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Intermission Story (9) – A Special Woman

July 26, 2017

What an inspiration.

Pacific Paratrooper

Last December the world lost a very special person, Florence Ebersole Smith Finch, (101).

Florence Ebersole Smith Finch, USCGR (W)

Coast Guard SPAR decorated for combat operations during World War II

By William H. Thiesen, Ph.D.
U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area Historian


Of the thousands of women who have served with honor in the United States Coast Guard, one stands out for her bravery and devotion to duty. Florence Smith Finch, the daughter of a U.S. Army veteran and Filipino mother, was born on the island of Luzon, north of Manila, in Santiago City. She married navy PT boat crewman Charles E. Smith while working for an army intelligence unit located in Manila. In 1942, after the Japanese invaded the Philippines, her young husband died trying to re-supply American and Filipino troops trapped by the enemy on Corregidor Island and the Bataan Peninsula.

After the Japanese occupied Manila, Finch avoided internment…

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L.A. Celebrates the Fourth of July —

July 4, 2017

July 4, 1944: Uncle Sam in a cartoon by Edmund Waller “Ted” Gale for the Los Angeles Examiner and republished in the Milwaukee Sentinel. Here’s a look at how Los Angeles has celebrated Independence Day over the years.

via L.A. Celebrates the Fourth of July —

It’s All in a Name

December 28, 2016
An aerial view of the U.S. Navy littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) during its launch sequence at the Austal USA shipyard, Mobile, Alabama (USA). US Navy Photograph

An aerial view of the U.S. Navy littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) during its launch sequence at the Austal USA shipyard, Mobile, Alabama (USA). US Navy Photograph

When I read today about the USS Gabrielle Giffords being commissioned, I wondered how many Navy ships actually had been named after women. I know that naming civilian ships after women is common, but Navy vessels seem to have a different nomenclature (I think of all the World War II-era ships named after states, for instance).

So the history buff in me began looking at Navy history.

uss_harriet_lane

While there had been a handful of female-named military ships prior to the Civil War, it was the Harriet Lane to become the first armed ship in the U.S. Navy named after a woman. The steamer was named after President James Buchanan’s niece, and was first launched in 1857. She was captured by Confederate forces in 1863 in Texas.

The Navy had five transport ships during World War II, all named after women: the USS Dorothea L. Dix, the USS Elizabeth C. Stanton, the USS Florence Nightengale, the USS Lyon (named for Mary Lyon) and the USS Susan B. Anthony. There were also several harbor tugs active during the war named after Native American women: the USS Pocahontas, the USS Sacagawea, and the USS Watseka.

The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Higbee (DD-806) underway in the Western Pacific in 1969. US Navy Photograph.

The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Higbee (DD-806) underway in the Western Pacific in 1969. US Navy Photograph.

But it was the USS Higbee that really caught my attention. The Gearing-class destroyer was named for Lenah S. Higbee, superintendent of the Navy Nurse Corps fro 1911-1922. The ship was the first combat vessel commissioned for a woman who had served in the Navy. She was commissioned in 1945, served in three wars, and was decommissioned in 1979. A newly-ordered ship, the USS Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee, will be a Arleigh-Burke class destroyer.

The guided-missile destroyer USS Hopper and the Military Sealift Command ship USNS Amelia Earhart conduct an underway replenishment in 2009. Both vessels are named after women. US Navy Photograph

The guided-missile destroyer USS Hopper and the Military Sealift Command ship USNS Amelia Earhart conduct an underway replenishment in 2009. Both vessels are named after women. US Navy Photograph

In 1996, the Navy paid tribute to another of its female enlistees. The USS Hopper is named for former WAVE and computer genius Grace Murray Hopper, who remained in the Navy after World War II and helped lead it into the digital age.

Another ordered ship will pay tribute to astronaut Sally Ride.

The Giffords isn’t the only current ship named after a politician. The USS Roosevelt, a destroyed launched in 1999, is named after both former President Franklin Roosevelt and former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

#girlpower

See the #fireworks I created by blogging on #WordPressDotCom. My 2015 annual report.

December 30, 2015

See the fireworks Hinges of History created by blogging on WordPress.com. Check out their 2015 annual report.

Source: See the #fireworks I created by blogging on #WordPressDotCom. My 2015 annual report.

A League of Their Own

September 12, 2015

This is a fabulous film by Penny Marshall. If you haven’t seen it, do check out this wonderful history of women playing professional baseball during World War II.

Pin Up! The Blog

Gawd, I love this film. Forget about Tom Hanks, who’s usually a deal killer for me. But the relationships and chemistry between the women on the team, including Geena Davis, Madonna, and Rosie O’Donnell, are just amazing. Plus directed by Penny Marshall. Bonus!league2

Screen-Shot-2013-09-05-at-00.06.03Geena Davis co-founded the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which advocates for gender diversity both in front of and behind the camera in film and television. So even more appropriate that the film is being shown this month.

If you’re in Indianapolis, you can see the film tonight at the Irvington branch of the public library. Or, just get your own copy from your local library or Netflix and hold your own Directed by Women viewing party!

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Alice Guy-Blaché

September 2, 2015

Alice Buy-Blaché – a woman making history.

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Gaumont_Disk1-219x311This is on my must-watch list this month. Alice Guy-Blaché is regarded as the first female director, and she created more than ONE THOUSAND films in the US and France between 1896 and 1920. According to historian Joan Simon, Guy-Blaché was the first to develop narrative filmmaking, or the idea that the film should be a story with a beginning, middle and end.

She had one of the longest careers of any of the early cinema pioneers, and she was one of the first two female filmmakers to own her own studio

All while raising two daughters.

Talk about girl power.

You can get her films on DVD, or see them September 26th at the Nighthawk Cinema in Brooklyn.

800px-Alice_Guy

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Into the Bush

September 1, 2015

An Australian doc- screening this week, but also available for purchase. Global viewing party anyone? #DirectedbyWomen

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mr-patterns

There are films showing all over the world as part of the Directed by Women global viewing party. Click the link – they keep adding films EVERY SINGLE DAY.

But this film by Catriona McKenzie caught my eye.

Mr. Patterns is a documentary set in the 1970s at the Aboriginal settlement of Papunya in Australia’s Western Desert, where a teacher named Geoff Bardon helped start one of the most significant art movements of the 20th century by encouraging the community to paint their traditional dot designs using western materials.

It’s playing September 3rd as part of the Museum of Contemporary Art Film Series in Sydney, Australia.

Or you can buy it here.

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