The Affair of the Diamond Necklace

The Affair of the Diamond NecklaceThe celebrated piece of jewelry is described as consisting of five hundred diamonds – ordered by Louis XV as a present for his favorite, Madame du Barry, who was, however, excluded from court on the death of the king in 1774m before the work was finished. The necklace, when completed, was valued at £80,000, but was so costly, that no purchaser could be found.

Boehmer, the court-jeweler, offered it to Marie Antoinette for £56,000, in 1785; but the queen, although she desired it, feared to incur the expense.

The Countess de la Motte, an adventuress about the court, knowing the passion entertained for Marie Antoinette by the wealthy and profligate Prince Cardinal de Rohan, duped him into believing that the queen favored him, and induced him to purchase the necklace and present it to the queen through her secret agency. In this manner, de la Motte obtained the necklace and made way with it. When the time arrived for the first instalment [sic], the Cardinal refused to pay, and Boehmer, having received a forged order from the countess, presented his bill to the queen. Marie Antoinette denied all knowledge of the affair, and in the trial that ensued it was proved that the countess had sold the separate diamonds, and had kept the money.

As a punishment she was branded on each shoulder, and sentenced to imprisonment for life. She escaped, however, within a year, and fled to England, where, soon after, she was accidentally killed while trying to escape from a second-story window, when pursued for debt.

The Cardinal was acquitted for intentional complicity.

The queen was falsely accused, by the populace of Paris, of having had a part in the plot, and was taunted with this accusation even on her way to the guillotine.

When Talleyrand heard of the Affair of the Diamond Necklace, he declared that he should not be surprised if it overturned the throne of France, and four years later his prediction was fulfilled.


Reference: Famous Women; An Outline of Feminine Achievement Through the Ages With Life Stories of Five Hundred Noted Women By Joseph Adelman. Copyright, 1926 by Ellis M. Lonow Company.

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    Monks of the Middle Ages

    Monks of the Middle AgesMrs. Jameson says: “But for the monks, the light of liberty, and literature, and science, had been forever extinguished. For six centuries, there existed for the thoughtful, the gently, the inquiring, the devout of spirit, no peace, no security, no home but the cloister. There Learning trimmed her lamp; there, Contemplation ‘preened her wings’; there, the traditions of art preserved from age to age by lonely studious men, kept alive in form and color, the idea of a beauty beyond that of earth – of a might beyond that of the spear and shield – of a Divine sympathy with suffering humanity.

    “To this we may add another and stronger claim to our respect and moral sympathies. The protection and the better education given to women in these early communities; the venerable and distinguished rank assigned to them when, as governesses of their order, they became in a manner dignitaries of the Church. The introduction of their beautiful and saintly effigies, clothed with all the insignia of sanctity and authority, into the decoration of places of worship and books of devotion, did more, perhaps, for the general cause of womanhood that all the boasted institutions of Chivalry.”


    Reference: Famous Women; An Outline of Feminine Achievement Through the Ages With Life Stories of Five Hundred Noted Women By Joseph Adelman. Copyright, 1926 by Ellis M. Lonow Company.

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      ChivalryThis mediaeval [sic] institution arose out of the feudal system in the eighth century, and perished with it. It was at its height from the twelfth to the fifteenth century, and did much to refine the manners of western Europe during the Middle Ages. It also elevated the position of women, and spread abroad a spirit of courtesy and kindliness, which had a powerful and salutary effect upon modern society.

      Of the Troubadours, the poets of love and gallantry who flourished chiefly in France and Italy during the twelfth and thirteenth century, Mrs. Jameson says:

      “The eruptions of the northern nations, among whom our sex was far better appreciated than among the polished Greeks and Romans; the rise of Christianity, and the institution of chivalry, by changing the moral condition of women, gave also a totally different character to the homage addressed to them. It was in the ages called gothic and barbarous – in that era of high feelings and fierce passions – of love, war, and wild adventure, that the sex began to take their true station in society. From the midst of ignorance, superstition, and ferocity, sprang up that enthusiasm, that exaggeration of sentiment, that serious, passionate, and imaginative adoration of women, which was the very fountain of all that is most elevated and elegant in modern poetry, and most graceful and refined in modern manners.

      “The amatory poetry of Provence had the same source with the national poetry of Spain; both were derived from the Arabians. To them we trace not only the use of rhyme, and the various forms of stanzas employed by the early lyric poets, but by a strange revolution, it was from the East, where women are now held in seclusion, as mere soulless slaves of the passions and caprices of their masters, that the slaves of the passions and caprices of their masters, that the sentimental devotion paid to our sex in the chivalrous ages was derived.

      “The poetry of the Troubadours kept alive the tone of feeling on which it was founded, and though their songs exist only in the collections of the antiquarian, and the very language in which they wrote has passed away, and ma be accounted dead – so is not the spirit they left behind; as the founders of a new school of amatory poetry, we are under obligations to their memory, which throw a strong interest around their personal adventures, and the women they celebrated.

      “The tenderness of feeling and delicacy of expression in some of these old Provencal poets are more touching, when we recollect that the writers were sometimes kings and princes, and often knights and warriors, famed for their hardihood and exploits – and the extravagance of passion and boundless devotion to the fair sex, which the Troubadours sang in their lays, they not infrequently illustrated by their actions.”


      Reference: Famous Women; An Outline of Feminine Achievement Through the Ages With Life Stories of Five Hundred Noted Women By Joseph Adelman. Copyright, 1926 by Ellis M. Lonow Company.

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        Conclusion to Book Written by Joseph Adelman

        As we reflect on the lives recorded in Famous Women; An Outline of Feminine Achievement Through the Ages With Life Stories of Five Hundred Noted Women By Joseph Adelman – the genius, charm, valor and virtues of these women – their abilities as rulers and advisors, their splendid achievements in literature and the arts, their devotion and services to the unfortunate, their brave struggle to secure education and political rights, their irresistible influence in leading humanity towards higher aims and nobler ideals – when we consider how, through the long centuries, almost entirely by their own efforts, they have risen from weakness and slavery to power and freedom, we reverently place at their feet our tribute of admiration and love.

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          Professional Women in the United States

          Of these at this time there are about one million. About 600,000 are employed in Educational pursuits, as school teachers, professors in colleges and universities, librarians, instructors of domestic science, etc. About 150,000 are connected with Medicine, as trained nurses, dentists, physicians, surgeons, etc. Music claims 100,000 as musicians, singers and teachers of music. Some 25,000 follow the Arts, as artists, sculptors, photographers and teachers of art.

          The Stage has almost 15,000 actresses, dancers, theatrical managers, agents and officials. Letters and Literature are represented by 8,000 authors, editors, journalists and reporters. Over 3,500 women are devoted to Science, as chemists, architects, astronomers, inventors, civil and electrical engineers, etc. The Law is practiced by 1,800 as lawyers, notaries and judges, while the Church has over 600 members of the clergy.


          Reference: Famous Women; An Outline of Feminine Achievement Through the Ages With Life Stories of Five Hundred Noted Women By Joseph Adelman. Copyright, 1926 by Ellis M. Lonow Company.

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            Woman Suffrage

            So far as known Mistress Margaret Brent of Maryland, in 1647, was the first to demand representation, which was based on property. After several hours of heated debate her petition was denied. The first woman to protest the question on the lecture platform was Frances Wright, a young Scotch woman; it met with almost universal derision. In 1836 Ernestine L. Rose, daughter of a Polish rabbi, banished from her native country, came to the United States, where she lectured, advocating the full enfranchisement of women and was the first to urge the repeal of laws adverse to women’s interests. It was not until 1848 that property rights were secured for women through her efforts, ably supported by Elizabeth Cody Stanton, Pauline Wright Davis, and Lydia Mott.

            From the beginning of the great anti-slavery movement women became its earnest supporters, and added to their appeals for the slaves, many distinguished women worked to promote the rights of women.

            The first Women’s Rights Convention was held in 1948. The Declaration of Sentiments was adopted which followed precisely the form of the Declaration of Independence, substituting “all men” for the name of the king, and setting forth their grievances in the same manner as the original.

            The National Woman Suffrage Association later in the same year; these bodies united in 1889 and formed the American Woman Suffrage Association later in the same year; these bodies united in 1889 and formed the National American Suffrage Association.

            In the United States women were first granted complete suffrage in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Washington, California, Arizona, Kansas, Oregon, Alaska, Nevada, Montana and New York, while some other states granted part suffrage.

            In foreign countries women have full suffrage in the Australian Federation, New Zealand, the Isle of Man, Iceland, Norway, Denmark and Finland, and in the latter three countries women are eligible to all offices.

            They have municipal suffrage on the same terms as men throughout the British Isles and in Sweden; in 1907 women were made eligible as mayors, town and county councilors in England.

            The western provinces of Canada have granted political equality to women, and they have a measure of franchise rights under other provinces. In certain districts of Austria, Germany, Hungary, and Russia, property owning women are allowed to cast their votes on various communal matters. In Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Roumania [sic] and Switzerland, women have no political rights, but are permitted to vote for certain administrative boards – educational, philanthropic, correctional, or industrial.

            President WilsonOn September 20, 1918, President Wilson appeared before the United States Senate, and in an eloquent though vain appeal urged the passage of the suffrage amendment as a war measure. In the course of his address, the President said,

            “I regard the concurrence of the senate in the constitutional amendment proposing the extension of the suffrage to women as vitally essential to the successful prosecution of the great war of humanity in which we are engaged. We have made partners of the women in this war; shall we admit them only to partnership of privilege and right? This war could not have been fought either by the other nations engaged or by America, if it had not been for the services of the women – services rendered in every sphere – not merely in the fields of efforts in which we have been accustomed to see them work, but wherever men have worked and upon the very skirts and edges of the battle itself. I tell you plainly that this measure which I urge upon you is vital to the right solution of the great problems and of battle. And not to the winning of the war only. It is vital to the right solution of the great problems which we must settle when the war is over. We shall need then in our vision of affairs, as we have never needed them before, the sympathy and insight and clear moral instinct of the women of the world.”

            On June 4, 1919, the U.S. Senate voted in favor of the amendment, and in 1921, after many years of struggle, women suffrage prevailed throughout the United States.


            Reference: Famous Women; An Outline of Feminine Achievement Through the Ages With Life Stories of Five Hundred Noted Women By Joseph Adelman. Copyright, 1926 by Ellis M. Lonow Company. Sufferage

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              Limitations of Women

              A clergyman, John Todd, of Pittsfield, MA, one of the founders of Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, in an Old Fashioned Talk on the Woman Question in 1867, said:

              Nobody pretends that the sexes are equal in weight, in height, or in bodily strength. The bodies of the two sexes seem to have been planned for different ends. As to the mind, I have no difficulty in admitting that the mind of woman is equal to ours – nay, if you please, superior. It is quicker, more flexible, more elastic. Woman’s intuitions also are far better than ours. She reads character quicker, comes to conclusions quicker, and if I must make a decision on the moment, I had much rather have the woman’s decision than a man’s. She has intuitions given for her own protection which we have not. She has a delicacy of Taste to which we can lay no claim.

              1. But God never designed that woman should occupy the same sphere as man, because he has given her a physical organization so refined and delicate that it can never bear the strain which comes upon the ruogher, coarser nature of man. He has hedged her in by laws which no desires or efforts can alter. We, sons of dust, move slower; we creep, where you bound to the head of the stairs at a single leap. And now bear with me, and keep good-natured, while I show you, what you, dear ladies, cannot do, and God does not ask you to do.You cannot invent. There are all manners of inventions in your age, steam, railroads, telegraphing, machinery of all kinds, hundreds of weekly applications for patents at the Patent Office, but among them all no female applicants. You have sewing-machines almost numberless, knitting machines, washing, ironing and churning machines – but I have never heard of one that was the emanation of a female mind.
              2. You cannot compete with men in a long course of mental labor. Your delicate organization never has and never can bear the study by which you can become Newtons, La Places, or Bowditches in mathematics or astronomy. the world never has seen, and never expects to see, women excelling in architecture. Neither in ancient or modern times has she one monument of this kind, showing mastership. You do not find them in ancient Corinth, old Athens, great Rome, or in any city of the old or new world. You have never yet shown a Phidias, a Raphael, a Michael Angelo, or a Canova. You cannot point to a woman who can pretend to stand by the side of Homer, Virgil, Shakespeare, or Milton. The world has never seen a female historian who came near the first rank. And even in cooking and in millinery, men stand at the head of these occupations.

              “In none of these departments can woman compete with man. Not because her immoral mind is inferior – far from it – but because her bodily organization cannot endure the pressure of continued and long labor as we can.

              “The design of God in creating woman was to complete man – a onesided [sic] being without her. Together they make a complete, perfect unit. She has a mission – no higher one could be given her – to be the mother, and the former of all the character of the human race. For the first, most important, earthly period of life, the race is committed to her, for about twelve years, almost entirely. The human family is what she makes them. She is the queen of the home, its center, its light and glory. If she desires a higher, loftier, nobler trust than this, I know not where she can find it. Mother, wife, daughter, sister, are the tenderest, most endearing words in language. Our mothers train us, and we owe everything to them. Our wives perfect all that is good in us, and no man is ashamed to say he is indebted to his wife for his happiness, his influence, and his character, if there is anything noble about him. Woman is the highest, holiest, most precious gift to man.”


              Reference: Famous Women; An Outline of Feminine Achievement Through the Ages With Life Stories of Five Hundred Noted Women By Joseph Adelman. Copyright, 1926 by Ellis M. Lonow Company.

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                History’s Women from 600 B.C. to 1926 A.D.

                The progress of women, socially as an individual, politically as a citizen, may be divided into four periods, covering more important part of world history – that is, from about 600 B.C. to the present day (1926). The first and longest period extends through the rise and decay of Greece, the power, decline and fall of the Roman Empire, the invasions of the Northern Barbarians, the Mohammedan Conquests, and the Dark Ages of Europe until about 1000 A.D. During those 1600 years woman has little more than a household drudge, or at best a plaything and ornament for man. She was regarded as of slight social importance, and her political and property rights were very limited. There was little opportunity for her intellectual advancement, and she sat in the background with her children and slaves, while the rude work of the world, the contest between nations, and the struggles of civilization with barbarism, were carried on by the men. There were, indeed, exceptional women like Sappho, the poet, Aspasia, the consort of Pericles, some of the noble Roman matrons, or queens like Cleopatra of Egypt, Zenobia of Palmyra, and occasional learned women like Hypatia of Alexandria. But these superwomen had only a transitionary influence, and the fact faces us that during this first period, the vast majority of women, partly because they had so little chance, and partly because they lacked the mental and executive powers, have left comparatively few records of accomplishment and achievement.

                In the second period, the Middle Ages, from the year 1000 to about 1450, Chivalry arose, bringing with it a romantic attitude toward women, giving her a much higher social importance in the estimation of man. Though often idealized beyond her ability to respond, women became a more definite influence in the life of man, and she embraced the opportunity of giving a rough and violent world more character and morality, more grace and refinement of manner, a gentle hand and a loving heart. But her feminine power was only vaguely stirring, and she was still, to a large extent, either the drudge or plaything of man.

                During the third period, from 1450 to 1775, woman became thoroughly awakened, and began to make her rightful place in the world’s history, and in the march of human progress. The great events of this period were the invention of printing, the Renaissance, the Spanish Queen Isabella’s encouragement of Columbus, leading to the discovery and settlement of America, the brilliant reign of Elizabeth in England with her patronage of Shakespeare, and the rise of women’s social, artistic and political importance in the French courts of Louis XIV and Louis XV. As an individual and social influence, woman had almost advanced to the side of man, but her intellectual growth was still retarded by limited opportunities for education, while her political power could only be exercised in secret, and she was denied the right to stand beside man and have a voice in regulating or deciding affairs.

                The fourth period in woman’s history, extending to the time in which we now live (1923), has completed woman’s enfranchisement in the important civilized countries of the world, and she has at last secured her true position, withheld from her during so many centuries.

                The chief factors in bringing about this great event were the American Revolution of 1776, the French Revolution of 1789, and the growth of woman’s education during the nineteenth century.

                What woman will do with her power she now possesses, remains to be seen. Probably the chief task that lies before her is to succeed where man has failed – to banish from earth the three great evils that oppress life – war, selfishness, and hate. If women are able to abolish these evils, and substitute peace, justice and love, the men, who have ruled chiefly up to now, will join hands with the women, and the affairs of the world will be mutually directed by both sexes.


                Reference: Famous Women; An Outline of Feminine Achievement Through the Ages With Life Stories of Five Hundred Noted Women By Joseph Adelman. Copyright, 1926 by Ellis M. Lonow Company.

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                  Education of Women in the United States

                  The period of preparation from 1830 to 1865 was a time marked by a ferment of of new ideas both here and in Europe. In the United States it was a period of Jacksonian democracy and westward expansion, of transcendentalism in literature and thought, of the anti-slavery agitation and the early women’s rights movements. In Europe it was the period of the revolutions of 1830 and 1848, of the emancipation of the serfs in Russia, of the winning of Italian independence, and of wide political, economic, and social reforms in England. In such an age belief in the higher education of women was an outgrowth of other beliefs held to be far more important.


                  Catherine BeecherThe substantial beginnings made in the United States are to be fully appreciated only when viewed against the background of the scattering and superficial education commonly given to girls of the day. Emma Hart WillardBefore 1830 Emma Willard and Catherine Beecher had made striking protests against the accepted type of education for girls, and had established schools to carry out their ideas. In 1834 Mary Lyon began her personal campaign throughout Massachusetts for funds with which to establish a seminary of a non-proprietary basis, governed by a board of trustees and buttressed by invested funds, and 1837, the year in which Mount Holyoke Seminary was opened by her, is a significant date in the history of higher education for women.

                  From this time on, the founding of seminaries and academies for girls went on apace. The founding of Vassar College in 1865 fulfilled Mary Lyon’s dream and effort of thirty years before. In 1870 Wellesley College was chartered, and a year later Smith College, endowed by the will of Sophia Smith of Hatfield, MA, with nearly $400,000.

                  An 1819 a treatise entitled “A Plan for Improving Female Education.” It was an able exposition of excellent ideas and found favor with Governor John Clinton, resulting in the establishment in that year of a seminary for girls at Waterford, NY, which was incorporated and was partially supported by the State. Mrs. Willard removed to Troy, NY, in 1821 where she was presented by the city with a suitable building, henceforth known as the Troy Female Seminary, which served as the Vassar College of New Your State a half century before the establishment of the institution at Poughkeepsie. The seminary not only gave women collegiate education, but it trained large numbers of women teachers. After conducting this school for seventeen years, Mrs. Willard resigned her duties into the hands of her son, and gave herself to educational missionary work. During the years 1845 and 1847 she travelled [sic] 8,000 miles by packet boat, stage coach, and private carriage through the States of the South and West, agitating and counseling in the matter of public education.

                  Her European influence extended to the founding of a school for girls in Athens, Greece, and in 1854 she was present at the World’s Educational Convention in London.

                  Emma Willard is one of the most prominent figures in the history of higher education for women in the United States. She was not only an advocate of advancement but a practical worker for it, and brought to her task great earnestness of purpose, coupled with high abilities and executive capacity. Her school books were widely used and were translated into European and Asiatic languages. She also wrote some excellent verse, which includes the famous Rocked in the Cradle of the Deep.

                  A statue was unveiled to her memory at Troy in 1905.


                  Reference: Famous Women; An Outline of Feminine Achievement Through the Ages With Life Stories of Five Hundred Noted Women By Joseph Adelman. Copyright, 1926 by Ellis M. Lonow Company.


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                    The Women Behind the Flag

                    The Women Behind the Flag 
                    by Patricia Chadwick

                    June  14, 2000 marks the 223rd birthday of the U.S. Flag.  In 1777, the Continental Congress adopted the Stars and Stripes pattern for the national flag.   Often overlooked in the history of the flag are the contributions of  two women who have had a hand in making two of the most important flags in history:  Betsy Ross and Mary Young Pickersgill.

                    Over the years there has been much controversy as to who indeed made the first American Flag.  While attempts have been made to disprove it, it is generally accepted by most Americans that the first American Flag was fashioned by Betsy Ross. While there is no historical record of Mrs. Ross being commissioned to make the first flag, there is a strong verbal record, handed down from generation to generation, beginning with Betsy’s own family.

                    Tradition holds that about five months later, in June of 1776, Betsy Ross received a visit from a secret committee sent by the Continental Congress that was authorized to design a flag for the nation-to-be.  The committee included George Washington, Commander-in-Chief of the Colonial Army, Col. George Ross, Betsy’s uncle by marriage, and Robert Morris, a wealthy businessman.  They asked that Betsy make the flag according to a rough drawing they carried with them.  She consented to attempt the work after suggesting  some slight changes, one being a star of five-points instead of six. Washington redrew the flag design in pencil in her back parlor and Betsy spent the next few days sewing the flag in her home.

                    When she was finished, she called for the committee who took it to the State House where Congress approved the design.  While the committee had gone to other seamstresses, Betsy Ross’ flag is the one the Continental Congress decided upon, and they gave her a standing order.  She continued making flags for the United States Government for the next fifty years.

                    Next we will look at the flag that inspired the “Star Spangled Banner”. While many know the story behind Francis Scott Key penning the beloved “Star Spangle Banner”, not many know the story of the flag that was flown at Fort McHenry that inspired the Key to write the words that would become the National Anthem of the United States of America.  This flag was created by Mary Young Pickersgill.

                    Mary Young Pickersgill was born in 1776 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, during the difficult period of the Revolutionary War.  Her family moved to Lebanon, Pennsylvania during the war and later to Baltimore.  There she was married and was widowed.

                    Mary took up the trade of flagmaking, needing to support herself and her daughter.  She became quite skillful at the trade and became well-known as a flagmaker. Therefore, during another critical time in U.S. History, she was selected to make the flag for Fort McHenry.  In 1813, Major George Armistead hired Mary Young Pickersgill to sew a flag with 15 stars and 15 stripes, the number of states then in the Union. Anticipating an attack on Fort McHenry by the British during the War of 1812, Major Armistead asked that the flag be made extra large so that it would be plainly visible to the English Fleet.  He had also hoped the large flag would lift the spirits of the Baltimoreans, allowing them to see this flag fly in defiance of the British.

                    Mary and  her daughter Caroline, then only a mere 13 years-old, accomplished the task in six weeks. She took great care to make sure the flag was well constructed. The entire flag was sewn by hand with flat felled seams and tight stitching, so it would not come apart in the wind.  It required four hundred yards of wool material and the finished flag measured  30 by 42 feet.  The flag had to be assembled in a nearby malt house, because there was no other place large enough to assemble it.

                    This flag was used as the garrison flag of Fort McHenry during the British siege of the fort during the War of 1812.  When Francis Scott Key saw the flag from a ship eight miles down the Patapsco River on September 14, 1814, the flag was still waving in the breeze after twenty-five hours of heavy bombardment by the British.  The British were very discouraged to see it still there, but Key was inspired to write the poem that became the our National Anthem.

                    As we celebrate Flag Day this year, let’s take time to remember the great women BEHIND the flag!

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