Thursday, March 12, 2015

Jane Austen

Women's History Month - Jane Austen, beloved author of the late 1700s and early 1800s.  Timeless stories that lasted over 200 years.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Mary Somerville

"Who shall declare the time allotted to the human race, when the generations of the most insignificant insect also existed for unnumbered ages? Yet man is also to vanish in the ever-changing course of events. The earth is to be burnt up, and the elements are to melt with fervent heat—to be again reduced to chaos—possibly to be renovated and adorned for other races of beings. These stupendous changes may be but cycles in those great laws of the universe, where all is variable but the laws themselves and He who has ordained them. "

— Mary Fairfax Greig Somerville

Mary Somerville's life sounds like a forbidden love story. She did not get formal training until the age of ten and she struggled.  And yet when she discovers algebra equations in a magazine, she takes an interest and studies it whenever she has a free moment.  Her family does not approve of her pursuits and eventually she marries Greig who also does not believe women should be spending time on manly tasks.  Three years into her marriage, her husband dies, she inherits the estate and she is now free, free to study what she wishes.

To put icing on that cake, she finds love, remarries, and along with Caroline Hershel, they become the first 
women to receive honorary membership to the Royal Astronomical Society.  From my studies of her, I find she is known for interpreting and reviewing mathematical and scientific studies as a whole.

I love hearing stories of going against great odds.  Granted some of it was luck and yet she still had to overcome so many prejudices.  How many of us give up because it is just too hard.  I'm so happy to be doing this blog, I'm feeling inspired this month.

Other Resources:
This is a book written by Mary's daughter Martha - it reads as if Martha just copied the words that her mother told her:
You need to scroll down to read this summary of Mary's life:
An article from Harvard university about Mary Somerville

Monday, March 11, 2013

Alexandra David-Néel

Alexandra David-Néel 

Alexandra David-Neel appealed to me because she was an adventurer.  She was the first western woman to cross the borders of Tibet and to enter the city of Llhasa in 1924 - that's 22 years before Heinrich Harrer, the German mountaineer the movie Seven Years in Tibet was based on.

 Much of her the information on Alexandra is in French however I found this information to be consistent:

She was:
  • born in France to a mother who wanted a boy.  The mother did not love her.
  •  a feminist and a became a Buddhist while in France.
  • an opera singer with some success
  • married, even though she professed never to do so, she left not long after her marriage she left to travel Asia.
  • fluent in Tibetan
  • divorced after her many years in Asia.

Eventually she traveled to Asia because she wanted to learn more about Buddhism.  She was fluent in Tibetan and was invited to meet with the 13th Dalai Lama (the first westerner to do so), whom she asked questions about Buddhism.  She took notes and wrote many books about the wonders and mysticism of the Buddhistism. One of which you can read for free with the link below.

Interesting to note:
  • Although Wikipedia and another French site says that Alexandra was born in 1868, I read in her book that she was 100 years old in 1967 and a close friend of hers said she died at 101. 
  • She was married and although she appeared to be born as a woman with means, her husband paid for her travels.  I wondered if she brought money into the relationship and in some ways, that money would have been hers anyway.  I also wonder if she was now a married woman, was it easier for her to travel even if it was without her husband.
  • She was one of the inspirations of photographer Masha Norby.
Other resources:
My favorite linke from
This is in French, if you are using Google Chrome, you can translate it:
An explanation of a fascination technique Alexandra used called Tulpa,

Friday, March 8, 2013

Patricia Era Bath

Patricia Era Bath

What I find most interesting about Patricia Era Bath is that she lives today and yet there is little record about her.  I so often feel that women are not recognized as loudly as men for their accomplishments.  Patricia Era Bath supports my claim.

"Do not allow your mind to be imprisoned by majority thinking. Remember that the limits of science are not the limits of your imagination."
-Dr. Patricia Bath*

Born in 1942, Patricia Era Bath is an African American woman from Harlem NY who became an ophthalmologist.  that statement alone puts her on my "you go girl" list.  However, there's more.  She discovered and patented a way to vaporize cataracts with lasers which not only was less evasive then the previous method but the method also help individuals who had not seen for over 30 years, see again.

* Hopkins, Heather M. "Meet Dr. Patricia Bath." Footsteps Jan.-Feb. 2005: 36. General OneFile. Web. 8 Mar. 2013.

More Information: - this is a link to her patent

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Women's History Month - Susan Butcher, the Iditarod

Susan Butcher was a 4-time champion of the grueling Iditarod in Alaska (1986, 1987, 1988, 1990) and an advocate of the humane treatment of sled dogs.  Susan took great care in the treatment of her dogs and acknowledged that not all mushers treat their sled dogs humanely and that it needed to change.

As controversial race, the Iditarod is, as claimed by Discovery channel, "the toughest  race on Earth."  Susan loved the outdoors and training sled dogs and mushing became her passion. 

My favorite resource for Susan is an interview for the Academy of Achievement:
Further Reading:

2012: Women history month book list

This is the post I made from last year:  I'm posting it here to get ya'll started on some great books about women.


I just came from the library where I learned that they are giving a lecture on women spies during the civil war.  I thought this was a great program for my girl scouts troop.  I went to the library website to share a link to the troop to register.  At the website I found a list of great books in celebration of Women's History Month.  I'm so excited.  It's only been the last couple of years that I've heard a peep about Women's History Month.  I'm so excited that people are showing their appreciation.  So below I listed several book lists of biographies of women.