Saturday, November 28, 2009

Betty Friedan

Betty Friedan’s early life and career were far from revolutionary. She was a college-educated housewife, mother of three children, and writer for women’s magazines. For her 15th college reunion, Friedan sent a questionnaire to members of her class (all women), asking them to describe their lives after college. Their surprising answers inspired her to write The Feminine Mystique, a book that ignited the women’s-liberation movement in 1963.

Friedan’s research revealed that many American women were not as happy as people told them they should be. Contrary to popular belief some women did not find fulfillment as housewives and mothers. The Feminine Mystique was an instant best-seller.
In 1966, Friedan was one of the founders of the National Organization for Women (NOW). As NOW’s president, she fought for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), legalization of abortions, and better job opportunities for women.

In 1971, she helped found the National Women’s Political Caucus to encourage women to seek public office. A decade later, in 1981, Friedan looked at the progress of the women’s movement in her book The Second Stage. She stressed the important of family life for women and urged that more men be brought into the movement.

In 1993’s The Fountain of Age, Friedan wrote about discrimination against older people.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wordless: The Battle of the Somme

Today in history…..
The Battle of the Somme ended on November 18, 1916. The Somme Offensive was one of the largest and longest battles during World War I….the battle raged from July 1 through November 18th.

Cashing in at 1.5 million casualties it is one of the most bloodiest military operations ever recorded.

The Wordless Wednesday hub can be found here

Monday, November 16, 2009

John James Audubon

In long hair and buckskin clothes, John James Audubon looked like other men on the American frontier in the early 1800s. But Audubon had a unique occupation. His work was the lifelike painting of birds and other wildlife in their natural surroundings.

Born on the Caribbean island of Santo Domingo, Audubon was the son of a French trader. He went to school in France, where he learned to paint. In 1803, he came to the uNited DStates to stud farming, but instead spent most of his time in the woods, oobserving and sketching birds and wildlife. Soon Audubon set himself an ambitious goal: to paint America’s bird in realistic settings. He traveled widely searching for birds and painting them. Eventuall, he made New Orleans his home painting portraits to help support his family while continuing to add to his great bird project.

Audubon made the first “banding” experiments on wild birds. He tied threads around their legs when they were babies and later tracked their nesting habits.

No American publisher was interested in Audubon’s work, but a publisher in Scotland recognized his genius. Birds of America was published in four large volumes beginning in 1827. It made Audubon famous. In the 1840s, two volumes of his studies of mammals appeared, adding to his reputation as a superb artist and pioneering naturalist.