Anonymous No More


For most of history anonymous was a woman – Virginia Wolfe.

History has been remiss in honoring women. If men were changing history, it is guaranteed the delicate sex was also there. So many names and triumphs have vanished to the Mrs.

Sofonisba Anguissola was one of the first women, to be allowed art lessons, only because her father was an artist. A 16th-century portraitist, she was praised for her detail, warm colors, and expressive eyes. Michelangelo sent his drawings to her for critique and copying. She was artistically anonymous.

Right after the Mayflower dropped anchor in the Chesapeake Bay, Susanna White bore a child. Her husband, William White died in the first year. Susanna was alone with a toddler and a newborn at the Plymouth colony. She wed Edward Winslow months later and was one of only four adult women who survived to the first Thanksgiving. Her early history has been lost, and her personal story of survival absorbed into myth. History knows of her husbands, but not of Susanna. She was nuptially anonymous.

In 1647, Margaret Brent of Maryland colony was able to vote as a property owner. She voted twice, the second time for Cecil Calvert, Lord Baltimore. Shortly after that, the governor decided it was an oversight and women would not regain the privilege until 128years later. Disenfranchised anonymous.

Sybil Ludington rode the same night as Paul Revere. She was 15, traveled twice as far, fought off bandits and didn’t fall from her horse. She was able to muster the troops in time to face the British. Since her name didn’t rhyme, Revere is singularly credited. Independently anonymous.

Women and wives were never strangers to the battlefield. Mary Ludwig Hays was at the Battle of Monmouth; she carried pitchers of water to the soldiers. When her husband collapsed, she took over the cannon. She was one of the many women who became Molly Pitcher. Even Martha Washington traveled with the Revolutionary army. Every battle George was in, she was there. Washing clothes and preparing food. Would we know her name if she wasn’t our original – first lady? Anonymous under fire.

Catherine Littlefield Greene did the initial design and with the help of a plantation slave, whose name has disappeared, and a handyman, Eli Whitney, they developed the cotton gin. She financed the production and registration but because women weren’t allowed to hold patents, Eli is honored in classrooms today, and no one discusses Catherine’s involvement. Innovatively anonymous.

Annie Jump Cannon was the curator of astronomical photographs at Harvard Observatory. She was astoundingly efficient and was able to classify up to three stars a minute, and Cannon cataloged several hundred thousand stars to the 11th magnitude. She discovered 300 variable stars, in addition to 5 novae. Astronomically anonymous.

Born in Warsaw on November 7, 1867, the daughter of a secondary-school teacher. She received a general education in local schools and some scientific training from her father. Would we remember Marie Curie if Pierre had not complained when her name was left off of the first Nobel Prize nomination? She received a half prize for physics in 1903 with Pierre, and 1911 a solo prize in Chemistry. Impossible to ignore but radio-active.

The first US Congress met in 1789. One hundred and twenty-eight years later, Janette Rankin was the first woman to represent over half of the US population. She was elected 3 years before she could vote. Women still have not reached parity, but they are working on it. Unequally anonymous, but changing the rules.

Margaret Knight was one of the most prolific inventors of the 20th century. She started at 12 with a stop action device for industrial looms. One of the machinists Margaret hired to complete her prototype for the flat bottom paper bag machine submitted her design for a patent. After a bitter court battle, she was able to recover her first patent, followed by 87 more. She improved shoe manufacturing, window frames, the spit for skewering meat, and improvement of the rotary engine. Fought to no longer be Anonymissed.

The moral of the story-ladies all together-“Anonymous no more!” 



circa 1840-1898

Lozen was born into the Chihenne, Warm Springs Apache band, during the 1840’s. She was the sister of Chief Victorio and a she was a skillful warrior, strategist, prophet, and medicine woman. Victorio is quoted as saying, “Lozen is my right hand . . . strong as a man, braver than most, and cunning in strategy, Lozen is a shield to her people.” She never married knowing early in life that she had no interest in women’s work. At the age of 8 she started physically training, and at her Puberty ritual she was given the power to find enemies.

She began fighting the Mexican soldiers and scalp hunters when she was a child. By time she came of age the Americans arrived in her homeland and she fought in the campaigns to save her people for of the rest of her life. She showed incredible military knowledge and instincts; many believed that the spirits spoke to her and protected her. She fought in more campaigns against the Mexicans and her homeland and tried to confine her tribe to the Arizona San Carlos Reservation, she fought on.

She not only inspired warriors but also the women and children. James Kaywaykla, a child at the time, reported seeing a magnificent woman on a beautiful horse – Lozen, sister of Victorio- Lozen the woman warrior! He remembered she held her rifle high above her head as she lead the frightened women and children a crossed the ragging Rio Grande saving them from the US Military. She then told his grandmother to take charge, and she returned to help the warriors as they battled on.

Another time she left a campaign to escort a mother and her newborn infant across the Chihuahuan Desert. With limited supplies and a rifle she set out through Mexican and US Calvary strong holds. Fearing a gunshot would betray their location, she killed a longhorn with a knife and butchered it for the meat they needed to survive. She also stole two cavalry horses for them to ride, escaping through a hail of bullets. She not only got away with two horses, but also was able to snag a saddle, rifle, ammunition, blanket, canteen and even the soldier’s shirt.

Upon delivering her wards, she learned that her brother had been ambushed by the Mexican and Tarahumara Indian forces on 10/15/81. The Apaches had almost fought to the last man, and Victorio, holding to Apache tradition, fell on his own knife rather than be taken by the Mexicans. Many of the Apache women and elderly were killed in this battle and around one hundred young women and children were taken as slaves.

Knowing that the survivors needed her, she rode out alone. Lozen rejoined the decimated band now being led by the 74- year old patriarch Nana. She fought with this handful of warriors in a two-month campaign of vengeance across New Mexico. Nana said “Though she is a woman there is no warrior more worthy than the sister of Victorio.”

In 1885 in the last campaign of the Apache wars, she joined with Geronimo after he broke out of the San Carlos reservation. It is reported that she used her powers to locate enemies. According to Alexander Adams in his book “Geronimo” she would stand with her arms outstretched, chant a prayer and turn around. She would then feel the location of the enemies, even their number. She was photographed with Geronimo several times, and you would never know that she was a woman. She had no concern for appearance and the ways of women, she not only dressed but lived like a man. Lozen devoted her life to the service of her people. She was the only Apache woman allowed to ride in a war as a warrior without a husband at her side

She had eluded capture until she finally surrendered with Geronimo and this last group of free Apaches in 1886. She died of tuberculosis at the Mount Vernon Barracks in Mobile, Alabama as a prisoner of war. Now that life is bigger than a movie!

I have been celebrating Native American History all month. for other posts and celebrations check out .




Born 1407-died 5/20/1431

    There were several Jeanne D’Arc (Joan of Arc the Maid) imposters.  Jeanne des Armoises was the most genuine. Was she an imposter or was she the real St. Joan?  These were challenging times for France.  The Maid battled for France and immortalized on May 30, 1431, when she was burned at the stake for being a heretic.

For two years Jeanne of Purcelle fought for France with distinction and commanded a battalion of troops.  She was the mother of two children, and at one time was reprimanded for impurity.  She responded, “My value is not dependent on virginity.” Who among us has not made that cry?   Five years after the execution she appeared in Orleans with her knighted husband.  The brothers of The Maid accepted this Jeanne and spent a lot of time, drink and money with her.  As of 1436, Orleans stopped celebrating the death of Jean and apparently, they accepted the new Jeanne.

Now this Jeanne was either inspired or maybe the Maid.  There was always hope that Joan had escaped the pyre, and there was a rumor there was a young imposter that had replaced Joan at the stake.  There are no drawings of the Maid and no photos in the Enquirer.  The town of Orleans should have known her and her brothers should recognize their sister.  It appears the Jeanne partied down and cranked out a bunch of letters all over the place.  She was receiving a pension from the government.  M. Anatole France offers a theory that the brothers were really after money, and they saw what they wanted to believe.  When they met Jeanne, she told them she was their sister, and that was good enough.

Ten years after the execution her death was still in question.  Jeanne visited the King, and as there was speculation the officials tried to present an imposter as the king.  Jeanne was not fooled.  The story continues that the King and Joan had a secret that they shared with no one else, and it involved a prayer.  When he asked for the secret, Jeanne knelt, confessed her sin and cried for mercy.

She was sent to prison for five years, and released in February 1457, provided she bear herself honestly in dress and other matters, as a woman should do.  There is a document from an inquisitor dated 1440 speaking regretfully about the one who got away. Was that Joan or the imposter Jeanne?

RECIPES TO FOLLOW THIS WEEK.  She can be cooked (again) this weekend.