September 29

Events in Women’s History

I am unaware of any significant events in Women’s History. If you know of any, please leave a comment so that I can add it. Thank you!


Elizabeth Gaskell in 1832 by William John Thomson

Elizabeth Gaskell in 1832 by William John Thomson (source)

1240 – Margaret of England, Queen of Scots as wife of Alexander III (d. 1275)

1328 – Joan, Countess of Kent, Baroness Wake of Liddell, The Fair Maid of Kent, Princess of Wales as wife of Edward, the Black Prince  (d. 1385)

1766Charlotte, Princess Royal of England , Queen consort of Württemberg as wife of Frederick (d. 1828) (Link to Madame Gilflurt’s blog.)

1810 – Elizabeth Gaskell, English author (d. 1865)

1853 – Princess Thyra of Denmark (d. 1933)

1904 – Greer Garson, English actress (d. 1996)

1910 – Virginia Bruce, American actress (d. 1982)

1915 – Brenda Marshall, American actress (d. 1992)

1922 – Lizabeth Scott, American actress and singer

1931 – Anita Ekberg, Swedish actress

1935 – Mylène Demongeot, French actress

1939 – Molly Haskell, American author and critic

1951 – Michelle Bachelet Jeria, Chilean physician and politician, first woman to be elected as President of Chile, first Executive Director of UN Women


1967Carson McCullers, American author (b. 1917)

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Carson McCullers, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1959

Carson McCullers, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1959 (source)

4 thoughts on “September 29

  1. 2001 – Mabel Fairbanks, the first black woman to be inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame died. She was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis in 1997 and with acute leukemia in mid-2001. She died at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California. She is interred in the ground at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Hollywood, California. Her grave is right at the beginning of the bridge to the Clark Mausoleum. Of African-American and Seminole descent, Mabel Fairbanks was born on November 14, 1915 in Florida’s Everglades. Fairbanks never met her father and was orphaned at the age of eight when her mother died. After staying with a teacher who treated her like a “maid,” she joined her brother in New York but his wife did not accept her. A wealthy woman saw her sleeping on a park bench and offered her a job as a babysitter at a home overlooking Central Park. Fairbanks began figure skating around 1925 to 1928.[4] After observing children at the Central Park ice rink, Fairbanks bought herself used skates, which were two sizes too big, and went to join them. She said, “Blacks didn’t skate there. But it was a public place, so I just carried on.” She later practiced on a 6ft by 6ft rink constructed by her uncle in her room. She gained further inspiration after seeing Sonja Henie in the 1936 film One in a Million. In the 1930s, Fairbanks, due to her race, was denied access to the local rink by the cashier but she kept returning until the manager admitted her. Maribel Vinson Owen and Howard Nicholson provided her with technical advice. Fairbanks was not allowed to compete in the national qualifying event for the Olympics or any competition. In a 1998 interview, she said, “If I had gone to the Olympics and become a star, I would not be who I am today.”
    Fairbanks performed in shows in New York until the 1940s. After relocating to Los Angeles, she toured internationally, skating with Ice Capades in Mexico and later with Ice Follies.Fairbanks coached singles and pairs, including Tiffany Chin, Billy Chapel, Scott Hamilton, Kristi Yamaguchi / Rudy Galindo, Tai Babilonia / Randy Gardner, Leslie Robinson, Michelle McCladdie, Richard Ewell, Debbi Thomas, Atoy Wilson, and Jean Yuna. She also taught skating to the children of many celebrities. In 1997, she became the first African American inducted into the US Figure Skating Hall of Fame. She was inducted into the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame in October 2001

  2. On this day in 2005, New York Times reporter Judith Miller is released from a federal detention center in Alexandria, Virginia, after agreeing to testify in the investigation into the leaking of the identity of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame. Miller had been behind bars since July 6, 2005, for refusing to reveal a confidential source and testify before a grand jury that was looking into the so-called Plame Affair. She decided to testify after the source she had been protecting, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, signed a waiver giving her permission to speak.

    The Plame Affair dates back to a July 6, 2003 op-ed piece for the New York Times written by former U.S. diplomat Joseph Wilson, Plame’s husband. In it, Wilson questioned the Bush Administration’s reasons for going to war in Iraq. Later that month, on July 14, undercover agent Valerie Plame’s identity was revealed in a newspaper column by Robert Novak. Wilson’s claim that the disclosure was retaliation by the White House for his op-ed piece sparked an investigation in December 2003 led by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. A 1982 law made it illegal to reveal information about a covert agent to anyone not authorized to receive such classified information.

    Fitzgerald interviewed President George W. Bush, Vice President Cheney and other top administration officials, along with various journalists. Although Miller hadn’t written an article about Plame, she did meet with Libby shortly after Wilson’s op-ed piece was published and Fitzgerald believed Miller had information that was relevant to his investigation.

    After 85 days in jail, Miller was released and testified before a grand jury that prior to the Novak column, she had several discussions with Scooter Libby in which he talked about Plame. On November 9 of that same year, Miller announced her retirement from the Times after a 28-year career with the newspaper.

    On March 6, 2007, Scooter Libby was convicted of obstruction of justice, perjury and making false statements to federal investigators in the Plame investigation. In June, he was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison and fined $250,000. However, one month later, on July 2, President George W. Bush commuted Libby’s prison term before the ex-White House aide served any time.

  3. Stacy Allison of Portland, Oregon, becomes the first American woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, which at 29,035 feet above sea level is the highest point on earth. Allison, a member of the Northwest American Everest Expedition, climbed the Himalayan peak using the southeast ridge route.

    Mount Everest sits on the crest of the Great Himalayas in Asia, lying on the border between Nepal and Tibet. Called Chomo-Lungma, or “Mother Goddess of the Land,” by the Tibetans, the English named the mountain after Sir George Everest, a 19th-century British surveyor of South Asia. The summit of Everest reaches two-thirds of the way through the air of the earth’s atmosphere–at about the cruising altitude of jet airliners–and oxygen levels there are very low, temperatures are extremely cold, and weather is unpredictable and dangerous.

    In May 1953, climber and explorer Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay of Nepal made the first successful climb of the peak. Ten years later, James Whittaker of Redmond, Washington, became the first American to top the peak, reaching Everest’s summit with his Sherpa climbing partner Nawang Gombu. In 1975, Japanese mountaineer Junko Tabei became the first woman to conquer the mountain. Three years later, Reinhold Messner of Italy and Peter Habeler of Austria achieved what had been previously thought impossible: climbing to the Everest summit without oxygen. In 1988, American Stacy Allison successfully scaled Everest. About two dozen climbers died in attempts to reach the top of Everest in the 20th century.

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