Women's History Month: Frances Willard

March 28, 2016

willardOur Women’s History Month celebration draws to a close as we highlight one final influential woman from history as chosen by you.  Last but certainly not least is Frances Willard who was selected by Glen Madeja – a 44-year Evanston resident and the Executive Director of the Frances Willard Historical Association which manages the Frances Willard House Museum, Memorial Library, and Archives.  Writes Mr. Madeja:

“Frances Willard was a visionary feminist, social justice advocate, and political activist in the late 19th century.  She was able to mobilize women across the globe to work for women’s rights and human rights when women generally had no empowerment in the public sphere.  The basis for our modern social welfare policies can be found in the initiatives fomented by Willard.  Many things we commonly take for granted today such as women’s right to vote, childhood education, protection of women and children at home and work, stiffer penalties for sexual crimes against girls and women, traveler’s aid, police matrons, pure food and drug laws, legal aid, and passive demonstrations are based on the pioneering work of Willard and the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union.”

You can learn more below about Frances Willard, and make sure to mark your calendars for July 2016 when EPL hosts a special Frances Willard House photography exhibit.  Stay tuned.

Continue reading “Women's History Month: Frances Willard”

Women's History Month: Sandra Day O'Connor

March 23, 2016

sandra do'cOur Women’s History Month celebration continues as we highlight the most influential women in history as chosen by you.  Next up is Sandra Day O’Connor who was selected by Josie Johnson – an Evanston 4th grader, Irish dancer, and creative writer who will honor O’Connor tonight at Willard Elementary’s Wax Museum of American History.  Writes Miss Johnson:

“I think one of the most influential women is Sandra Day O’Connor who was the first woman on the U.S. Supreme Court.  She was a pioneer in women’s rights and completed her job even under intense scrutiny.  She made clear that a job can be for any gender, and she proved women are just as good as men.”

You can learn more about Sandra Day O’Connor below, and make sure to share your pick for one of the most influential women in history.  Tell us today by visiting EPL Celebrates Women’s History Month.

Continue reading “Women's History Month: Sandra Day O'Connor”

Women's History Month: Eleanor Roosevelt

March 12, 2016

eleanor rooseveltOur Women’s History Month celebration rages on as we continue highlighting the most influential women in history as chosen by you.  Next up is Eleanor Roosevelt who was selected by Patricia Frank – a 41-year Evanston resident, community gardener, and birder who earned a Ph.D. from NU’s Feinberg School of Medicine and founded a local consulting company.  Writes Ms. Frank:

“Eleanor Roosevelt changed the role of women in American politics even though she was never elected.  She showed how a woman can be strong on her own without the support – or necessarily the approval – of her husband.  And her influence had nothing to do with personal beauty, just force of personality.”

You can learn more about Eleanor Roosevelt below, and make sure to share your pick for one of the most influential women in history.  Tell us today by visiting EPL Celebrates Women’s History Month.

Continue reading “Women's History Month: Eleanor Roosevelt”

Women's History Month: May Wood Simons

March 7, 2016

May Wood Simons

Women’s History Month is here, and the celebration is in full swing.  Not only is tomorrow International Women’s Day, but here on Off the Shelf we’re spending March highlighting the most influential women in history as chosen by you.  First up is May Wood Simons.  An Evanston resident who helped start tomorrow’s holiday, she was selected by Lori Osborne – Director of the Evanston Women’s History Project, Archivist at the Evanston History Center, and a 25-year Evanston resident.  Writes Ms. Osborne:

“May Wood Simons was involved in founding International Women’s Day. Simons and her husband, Algie, were Evanston residents for many years and were active in the early years of the Socialist Party in America…  In 1909, the first National Woman’s Day was held throughout the United States on February 28th.  It was organized by the newly formed Woman’s National Committee of the Socialist Party to celebrate the political rights of women.  May Wood Simons was a delegate to, and later head of, the committee and spoke in favor of the Socialist party supporting women’s suffrage. To celebrate this first Woman’s Day, Simons gave a lecture about women’s suffrage at the Evanston Auditorium. For the 1910 Woman’s Day, Simons spoke at the Garrick Theater in Chicago, lecturing about the relationship between the women’s movement and the industrial and economic movement of workers. That same year, Simons was the American delegate to the International Socialist Congress at Copenhagen, where Clara Zetkin was inspired to create a similar celebration in Germany and Austria, founding International Woman’s Day the next year, in 1911…  International Women’s Day is now celebrated around the globe every year on March 8th.  It is a day set aside to celebrate women’s achievements, but also remember the work still needed to promote gender equality.”

You can learn more below about May Wood Simons and the causes for which she fought, and don’t miss tomorrow’s International Women’s Day Celebration at the Evanston History Center.  Also, make sure to share who you think is one of the most influential women in history.  Tell us today by visiting EPL Celebrates Women’s History Month.

Continue reading “Women's History Month: May Wood Simons”

Happy Women's History Month!

March 1, 2016

women's history month

Today begins Women’s History Month, and we want you to help us celebrate here on Off the Shelf.  We’d like to know who you think is one of the most influential women in history and why it’s important for people to know about her.  She can be from ancient history, recent history, or modern times.  She can be an activist or an artist, a politician or a physician, a local hero or an international icon.  We just want to know about the impact she’s made, and how she’s inspired you.  Please let us know at EPL Celebrates Women’s History Month, and then check back with Off the Shelf throughout March as we celebrate the important women chosen by you and your EPL neighbors.  Stay tuned.


Hot Off the Interweb

March 24, 2012

The Private Lives of Great Writers

The extent to which an author’s personal life sheds light on their work is debated by Salon.  Weighing in on Jonathan Franzen’s controversial New Yorker essay, the article explores just how relevant Edith Wharton’s looks and Saul Bellow’s marital problems are to appreciating their novels.

Beyond The Art of Fielding

The American novelist’s interest in sports is thoroughly examined in Slate.  Focusing on Chad Harbach’s bestseller as well as books by Philip Roth, John Updike, Don DeLillo, and David Foster Wallace, the insightful essay looks at how sports are used to explore courage, resilience, and loyalty.

The Composites

Police sketch software is used to create portraits of famous characters in literature on this seductively strange website.  Using descriptions straight from the novels, artist and writer Brian Joseph Davis’ depictions include Rochester from Jane Eyre, Emma Bovary, and Ignatius J. Reilly (pictured).

Ladies’ Night on Movie Night

Celebrate Women’s History Month with one of these 40 films featuring some seriously cool ladies both real and fictitious.  Pop some corn and take your pick from titles including Persepolis, La Vie en Rose, The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter, Amelie, and The Color Purple.

Congratulations to Natalie Randolph!

March 14, 2010

Coolidge Senior High School in Washington, DC  has just named Natalie Randolph as their head football coach. A biology and environmental sciences teacher, and former receiver for the DC Divas of the National Women’s Football Association, Ms. Randolph is only the nation’s second female head coach of a boys’ varsity high school football team. You can read more about her here.

Write This Woman Back into History!

March 12, 2010

Who are the first people that come to mind when you think of the Montgomery bus boycotts of the 1950s? Rosa Parks played a pivotal role, to be sure. But nine months before Rosa Parks refused to surrender her bus seat to a white passenger, a 15-year-old girl named Claudette Colvin did the same.


Imagine yourself at 15 and in her shoes. Two policemen, both bigger than you, pull you right out of your bus seat, sending your school books flying everywhere. One kicks you as they both drag you off the bus and arrest you. Then they ask you to stick your hands out of the police car so that they can handcuff you for all to see. On the way to the city jail – the adult jail – they call you every imaginable name and try to guess your bra size, and when you arrive at the station, they don’t even allow you to make a phone call. Continue reading “Write This Woman Back into History!”

Women’s History Month: Baseball Been Very, Very Bad to Her…But It’s Made Amends

March 11, 2010

In another instance of a woman belatedly getting  due credit for her work, the Society for American Baseball Research (SARB) decided to acknowledge Dorothy Jane Mills, right, as co-author with her late husband, Harold Seymour, for a highly influential three-volume history of baseball that she co-wrote and for which he took sole credit. This New York Times feature tells how Mills, 81, fumed for 50 years while her role in writing the book remained unknown.This month, SARB finally righted that wrong when they honored Ms Mills and Mr Seymour as joint recipients of the Henry Chadwick Award, which is given to the sport’s finest researchers. (Mary B., Reader’s Services)

Translate »