I wanted to share three books I read this weekend about women who did not do what was expected or accepted. They changed the world in their own ways and we are all better off for it.
The Taxing Case of the Cows follows the story of Abby and Julia Smith of Glastonbury, Connecticut. In 1869 the sisters were unfairly taxed on their property and decided to stand up for themselves, despite not having the right to vote. The ladies pointed out that less than 100 years before the founding fathers had started a revolution because of taxation without representation, so they shouldn’t stand for it either. These hearty old girls fought for years before finally winning their case against the city. Sadly, both passed away long before women received the right to vote, but their voices surely added to the suffrage movement we all owe so much to.
Kate Shelley and the Midnight Express tells the true story of a teenage girl who braved a fierce storm and flooding to stop a train from crashing into a washed out bridge where another train had crashed. Kate was young and could have easily stayed home that night as her mother wanted, but Kate faced the storm and saved the express train as well as two of the men from the bridge accident. (She’d be a great choice for the 3rd grade Wax Museum.)
In The House That Jane Built author Tanya Lee Stone tells the story of Jane Addams, a wealthy young woman who chose to help the poorest people live better lives. Jane bought a home in one of Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods. She opened her doors to everyone, offering worthwhile activities for children, classes for children and adults alike, and even the first public playground in Chicago. Jane’s work was the first of its kind in America, and was the forerunner of the community centers many of us enjoy today. She accomplished a lot in her life, even a Novel Peace Prize.
These are the types of women our daughters need as role models! Nothing any celebrity does today even compares to the selflessness of these lady pioneers.