200 Years of Being Female In America...

May 18, 2011 by

A couple of weeks ago I happened on two articles, published the same day in the New York Times. Each addressed the challenges, triumphs and failures of being female in America – 200 years apart. The first, “Poor Jane’s Almanac”, told the story of Benjamin Franklin’s sister Jane. It contrasts the lives of these two close siblings.  Benjamin struggled his way out of poverty to international prominence.  Jane, married at fifteen, gave birth to twelve children and buried eleven. Certainly two of her sons, and probably her husband, went mad. She provided for her waxing and waning family as best she could. Times and circumstances kept her from the education she desired, although, as she wrote to her brother, “I Read as much as I Dare”.  Author Jill Lepore’s message is that “especially for...

read more