Showing posts from March, 2012

Scandalous Women Radio: Hortense de Beauharnais, Queen of Holland

Scandalous Women is pleased to welcome author Lauren Willig this week to talk about the scandalous life of Hortense de Beauharnais (1783-1837). The only daughter of the infamous Josephine and step-daughter to Napoleon, Hortense was married off to his brother Louis and made Queen of Holland. But she was in love with another man, the Comte de Flahaut, rumored to be the illegitimate son of Talleyrand. During the Hundred Days, her support of her step-father meant that she was banished from France. She died at the age of 54 in 1837. She never lived to see her son Napoleon become the Emperor of the French as Napoleon III. Please tune in to Scandalous Women, tomorrow, April 1 at a special time, 6:00 p.m. A native of New York City, Lauren Willig has been writing romances ever since she got her hands on her first romance novel at the age of six. Three years later, she sent her first novel off to a publishing house—all three hundred hand-written pages. They sent it back. Undaunt

Fascinating Women: Edith Minturn Stokes

The paintings of John Singer Sargent have gone in and out of fashion over the years. I, for one, am an unrepentant Sargentaholic! One of my favorite things to do is to go to the American Wing at The Metropolitan Museum of Art to visit my two favorite paintings of his, Madame X, and this portrait of Mrs. I.N. Phelps Stokes, also known as Edith Minturn Stokes. What do I love about this painting? Where do I start! I love the vitality of the subject, she just glows with health and energy. And then the slight smile on her face.  She looks fresh and alive and most of all modern. Even her outfit reflects her independence, it's as if she's game for anything.  Love the hands on the hips! Edie's brother Robert once described her as 'fierce.' As a toddler, one of the games that she liked to play was to try and escape the parasol her mother held over her on the beach, running shrieking to the waves. 30 years old when this portrait was painted, she'd already had a bit of

And the Winner is......................

The winner of the March Madness Giveaway thanks to is WENDY Wendy,  I will be sending you an email to get your address.  And I want to thank everyone for entering the giveway.  Please give coming back and reading the blog as I bring you more Scandalous Women over the next few months! And maybe a few more giveaways!  

Skittles - The Last Victorian Courtesan

Recently a friend and I were talking about Jesse James and his affair with the stripper Skittles.  The lovely and talented Hope Tarr thought we were talking about another Skittles, Catherine Walters, the last Victorian courtesan. I had totally forgotten about Skittles, probably because she was less flamboyant than some of the other Victorian courtesans. Skittles wasn't necessarily interested in being famous, unlike Cora Pearl, who seemed to court notoriety. Imagine if there were trading cards for courtesans! I imagine that the one for Skittles would look this. Name: CatherineWalters Nickname: Skittles or Skitsie to her intimates. Born: June 13, 1839 in Liverpool at No. 1 Henderson Street, in a drab and dirty street near the docks. Died: 1920 Parents: Edward Walters, a custom employee, and Mary Ann Fowler Siblings: 3 rd of 5 children.  Religion: Baptized a Catholic Appearance: Small and slender, with grey-blue eyes and chestnut hair.  She dressed inexp

Scandalous Women Presents the other Elizabeth Mahon

Recently I was contacted by a producer from NPR about appearing on one of his shows.  As we were talking me mentioned that when he'd Googled me, another Elizabeth Mahon came up.  One who played for the All-American Girls Professional Balseball League during World War II.  How cool is that? The other Elizabeth 'Lib' Mahon was born the same year my mother was, 1919, in Greenville, South Carolina.  Like me, Elizabeth was a Scorpio, born on November 18th. This is her baseball card.  She played outfield and second base, and batted and pitched right-handed.  Truthfully, I suck at sports, particularly baseball. I think I hit the ball once in softball one summer at day camp, and let's not talk about how I played in the outfield.  Lucky for me, when we played softball in gym, none of us could really hit the ball, so I spent most of my time in the outfield doing absolutely nothing! So I find it amazing that someone I share a name with was a professional athelete! Lib played

Sabina Spielrein: The Forgotten Woman of Psychoanalysis

She overcame extreme mental illness related to childhood abuse and entered medical school while she was still in psychiatric treatment. A professional paper she wrote was arguably the basis for one of Freud's best known theories. And she was one of the earliest pioneers of child psychoanalysis but today, thanks to the film A Dangerous Method, she's known more for being the lover of Carl Jung. But there is so much more to Sabina Spielrein. She was also the first woman to write a psychoanalytic dissertation, and one of the first female psychoanalysts but her contributions were lost to history for many years.  Join me as we explore the torrid and tragic life of Sabina Spielrein, one of the forgotten pioneers of psychoanalysis on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. on Scandalous Women radio. Sources: Kerr, J. (1993) A Most Dangerous Method: The Story of Jung, Freud and Sabina Spielrein.. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

March Books of the Month: The Thinking Girl's Treasury of Dastardly Dames plus a Special Giveaway

Happy March everyone and do I have a treat for you! March's Books of the Month are from Goosebottom Books’ second series, The Thinking Girl’s Treasury of Dastardly Dames , which explores the lives of some of the most fascinating women in history, each of whom got labeled with a terrible nickname. While satisfying tweens' tastes for something a little darker, the series also appeals to its readers’ powers of analysis and sense of fairness—asking if these women’s nicknames were just. Each woman’s story is presented in rich historical and cultural context, with gorgeous original gouache paintings by Peter Malone, as well as photographs of artifacts, reproductions of archival paintings, maps, and timelines. Just have a gander at page from Marie Antoinette:  'Madame Deficit .'  Isn't it gorgeous and a perfect way to introduce your pre-teen daughter (or son) to some of the world's most dastardly dames.  I'm not sure that I agree with including Marie Antoinette

Ettie Annie Rout (1877 - 1936) Pioneer for Safe Sex

Last week, I wrote about the pioneering efforts of Margaret Sanger to make birth control safe and available to all women in the United States during the early 20th century. Well, on the other side of the globe, another pioneering woman, Ettie Annie Rout (1877 – 1936) was preaching the necessity for safe sex during World War I. Like Sanger, Ettie was reviled and lauded in equal parts.  While H.G. Wells called her 'that unforgettable heroine', due to her 'safe sex' campaign, she became persona non grata in her own country. Although she was born in Tasmania, Ettie’s family immigrated to New Zealand when she was 7, settling in Wellington where her father opened a plumber's business. At the top of her class in school, Ettie won a scholarship to high school, but she had to turn it down, when her father’s business failed and the family moved to Woodville to live with relatives. After taking shorthand and typing classes, she became one of the first government-appointed