Did you know that March is Women’s History Month? In the United States, Women’s History Month traces its origins back to the first International Women’s Day in 1911, which then turned into Women’s History Week when President Jimmy Carter issued a presidential proclamation declaring March 8, 1980 as National Women’s History Week. This eventually developed into Women’s History Month when Congress passed Public Law 100-9, officially making March 1987 Women’s History Month, which then in turn led to additional resolutions in the years that followed to grant future presidents the authority to declare every March as Women’s History Month. The Katharine Brush Library is sharing in the celebration this year with our That’s What She Said display on the second floor. This display highlights quotes by women activists, scientists, politicians, and artists who have paved the way for women today and showcases books by and about some of these women, including Gloria Steinem, Hillary Clinton, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Eleanor Roosevelt.
With the beginning of a new [school] year comes a fresh start, a chance to re-examine yourself and the opportunity to make changes if you do not like the direction you seem to be headed in. We, at the Katharine Brush Library, want you to feel inspired to become a better version of yourself and have, therefore, created a display of autobiographies on the second floor that will hopefully encourage you to discover not only who you are, but who you can be, and to follow your own dreams rather than the expectations others may have for you. The next time you’re upstairs, take a look at Jane Goodall’s Africa in My Blood, which describes in her own words what it was like for an English child who loved animals to become one of the most well-known scientists of the twentieth-century, or read about a homeless child from Memphis, Tennessee, who saw football as a means of escaping the life of poverty and drug addiction he experienced on a daily basis in Michael Oher’s I Beat the Odds: From Homelessness, to The Blind Side, and Beyond. Merle Hoffman’s autobiography Intimate Wars: The Life and Times of the Woman who Brought Abortion from the Back Alley to the Board Room tells the riveting life story of a feminist who founded the abortion clinic Choices in 1971 and worked tirelessly to encourage women to be proactive in their health concerns and medical choices. In addition to the books on display, a search of our library catalog Pelicat will help you locate even more autobiographies, including one written by the painter Andrew Wyeth and one by the former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
To further inspire you, we have included high school yearbook photos of over a dozen well-known celebrities, from actresses like Natalie Portman to television talk show hosts like Rachel Maddow and Oprah Winfrey to comedians like Jimmy Kimmel and politicians like Joe Biden, as part of our display. By doing so, we hope to show you that people who are now considered “successful” in one form or another were once just like the rest of us, struggling to figure out who we are and what to make of ourselves.
Remember, “when writing the story of your life, don’t let anyone else hold the pen!” If they did, your story would cease to be an autobiography, and become a biography, consisting of someone else’s opinion and interpretation of you and your life! One final source of inspiration: Check out “10 Ways to Write a Life Story Worth Living” at: http://www.marcandangel.com/2012/08/13/10-ways-to-write-a-life-story-worth-living/.
Ms. Aubrey Muscaro