December Hiatus

Since the month of December is taken up with holidays and travel, I have decided to go on hiatus for the rest of this month. I won’t be slacking off, however; I will be doing some much needed cleanup and updating on my blogs. Unfortunately, I will also be doing that dreaded activity that constantly tries to lure me away from my writing: HOUSEWORK. I wish you the happiest of holidays, and I hope the gifts you receive are exactly what you wanted. I will be praying for peace on earth for all people – from my fingers to God’s ear. Thank you for reading my blogs, Maggie

Mary Ann Brown Patten

First Woman Clipper Ship Commander Mary Ann Brown Patten was the first woman commander of an American Merchant Vessel at the age of nineteen. Her husband, the ship’s captain, was severely ill with fever, and the first mate was attempting to incite a mutiny among the crewmen. Her clipper ship Neptune’s Car was ten thousand miles away from its starting point at New York when she faced the unforgiving winds of Cape Horn on the southern tip of South America. And then on to San Francisco, where clients were waiting for her cargo. Image: Mary Ann Brown Patten Mary Ann Brown married sea captain Joshua Patten in 1853 when she was 16. He was 25, and was ferrying cargo and…

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Lilla Cabot Perry

Portrait Artist and American Impressionist Lilla Cabot Perry is best-known as an American Impressionist painter, creating landscapes and portraits in a free form manner. Impressionism is characterized by loose brushwork and vivid colors. She was greatly influenced by Ralph Waldo Emerson‘s philosophies, and her friendships with Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro greatly influenced her work. Pissarro acted as a father figure to all four major Post-Impressionists: Vincent van Gogh, Georges Seurat, Paul Gaugin, and Paul Cezanne. Image: Self Portrait (1890s) By Lilla Cabot Perry Early Years Lydia (Lilla) Cabot was born January 13, 1848 in Boston, Massachusetts, the eldest of eight children of Hannah Lowell Jackson Cabot and distinguished surgeon Dr. Samuel Cabot III. The Cabots prominent in Boston society,…

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First American Women Painters

First Professional Women in Art In the nineteenth century, women artists signed their work with a first initial and last name to conceal their gender. Not until the second half of the 19th century did women artists make significant progress. In the United States, women gradually became a force on the American art scene, winning prestigious commissions and awards. Image: Kaaterskill Clove by Harriet Cany Peale This deep gorge in New York’s Catskill Mountains inspired the Hudson River School of Art, our nation’s first artistic style. Harriet Cany Peale Harriet Cany Peale (1800-1869) was born in Philadelphia, where she studied with well-known portrait and historical genre painter, Rembrandt Peale (1778-1860). In 1840 she married Peale and exhibited for the first…

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Richmond Bread Riot

Civil Unrest and Activism in the Confederate Capital Image: North Carolina Emigrants: Poor White Folk, by James Henry Beard During the Civil War, refugees like these traveled to Richmond hoping for a better life, but they only added to the overcrowding and lack of provisions that already existed there. A group of working-class women gathered in Belvidere Hill Baptist Church in the Oregon Hill section of Richmond, Virginia on the evening of April 1, 1863. A few had traveled from the outskirts of the city to attend this meeting of working class women. One of the leaders, Mary Jackson, was a peddler and another woman sewed tents to support her family. The women decided to meet the following morning and…

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Mary Young Pickersgill

Woman Who Stitched the Star Spangled Banner Mary Young Pickersgill stitched the Star-Spangled Banner, the large flag that flew over Fort McHenry during the naval portion of the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. When he saw the flag still flying above the embattled fort the next morning, the sight inspired Francis Scott Key to write the poem that would become the national anthem of the United States of America. Early Years Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania February 12, 1776, Mary Young was the youngest of six children born to William Young and Rebecca Flower Young. Mary’s father died when she was two years old. To support her family, Rebecca opened a flag shop in Philadelphia. Beginning in 1875,…

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Elizabeth Jarvis Colt

Woman Who Ran the Colt Firearms Factory When firearms manufacturer Samuel Colt died in 1862, majority ownership in the Colt Fire Arms Company passed to his wife, Elizabeth Jarvis Colt. Called the Grande Dame of Connecticut, she worked tirelessly to preserve her husband’s accomplishments and safeguard his legacy. The company continued to thrive under her leadership for almost forty years. Image: Elizabeth Jarvis Hart Colt With her son Caldwell Portrait by Charles Loring Elliott Early Years Elizabeth Hart Jarvis was born October 5, 1826 in Saybrook, Connecticut to Episcopal Minister William Jarvis and Elizabeth Jarvis, the eldest of five children in an affluent and socially prominent family. Samuel Colt, born July 19, 1814, was an inventor and arms manufacturer in…

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Betsey Guppy Chamberlain

Native American Mill Girl During the 1830s and 1840s, Betsey Guppy Chamberlain (daughter of an Algonquian woman) worked in the textile mills of Lowell, Massachusetts and wrote stories for two workers’ magazines. A brave and pioneering author, Chamberlain wrote the earliest known Native American fiction and some of the earliest nonfiction about the persecution of Native people. Image: Betsy Guppy Chamberlain, right With another Lowell Mill girl Early Years Betsey Guppy was born December 29, 1797 in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee. She was the daughter of William Guppy and Comfort Meserve Guppy. She was of mixed race: American and Algonquian Indian. Betsey married Josiah Chamberlain on June 25, 1820, and they had two children; he…

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Women Working at the Treasury

Women at the U.S. Treasury Department Image: Lady Clerks Leaving the Treasury Department at Washington This illustration was published February 18, 1865, in Harper’s Weekly. During the Civil War, the Department of the Treasury in Washington, DC hired women workers to fill clerical positions vacated by men who had left to fight with the Union Army. Until that time, clerking was strictly a male occupation. Believing women were particularly well-suited for the task, the Treasurer of the United States assigned them to hand-cut paper money, usually printed in amounts of four bills per sheet. Backstory Prior to 1790, the ground now covered by magnificent public and private buildings and known as the City of Washington, was part of a Maryland…

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Underground Railroad in New Jersey

Saving Slaves from Bondage in the South Tens of thousands of fugitives from the slave states of Maryland, Virginia, and North and South Carolina found refuge in New Jersey. Most of them arrived here by crossing the Delaware River under the cover of darkness. Slaves and the courageous people who aided them on their journey risked their lives for freedom. Quaker Abigail Goodwin was one of the figures whose work was instrumental in the success of the Underground Railroad in New Jersey. Image: Stations on the NJ UGRR Backstory New Jersey’s path to abolition for all of its citizens was a rocky one. In 1804 New Jersey passed its first abolition law, An Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery….

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