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Posts Tagged ‘History’

There are photos below of an excellent event held at the Cinema Arts Center in Huntington (Long Island, NY).  The movie America’s Victoria: The Victoria Woodhull Story, by director Victoria Weston, was shown. In 1872, before women had the right to vote, Woodhull was the first woman candidate for US President. She ran on the “Equal Rights Party” ticket, with the support of key figures from the woman’s suffrage movement and spiritual movement. “The Woodhull”, as her supporters sometimes called her, is an important third party figure.

There was also a special guest at the event – Victoria Bond. Victoria Bond is an internationally recognized composer/conductor. She has an opera, “Mrs. President”, about Victoria Woodull, scenes of which were played. I have known of the wonderful work of Victoria Bond when she was the conductor of the Roanoke Symphony in Virginia, so it was a treat to get to meet her and hear her speak. Victoria Bond is hosting a series with new music by various composers at Symphony Space in New York City in April. And, she is interested in finding support and the best venue to premiere her work, “Mrs. President.”

Fan Kimberly Wilder (l) with composer/conductor Victoria Bond

Fan Kimberly Wilder (l) with composer/conductor Victoria Bond

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Ralph Fiennes, out of costume

Ralph Fiennes, out of costume

Painting of the 5th Duke of Devonshire

Painting of the 5th Duke of Devonshire

As a devoted fan of the real Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, and as someone who enjoyed the movie “The Duchess” very much, I have definite opinions on all of the characters, and on the portrayals in the movie.

I decided that I am still a little frustrated that Ralph Fiennes portrayed William, the fifth Duke of Devonshire, in such a sympathetic light. Though, in thinking about it, at least Fiennes showed the flaws in the Duke’s character, and did not do what would have been tragic – make the Duke seem charming or especially sexually appealing, after all the Duke’s womanizing and emotional abuse of his wife.

It is also disappointing that the portrayal of the Duke is up for so many awards, when it is Georgiana who should have been (and was in some measure)  “a light burning at the center of the film”, as commentary on the DVD edition notes. Perhaps because I had read the book by Amanda Foreman, I still saw Georgiana’s light as the center of the film. Indeed, the story would probably have not been told if it were not for her flair, her fame and her fashion sense. And, contrary to some critics, I believe that Keira Knightley’s portrayal of Georgiana was wonderful. Knightley was able to portray the character and emotions in the range of an innocent young bride of 17-years-old, to an aristocratic woman having a passionate affair, to a mother and wife who has come to terms with her place in life. (more…)

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Politically, I am a third party person. So, I won’t be hyper-focusing on the new President and his wife. Though, an inauguration ball is such an interesting example of politics intersecting with fashion, that I thought it would be important to at least mention it here. Please note that I am also preparing a series of posts on the topic of politics and fashion.

(excerpt from) The Boston Herald
All eyes will be on Michelle Obama and her choice of inaugural gown
By Maria Recio / McClatchy Newspapers
Wednesday, January 7, 2009

WASHINGTON – Inauguration Day will belong to President Barack Obama, but that night will be wife Michelle’s turn in the spotlight, as all eyes will be on her – and her choice of ball gown.

Throughout U.S. history, and especially in the post-World War II era, first ladies have made statements about themselves and the times they live in with their inaugural wardrobes.

“They are symbols of our country. They reflect around the world an image of our country,” said Carl Sferrazza Anthony, a historian who’s written extensively about first ladies.

more from the Boston Herald article…the internet/blog phenomena of the Women’s Wear Daily post with pictures of dresses famous designers think that Ms. Obama should choose. It is fun to flip through.

Women’s Wear Daily has created a buzz with its feature “Michelle Obama: What should she wear?” which showcases designers’ sketches for her inaugural gown done at the behest of the newspaper.

and, from the Boston Herald article…Who started Inauguration Fever, the series of balls and social events all packed into one night?

Inauguration fever as we now know it, with multiple balls, galas and celebrations, is a relatively new phenomenon. The tradition of the inaugural ball began in 1809 with first lady Dolley Madison, a skillful hostess who knew that social events could support her husband’s presidency.

NOTE: The possibly related link to Part Four below doesn’t work now. It is my fault for hitting “publish” and changing it to draft when I made a mistake. Please accept my apologies, and if you want to see the series, here is Part One. Many thanks. (Please comment. Input is highly valued!)

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My first blogpost is a reprint of my “About” page…

The Basics

I have always enjoyed biographies of women in history. As an elementary school student, I remember doing a report on a biography of Susan B. Anthony, and also being very interested in the life of Helen Keller. In high school, I read a biography about Catherine the Great of Russia, which fascinated me. As reflected in the blog title, my current fascination is Georgiana, The Duchess of Devonshire.

I am creating this site so that women may discuss women in history, and ways that their lives may have been different, if only those historical women had: a little more freedom, the right to own property, or had insight from other women, whose later writings empowered and educated women about ourselves.

Please do post a comment. Or, suggest a book. Or, leave a message about how you think Georgiana’s life could have been different if only she would have known…what?

More thoughts… (more…)

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