 16, Wang had completed more than 10,000 paintings, and only a few, done during overseas visits and donated to foreign institutions were sold.
Edmund Thomas Clint (May 19 1976-April 15, 1983) was an Indian boy. He, like Wang, began drawing at 2, using, using crayon, oil paint, and water color. At 5, he won a competition for painters under 18. By the time he died, a month before turning 7, he had painted over 25,000 pictures. He is the subject of a biography A Brief Hour of Beauty.
March is Social Work Month. The White House officially recognized National Professional Social Work Month in 1984. That year’s theme was “Listen to the Children.” The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) selected an annual theme, on topics such as hate crimes, violence prevention, homelessness, and HIV/AIDS.
The 2019 theme is “Elevate Social Work” to “recognize the extraordinary contributions of the profession to our society.” The NASW estimates that there will be “more than 682,000 people expected to be employed as social workers by 2026.” Social workers are the “largest group of providers of mental health services in the United States and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs employs the most social workers with advanced degrees. For more than a century, social workers have helped people with issues such as voting rights, workplace safety, minimum wage and welfare programs, and equal rights for women, LGBTQ individuals, African Americans, Latinos, those with disabilities, and other groups.
Hidiya Hanim Barakat (1898–1969) was an Egyptian philanthropist and social worker who began working with a team of women in the 1920s. Her organization set up clinics, hospitals, schools, and orphanages in most of the major towns, and providing relief during epidemics.
She was the daughter of a former magistrate and palace official and had a privileged upbringing, educated at the French convent Nôtre Dame de la Mère de Dieu until she was thirteen. At twenty, she married Bahaieddine Barakat, a lawyer and member of the leading political family, and who later served as a government minister. Her in-laws used her welfare activities to disseminate Wafdist (nationalist) literature.
Through her court connections, Barakat helped a princess organize a group of philanthropic women, who set up medical clinics in poor parts of Cairo in 1908. Among them was Huda Sha’rawi, daughter of Muhammad Sultan, who created social organizations for women and protested British colonial rule.
In 1909, they named their organization Mabarrat Muhammad Ali (Muhammad Ali the Great Philanthropic Association), known as the Mabarrat. It worked to provide health care especially to rural areas and combat the high infant mortality rate. In 1919, Bakarat founded the Society of the New Women, to teach trades and child care, and establishing orphanages. As one of the leading figures of the feminist movement, Barakat also helped create the “Société de la Femme Nouvelle”, setting up girls’ schools across the countryside.
By the 1950s, the Mabarrat was the biggest, widest-reaching organization in Egypt, and after Nasser’s government was toppled in 1952, Bakarat was elected president of the Mabarrat. Several Egyptian institutions SUCH AS are named after her.
A few days before she did, she was given the highest decoration for organized a clinic, dispensary, and hospital in nearly every major Egyptian town.
Gwendolyn Margaret Lizarraga, MBE (11 July 1901 – 9 June 1975) was Belize’s first female cabinet minister.
Belize is located in Central America, between Guatemala and Mexico and bordering the Caribbean Sea. Its earliest known inhabitants were the Mayans, between 250 and 900 CE, reaching its peak around the 8th century. The numbers declined by the 16th century when the Spanish arrived, and many of those who remained died of diseases the Spanish introduced, or were sent to Guatemala.
The Spanish moved out of the area, and the British moved in the 1670s. The British began cutting logwood to export to Europe, going further inland to cut mahogany and cedar. The Spanish and British fought for control, until the Spanish lost in 1798. Nearly fifty years later, the Mayans revolted against the Spanish in what is now Mexico and Mayans, dissident Spaniards, and Mestizos (those of mixed Spanish and Mayan ancestry) refugees fled to what is now Belize. To resolve tensions, the settlement requested to become a British colony and was renamed British Honduras in 1862. It became a colony in 1870.
In 1954, the first general elections were held. The People’s United Party (PUP) won. In February 1954, Gwendolyn Lizarraga formed the United Women’s Group (UWG), the women’s arm of the party, to advocate for social justice and empowerment of women. During the 1950s, before the Universal Adult Suffrage, only property owners were allowed to vote so Lizarraga assisted women in acquiring their own house and lot. There were 1,400 (UWG) members by May 1959.
Gwendolyn Lizarraga was the first woman to run for office in Belize. She ran for the Pickstock Division in 1961, one of five challengers. She won 69% of the vote. She became the Minister of Education, Housing and Social Services. She was elected for a second therm as Minister of Education, Housing and Social Services in 1965, and a third term in 1969. During this term, she became involved in improving housing conditions and providing youth education. During her time as Minister of Education, the first Junior Secondary School was established in 1968 which was later re-named Gwen Lizarraga High School. Lizarraga was also the first woman to be elected to the National Assembly and first female minister.
Despite the elections, it was not until 1864 that British Honduras became self-governing. The government seat was moved from Belize City to Belmopan in 1971, and the country’s name was named to Belize in 1973. Belize finally gained its independence on 21 September 1981.
One of the few books written about social work is Anne Fadiman’s The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures. I was lucky enough to get my copy autographed when Fadiman visited a friend’s English class, which her husband taught.
Horace Pippin (February 22, 1888 – July 6, 1946), was a self-taught African-American painter whose subject matter ranged from trench warfare to historical, and religious.
He was born West Chester, Pennsylvania until he was three when his family moved to Goshen, New York. He left school at fifteen to support his ailing mother. After she died, he moved to New Jersey and worked various jobs before enlisting in the army in 1917. During the war, he recorded his experiences, including drawings. His papers are housed at the Archives of American Art. He seriously wounded his right arm in France and received the French Croix de Guerre. He left the army in 1919 and married the following year before returning to West Chester, Pennsylvania.
Pippin’s injury led him to explore other artistic expressions, including pyrography, or burnt-wood panels (he drew on wood using hot pokers). But he preferred oil painting and it became a form of therapy to deal with his memories from the war. In the early 1930s, he completed an oil panting on the about his experiences, called The End of the War: Starting Home.
He was the first black painter to use art to express concerns about war and sociopolitical injustice, and to have his paintings accepted by the West Chester County Art Association. He became known regionally and in 1939 his fame spread when the Robert Carlen Galleries of Philadelphia became his dealer. The following year, Pippin gave sporadic lectures at the Barnes Foundation in Merion, Pennsylvania. His most renowned works include three paintings of the abolitionist John Brown. He also created a series of paintings based on the Bible and the works of the Quaker painter Edward Hicks.
In 1938, the Museum of Modern Art included four of Pippin’s paintings in a traveling exhibit. By the time he died in 1946, he had solo shows in Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco, and Chicago, had won prizes in important contemporary art shows had become famous internationally, and sold most of his 130 paintings, wood panels, and drawings to museums and influential collectors across the country.
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (September 24, 1825–February 22, 1911) was a poet, fiction writer, journalist, and activist. She was born in Baltimore, the only child of free black parents. She attended the Academy for Negro Youth, which her uncle founded, until age 13. Then she went to work in a Quaker household where she read a wide range of literature.
In 1850, Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act, which required escaped slaves who were captured to be returned to their masters. Harper moved to Ohio and began teaching at the Union Seminary, a new school for black children in Columbus. The principal was abolitionist John Brown. Harper was the first black woman to teach vocational courses at the school, teaching domestic and homemaking skills.
She was a prolific writer who published many poetry collections, such as Autumn Leaves (also published as Forest Leaves) (1845); Sketches of Southern Life (1872), about the post-Civil War (1861-1865) Reconstruction and novels, including Iola Leroy (1892), essay collections, and short stories, such as “The Two Offers,” the first short story published by an African American.
She married Fenton Harper in 1860. After he died in 1864, Harper continued to support her family though speaking engagements. She championed civil rights, women’s rights, and educational opportunities for all. She was superintendent of the Colored Section of the Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), co-founder and vice president of the National Association of Colored Women, and a member of the American Woman Suffrage Association, and director of the American Association of Colored Youth. Harper died nine years before women gained the right to vote.
Elizabeth Cochrane Seaman, pen name Nellie Bly (May 5, 1864 – January 27, 1922), was one of, if not the first investigative journalists in the United States.
Cochrane was born in Cochran’s Mills, Pennsylvania, just outside of Pittsburgh, which her father Judge Cochrane founded. She was one of fifteen children born to her father and his two wives. When she was fifteen, he died intestate, leaving the family with little money. Her journalistic career began after Erasmus Wilson published an article “The Quiet Observer” in his Pittsburgh Dispatch, denouncing women in the workforce. Cochrane, calling herself the “Lonely Orphan Girl,” angrily responded that there needed to be a wider definition of a “woman’s sphere,” especially for those who had to support their families. Editor George Madden ran a notice asking the “Orphan Girl” to contact him, and he gave her a job. She joined the staff, signing her articles “Nellie Bly.”
She earned $5 per week, writing a “women’s column” for the Pittsburgh Dispatch on home, gardening, society, child-rearing and other similar topics. Eventually, she began to write about more serious issues, including investigating how divorce affected women. In time, her journalistic talents earned her $25,000 per year.
She soon moved to New York to pursue other subjects and freelanced for several months. Then she wrote a piece on the difficulty of female reporters had finding work in New York, in which she interviewed the great editors of the time. This led to her first assignment with the New York World, where Joseph Pulitzer had begun what became known as “new journalism.” He wanted Bly to pretend to be insane to get committed to the Women’s Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s (now Roosevelt) Island. Bly stayed there for ten days and wrote a two-part series in October 1887 about the horrendous conditions. This was the beginning of a decades of “stunt” reporting, a predecessor to investigative journalism. This genre allowed women to demonstrate that they could also be reporters, and they became the first women to enter mainstream journalism in the twentieth century.
Bly went on to investigate employment agencies for domestic servants, the baby-buying trade and corruption in the New York legislature. But her biggest feat was yet to come. In November 1889, Bly began the journey that would cement her fame. She beat the fictional record of Jules Verne’s Phineas Fogg, in his novel Around the World in 80 Days when she made the trip in 72 days 6 hours 11 minutes. She chronicled her journey in New York World. But when she was not rewarded for her efforts, Bly quit and accepted a three-year contract for N.L Munro’s New York Family Story Paper writing serial fiction. This proved unsuccessful and she returned to the World in 1893, interviewing Emma Goldman and Eugene V. Debs, and covering stories such as the march of Jacob Coxey’s Army on Washington and the Pullman strike in Chicago.
She left the World a for the last time in 1895 and after a short time at the Chicago Times-Herald, she married Robert Livingston Seaman who was more than forty years older. The marriage lasted nine years until Seaman died. During that time, Bly took over his iron enamel-ware firm, the Iron Clad Manufacturing Co. and patented, manufactured, and marketed the steel barrel in the United States. While Bly was hopeless at finances and eventually lost the company, the Iron Clad Manufacturing Co. gave its employees health benefits and provided recreational facilities.
To earn some money, Bly went to Vienna in August 1914 where she stayed until 1919, writing for the New York Evening Journal from the Russian and Serbian fronts. After the war, she returned to New York and wrote for the Evening Journal, running an advice column. Her most celebrated work was placing illegitimate children in good homes and campaigning for seamen who were having trouble finding work.
Her experiences are chronicled in her many books, including: Six Months in Mexico (1886), Ten Days in a Madhouse (1887), The Mystery of Central Park (1889), and Nellie Bly’s Book: Around the World in Seventy-two Days (1890).
In 2018, the Newseum opened its “Nellie Bly: The Virtual Reality Experience”which tracks Bly from Egypt to Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, San Francisco and her adventures, including a snowstorm in Singapore that nearly impeded her progress. The exhibit provides background on Bly’s previous reporting and chronicles accomplishments in the women’s rights movement.
This is the Newseum’s second exhibit on Bly. The first was a 4-D introductory film(now playing only in 2-D), which recounts the undercover operation in 1887.
On January 25, 1881, Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell founded the world’s first telephone company, the Oriental Telephone Company. Though he was credited with inventing the first telephone, the United States Congress recognized in 2002 that it was Antonio Meucci, an Italian immigrant, who invented the telephone. He began developing the talking telegraph, or telephone in 1849. In 1871, he filed a caveat (announcing an invention), but could not review his caveat. On June 11, 2002, the Unite States House of Representatives passed a Resolution honoring Meucci’s work.
Thirty-four years after founding the Oriental Telephone Company, on January 25, 1915, Alexander Graham Bell made the first transcontinental telephone call, from New York City to San Francisco, more than 4,023 kilometers (2,500 miles) away.
When Bell made the call to Watson, his former assistant, he was asked to re-enact the first conversation they had on March 10, 1876, when Bell said, “Mr. Watson, come here, I want you.” However, there is some discrepancy as to whether Bell said, “Watson, come here, I want you,” or “Come here, I need you.” Though that might be a fiction, as Bell had just spilled battery acid on himself before summoning Watson. This time Watson replied, “It would take me a week now.”