This blog is about rediscovering the forgotten women heroes from the past, it's about rewriting one parallel women history or Herstory... and yet this blog doesn't have anything to do with feminism.
Reblogged from historicalheroines  31,676 notes

historicalheroines:

 I’ve created these flyers for a school activist project where I bring more attention to the women in history that have been forgotten or ignored. This blog will be an extension of those flyers where I post longer biographies of these women and other bad-ass women like them. Too often women’s achievements have been pushed aside, either by others in their lives, or else by the historians who choose to ignore them. This tumblr is dedicated to celebrating them and bringing their achievements to light!

Today we remember Elisabetta Sirani, a female (!) Italian painter from Bologna, who died on August 28th in 1665.  She was only 27 years old and, according to her father, died of poisoning.  Sirani lived and died in Bologna, which was known as a progressive city, both allowing and (within ‘reason’) encouraging women artists with commissions.Her father, Giovanni Sirani, was one of Guido Reni’s main assistants and, since even in liberal Bologna, a woman could not visit an academy run by a man, it is assumed that she learned to paint from her father.  She must have been a veritable prodigy, because she was earning money through engraving and painting at only 17 and two years later took over her father’s workshop when he could no longer work due to gout.This is her Porcia Wounding Her Thigh, a painting not only remarkable for its technical qualities of coloring and meticulous detail, but also for its (dare I say it) feminist content.Porcia (later called Portia), is a historical figure from Rome, the daughter of Cato and wife of Brutus.  According to the Roman historian Plutarch, she was very enamored of her husband and longed to share not only his bed, but also his political life.  Brutus however, being involved in the burgeoning plot to end Caesar’s life, initially believed his secrets too dangerous to confide to her.  To prove her trustworthiness, Porcia stabbed herself in her thigh, showing that she could withstand the pain of potential torture.   Brutus then relented and Confided All.In  _Julius Caesar,_ (2.1.6) Shakespeare has taken the story from Plutarch and has Porcia say to Brutus:I grant I am a woman; but withalA woman well-reputed, Cato’s daughter.Think you I am no stronger than my sex,Being so father’d and so husbanded?Tell me your counsels, I will not disclose ‘em:I have made strong proof of my constancy,Giving myself a voluntary woundHere, in the thigh: can I bear that with patience.And not my husband’s secrets?Sirani’s painting shows not only the immediate and surely private scene of the actual stabbing, but also conveys the important element of Porcia’s distancing herself from other, ‘normal’ women, by showing a group of them in the background.  The public, ‘typical’ females and their attributes, busy with sewing and gossiping, serve as a wonderful foil to Porcia’s private and masculine act of self-sacrifice (actually self-mutilation).(via Google Plus)

Today we remember Elisabetta Sirani, a female (!) Italian painter from Bologna, who died on August 28th in 1665.  She was only 27 years old and, according to her father, died of poisoning.  Sirani lived and died in Bologna, which was known as a progressive city, both allowing and (within ‘reason’) encouraging women artists with commissions.

Her father, Giovanni Sirani, was one of Guido Reni’s main assistants and, since even in liberal Bologna, a woman could not visit an academy run by a man, it is assumed that she learned to paint from her father.  She must have been a veritable prodigy, because she was earning money through engraving and painting at only 17 and two years later took over her father’s workshop when he could no longer work due to gout.

This is her Porcia Wounding Her Thigh, a painting not only remarkable for its technical qualities of coloring and meticulous detail, but also for its (dare I say it) feminist content.

Porcia (later called Portia), is a historical figure from Rome, the daughter of Cato and wife of Brutus.  According to the Roman historian Plutarch, she was very enamored of her husband and longed to share not only his bed, but also his political life.  Brutus however, being involved in the burgeoning plot to end Caesar’s life, initially believed his secrets too dangerous to confide to her.  To prove her trustworthiness, Porcia stabbed herself in her thigh, showing that she could withstand the pain of potential torture.   Brutus then relented and Confided All.

In  _Julius Caesar,_ (2.1.6) Shakespeare has taken the story from Plutarch and has Porcia say to Brutus:
I grant I am a woman; but withal
A woman well-reputed, Cato’s daughter.
Think you I am no stronger than my sex,
Being so father’d and so husbanded?
Tell me your counsels, I will not disclose ‘em:
I have made strong proof of my constancy,
Giving myself a voluntary wound
Here, in the thigh: can I bear that with patience.
And not my husband’s secrets?

Sirani’s painting shows not only the immediate and surely private scene of the actual stabbing, but also conveys the important element of Porcia’s distancing herself from other, ‘normal’ women, by showing a group of them in the background.  The public, ‘typical’ females and their attributes, busy with sewing and gossiping, serve as a wonderful foil to Porcia’s private and masculine act of self-sacrifice (actually self-mutilation).

(via Google Plus)

Alice Guy Blaché (1873-1968), the world’s first woman filmmaker, was one of the key figures in the development of narrative film. From 1896 to 1920 she directed hundreds of short films (including over 100 sychronized sound films and twenty-two feature films), produced hundreds more, and was the first - and so far the only - woman to own and run her own studio plant (The Solax Studio in Fort Lee, NJ, 1910-1914). However, her role in film history was completely forgotten until her own memoirs were published in 1976.

Reblogged from womenrockscience  8 notes

Caroline Herschel, Astronomer and kick ass musician 1750-1848

womenrockscience:

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This is really the tale of a modern day Cinderella. Caroline arrived in England from Germany at 22 with no qualifications being just a maid. In a few short years she had learnt a new language had a professional singing career, learnt mathematics, become a world renowned astronomer, discovered 3 new nebulae and the first woman to discover a comet by the time she was 36.  On her 96th birthday she was awarded the King of Prussia’s Gold Medal for Science for her lifetime achievements.

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Reblogged from womenrockscience  34 notes

A Star Out Of Focus by Moussemymind

womenrockscience:

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by Moussemymind


The doubters said it couldn’t be done. A woman less than five feet tall. Past her prime. A spinster marked by smallpox. What could a woman such as this achieve?

Caroline kept herself busy. It silenced the doubting voices. She ordered the domestics. Paid the gardener. Oiled the machinery. But at night. At night she had leisure. At night she had the heavens.


The footman held the ladder while Caroline climbed to the flat roof. He followed with the telescope. After the instrument was set towards the sun the footman settled his back against the chimney stack, warm from the kitchen fire below, and allowed himself to nod while his little mistress fussed over her books and inkwell and cranked the controls of the dainty telescope.

Caroline heard the footman’s snores. She was alone.

The night was still. No theatres or benefits or Pump Rooms of Bath disgorging onto rain soaked streets to the clamour of link boys and licensed chairmen crying their services to the crowd. No. This was the countryside. Though the palace lay across the fields, the lights and hubbub of the court did not stretch to their humble corner. Until the King came to visit with his placemen and titled servants. But the King would not come this night. By his order William had gone to Gottingen with the ten foot reflector.

William’s absence gave Caroline the leisure her protestant soul desired to fill with work.

Caroline leant into the eyepiece and began her observation. Looking for new phenomena. She sang as she worked. An aria from Handel’s Messiah. It was ever popular at Bath. How many times had she copied the score and learned the part, ready to step from chorus to solo? For the castrato Rauzzini, like her brother William, would arrive breathlessly late for performances. He sang like a trilling bird, voice soaring to the vaulted ceiling of the Abbey Church. Like her his chance for nuptials had been cut short in childhood. They were fashioned for a different purpose. His to praise God with song. Hers. Caroline still sought her purpose.

If God be for us, who can be against us?

Did she blaspheme with her investigations? The question vexed her. It was her nature to explore. Searching gave her liberty.  But was it merely feminine curiosity? Society held that the weaker sex should not aspire to the likes of Cook, discovering unseen horizons.

In her excitement Caroline was apt to forget Society.

It looked like a star out of focus. She must note it. Forthwith. Caroline stepped away from the eyepiece, breaking her song to repeat the observation. Unlike William she had no assistant. Dear William. She was ever in his debt. But she wished. How she wished. No matter. Caroline stepped to the eyepiece again. Looked. The fuzzy star. Was gone. The object must be moving.

There is more to the heavens than stars.

Caroline swept again. Steady, steady with the telescope. Searching. She could not find it. She swept again, slowly cranking the handle. The object had vanished. Caroline straightened and rubbed her aching back. With a covert glance at the sleeping footman she loosened her stays to make her habit more comfortable. Above the heavens continued their dance.

She would find it. She would.

Caroline woke the footman. “Get me bread. Cheese. A pot of hot. I cannot observe without victuals.”

The footman, glad to abandon his post, creaked down the ladder.

Caroline was alone.

In her solitude she found it. A comet. Moving through Leo. For almost four hours she tracked it, heart beating in her ears. A comet! When she went to bed she could not sleep. She rose and wrote in her diary…..

The following night was cloudy. No chasing stars. The rain misted her cheeks already damp with frustration. She must wait. And hope some other hunter would not pin their appellation to the comet first and claim the glory.

It was a race against the clouds.

The following night was clear. Caroline did not wait for the footman to hold the ladder steady. She clambered single handed, telescope shoved under her arm, pocket weighed down with Alexander’s clock for noting the exact time. And yes. There is was. It could not be mistaken.

By the time the footman reached bottom of the ladder Caroline was bustling down it again, petticoats hoiked to unseemly heights. “Madam?”

She brushed aside the offered victuals. “Get me paper. Ink. Prepare the horse!”

The domestics flustered under her torrent of orders. In the centre of it she wrote. And wrote. Dropped sand to dry the ink. Impatient. On sealing she pushed the letters into the footman’s hand with a coin. “Go now! Make haste!” She stood on the front step watching his tri-cornered hat disappear between the the hedgerow. Then she returned to her observations. And waited.

One day. Two days. Three days. Four.

On the fifth the bell pull rang. On the doorstep, hat in hand, was Sir Joshua Banks. Head of the Royal Astronomical Society. The gentleman at his shoulder, Lord Palmerstone.

They held the ladder, discretely looking down at their buckles while Caroline climbed. The footman did not sleep but waited with great attention on his lordship who rewarded him only with a smile. Caroline set the little telescope to the heavens. And showed them.

Her comet.

When William returned, a messenger in royal livery diverted his coach to the palace. His homecoming was an audience with the King.

All work in the cottage stopped when the kitchen maid spied the royal carriage drawing up outside. The carriage spilled princesses, then His Majesty, and finally William. He took Caroline’s hands. “Dear sister. The King demands that He see the lady comet.”

Some years later the King awarded Caroline an annual salary. England’s first lady Astronomer. Later there would be more. Many more.

The doubters said it couldn’t be done. A woman less than five feet tall. Past her prime. A spinster marked by smallpox. What could a woman such as this achieve?

******

further reading: Caroline Herschel As Observer, Hoskin, Michael -  Journal for the History of Astronomy (ISSN 0021-8286), Vol. 36, Part 4, No. 125, p. 373 - 406 (2005)