Bring the stories of amazing women from history to your library, school, senior center, historical society, scouting event, or civic organization!
My newest program: Reclaiming Our Voice: New Jersey’s Central Role in the Fight for Woman Suffrage
In the years following the American Revolution, women had the right to vote in only one state — New Jersey — a right they would lose in 1807 and not win back for more than five generations. New Jersey’s role in the struggle to regain that right is largely overlooked. It is well-known that Elizabeth Cady Stanton proclaimed “all men and women are created equal” at the Women’s Rights Convention of 1848 in Seneca Falls NY, but few know that she lived in Tenefly NJ when she and Susan B. Anthony founded the National Woman Suffrage Association and wrote the first three volumes of their History of Woman Suffrage. Similarly, few realize that Lucy Stone was a resident of South Orange in 1857 when she refused to pay taxes, stating “No Taxation Without Representation,” or that she spoke before the NJ legislature for women’s voting and property rights in 1867. That same year, Portia Gage and 171 other Vineland women (including four “colored” women) literally took suffrage into their own hands when they brought their own ballot box to the polls in order to cast their votes for president.
Hear the stories of these and many other women with Jersey ties — including Dr. Florence Spearing Randolph, founder of the NJ Association of Colored Women’s Clubs and member of the NJ Woman Suffrage Association Board, Alice Paul, the dynamo who re-energized the movement for a federal amendment, and Antoinette Brown Blackwell, the only pioneer suffragist who lived long enough to cast her vote!
“Yesterday at the library I learned about women in history. I learned that there is hope, and that the troubles we face right now are difficult, but women like Abigail Adams and Sojourner Truth and so many others worked very hard, faced major adversity, and that was difficult too. Learn from them. I encourage you to read and learn about the past and that will help you find hope and courage to fight in the future.” — C.M. (Girl Scout mom)
Pickets & Persistence, War Service & Women’s Suffrage
American Women’s Fight to Win the Vote
Living History Presenter Carol Simon Levin portrays Jeannette Rankin,
America’s first female member of Congress, telling the intertwined stories of women’s suffrage activism, war service, and the political calculus that finally brought the support of President Wilson, the U.S. Congress, and state legislatures to achieve passage of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote.
Carol as Jeannette Rankin,
First Female Member of Congress
Designed to make history accessible to everyone from eight to 108-year-olds, Remembering the Ladies tells the story of the struggle for women’s political rights in this country through coloring pages and lively profiles of 69 courageous & tenacious women. You can see pages and reviews on Amazon and buy there or through Barnes & Noble or Createspace. (For those who purchased the first edition, here is the link to the additional pages.) Contact me directly at email@example.com for bulk pricing.
Why is this book different?
- It’s not “just” a coloring book!
- Each coloring page is accompanied by a full-page bio, fascinating fact and quote as well as suggestions of books for kids, teens, and adults and places to visit.
- So it’s a great educational resource in addition to being fun.
- It’s inclusive and diverse, just like the women in the book.
- 36 artists created more than 75 images. Many artists means many styles, which also adds to the fun.
- Nearly a third of the women profiled are women of color.
The Companion Program:
Remembering the Ladies: From Patriots in Petticoats to Presidential Candidates. Carol Simon Levin portrays Abigail Adams — who famously wrote to her husband John asking that the Continental Congress “remember the ladies” when drafting new laws for the new nation. He wrote back that she was “so saucy” and he and the rest of the Congress ignored her pleas completely. “Abigail” then looks forward in time to tell the stories of some of the courageous and tenacious women of all colors and creeds who fought to enhance women’s political participation — from Dolley Madison to the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848, the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote and the pioneering female activists and politicians who’ve worked to extend women’s economic, social, and political rights.
Programs on Women in S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math):
Bridge Builder in Petticoats: Emily Warren Roebling and the Brooklyn Bridge bridgebuilderinpetticoats.com
Many books and films have featured the Brooklyn Bridge and millions of people have crossed it. Built between 1869 and 1883, without modern machines or even electric light, it was one of the most amazing technological achievements of its time. Yet few people know that a woman helped manage much of its construction. After her husband was bedridden, Emily Roebling became his liaison to the project – eventually communicating with the engineers and suppliers so well that it was rumored that she had become the Chief Engineer herself! Later she helped design the family mansion in Trenton, studied law, organized relief for returning troops from the Spanish American War, attended the coronation of the Tsar of Russia and even took tea with Queen Victoria. At her death, she was called “the most famous woman in New Jersey” and “one of the most noted women in the country,” yet today almost no one knows her name!
Nobody Owns the Sky: Fascinating Stories of Forgotten Female Aviators
Most people when asked to name early female aviators can name only one name, Amelia Earhart. But long before Amelia Earhart’s famous exploits, female flyers had already proved that aviatrices were every bit as brave and daring as their male counterparts. Flying in flimsy wood and canvas aeroplanes, Aida de Acosta, Raymonde de Laroche, Hélène Dutrieu , Marie Marvingt, Harriet Quimby, Katherine Stinson, Ruth Law, Bessie Coleman and Elinor Smith awed and thrilled people on the ground — executing audacious acrobatic aerial maneuvers, soloing across the English channel, setting records, barnstorming and buzzing beneath New York’s bridges. Undaunted by male skepticism, they were determined to show that anything that men could do, they could do too!
During World War II, more than one thousand women volunteers completed the WASP military pilot training program. They endured terrible Texas weather, snakes, spiders and scorpions, as well as the hostility of some male instructors. Graduating WASPs piloted every kind of military aircraft, tested new and overhauled airplanes (some with defective parts or dangerous reputations), delivered more than 12,000 planes, and flew over 60,000,000 miles (sometimes towing targets that soldiers shot at with live ammunition!) Thirty-eight of them died serving their country. Then they were told that men needed their jobs and they were dismissed and forgotten. Carol Simon Levin tells the story of the amazing WASPs through the eyes of Ann Baumgartner Carl, the Jersey girl who trained as a WASP, became the only American woman to test-fly experimental planes during the war, and the first American woman to fly a jet airplane!
Juliette Gordon Low: Intrepid Founder of the Girl Scouts
Carol Simon Levin impersonates Juliette Gordon Low and tells how an impulsive, nearly-deaf, eccentric and fun-loving transatlantic socialite founded an inclusive movement that has empowered tens of millions of American girls.
“Juliette Gordon Low” visiting World Thinking Day 2019, Basking Ridge NJ
(photo credit: Nicole Smith)
Please click on the links for more information about these programs.
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Silent Partner: Building the Brooklyn Bridge. Photo Credit: Patricia Hart Zachman.
“Thank you again for a wonderful program last night! I am still haunted by thoughts of Emily….you made her come so alive…..and I learned more about the Brooklyn Bridge than I thought I would ever know in my whole life!” — Nora, Ocean County Library
“Thank you for presenting a wonderful program that was so informative and enlightening. Your knowledge and creative storytelling fosters uncovering the truth of our past heroines.” — Nancy, Somerset Run Singles
“I was somewhat skeptical when Lilyan invited me to your program. As a pilot for many years I thought that I knew I everything about women pilots. What a surprise. Your program taught me so very much and your presentation was outstanding. I am sending your information to as many women as I can. I know that anyone who attends your program will be as excited as I am.” A.L.
“Fascinating to learn of women who were so successful and we never heard of them!” —W.M.
“Very interesting subject presented well with slides and humor — very knowledgeable historian.” S.P.
“Thank you for coming to Wayne Public Library to present your program “Nobody Owns the Sky.”…This is a wonderful program about the most amazing women. What athletic prowess — for some even into their nineties!… highly recommended. — D.R., Adult Services Librarian
If you love women’s history, I also highly recommend the podcast “The History Chicks“