I. What is it?
When did it start?
Antecedents. The origin story of Women’s History Month, however, began far earlier in the labor protests carried out by women in the nation’s paid workforce.
The most common way people give up their power is thinking they don’t have any.”
Purple has become the symbolic color of International Women’s Day, along with green and white.
Call to Action. Whether you celebrate Women’s History Month and/or International Women’s Day, remember that the story began and continues in action to improve the lives of women.
III. Women of Oklahoma.
Since two of my novels, Cloud County Persuasion and Cloud County Harvest, are set in Oklahoma, I’d like to mention a few notable Oklahoma women from a long list of high achievers.
You'll find them in education, business, politics, arts and sciences…Many have become nationally and internationally famous. You’re probably familiar with many of them.
Do you recognize these names?
Three of the women mentioned above are pictured in the following three photos. Can you match the photos with the correct name?
Answers: Photo #1 is Angie Debo. Photo #2 is Ada Sipuel Fisher. Photo #3 is Maria Tallchief. Can you think of any other notable Oklahoma women off the top of your head?
IV. Augusta Metcalfe (November 10, 1881- May 9, 1971).
I’ll highlight an Oklahoman you might not know: Augusta Isabella Corson Metcalfe, the “Sagebrush Artist."
In 1886, Augusta’s parents, Edward G. and Mary Davidson Corson, moved the family from Kansas to No Man’s Land in what is today the Panhandle of the state of Oklahoma.
In 1893, they moved the family again to claim a 160-acre homestead along the Washita River in the newly-opened Cheyenne and Arapaho land in western Oklahoma. Augusta lived and worked on the family farm, which grew to 640 acres, for the rest of her life. After her mother's death, Augusta changed the name of the family home from Corson/Metcalfe to Break O'Day Farm.
Home-schooled by her mother, a former teacher, Augusta enjoyed the outdoor life of the farm as well as drawing. Her parents were impressed with her talent and her maternal uncle—a professor in San Francisco, California—encouraged her interest by sending her supplies and critiquing her work. She never received formal art lessons.
Oils and watercolors were Augusta’s preferred media. She loved the land and depicted her first-hand experience of ranch life in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture records many of her honors and major exhibits.
First Place Awards.
Her paintings sold well. In time, her art could be viewed in exhibits across the country.
In 1949, the Oklahoma Art Center in Oklahoma City showcased her work with a one-artist exhibit. The following year, Life magazine--the nationally distributed and wildly popular weekly magazine--featured color reproductions from her collection in its July 17 issue.
Some critics saw too much detail in her paintings, but Augusta Metcalfe insisted on creating realistic images of the life she knew so well. Admirers appreciated her steadfastness.
The legacy of Augusta Corson Metcalfe's art speaks for itself. Equally impressive is her determination to create art in difficult circumstances.
She was twenty-four years old when she married James Metcalf in December 1905. In 1908, James left her, abandoning their infant son, Howard, and Augusta's widowed and invalid mother.
Undeterred, Augusta carried on in a world with scant appreciation for divorced women. She added an "e" to her surname "Metcalf" to separate herself even further from her former husband, and never married again. Her physical strength and, perhaps most of all, sheer grit enabled her to keep her ranch and family together.
Visit the Metcalfe museum online at www.metcalfemuseum.org and on their Facebook page www.facebook.com/MetcalfeGalleryandMuseum.
I haven't travelled yet to the Metcalfe Museum in Durham, Oklahoma, but it's on my list!
1. "Women's History Month, March 2023," February 14, 2023, https://www.census.gov/newsroom/facts-for-features/2023/womens-history-month.html (accessed March 1, 2023)
2. "About International Women's Day," https://www.internationalwomensday.com/About (accessed March 1, 2023)
3. "Women in Oklahoma History," Oklahoma History Center, https://www.okhistory.org/learn/womenshistory (accessed March 1, 2023)
4. Photo #1. Angie Debo. (2012.201.B0156.0263, Oklahoma Publishing Company Photography Collection, OHS) Oklahoma Historical Society (accessed March 1, 2023)
5. Photo #2. Ada Sipuel Fisher signing the register of attorneys, 1952 (21412.M657.12, Z. P. Meyers/Barney Hillerman Photographic Collection, Oklahoma Historical Society (accessed March 1, 2023)
6. Photo #3. "Maria Tallchief. American Dancer," Encyclopedia Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Maria-Tallchief (accessed March 2, 2023)
7. Metcalf Museum Incorporated, http://www.metcalfemuseum.org/home.html (accessed March 1, 2023)
8. "Metcalf, Augusta Isabella Corson (1881-1971)," Suzzanne Kelley, The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, Oklahoma Historical Society, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=ME019 (accessed March 1, 2023).
9. Photo of Augusta Metcalfe in her studio, 1950.
10. "Cowhand and the Lady," Life magazine, v.29, July 17, 1950, pp.70-72.
11. "Moving to Hamburg," painting by Augusta Metcalfe. Image shared with permission of Break O'Day Farm & Metcalfe Museum, 8647 N, 1795 RD, Durham, Oklahoma, 73642.
12. Photo of woman farmer/rancher on horseback.
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Lynne Schall is the author of three novels: Women's Company - The Minerva Girls (2016), Cloud County Persuasion (2018), and Cloud County Harvest (November 2022). She and her family live in Kansas, USA.