Girl History Month – Leonora Piper, Spiritualism’s “One White Crow”

Professor William James of Harvard was one of America’s greatest psychologist – philosophers and was one of the founders of the Pragmatic school of thought — that only those principles that can be demonstrated not only theoretically, by deduction, but practically, by use, deserve intelligent consideration.

And yet this unbending pragmatist was converted to a belief in psychic phenomena to such a degree that he became one of the founding members of the American Society for Psychical Research (ASPR).

The medium who accomplished this seemingly impossible conversion was a woman named Leonora Piper, who was the reason that Professor James coined the adage about “the one white crow that proves that not all crows are black.” She became to him the one honest Spiritualist medium whose mere existence refuted the charge that all mediums are fakes.

Born Leonora Symonds in Nashua, New Hampshire in 1859, Leonora showed mediumistic ability at an early age, her first recorded experience taking place when she was around eight and playing in the family’s garden. As she played, she heard a familiar voice whisper in her ear, saying, “It’s Aunt Sara, not dead, but with you, still.” Understandably frightened, Leonora ran into the house and told her mother what had just happened. It turned out that her Aunt Sara had just died, a fact which supposedly didn’t come to the family’s attention until some time later.
Other, similar incidents continued to occur throughout Leonora’s childhood and adolescence, but she did her best to ignore them. It wasn’t until she married Boston shopkeeper William Piper and settled into their new home in the Beacon Hill area of the city that she began to take her gifts seriously. After the birth of her first daughter, Alta, Leonora began to suffer from recurring pain which seemed to be related to an old childhood injury. The pain worsened following the birth of her second daughter, Minerva, and in an effort to relieve it, she agreed to accompany her father-in-law to the home of J.R. Cook, a blind medium who specialized in “curing” illness through psychic means.
According to Alta Piper, who wrote an extensive biography about her mother in 1929, whilst visiting Cook, Leonora slipped into trance, during which she received a spirit message from the deceased son of a local judge. Leonora dutifully passed on the message to him. On hearing it, he told her that it was the most accurate spirit message that he had received in the 30 years that he had been a follower of spiritualism.


The incident marked the start of Leonora’s public career as a medium. She soon began giving readings in her home, the startling accuracy of which drew sitters from well beyond the city limits of Boston. Word of her reputation eventually reached the ears of William James, renowned psychologist and brother of expatriate writer Henry James (The Golden Bowl, Daisy Miller, The Bostonians) and spiritual seeker.


James’ interest in spiritualism surfaced after his marriage to Alice Gibbens in 1878, with whom he had two sons. Following the death of their second son Herman around 1885, James, like so many bereaved parents before him, turned to spiritualism for comfort. The renowned philosopher had already begun an exploration of so-called spiritual matters some years before. A man known and even revered by some for his pragmatical approach to philosophical questions, James had always harbored a sympathetic attitude toward the idea of spirit contact, and on visiting the deathbed of his friend, Frederic Myers, who had served as the president of the American Society for Psychical Research, had asked Myers to attempt to make contact after his death. James never received the desired messages from beyond. Disappointed, he still continued to pursue his interest in spiritualism, stating that it “one needs only to find one white crow in order to prove that not all crows are black.” Soon after making that statement, he found his “white crow”…in Leonora Piper.


James first heard of Leonora Piper through his mother-in-law, who visited the Boston medium under an assumed name not only to maintain secrecy as to her true identity, but to prevent Leonora from digging up personal facts about her life that she might later attribute to her supposed mediumistic abilities. But her secrecy had no effect on Leonora’s abilities. On visiting Leonora, Mrs. Gibbens was astounded when the medium purportedly passed on several messages from spirit which referenced a number of her relatives, living and dead, and which contained astonishingly accurate details which Mrs. Gibbens was convinced Leonora could not have known by “any normal means.” Impressed and excited, Mrs. Gibbens returned home and gushed about Leonora to her son-in-law who, by his own account, derided her for her credulity. He called her a “victim of a medium’s trickery” and even went so far as to demonstrate to her the many ways in which someone like Leonora Piper was able to fool gullible members of the public. But Mrs. Gibbens would not be swayed, and made a second visit to Leonora’s home, this time accompanied by James’ sister-in-law, who came away equally impressed. Frustrated by the women’s insistence on Leonora’s authenticity, and now somewhat curious to meet her himself, James made his own trek to the Piper parlor for a reading.


Later, writing about that first meeting with Leonora Piper, James remarked on his surprised at finding her parlor devoid of the usual array of mediumistic props. There were no spirit trumpets or bells for spirits to talk through or to ring, no spirit cabinet, no red-tinted lamps to cast an eerie glow on the proceedings and trick sitters’ eyes into seeing things that weren’t there. There was only Leonora Piper, a demure, diminutive woman, who told James and the several other sitters present to sit wherever they wished before warning them not to expect to witness anything of a sensational nature during the reading. She was not the sort of medium who made things fly about the room, she explained, and there would be no manifestations of spirit images appearing before them. She would simply do what she always did, which was to go into trance and allow her spirit guides (or “controls”) to take over and give messages, following which she would awaken with no memory of what had taken place.


James was impressed with what occurred. Writing about it later on, he said, “My impression after this first visit was that Mrs. Piper was either possessed of supernormal powers or knew the members of my wife’s family by sight and had by some lucky coincidence become acquainted with such a multitude of their domestic circumstances as to produce the startling impression which she did. My later knowledge of her sittings and personal acquaintance with her has led me to absolutely reject the latter explanation, and to believe that she has supernormal powers.” Following that initial visit, James made appointments for 25 of his friends to visit Leonora, thus hoping to test her veracity regarding other sitters. He was not disappointed in his quest. For the next two years, the “pragmatic philosopher” continued to test the Boston medium, even hiring a private detective (without telling Leonora) to follow her around and make certain that she wasn’t gleaning information about her sitters through surreptitious means.

The one caveat for James throughout his testing of Leonora was her use of an alleged spirit control who identified himself as a deceased French physician called “Dr. Phinuit”, but since “Phinuit” was never able to give a satisfactory account of his earthly life, seemed to know next to nothing about medicine, and couldn’t even speak French, James concluded that the “spirit” was most likely a sub-conscious aspect of Leonora’s personality, the fact of which did not detract from his belief in the lady’s “tremendous” abilities as a medium.


In the mid-1880s, James took Leonora to England, where he introduced her to some of the great psychical researchers of the day, including Sir Oliver William Holmes, Henry Sedgwick, and FWH Meyers of the British SPR. According to all accounts, Leonora’s mediumistic performance in England was every bit as impressive as it had been back in the States, despite being kept under close, constant watch and even allowing her mail to be open and read as proof against fraudulence. Surprisingly, her success in England was met with some instances of scorn once she returned to Boston. After giving an interview in which she stated that she could not be sure whether she was actually being controlled by spirits during trance or whether her abilities were a result of ESP, The New York Herald ran a piece titled “Mrs. Leonora Piper’s Plain Statement” in which they pointed to the statement as a confession of fraudulence on Leonora’s part. At one point, in an effort to test the depth of her trance, Leonora was subjected to harsh treatment from several psychical investigators not associated with James which resulted in “a badly blistered tongue”, according to her daughter Alta’s subsequent biographical account of the incident.

Leonora returned to England in 1908 where she was one of several mediums who took part in the famous cross correspondence sessions, during which each medium (all of whom were from different areas, and some from other countries) allegedly received bits and pieces of spirit messages which made no sense on their own, but which, when connected, comprised a coherent message which was supposed to prove the validity of the respective spirit communications. The pressure of her involvement with the sessions had a debilitating effect on Leonora who returned to her home in Boston to find that she had lost her mediumistic abilities, a state which lasted until 1911. When her abilities finally did resurface, she found that she was only able to access them through automatic writing. She was never again able to go into trance.


Leonora Piper died in 1950, her name still associated with that of William James and the investigations she had undergone under his scrutiny. By that time, James was long dead, having passed away in 1910, but not before writing extensively about Leonora, his “white crow”, and declaring, as his final verdict on the case, that she “unquestionably displayed supernormal knowledge” of facts which could not be otherwise known to her, but that he remained unconvinced that it was the result of spirit agency.

Girl History Month – “Carolyn Keene,” Author Of The Nancy Drew Mysteries


I was a huge fan of the Nancy Drew mysteries when I was growing up. I imagined that the author of the series, Carolyn Keene, was a sophisticated New York socialite who dashed off books for girls like me in between drinking Champagne and eating caviar.


When I grew up, I learned that “Carolyn Keene” was the pseudonym of multiple authors who wrote my beloved mystery stories for the ominously named “Stratemeyer Syndicate”.


Apparently, Edward Stratemeyer, the founder of the Syndicate, hired writer Mildred Wirt, later Mildred Wirt Benson, to write the manuscripts for the Nancy Drew books. Mildred was paid $125 for each book and was required by her contract to give up all rights to the work and to maintain confidentiality.


Mildred and Harriet Adams (Stratemeyer’s daughter) are often credited as the primary writers of the Nancy Drew books.  Also involved in the Nancy Drew writing process were Harriet’s daughters, who gave input on the series and sometimes helped to choose book titles.  The Syndicate’s secretary, Harriet Otis Smith, invented the characters of Nancy’s friends Bess and George.

I still think Carolyn Keene exists out there somewhere.  🙂

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Girl History Month – Grace Kelly, American Beauty

Reprinted from the MailOnline

By Sharon Churcher

PUBLISHED: 17:44 EST, 26 January 2013

A new film starring Nicole Kidman about the life of Grace Kelly has enraged the Monaco royal family, which has denounced the work as being full of fiction
A new film starring Nicole Kidman about the life of Grace Kelly has enraged the Monaco royal family, which has denounced the work as being full of fiction.

Late on a January evening in 1962, Her Serene Highness Princess Grace of Monaco is drinking heavily in her 235-room pink  palace overlooking the Mediterranean.

When she gave up her Hollywood career to marry Prince Rainier – the ruler of the tiny tax haven –   Grace Kelly, as she then was, believed that she had found the perfect husband.

Six years later, however – after bearing him an heir, Albert, and  an elder daughter, Caroline – she  is so disillusioned she has decided she will flee back home to America, where she has been offered $1 million to star in Marnie, a new Alfred Hitchcock thriller.

The fee – $7.6 million in today’s terms – is staggering.

But it’s not the money that has attracted her, she confides to her husband’s chaplain and closest adviser, Father Francis Tucker, who has joined her in the pink  palace for a glass of whisky. Rainier’s tyrannical rules and explosive temper have worn her out, the beautiful  32-year-old tells the elderly priest.

What will happen, she asks him, if she accepts the Hitchcock role and seeks a divorce?

‘Your children will suffer most,’ replies Tucker. ‘They are heirs to a European throne. You’ll be lucky to see them again. I suppose the world will also hang its head in disappointment.’

The shock scene is taken from the script of Grace Of Monaco, a new film in which Nicole Kidman portrays Grace as the lonely and desperate  victim of an abusive husband.

The project, which also stars Tim Roth as Rainier and Frank Langella  as Father Tucker, was recently denounced by Grace’s son, Prince Albert, and his sisters Caroline and Stephanie, as ‘needlessly glamourised’ and riddled with ‘major historical inaccuracies and a series of purely fictional scenes’.

But the 106-page script, which has been seen exclusively by The Mail on Sunday and is registered with the Hollywood Writers’ Guild, is based on hundreds of interviews biographers have conducted over many years with  palace insiders and other first-hand sources.

The family’s real fear, it seems, may be that the film has broken a long-standing Hollywood taboo about bringing the truth about  the marriage to the big screen – and it may set the stage for more embarrassing projects.

While Rainier sleeps in a separate room from Grace in the script, and is said  to be constantly ‘busy’ during the daytime, the production glosses over accusations that he was unfaithful.

‘This film really is a very slim slice of Grace’s life and it is nowhere near as negative as it could be,’ Wendy Leigh, a biographer of the princess, said last night.

ACCORDING  to her 2007 book, True Grace, the suave, cigar-smoking prince began cheating on Grace soon after she became pregnant during their honeymoon. Within months, he had taken at least three mistresses.

‘I think the family were hoping  to stop the film and that this is  their warning shot to producers who might want to do the full story about Rainier’s promiscuity and cruelty,’ Ms Leigh said.

‘Grace was humiliated and she was extremely unhappy. She was surrounded by decadence and Rainier’s disreputable friends.’

Blonde, blue-eyed and with a sultry sex appeal that casting directors compared to Marlene Dietrich, Grace herself was hardly an innocent.

American actress Grace Kelly (1929 - 1982) in a lace-trimmed top, circa 1955. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly

Grace Kelly, pictured left in 1955, is being played Nicole Kidman in a new film about her, Grace of Monaco

Princess Grace of Monaco, actress Grace Kelly, with her family Prince Rainier, Princess Caroline and Prince AlbertPrincess Grace of Monaco, actress Grace Kelly, with her family Prince Rainier, Princess Caroline and Prince Albert

The daughter of a socially ambitious Philadelphia brickworks owner, she became infatuated with several of her leading men.

While shooting the Hitchcock thriller Dial M For Murder in 1954, she scandalised Hollywood by conducting an affair with her married co-star, Ray Milland. She met Rainier during a photoshoot in 1955 at his palace. Six years her senior, he was seeking a wife with the help of a crony, the Greek shipping baron Aristotle Onassis, played in the film by Robert Lindsay.

His quest was a matter of urgency. If he failed to conceive a legitimate heir, Monaco would become a French protectorate under the terms of a 1918 treaty.

After she submitted to an examination to prove she was capable of bearing children, he presented her with a 12-carat diamond engagement ring.  ‘I fell in love with Prince Rainier,’ she confides in the film’s opening scene. ‘What followed was more difficult than I had thought.’

A silver Rolls-Royce delivers Alfred Hitchcock – played by Roger Ashton-Griffiths – to the palace, where he is greeted by Grace’s scheming lady-in-waiting, Madge Tivey-Faucon (Parker Posey).

Madge has been chosen for her job by Rainier – her chief qualification for the role being her willingness to spy on Grace’s every move.

Hitchcock is puzzled that there is no sign of the prince. A palace retainer quietly tells him: ‘He never comes. Far too busy.’

Actress Grace Kelly (later Princess Grace of Monaco) and His Serene Highness Prince Rainier III of Monaco on 19th April 1956.
Actress Grace Kelly (later Princess Grace of Monaco) and His Serene Highness Prince Rainier III of Monaco on 19th April 1956.

Speaking little French, Grace is bored and homesick, occupying  herself by preparing pumpkin soup and other American dishes for  Ray, as she calls Rainier in rare moments of tenderness.

The Monaco climate does not agree with her. Her eyes are reddened from conjunctivitis and she suffers from hayfever and insomnia. Hitchcock turns up just as she is composing a secret letter to her mother to confide she is miserable and wants to end the marriage.

Now Hitchcock is giving her the perfect excuse to leave in a matter of weeks. ‘Universal will pay you one million dollars,’ he says. ‘It’s going to be the role of a lifetime.’

‘Do I look that unhappy, Hitch?’ she asks wearily.

‘You look tired, Gracie,’ he says.

It isn’t only Rainier’s tantrums and constant absences that have brought her marriage to the point of breakdown. As ‘his’ princess, she must submit totally to his rules which, according to the script, include smiling sweetly at his side and never voicing an opinion.

At a New Year’s Eve party on the  Onassis yacht, he grows red-faced with rage when she engages French President Charles de Gaulle in a debate about the UK-US special relationship. Rainier furiously confronts her when they return home. ‘This is not America, Grace! People don’t just speak their minds.’

‘What did you expect me to say?’ she asks.

‘I don’t know. You used to be an actor. Act,’ he snarls.

Madge, he adds, has informed him of Hitchcock’s visit. ‘She is very loyal,’ he reminds his wife. Pecking a kiss on her forehead, he retires for the night, closing the door to his bedroom behind him.

Some biographers claim Rainier was violent as well as a control freak. During a tennis doubles match, he allegedly aimed a ball straight at Grace’s face. When it hit her, the friend who was his doubles partner defended him, saying he was just ‘desperate to win’.

The film treads carefully on the issue. He is verbally abusive to Grace, flying into a rage when she shears her long hair into a fashionable bob. He shouts that she did not seek his permission: ‘It looks dreadful. It yells of disrespect.’

When Grace finally plucks up the courage to tell Rainier that she would like to accept Hitchcock’s  million-dollar offer of the leading role in Marnie, he assures her:  ‘I won’t stand in your way.’

But his words ‘don’t ring true’, and when her plans for the movie are leaked to the press – she suspects by palace plotters – the prince’s 30,000 subjects are horrified.

Smashing a glass he is holding to the floor, Rainier tells Grace he has changed his mind in the face of  the  outcry. ‘You’ll have to call Mr  Hitchcock and turn him down,’ he orders. ‘We’ll make a show of how happy you are here.’ ‘That’s not your decision to make,’ she says. ‘I am the prince, and your husband,’ he storms. ‘You will and you must!’

In the end, the role of Marnie went to another Hitchcock protegee, Tippi Hedren.

The film’s most contentious claim  is that Grace eventually sought a divorce from Rainier.

The director, Olivier Dahan, has not identified the script’s precise sources for the claim, but they would appear to include a mysterious book, Grace: A Disenchanted Princess, published under a pseudonym in France in 2004.

It quoted one Rainier relative, Christian de Massy – whose mother, Princess Antoinette, was the prince’s  sister – as recalling that Grace was heartbroken when she was forbidden to do Marnie.

Controversial: British actor Tim Rother plays Grace Kelly's husband, Prince Rainer, in the filmControversial: British actor Tim Rother plays Grace Kelly’s husband, Prince Rainer, in the film

Despondent about life in a ‘golden cage’, she allegedly consulted an American divorce lawyer but, after being advised that she would lose her children, resigned herself to her fate in Monaco.

The royals – who were shown the screenplay when Dahan applied  for permission to shoot in Monaco – claim that to their ‘astonishment’,  their ‘numerous requests for changes’ were ignored.

DAHAN has promised, however, that the film,  which he started to shoot last August in Monaco and Paris, will be released on schedule early next year. ‘I think we have a misunderstanding,’ he said, insisting that he neither needs the royal family’s permission, nor has sought it. ‘We never asked them to endorse anything,’ he stresses.

The new film draws to a close when Grace stumbles on evidence that Antoinette, portrayed by Geraldine Somerville, is conspiring with France to seize control of the  principality in a coup.

As part of this treacherous deal,  de Gaulle has agreed that Christian, who at the time was just 13, will assume the throne.

The Mail on Sunday is withholding the exact details of the suspense-filled denouement to the purported plot – which critics claim involves considerable licence on the film- makers’ part as Antoinette clashed with her brother in the Fifties.

One clue, however: it leads to a reconciliation between Grace and Rainier, and she bears their third and final child, Stephanie.

The screenplay ends with one simple line: ‘Grace Kelly never acted again.’

Worn down by disappointment, she died in a 1982 car crash, apparently after suffering a stroke.

Girl History Month – Coco Chanel, Essence Of Style


Famed fashion designer Coco Chanel was born Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel on August 19, 1883, in Saumur, France. With her trademark suits and little black dresses, Coco Chanel created timeless designs that are still popular today. She herself became a much revered style icon known for her simple yet sophisticated outfits paired with great accessories, such as several strands of pearls. As Chanel once said,“luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.”

Her early years, however, were anything but glamorous. After her mother’s death, Chanel was put in an orphanage by her father who worked as a peddler. She was raised by nuns who taught her how to sew—a skill that would lead to her life’s work. Her nickname came from another occupation entirely. During her brief career as a singer, Chanel performed in clubs in Vichy and Moulins where she was called “Coco.” Some say that the name comes from one of the songs she used to sing, and Chanel herself said that it was a “shortened version of cocotte, the French word for ‘kept woman,” according to an article in The Atlantic.

Around the age of 20, Chanel became involved with Etienne Balsan who offered to help her start a millinery business in Paris. She soon left him for one of his even wealthier friends, Arthur “Boy” Capel. Both men were instrumental in Chanel’s first fashion venture.

Opening her first shop on Paris’s Rue Cambon in 1910, Chanel started out selling hats. She later added stores in Deauville and Biarritz and began making clothes. Her first taste of clothing success came from a dress she fashioned out of an old jersey on a chilly day. In response to the many people who asked about where she got the dress, she offered to make one for them. “My fortune is built on that old jersey that I’d put on because it was cold in Deauville,” she once told author Paul Morand.

In the 1920s, Chanel took her thriving business to new heights. She launched her first perfume, Chanel No. 5, which was the first to feature a designer’s name. Perfume “is the unseen, unforgettable, ultimate accessory of fashion. . . . that heralds your arrival and prolongs your departure,” Chanel once explained.

In 1925, she introduced the now legendary Chanel suit with collarless jacket and well-fitted skirt. Her designs were revolutionary for the time—borrowing elements of men’s wear and emphasizing comfort over the constraints of then-popular fashions. She helped women say good-bye to the days of corsets and other confining garments.

Another 1920s revolutionary design was Chanel’s little black dress. She took a color once associated with mourning and showed just how chic it could be for eveningwear. In addition to fashion, Chanel was a popular figure in the Paris literary and artistic worlds. She designed costumes for the Ballets Russes and for Jean Cocteau’s play Orphée, and counted Cocteau and artist Pablo Picasso among her friends. For a time, Chanel had a relationship with composer Igor Stravinsky.

Another important romance for Chanel began in the 1920s. She met the wealthy duke of Westminster aboard his yacht around 1923, and the two started a decades-long relationship. In response to his marriage proposal, she reportedly said “There have been several Duchesses of Westminster—but there is only one Chanel!”

The international economic depression of the 1930s had a negative impact on her company, but it was the outbreak of World War II that led Chanel to close her business. She fired her workers and shut down her shops. During the German occupation of France, Chanel got involved with a German military officer, Hans Gunther von Dincklage. She got special permission to stay in her apartment at the Hotel Ritz. After the war ended, Chanel was interrogated by her relationship with von Dincklage, but she was not charged as a collaborator. Some have wondered whether friend Winston Churchill worked behind the scenes on Chanel’s behalf.

While not officially charged, Chanel suffered in the court of public opinion. Some still viewed her relationship with a Nazi officer as a betrayal of her country. Chanel left Paris, spending some years in Switzerland in a sort of exile. She also lived at her country house in Roquebrune for a time.

At the age of 70, Chanel made a triumphant return to the fashion world. She first received scathing reviews from critics, but her feminine and easy-fitting designs soon won over shoppers around the world.

In 1969, Chanel’s fascinating life story became the basis for the Broadway musical Coco starring Katharine Hepburn as the legendary designer. Alan Jay Lerner wrote the book and lyrics for the show’s song while Andre Prévin composed the music. Cecil Beaton handled the set and costume design for the production. The show received seven Tony Award nominations, and Beaton won for Best Costume Design and René Auberjonois for Best Featured Actor.

Coco Chanel died on January 10, 1971, at her apartment in the Hotel Ritz. She never married, having once said “I never wanted to weigh more heavily on a man than a bird.” Hundreds crowded together at the Church of the Madeleine to bid farewell to the fashion icon. In tribute, many of the mourners wore Chanel suits.

Girl History Month – Héloïse d’Argenteuil

Héloïse d’Argenteuil

Héloïse d’Argenteuil

Heloise, seduced and abandoned by her teacher, Peter Abelard, is one of the most famous (and forgiving) tragic heroines of all time.

Peter Abelard (1079-1142) was a French philosopher, considered one of the greatest thinkers of the 12th century. Among his works is “Sic et Non,” a list of 158 philosophical and theological questions. His teachings were controversial, and he was repeatedly charged with heresy. Even with the controversy that surrounded him at times, nothing probably prepared him for the consequences of his love affair with Heloise, a relationship destined to change his life in dramatic ways.

Heloise (1101-1164) was the niece and pride of Canon Fulbert of Paris and a brilliant student. Abelard later writes in his “Historica Calamitatum”: “Her uncle’s love for her was equaled only by his desire that she should have the best education which he could possibly procure for her. Of no mean beauty, she stood out above all by reason of her abundant knowledge of letters.”

Wishing to become acquainted with Heloise, Abelard persuaded Fulbert to allow him to teach Heloise. Using the pretext that his own house was a “handicap” to his studies, Abelard further moved in to the house of Heloise and her uncle. She was supposedly a great beauty, one of the most well-educated women of her time; so, perhaps it’s not surprising that Abelard and she became lovers. Also, she was more than 20 years younger than Abelard… And, of course, Fulbert discovered their love, as Abelard would later write: “Oh, how great was the uncle’s grief when he learned the truth, and how bitter was the sorrow of the lovers when we were forced to part!”


They were separated, but that didn’t end the affair. Instead, they discovered that Heloise was pregnant. She left her uncle’s house when he was not at home; and she stayed with Abelard’s sister until their son Astrolabe was born.

Abelard asked for Fulbert’s forgiveness, and permission to marry Heloise; then with Fulbert’s assent, Abelard tried to persuade Heloise to marry him. Abelard wrote: “She, however, most violently disapproved of this, and for two chief reasons: the danger thereof, and the disgrace which it would bring upon me… What penalties, she said, would the world rightly demand of her if she should rob it of so shining a light!”

When she finally agreed to become Abelard’s wife, Heloise told him, “Then there is no more left but this, that in our doom the sorrow yet to come shall be no less than the love we two have already known.” In regard to that statement, Abelard later wrote, in his “Historica,” “Nor in this, as now the whole world knows, did she lack the spirit of prophecy.”

Secretly married, the couple left Astrolabe with Abelard’s sister. When Heloise went to stay with the nuns at Argenteuil, her uncle and kinsmen believed that Abelard had cast her off, forcing her to become a nun.

“Violently incensed, they laid a plot against me, and one night while I all unsuspecting was asleep in a secret room in my lodgings, they broke in with the help of one of my servants whom they had bribed. There they had vengeance on me with a most cruel and most shameful punishment, such as astounded the whole world; for they cut off those parts of my body with which I had done that which was the cause of their sorrow.” After his castration, Abelard became a monk.

At the convent in Argenteuil, Heloise took the habit and eventually became prioress. She and the other nuns were turned out when the convent was taken over by the abbey at which Abelard had first taken his monastic vows. At this point Abelard arranged for them to enter the Oratory of the Paraclete, an abbey he had established, where Héloïse became abbess.

About this time, correspondence began between the two former lovers. In letters which followed, Heloise expressed dismay at problems Abelard faced, but scolded him for years of silence following the attack upon him, since they were still married.

In a letter to Abelard, Heloise wrote: “You know, beloved, as the whole world knows, how much I have lost in you, how at one wretched stroke of fortune that supreme act of flagrant treachery robbed me of my very self in robbing me of you; and how my sorrow for my loss is nothing compared with what I feel for the manner in which I lost you.”

Ultimately, after telling Heloise of instances where he had abused her and forced sex, Abelard insisted he had never truly loved her, but only lusted after her, and their relationship was a sin against God. He then recommended her to consecrate herself fully from then on to her religious vocation.

Some scholars insist Abelard was attempting to spare her feelings (or his feelings, altered from disrupted hormones) and others point to the damage of his hormones and psyche, but from this point on, their correspondence focused on professional subjects rather than their romantic history.

Heloise never wavered in her devotion to Abelard, and their tragic love story is a testament to her unconditional love.

Tomb of Heloise and Abelard in the Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris

Tomb of Heloise and Abelard in the Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris

Girl History Month – Jane Addams, Social Reformer And Nobel Prize Winner

English: American social reformer, Jane Addams

English: American social reformer, Jane Addams (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jane Addams was a founder of the Settlement House Movement in the United States. She was the first American Woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

On a trip to England as a young woman, Jane was introduced to the founders and the workings of Toynbee Hall, a settlement house in the slums of London. After her return to the United States, she and her traveling companion, Ellen Starr, committed themselves to the idea of starting a settlement house in Chicago. They founded Hull House in the slums of Chicago in 1889. Most everything they needed Jane was able to procure with the generosity of patrons. Money poured in. Within a few years, Hull House offered medical care, child care and legal aid. It also provided classes for immigrants to learn English, vocational skills, music, art and drama.

In 1893 a severe depression rocked the country. Hull House was serving over two thousand people a week. As charitable efforts increased, so too did political ones. Jane realized that there would be no end to poverty if laws were not changed. She directed her efforts at the root causes of poverty. The workers joined Jane to lobby the state of Illinois to examine laws governing child labor, the factory inspection system, and the juvenile justice system. They worked for legislation to protect immigrants from exploitation, limit the working hours of women, mandate schooling for children, recognize labor unions, and provide for industrial safety.

She became a very controversial figure while working on behalf of economic reform. When horrible working conditions led to the Haymarket riot, Jane was personally attacked for her support of the workers. It resulted in a great loss of donor support for Hull House. She supplemented Hull House funding with revenue from lecture tours and article writing. She began to enjoy international acclaim. Her first book was published in 1910 and others followed biennially. Her biggest success in writing came with the release of the book, Twenty Years at Hull House.

Addams foresaw World War I. In 1915, in an effort to avert war, she organized the Women’s Peace Party and the International Congress of Women. This latter organization met at The Hague and made serious diplomatic attempts to thwart the war. When these efforts failed and the U.S. joined the war in 1917, criticism of Addams rose. She was expelled from the Daughters of the American Revolution, but it did not slow her down. In 1919 she was elected first president of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, a position she held until her death. She was a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). She was a charter member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), having answered the “call” in 1909 that led to the organization’s formation. These positions earned her even more criticism than her pacifism. She was accused of being a socialist, an anarchist and a communist.

Hull House, however, continued to be successful. When the depression of the 1930’s struck, Addams saw many of the things that she had advocated and fought for become policies under President Franklin Roosevelt. She received numerous awards during this time including, in 1931, the Nobel Peace Prize.

Girl History Month – Rachel Carson, Quiet Voice For The Environment

Reprinted from the New York Times

From Calm Leadership, Lasting Change

Published: October 27, 2012

SHE was a slight, soft-spoken woman who preferred walking the Maine shoreline to stalking the corridors of power. And yet Rachel Carson, the author of “Silent Spring,” played a central role in starting the environmental movement, by forcing government and business to confront the dangers of pesticides.

Alfred Eisenstaedt/Time Life Pictures, via Getty Images

In “Silent Spring,” published 50 years ago, Rachel Carson warned about pesticides’ toll on nature.

Associated Press

Rachel Carson testifying at a Congressional hearing in 1963.

Associated Press

A crop-duster spreading DDT on a ranch in Oregon in 1948.

Carson was a scientist with a lyrical bent, who saw it as her mission to share her observations with a wider audience. In the course of her work, she also felt called upon to become a leader — and was no less powerful for being a reluctant one.

As a professor at Harvard Business School, I encountered the great depth of her work when I was creating a course on the history of leadership. I was amazed to learn she wrote “Silent Spring” as she battled breast cancer and cared for a young child. After the book was published, 50 years ago last month, she faced an outburst of public reaction and a backlash from chemical companies. Yet throughout her personal and public struggles, she was an informed spokeswoman for environmental responsibility.

She was a classic introvert who exhibited few of the typical qualities associated with leadership, like charisma and aggressiveness. But as people like Susan Cain, author of “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” have pointed out, leadership can come in less obvious forms.

Carson’s life shows that individual agency, fueled by resolution and hard work, has the power to change the world. In this election year, when so much influence seems concentrated in “super PACs,” lobbying groups and other moneyed interests, her story is a reminder that one person’s quiet leadership can make a difference.

The natural world had fascinated Carson since she was a young girl growing up near Pittsburgh. At the Pennsylvania College for Women, later Chatham College, she majored in biology and earned her master’s degree in zoology at Johns Hopkins.

In the 1930s, there were few professional opportunities for women in the sciences. But in 1935, she found a job writing radio scripts about the ocean for what would become the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Within four years, she was editor in chief of all the agency’s publications, a position that connected her with researchers, conservationists and government officials.

Her work at the agency fed her larger calling as a writer. Throughout the 1930s and ’40s, she wrote freelance articles about the natural world for Colliers, the Atlantic Monthly and other magazines. In 1941, she published her first book, “Under the Sea-Wind,” a narrative account of the birds and sea creatures of North America’s eastern shores.

Carson wrote within the crevices of a busy life, and often with serious health problems. In 1950, she had surgery to remove a tumor from her left breast. The next year, she published “The Sea Around Us,” a wide-ranging history of the ocean. It was an instant best seller. Readers responded to her graceful prose and marshaling of scientific facts, as well as to her long-term perspective. The book’s success enabled her to leave her position at the wildlife agency and devote herself to writing.

IN early 1958, she began working intently on “Silent Spring” while serving as both a breadwinner and a caregiver. The previous year, her niece died after an illness and she adopted her 5-year-old grandnephew. Unmarried and living in Silver Spring, Md., she also cared for and financially supported her ailing mother.

For the next four years, she gave all the time and energy she could spare to researching and writing “Silent Spring.” A diligent investigator, she reached out to a network of scientists, physicians, librarians, conservationists and government officials. She found colleagues, clerks, whistle-blowers and others who had studied pesticide use and were willing to share their knowledge.

With an assistant’s help, she spent weeks in the research libraries of Washington. Many of her contacts generated even more leads.

Carson was particularly interested in possible connections between cancer and human exposure to pesticides. In late 1959, she wrote this to Paul Brooks, her editor at Houghton Mifflin: “In the beginning I felt the link between pesticides and cancer was tenuous and at best circumstantial; now I feel it is very strong indeed.”

Her research, she wrote, “has taken very deep digging into the realms of physiology and biochemistry and genetics, to say nothing of chemistry. But I now feel that a lot of isolated pieces of the jigsaw puzzle have suddenly fallen into place,” she said, as quoted in “Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature,” a book by Linda Lear.

In late 1958, Carson’s mother died. And the next summer, her grandnephew’s illness slowed her work. By late 1959, she knew that the book would take longer than she originally planned. Yet she remained confident, writing to her editor that she was building her work “on an unshakable foundation.”

As she researched her book, Carson knew she was playing with fire. Still, she realized she had to bring her findings to a large audience. “Knowing what I do,” she wrote to a close friend in 1958, “there would be no future peace for me if I kept silent.”

In early 1960, medical problems interrupted Carson’s work again. She learned that she had an ulcer, and she developed pneumonia. In early April, she had surgery in Washington to remove two tumors in her left breast. One was apparently benign, she told a friend. The other was “suspicious enough to require a radical mastectomy.” Her doctors stopped short of diagnosing cancer and recommended no further treatment.

She went home to recover from the surgery and slowly resumed work. In November, Carson discovered a mass in her left chest. This led her to seek a second opinion at the Cleveland Clinic.

There, she learned that she had cancer, and that it had metastasized to her lymph nodes. In early 1961, she began radiation treatment, which sapped her strength. A staph infection, a flare-up of her ulcer and the onset of phlebitis in her legs added to her problems, leaving her too debilitated to work. At times, she despaired over “the complete and devastating wreckage” of her writing schedule and the “nearly complete loss of any creative feeling or desire.”

Throughout, she was determined to keep her medical condition private, fearful that readers would question the objectivity of her findings, particularly her chapters about links between pesticides and cancer.

By late spring, Carson returned to her book. She made progress for six months, until an eye inflammation left her virtually sightless for several weeks. Her assistant read chapters aloud to her for correction, but she was intensely frustrated. “Such a catalog of illnesses!” she confided to a friend. “If one were superstitious it would be easy to believe in some malevolent force at work, determined by some means to keep the book from being finished.”

EARLY in 1962, Carson sent most of the manuscript to her publisher and The New Yorker. The end in sight, she took stock of her motivation for the book. As quoted in Ms. Lear’s book, she wrote to the conservationist and author Lois Crisler: “The beauty of the living world I was trying to save has always been uppermost in my mind — that, and anger at the senseless, brutish things that were being done.”

Carson’s grace and fervor struck a powerful chord in June when The New Yorker began serializing “Silent Spring.” In a focused, persuasive way, she had thrown down a moral gauntlet, asking readers to reconsider the consequences of rapid technological progress. “How could intelligent beings,” she asked early in the book, “seek to control a few unwanted species by a method that contaminated the entire environment and brought the threat of disease and death even to their own kind?”

She argued that synthetic pesticides like DDT and heptachlor were being applied in profligate quantities without regard to their effect on human health, animals and the environment. She predicted grave consequences for man and the larger natural world if their use continued to grow. (The title “Silent Spring” refers to a future season when singing birds and other animals have been wiped out by insecticides.)

The book, combined with the New Yorker serialization, created a sensation. In summer 1962, President John F. Kennedy, citing the book, appointed a committee to study pesticide use. During the next two years, various government units called for increased oversight of and reductions of pesticides.

Small wonder that chemical makers counterattacked. A biochemist with American Cyanamid called Carson “a fanatic defender of the cult of the balance of nature.” Invoking cold-war language, the general counsel for another chemical company suggested that Carson was a front for “sinister influences” intent on restricting pesticide use in order to reduce American food supplies to the levels of the Eastern bloc.

In the 18 months after “Silent Spring” was published, Carson worked to outrun the aggressive cancer attacking her body. She guarded her strength, choosing to make public appearances where she believed she could make the most difference. She offered Congressional testimony on pesticide use and made a rare television appearance with Eric Sevareid of CBS. But in 1964, the disease and its complications caught up. She died on April 14 at age 56.

In the late 1960s, events including a California oil spill, a chemical fire on the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland and civic protest about napalm and Agent Orange, used in the Vietnam War, underscored her warnings that efforts to control nature threatened man’s survival. The first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970, reflected mounting public concern.

Later that year, the Environmental Protection Agency began operations; in 1972, DDT was banned from use in the United States. The Clean Water Act was passed in 1972 and the Endangered Species Act in 1973. Looking back at such events, scientists like Paul Ehrlich and E. O. Wilson have credited “Silent Spring” with a pivotal role in starting the modern environmental movement.

RACHEL CARSON’S story offers many leadership lessons, including the importance of persistence in pursuing an objective. When I discuss her with business executives, many are struck by her ability to stay focused on goals in the face of obstacles including severe illness.

Another lesson involves the importance of doing thorough research and taking the long view. A sense of context based on hard facts, along with a knowledge of history, is essential to understanding what’s at stake in difficult and uncertain situations. It also confers a sense of authority on the person who has acquired this knowledge.

A third insight concerns the juggling of personal demands and professional ambitions. Carson understood the challenge — and satisfaction — of dealing with our obligations to others even as we follow our professional drive. And she saw that this can rarely be navigated smoothly. For her, and for many executives with whom I have worked, times of great productivity were followed by fallow periods when ambitions had to be put aside for personal reasons.

There continues to be debate about the use of DDT and its relation to Carson’s conclusions. Regardless, her story underscores the power of calling others to thoughtful action. At a time when Americans’ confidence in their business and government leaders is low, her journey offers a forceful example of one person’s ability to incite positive change.


Girl History Month – Famous Irish Women

Lá Fhéile Pádraig!

grace omalley

Grace O’Malley

Gráinne Ní Mháille, better known as Grace O’Malley, was an infamous pirate queen. She was born in the 1530’s in County Mayo, Ireland, and at the height of her career, she commanded 3 galleys, 20 ships and over 200 men. She was an adept seafarer, a shrewd trader and a knowledgeable Chieftain. This twice widowed and twice imprisoned woman, was also a mother. She won many battles against the British and yet it was Queen Elizabeth I who pardoned her death condemnation. It is the stuff of legends in Ireland, how this pirate went alone to visit the British Queen and not only got herself pardoned, but also became the Queen’s good friend and ally.


Catherine Hayes

Catherine was an international opera and concert singer in the 19th century, who was born on October 29, 1818 in Limerick, Ireland. She was the first ever Irish-born opera diva and a classic rags-to-riches success story. She traveled the globe, riding on the success of her passion-filled songs. She received an encore from Queen Victoria and her 500 guests when she performed in Buckingham Palace, London, in 1849.

tynan 2

Katharine Tynan

Katharine was a prolific Irish author born on January 23, 1859 in Dublin, Ireland. She has two anthologies, 105 popular novels and countless newspaper articles to her credit. She published 16 poetry collections, 5 plays, 7 devotional books, one book on her dogs and twelve short story collections as well. Her work is distinctive for its own unique blend of Catholicism and feminism. Some of her famous literary works are: Irish Love-Songs, Miracle Plays, The Way of a Maid, An Isle in the Water, A Girl’s Song, A Birth-Night Song, A Gardener-Sage, A Daughter Of The Fields, The Cabinet of Irish Literature, The House of the Crickets, Ireland, Heart O’ Gold or the Little Princess, Lord Edward: A Study in Romance and A Mad Marriage.

mary robinson

Mary Robinson

“I was elected by the women of Ireland, who instead of rocking the cradle, rocked the system.” – Mary Robinson.

Mary Burke, born in County Mayo of the North Western Ireland, to two physician parents and went on to become the famous Mary Robinson, the first female President of Ireland. She held the highest position in Ireland, at a time when only two other females in the world, accompanied her in the elite ‘Head of State’ league. Born on 21st May, she worked hard to become a barrister. She took office in December 1990, as the seventh President of Ireland and resigned on 12th September 1997, eleven weeks prior to her completion of term. She did this in order to accept the post of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, a very prestigious and powerful job. She is always the first name in Ireland, when it comes to fighting for the disadvantaged and the polishing of Ireland’s international profile.


Mary McAleese

“We are a vibrant First World country, but we have a humbling Third World memory.” – Mary McAleese.

Mary McAleese is the second woman to lead ‘The Republic of Ireland’. She became the 8th president of Ireland on November 11, 1997 and led the nation till November 10, 2011, by winning two consecutive presidential elections. Mary was born in 1951 in Northern Ireland, in a Catholic Belfast family. She spent her childhood in a Protestant area, near Ardoyne, and later moved to Dublin (in 1975) to take up professorship at Trinity at just 24 years of age. After 4 years at Trinity, she changed her profession to that of a reporter on the ‘Frontline’ and ‘Today Tonight’. She was President for 14 years, the longest serving elected woman in the world.

sister sarah clarke

Sister Sarah Clarke

This Irish nun was better known as the ‘Joan of Arc’ of the English prisons for her dogged investigations of human rights abuses in British prisons. Sister Sarah was born in Eyrecourt, County Galway and joined the ‘La Sainte Union Sisters’ in 1939. She fought against the abuse of both, the prisoners as well as their families. Her more than 25 years of straight talking, vehement arguing and inexhaustible patience gave her many victories. She died on 4th February, 2002, in London.

Girl History Month – Susan Howatch, Storyteller

Cover of "The Rich Are Different"

Cover of The Rich Are Different

Susan Howatch (born 14 July 1940) is an English author who is first and foremost a storyteller.

Her first novel was The Dark Shore (1965). She published several other “gothic” novels before she published the first of her family sagas Penmarric (1971), which details the fortunes and disputes of the Penmar family in Cornwall during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. An important theme of the story is how the mansion of Penmarric becomes controlled by various branches of the family. The family fortune was made in the Cornish tin mining industry, which is discussed throughout one of the six parts, each with a different character as narrator. As is made clear by the chapter headings, the fortunes of the family closely parallel the Plantagenet family, including Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine, with the mansion representing the throne.

Howatch followed a similar theme in her vast saga, The Wheel of Fortune, where the story of the Godwin family of Oxmoon in Gower, South Wales, is in fact a re-creation in a modern form of the story of the Plantagenet family of Edward III of England, the modern characters being created from those of his eldest son Edward of Woodstock (The Black Prince) and his wife Joan of Kent, John of Gaunt and his mistress and then wife, Katherine Swynford, Richard II (son of Edward of Woodstock), Henry IV (son of John of Gaunt) and Henry IV’s eldest son King Henry V. Again the mansion represents the throne.

She also wrote three other family sagas, Cashelmara, which focuses on the family of Edward I (Edward DeSalis), his son, Edward II (Patrick De Salis) and others; and The Rich Are Different followed by its sequel, The Sins of the Fathers, both of which combine to tell the story, in America’ s financial industry, of Caesar, Cleopatra, Mark Antony, and Octavian.

After her return to England in 1980, Howatch found herself “rich, successful, and living exactly where I wanted to live,” but feeling a spiritual emptiness which she ascribed to “trying to hold my divided self together” and questioning her life and what she should do with it. She had settled in Salisbury out of love for the beauty of the town, but found herself increasingly drawn to Salisbury Cathedral; eventually she began to study Anglican Christianity in earnest. She experienced a spiritual epiphany, and concluded that she should continue to write novels, but to “set forth my discoveries in the light of faith, no matter how feeble and inadequate my beginner’s faith was.” This personal turning point culminated in Howatch’s most successful and popular works, the Starbridge series.

This series of six books sets out to describe the history of the Church of England through the twentieth century. Each of the six books is self-contained, and each is narrated by a different character. However, the main protagonist of each book also appears in the other books, allowing the author to present the same incidents from different viewpoints.

The action of all six books centers around the fictional Anglican diocese of Starbridge, which is supposedly in the west of England, and also features the Fordite monks, a fictional Anglican monastic order. The cathedral and ecclesiastical hierarchy at Starbridge are based on the real-life Salisbury.

The first three books of the series (Glittering Images, Glamorous Powers, Ultimate Prizes) begin in the 1930s, and continue through World War II. The second three (Scandalous Risks, Mystical Paths, Absolute Truths) take place in the 1960s.

Glittering Images is narrated by the Reverend Dr. Charles Ashworth, a Cambridge academic who undergoes something of a spiritual and nervous breakdown after being sent by the Archbishop of Canterbury to secretly investigate possible sexual transgressions in the household of the Bishop of Starbridge. Ashworth is helped to recover, and to realize the source of his problems, by Father Jonathan Darrow, the widowed abbot of Grantchester Abbey of the Fordite Monks.

Glamorous Powers follows the story of Jonathan Darrow himself as he leaves the Fordite Order at age sixty following a powerful vision. He then must deal with his adult children’s problems, address the question of a new intimate relationship, and search for a new ministry. His particular crisis surrounds the use and misuse of his charismatic powers of healing, and his unsettling mystical visions, or “showings”.

Ultimate Prizes takes place during World War II. It is narrated by Neville Aysgarth, a young and ambitious Archdeacon of Starbridge from a working class background in the north of England. After being widowed and remarried, he too undergoes something of a breakdown but is rescued by Jonathan Darrow.

Scandalous Risks follows Aysgarth to a Canonry of Westminster Abbey and back to Starbridge, where he becomes Dean of the Cathedral and Ashworth becomes Bishop. It is narrated by Venetia Flaxton, a young aristocrat who risks great scandal by beginning a relationship with the married Aysgarth, her father’s best friend.

Mystical Paths follows Nicholas Darrow, son of Jonathan, as he narrowly avoids going off the rails prior to his ordination while investigating the mysterious disappearance of Christian Aysgarth, eldest son of Dean Aysgarth.

Absolute Truths comes full circle and is narrated by a much more elderly but still troubled Charles Ashworth, thirty one years after we first encounter him in the first of the books.

The St. Benet’s trilogy takes place in the London of the 1980s and 1990s. Again, it illustrates the changes which took place in the Anglican Church in those years and brings back many of the characters in the Starbridge series. However, while the Church is still at the heart of the books, there is an increased emphasis on characters who are not members of the clergy. Like the six preceding books, each in the trilogy is written in the first person by a different narrator.

A Question of Integrity (given the title The Wonder Worker in the United States), picks up the story of Nicholas Darrow fifteen years after the last of the Starbridge novels. Nick is now rector of a church in the City of London, where he runs a center for the ministry of healing. His own life is greatly affected by events taking place at the center, especially after he meets Alice Fletcher, an insecure new worker there, and is forced to reassess his beliefs and commitments as a result.

The High Flyer narrates the story of a female City lawyer, Carter Graham, who “has it all”. Her outwardly successful life, complete with highly compensated career and suitable marriage, undergoes profound changes after harrowing events smacking of the occult begin to occur, which reveal that things are not what they seem.

Finally, The Heartbreaker follows the life of Gavin Blake, a charismatic male prostitute specializing in powerful, influential male clients, who finds himself at the center of a criminal empire and must fight to save his life. Meanwhile, both Graham and Darrow must deal with their own weaknesses in trying to help Gavin.

Howatch has used some of the profits from her novels to found an academic post with the title ‘Starbridge Lecturer in Natural Science and Theology’ in the Faculty of Divinity at Cambridge University, devoted to linking the fields of science and religion. The first holder of this post is the Reverend Dr. Fraser Watts, a psychologist and theologian.

There are rumors online that Ms. Howatch may not write any more, and that would be sad because I have now read all of her books. I recommend them highly, for well-written, thrilling stories, and, for anyone with spiritual yearnings, as manna for the soul.

Girl History Month – Aimee Mann, Singer-Songwriter

Aimee Mann

Aimee Mann

One of the best things about having my own Girl History Month is I can write about any Girl I like. I really like Aimee Mann.

In my humble opinion, one can’t have a Tumultuous Love Affair or Doomed Relationship With A Narcissist without Aimee’s songs as background music. Somehow, it makes it all worthwhile. 🙂

Enjoy the music and videos. You won’t regret it!!