The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Frances Perkins

File:Image FrancesPerkinsAfterRooseveltsDeath.jpgIn 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt appointed a woman named Frances Perkins as Secretary of the Department of Labor. This was the first time a woman held a cabinet position in the United States. She held this position for twelve years, the longest tenure of any Secretary of Labor. That means Frances was not only the first time a woman to enter the presidential line of succession, but that she was in line for the job for over a decade. As astonishing as this is, Frances was probably so used to breaking convention by that point that it hardly shortened her stride. After all, she went to court to defend her right to keep her own name after she got married (in a time when women were really only known by their association with men) and she was sole wage earner in her family. As Secretary of Labor through the New Deal, Frances put a lasting mark on American life and culture. We can thank her for things like social security, unemployment insurance, federal child labor laws, and the federal minimum wage. Find out more about this amazing Nerdy Chick HERE.

Frances Perkins Quotes:

  • “Being a woman has only bothered me in climbing trees.”
  • “The door might not be opened to a woman again for a long, long time, and I had a kind of duty to other women to walk in and sit down on the chair that was offered, and so establish the right of others long hence and far distant in geography to sit in the high seats.”
  • “I promise to use what brains I have to meet problems with intelligence and courage. I promise that I will be candid about what I know. I promise to all of you who have the right to know, the whole truth so far as I can speak it. If I have been wrong, you may tell me so, for I really have no pride in judgment.”
  • “Most of man’s problems upon this planet, in the long history of the race, have been met and solved either partially or as a whole by experiment based on common sense and carried out with courage.”

The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Belva Lockwood

In honor of the upcoming election, this week’s Quotable Nerdy Chick is one of my personal favorites: Belva Lockwood. It’s sad to me how many people have never heard of Belva. She was such a fascinating woman that I believe she should be a household name.

In the United States in 1884, only men were allowed to vote. But Belva decided that she would take a bold but legal step: she ran for president! After all, the law only prohibited women from voting, not from getting votes. And, believe it or not, Belva got votes! She ran an effective campaign and actually convinced hundreds of men to vote for a woman for president. But don’t think they were sympathy votes! Belva’s run for office was based on experience and merit: unlike many women of the time, she went to college, then to law school, and even argued cases before the Supreme Court.

Quotes from Belva Lockwood:

“If nations could only depend upon fair and impartial judgments in a world court of law, they would abandon the senseless, savage practice of war.”

“I know we can’t abolish prejudice through laws, but we can set up guidelines for our actions by legislation.”

“I am, and always have been a progressive woman, and while never directly attacking the conventionalities of society, have always done, or attempted to do those things which I have considered conducive to my health, convenience or emolument.”

File:Belva Ann Lockwood - Brady-Handy.jpg“The glory of each generation is to make its own precedents.”

“I have been now fourteen years before the bar, in an almost continuous practice, and my experience has been large, often serious, and many times amusing. I have never lacked plenty of good paying work; but, while I have supported my family well, I have not grown rich. In business I have been patient, painstaking, and indefatigable. There is no class of case that comes before the court that I have not ventured to try . . . either civil, equitable, or criminal; and my clients have been as largely men as women. There is a good opening at the bar for the class of women who have taste and tact for it.”

Learn more about Belva at the National Archives or check out my book, BALLOTS FOR BELVA.

The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Madeleine Albright

File:Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.jpg

 

Madeleine Albright is a Nerdy Chick extraordinaire! She has served our country as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations and as the 64th United States Secretary of State — and, oh, by the way, the first woman to ever hold that office. She has a PhD from Columbia University, she has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, she has served on the Board of Directors of the New York Stock Exchange, she is a Professor of International Relations at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service, and just to top all that off, she is fluent in English, French, Russian, and Czech. Oh, and she speaks and reads Polish and Serbo-Croatian, too. I wonder if she has a cape and mask to go with all those superpowers?

Quotes from Madeleine Albright:

“Even before I went to the UN, I often would want to say something in a meeting – only woman at the table – and I’d think, ‘OK well, I don’t think I’ll say that. It may sound stupid.’ And then some man says it, and everybody thinks it’s completely brilliant, and you are so mad at yourself for not saying something.”

“It’s one thing to be religious, but it’s another thing to make religion your policy.”

“I love being a woman and I was not one of these women who rose through professional life by wearing men’s clothes or looking masculine. I loved wearing bright colors and being who I am.”

“I really think that there was a great advantage in many ways to being a woman. I think we are a lot better at personal relationships, and then have the capability obviously of telling it like it is when it’s necessary.”

“I’ve never been to New Zealand before. But one of my role models, Xena, the warrior princess, comes from there.”

(FYI: Xena is one of my role models, too!)

Read more about Madeleine HERE or HERE.

 

The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Martha Graham

This photo of Martha Graham and Bertram Ross was taken by photographer Carl Van Vetchtan

Martha Graham (1894- 1991) was an American dancer and choreographer whose influence on modern dance has been compared to Picasso’s influence on visual art. She worked as a dancer and choreographer for more than seventy years. Graham received many awards for her contributions to dance including the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  Read more about her amazing life HERE.

  • Some men have thousands of reasons why they cannot do what they want to, when all they need is one reason why they can.
  • The only sin is mediocrity.
  • There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.
  • Dance is the hidden language of the soul of the body.
  •  ‘Age’ is the acceptance of a term of years. But maturity is the glory of years.

The older I get, the more this nerdy chick appreciates that last quote. Especially the word glory!

The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Bella Abzug

File:Bella Abzug 1971-11-30.jpgWhen Bella Abzug was 13, her father died. There was no one to say the Mourner’s Kaddish for him in synagogue because that was the responsibility of the sons of the deceased — and Bella’s father didn’t have any sons. So Bella defied her community and said the prayers herself. It was one of her first feminist actions.

The daughter of Russian-Jewish immigrants, Bella started giving speeches about causes that were important to her in her childhood — speaking out in subways because she had no other pulpit. Over the course of her life, however, Bella found greater stages to stand on and larger audiences to listen to her words. including the House of Representatives, where she served from 1971 to 1977. She supported civil rights and women’s rights, and changed the world for the better.

Quotes from Bella Abzug:

  • “We are coming down from our pedestal and up from the laundry room. We want an equal share in government and we mean to get it.”
  • “Women have been trained to speak softly and carry a lipstick. Those days are over.”
  • “The test for whether or not you can hold a job should not be the arrangement of your chromosomes.”
  • “Women have been and are prejudiced, narrow minded, reactionary, even violent. Some women. They, of course, have a right to vote and a right to run for office. I will defend that right, but I will not support them or vote for them.”
  • “They used to give us a day–it was called International Women’s Day. In 1975 they gave us a year, the Year of the Woman. Then from 1975 to 1985 they gave us a decade, the Decade of the Woman. I said at the time, who knows, if we behave they may let us into the whole thing. Well, we didn’t behave and here we are.”
  • “All of the men on my staff can type.”

Learn more about Bella HERE.

 

The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Barbara McClintock

Barbara McClintock (1902 – 1992) was an American Geneticist. She originated the study of genetics in corn cells. Although her peers were initially skeptical about her work, McClintock went to win the Lasker Prize for her work, which was followed by her receipt of the Nobel Prize in 1983. Her quotes reveal a woman with enthusiasm for her ideas and joy with her work. Perhaps this is the secret to her success! To find out more about Barbara McClintock, click HERE.

  • I was just so interested in what I was doing I could hardly wait to get up in the morning and get at it. One of my friends, a geneticist, said I was a child, because only children can’t wait to get up in the morning to get at what they want to do.
  • If you know you’re right, you don’t care. You know that sooner or later, it will come out in the wash.
  • The prize is such an extraordinary honor. It might seem unfair, however, to reward a person for having so much pleasure over the years, asking the maize plant to solve specific problems and then watching its responses.
  • Plants are extraordinary. For instance … if you pinch a leaf of a plant you set off electrical impulse. You can’t touch a plant without setting off an electrical impulse … There is no question that plants have all kinds of sensitivities. They do a lot of responding to an environment. They can do almost anything you can think of.
  • It never occurred to me that there was going to be any stumbling block. Not that I had the answer, but [I had] the joy of going at it. When you have that joy, you do the right experiments. You let the material tell you where to go, and it tells you at every step what the next has to be because you’re integrating with an overall brand new pattern in mind.
  • With the tools and the knowledge, I could turn a developing snail’s egg into an elephant. It is not so much a matter of chemicals because snails and elephants do not differ that much; it is a matter of timing the action of genes.

I love that first quote! It doesn’t happen every day, but there are some days when I’m so excited about a project that I just can’t wait to get to it!

 

 

The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Dr. Temple Grandin

Dr. Temple Grandin (b.1947) is an American doctor and inventor known for her work with animal behavior, particularly for the livestock industry. She is also known for her autism advocacy. Grandin was diagnosed with autism as a child. She did not speak until she was four years old. When I read about Grandin, I knew I had to feature her here in honor of my many friends who have loved ones with autism or Asperger’s. In 2010 Grandin was named one of Time’s 100 most influential people in the HEROS category. To find out more about Grandin and her amazing life, click HERE.

Dr. Temple Grandin Quotes

  • People are always looking for the single magic bullet that will totally change everything. There is no single magic bullet.
  • A treatment method or an educational method that will work for one child may not work for another child. The one common denominator for all of the young children is that early intervention does work, and it seems to improve the prognosis.
  • And while we are on the subject of medication you always need to look at risk versus benefit.
  • I am a big believer in early intervention.
  • I can remember the frustration of not being able to talk. I knew what I wanted to say, but I could not get the words out, so I would just scream.
  • I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a good teacher.
  • I have been on the same dose of anti-depressants for 15 years, and my nerves still go up and down in cycles; but my nerves are cycling at a lower level than they were before.
  • I obtain great satisfaction out of using my intellect.
  • If you start using a medication in a person with autism, you should see an obvious improvement in behavior in a short period of time. If you do not see an obvious improvement, they probably should not be taking the stuff. It is that simple.
  • One of my sensory problems was hearing sensitivity, where certain loud noises, such as a school bell, hurt my ears. It sounded like a dentist drill going through my ears.
  • You have got to keep autistic children engaged with the world. You cannot let them tune out.

I think that first quote is true of so many things…