You are browsing the archive for Intellectual history.

by OneTon

Wayne County Author Impacts 20th Century Female Progression

October 21, 2010 in 1920s-30s, 1940s-1950s, 1950s-1960s, Intellectual history

A very popular female writer, Harriette Arnow was one of the most respected authors produced by Kentucky.  Born on July 7, 1908, in Wayne County, Kentucky, Arnow began a life fueled by her love of literature. Her full name, Harriette Louisa Simpson Arnow was conjured from each grandmother, and she was born the second of six children to Elias Thomas Simpson and Mollie Jane Simpson. Furthermore, Arnow’s ancestors for five generations were all from Kentucky, which means she came from a rich tradition of Kentuckians.

At the age of five, her family moved to Burnside, Kentucky which is northeast of her Wayne County birthplace. She attended and graduated from Burnside High School where she participated in the literacy society. To further her education, Arnow attended Berea College for two years, but was disgruntled and left due to their rules. During her two years at the college, women had to cover their legs, wear no make-up, and could only date at specific times! She left in a search for a more independent lifestyle and eventually attended the University of Louisville (UL). At UL she honed her skills of writing amazing stories which eventually led to her self-acclaimed literacy awards.

Many of her works are still read today, such as The Dollmaker and Hunter’s Horn. While living in the country, near Ann Arbor, Michigan she produced many other famous works: The Weedkiller’s Daughter (1970), The Kentucky Trace (1975), Seedtime on the Cumberland (1960), and Old Burnside (1977).  The Dollmaker received the most awards out of her library of literature. The novel was a best-seller and tied for the best novel of 1954 in the Saturday Reviews national critic’s poll.

Harriette Arnow is another great example of female progression in Kentucky. Her dedication to the literary world paid off; her many awards and honors prove the success of her writings. She also proved that to be a successful woman in the 20th century that one did not need to be a female civil rights activist.

Emily Greene Balch

October 19, 2010 in 1920s-30s, 1940s-1950s, Intellectual history, Political history, Social history

Emily Greene Balch can be categorized into a group that unfortunately too many women fall victim.  Ms. Balch, although being one of the most intelligent women and great activists for equality and peace during her time, fell into obscurity in a society that too often emphasizes what isn’t important.

Ms. Balch was born in Boston to an affluent family.  Though not much about her mother or father is revealed it is known that Ms. Balch was educated and became actively involved in the women’s suffrage movement and the war protests surrounding WWI.  After graduating college Ms. Balch helped found the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.  She also became a professor of sociology and economics at Welllesly College in Massachusetts before being fired for her “pacifist” and “regrettable” behaviors.

The question is this: How does someone with credentials such as Ms. Balch get thrown into obscurity and become seemingly irrelevent?  Unfortunately the answer lies within the social structure that too often defines American society; Men at the forefront, women in the background.  Examples of this are endless.  take for instance Anna Mae Clark, Jane Adams, or Aletta Jacobs just to name a few.

When will this stop?  And how long must we tolerate this type of underwhelming recognition?  Ms. Balch, though winning the Noble Peace prize of 1946, still had to share the honor with a man!(John Mott).

It is our responsibilty to ensure that women like Ms. Balch be promoted and regarded as esteemed individuals for what they accomplished and to help deter the neagtive stereotypes and insignificance that is allowed due to their gender. greene balch.  wiki group.  12 October 2010.  19 October 2010.

by becca

History of UK and Women Students

October 19, 2010 in 1920s-30s, 1940s-1950s, 1950s-1960s, 1960s-1970s, Intellectual history, Social history

I was shocked to discover that the University of Kentucky’s womens basketball team was actually started a year before the mens in 1902.

However, that excitement was almost immediately shut down when I read that in 1924 the University Senate passed a bill that discontinued the womens team because if the game was too strenuous for the boys (which they thought) then it must be way too strenuous for the girls. So dumb.

I continued looking at the history of women and the roles they were allowed to play with the establishment of the University. In 1880, the Agricultural and Mechanical College allowed women to enroll, 15 years after the college itself was established.

Aside from the ridiculousness of the women’s basketball team, UK reestablished basketball and began gymnastics, track, tennis, swimming, and golf for women in 1974. A little late in my opinion, but better late than never I guess.

And in 1980, it was recorded that more women were earning degrees than men.

Overall, the University of Kentucky has had their ups and downs when it comes to being an equal opportunity school. We are lucky to attend during a time of equality!

by becca

Fighting for Equal Teacher Rights

October 14, 2010 in 1940s-1950s, Economic history, Intellectual history

Since I’m studying to be a high school teacher, I found this website really cool. It’s all about different African American teachers teaching in Kentucky during the Civil Rights Movement.

The very first story caught my eye. It’s about Vallateen Virginia Dudley Abbington. First of all, her name is awesome. Second of all, she went against the norm and fought for equal pay rights for African American teachers. They were getting 15% less pay than white teachers. That’s a ridiculous gap between the two paychecks. The lawsuit went to the Federal Court District. The school board told Abbington that if she dropped her case they would equal the pay for all. She did and ever since then, it’s been equal.

However, I think it’s unfortunate that they had to pretty much bribe her out of what she was standing up for. I’m glad it ended up being equal in the end, but they basically disregarded what she was fighting for.

Mary Elliot Flannery

October 13, 2010 in 1920s-30s, Intellectual history, Political history, Social history

          I have decided to do research on Mary Elliot Flannery, Kentucky’s and the south’s first female legislator.  After reading about her, I couldn’t help but wonder where the determination and the will to push through a campaign during a time in which women were not received well in politics or many other aspects of American society comes from?  It’s a significant reason why I chose her.  Also, she is a native Kentuckian and was a public school teacher, something I someday hope to relate to.

            Born in 1867 as Mary Elliot into an affluent family, she attended college at Barboursville College in West Virginia before completing her education at the University of Kentucky.  She then became a school teacher and married a man named William “Harvey” Flannery and moved to Pike County, Kentucky due to her husband’s job.  It was here where Flannery began her career as a writer, writing columns for the Ashland Daily advocating legislation for women’s rights.  Through her articles in the newspaper Flannery was able to muster support for her cause and by 1921, only a year after womens’ suffrage had become constitutional law, won a seat in the Kentucky House of Representatives by a 250 vote margin.  She continued her work in politics and journalism until her death in 1933 being an active voice for women in Kentucky, the south, and the entire United States.  She was a member of the Kentucky Equal Rights Association, the General Federation of Women club, Daughter’s of the Revolution, and founded a chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.  She also had an unsuccessful run at Secretary of State in 1923.  Keep in mind that she was able to accomplish all of this while raising 5 children!

            Mary Elliot Flannery was one of the most influential women of Kentucky and the civil rights and women’s suffrage movement.  Researching the life and work of such a prominent figure will help to highlight a hero and progressive leader of both the commonwealth and women’s history.

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