Special Sub-Topic: History's Notorious Women
|She was a famous painter born in a small town on the outskirts of Mexico City. Gravely injured in a bus crash, she recovered enough to devote herself to painting. She married painter Diego Rivera but the relationship was turbulent. What is the name of this famous artist?|
Frida Kahlo. Kahlo's life was difficult, from the time she contracted polio as a child through her husband's many infidelities and her numerous miscarriages. She had an affair with Leon Trotsky, Diego's friend and one of the leaders of the Russian Revolution. It was a way to get back at her husband and it destroyed the friendship between Diego and Trotsky. Abandoning her sexual inhibitions after she finally came to terms with her husband's philandering, Frida began having affairs with both men and women. She and Diego ultimately divorced but stayed in contact. With Diego's encouragement, she began to show and sell her work. Actor Edward G. Robinson bought four of her paintings. She favored brightly colored paintings of complex, visual images. Her paintings ultimately became a vehicle for channeling and expressing her pain. Frida died in 1954 but her legacy continues. Frida Kahlo is considered to be one of the most important and original artists of the twentieth century.
|She was born Amy Lyon in a village twelve miles from Liverpool, England. During her lifetime she rose from the depths of poverty to the heights of fame and fortune only to end up back where she started. Name this woman who became a courtesan, ambassador's wife, and lover to naval hero Horatio Nelson.|
Emma Hamilton. At the tender age of thirteen, Emma began work as a servant. Illiterate but beautiful, she quickly tired of servant work and headed for London. While there she found work as a prostitute and an artist's model. After meeting Sir William Hamilton, ambassador to Naples and thirty-five years her senior, Emma became his mistress and eventually his wife. Her life with William was comfortable until she met Horatio Nelson. Their affair produced a daughter, Horatia. When William died in 1803 and Nelson died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, Emma was left deeply in debt because she had been living beyond her means. She died in 1815, impoverished from living such an extravagant lifestyle, her health ruined from excessive drinking.
|F.Scott Fitzgerald, author of "The Great Gatsby," fell in love with a flirtatious and flamboyant Southern belle. They were the celebrity couple of the Jazz Age. What is the name of the woman Fitzgerald would ultimately marry?|
Zelda Fitzgerald. She was born Zelda Sayre and enjoyed scandalizing her proper Victorian father. Zelda attracted men wherever she went. The heroine of Fitzgerald's first novel, "This Side of Paradise," bore a striking resemblance to Zelda. Both Fitzgeralds favored alcohol and partying. Zelda even became fascinated with ballet to the point of obsession. Her first novel, "Save the Waltz," was semi-autobiographical. Zelda eventually developed schizophrenia and spent her last years in and out of mental hospitals. Though she and Scott were separated, he never abandoned her in her illness. Sadly, Zelda Fitzgerald died when a fire broke out in the hospital in which she was a patient. The Fitzgeralds were buried in the same cemetery with a joint tombstone inscribed with words from the novel "The Great Gatsby."
|She claimed she was born to dance. She danced to classical music long before it became the norm in ballet. She lived life her way, eschewing tradition and embracing freedom of expression. She was strangled by a scarf which caught on the spokes of a wheel of the car in which she had been a passenger. Name this world famous dancer.|
Isadora Duncan. Isadora's dancing, her many lovers, and her revolutionary politics made her one of the most notorious artists of her era. Her atheism, communist beliefs, love affairs and illegitimate children were unusual for a woman living in the early part of the twentieth century. Born in San Francisco, Isadora traveled the world entertaining audiences everywhere while influencing both the evolution of modern dance and the first ballet company, the Ballets Russes. At the end of her life, after having suffered the loss of two of her children, Isadora Duncan found her dancing career had waned. Her public drunkenness became more frequent. She attempted to start a dancing school in Soviet Russia but was unsuccessful. Her communist leanings made her persona non grata in the United States. She spent her final years traveling between Paris and the Mediterranean, racking up debts and drinking way too much. Despite all this, her dance legacy has continued to influence dancers and choreographers.
|Long before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus, this schoolteacher refused to move from the ladies' car on a railway train. After she was removed from the train, she sued and won, although the decision was later reversed. Name this outspoken activist.|
Ida Wells-Barnett. Ida Wells, the eldest of eight children, was born to slave parents in 1862. Outspoken, militant, and argumentative, she clashed with several prominent African American leaders at the time for compromising instead of standing firm. While living in Chicago, she started the first kindergarten for black children. She owned newspapers, wrote newspaper articles, and hyphenated her name at a time when women automatically took their husband's name. Ida helped found the Negro Fellowship League in 1910 and was a founding member of the NAACP, although she withdrew her membership because she felt the organization wasn't militant enough. While raising four children, she found time to serve as secretary of the Afro-American Council and was part of a delegation to President William McKinley to seek justice after the lynching of a black postman. Her achievements remained unrecognized for decades after her death. However, high schools and colleges now study and teach her work. In 2005, her work was praised on the floor of the U.S. Congress.
|Her name is the Celtic word for victory. She was a wife, mother, and revered queen. She was also leader of one of the most violent rebellions fought against the Romans by the British. By what name is she known?|
Boudica. Not much is known about about Boudica's background. What is known is that in 60 CE, after ruling for twenty years, King Prasutagus of the Iceni in East Anglia (the Iceni's area covers modern-day Norfolk and parts of Cambridgeshire and Suffolk in England) died and left his empire divided between the Roman Empire and his two daughters, with his widow, Boudica, as regent. Women in Celtic Britain, unlike their Roman counterparts, had a great deal of latitude. They could marry whomever they wished and could even own property. Soon after the Romans flogged Boudica in public and raped her daughters as a warning to other tribes, she amassed an army of over 120,000 to fight against them. Even by today's standards, Boudica was a force with which to be reckoned. After a fierce battle between the Romans and the Britons, the Romans having the upper hand due to their superior fighting skills, it is believed that Boudica and her daughters poisoned themselves to avoid being captured by the Romans. She became a heroine who died defending her country against a ruthless power. Her statue now stands on the Thames River near the Houses of Parliament, a symbol of national patriotism.
|She survived the sinking of the Titanic and acquired the nickname "Unsinkable Molly Brown." She became involved with women's suffrage issues while living in Leadville, Colorado. It was also where she met and married her husband J.J. Brown. Name this "unsinkable" lady.|
Margaret Tobin Brown. The fact that Margaret was called Molly is a myth. She was known as Maggie. Debbie Reynolds' portrayal of "Unsinkable Molly Brown" is pure Hollywood. The real Margaret Brown was a far more complex woman than the simple woman in the musical. After marrying James Joseph (J.J.) Brown and working her way up the social ladder, Margaret became a fixture in Denver social circles. She didn't always party, though. Margaret had a social conscience. She lobbied to have women in the military and invited local Native American tribes as well as African Americans living in Denver to participate in a World's Fair that she herself created. She did survive on the Titanic after being rescued on a lifeboat. However, Margaret, her social conscience intact, begged the rescuers to go back for more survivors. She also helped to calm the survivors in the lifeboats. She blamed the White Star Line for not having enough lifeboats. She also disagreed with the notion that women and children go first. She believed that families should have been rescued together. Later, during World War 1, she helped to create a military hospital in France and provided money for the ambulance corps. She was awarded the French Legion of Honor medal for her work. She died at the age of sixty-four from an undiagnosed brain tumor. Margaret Tobin Brown is remembered as a woman of action, compassion, and conviction, not the "Unsinkable Molly Brown" of western folklore.
|In an age where women were not expected to be adventurous, much less travel to foreign lands, this intrepid woman spent thirty years in the Middle East. She often dressed like a man and took many lovers. Her uncle was William Pitt the Younger. What is the name of this adventuress?|
Lady Hester Stanhope. Hester was born to a family of adventurers and statesmen. When she went to live with her uncle, William Pitt the Younger, she acted as his unofficial adviser and political hostess. After her uncle died, Hester was left with a meager amount of twelve hundred pounds a year. She was not used to living in genteel poverty and despised that type of life. After her brother died fighting Napoleon, Hester left England for greener pastures. She traveled to Gibraltar and met and fell in love with Michael Bruce, a man twelve years her junior. Knowing that their affair would hurt his chances at having a political career, she left him and traveled to Egypt. Hester had no reason to travel there other than satisfying her wanderlust. From Egypt she traveled to Damascus, Syria. While there, she refused to wear a veil and continued to dress like a man. The Syrians were amazed by her behavior and admired her courage. The local Bedouins even named her "Queen Hester." Hester continued to live her lavish lifestyle until her pension ran out. She sent letters to Queen Victoria to have her pension renewed but she received no response. Hester Stanhope became a recluse, having moved earlier to Djoun in the remote Lebanese mountains, and died there. Dr. Charles Meryon, who had traveled with Hester to the Middle East as her medical companion, later wrote three volumes of memoirs of his travels with her. Dr. Meryon truly cared about his friend and did not want her adventuress's life to be forgotten.
|She was eleven when she saw a plane for the first time at the Iowa State Fair. She broke records as a pilot and disappeared in her plane somewhere over the Pacific Ocean while attempting to fly around the world. Who is this female daredevil?|
Amelia Earhart. Amelia showed her fearlessness even as a child. She once built a roller coaster on the roof of her family's house. She took flying lessons from the pioneer woman pilot Neta Snook. To pay for her lessons, Amelia drove a gravel truck and worked for the phone company. Before she took her first solo flight, Amelia bought a plane for two thousand dollars and named it Canary. She took part in "air rodeo" shows and, in 1922, set the women's altitude record by reaching fourteen thousand feet. Even though the record was broken weeks later, it helped to build her confidence. One year after Charles Lindbergh's landmark solo flight across the Atlantic, Amelia herself was offered the chance to be the first woman to do what Lindbergh did. The public adored Amelia. She was wholesome-looking and smiled easily. However,according to Neta Snook, Amelia was not a natural pilot. Amelia took many risks. She didn't learn Morse Code or radio telegraphy, and crashed often during takeoffs and landings. Despite this, the public remained intensely interested in all things Amelia. Fred Noonan, an experienced navigator, accompanied Amelia on her solo flight around the world. Neither was heard from again. Amelia had made some mistakes before this flight. She left behind her parachute, wireless antenna, and her life raft. Their destination was Howland Island where she expected to refuel. They never made it. Despite numerous theories of what really happened to the pilots and numerous attempts to locate them, whatever happened to Amelia and her navigator remains a mystery.
|It's hard to separate fact from fiction in regards to Martha Canary. The image of a hell-raising, gun-toting icon of the Old West is mostly bunk. Martha was really an illiterate, drunken camp follower and dance hall girl. She is better known by what name?|
Calamity Jane. Although Calamity attended school, it didn't stick. She remained barely literate. Sadly, her parents died when she was only twelve. Her siblings were taken in by Mormon families in Salt Lake City but Calamity's rowdy behavior prevented her from joining them. She headed for Fort Bridger, Wyoming and before long she became a dance hall girl and prostitute. She boasted that she had been an Indian scout for Custer in Arizona, but was little more than a camp follower. Calamity Jane owes her reputation as an icon to Horatio Maguire and Edward Wheeler. Both glorified her exploits in newspapers and dime novels called "Deadwood Dick." Her relationship with Wild Bill Hickok was most likely nothing more than a casual friendship. She had joined his expedition of gold seekers as a cook and bushwhacker. She was the exact opposite of Victorian ladies. Perhaps that's what contributed to her larger-than-life image. The American West was experiencing changes from lawless frontier to respectable society. The real story of Martha Canary/Calamity Jane was that of an orphan who refused to conform. She was wild and stubborn and witnessed firsthand the most dramatic period in the history of the American West. Martha passed away in 1903 and was buried near Wild Bill Hickok in Deadwood, South Dakota.
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