In 1913, bodies of two children were discovered in the Hopetown quarry near Edinburgh. Although the bodies had been in the water at least eighteen months, a man named Sir Sydney Alfred Smith was able to provide the police with vital information. He determined how much time before their deaths the two boys had eaten their last meal, proved that they must have walked to the quarry, and hypothesised that they had been killed by someone they knew. The two boys had never been reported missing, but Smith’s evidence led to the arrest of the children’s father, Patrick Higgins, and to the first execution in Scotland of the century.
May Wirth (1894–1978), a second generation circus performer, astounded audiences with her “Back Across,” which landed her, via backwards somersault, on a horse that closely followed her own. Her billing, as “the world’s greatest female bareback rider,” was, in the estimation of her spectators, deserved. In 1920, the New York Times echoed the sentiment: “when P. T. Barnum, or Mark S. Orelius or whoever it was said: ‘There is nothing new under the sun,’ Miss Wirth had not been born. Otherwise he would not have said it.”
May Wirth’s “back across,” 1913. Photograph. The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida.
A female freedom fighter in the Mexican Revolution, around 1910.
The picture of pre-revolutionary Mexican women was of a woman who had to lived her life constantly in the male shadow. These women were consumed by family life, marriage, and the Catholic Church, and lived silently behind their dominant male counterparts. In 1884 (prior to the revolution) the government passed the Mexican Civil Code. It dramatically restricted women’s rights at home and at work. Soto states that the code “sustains an almost incredible inequality between the conditions of husband and wife, restricts in an exaggerated and arbitrary manner those rights due the woman, and…erases and nullifies her personality”.
The code was just one of the many inequalities women and other ethnic, economic, political, or religious minorities suffered under the regime of Porfirio Diaz. When the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1920 arose to fight against the discrimination that Diaz incorporated into his regime, women began to find a place for themselves. It gave them the chance to control their own fate and live more public lives successfully.
Mexican women were essential to the revolution in a number of ways. They were involved in politics, were strong advocates for the causes they believed in, and participated in life on the battlefields. The female political figures were probably the most important and influential women in the Mexican Revolution. They were prominent political activists, thinkers, writers, figures, role models, and were fearless in their pursuit of their goals, often resulting in jail terms. Both upper and lower class women managed to get high in the ranks of politics despite the inequalities they had to face, and gained the respect of men and women alike. Many of these female political figures also set the precedent for generations to come in their thinking and political tactics. Not only did these women find a place in society other than by the stove, they won the appreciation and respect of men and women around them. Two of the most extraordinary of these women were Dolores Jimenez y Muro, who was an important political writer, and Hermila Galindo, who was a political speaker and advocate for Carranza’s campaign and regime. Dolores Jimenez y Muro’s importance is evident in how she was able to have her voice heard and listened to by high-ranking revolutionary officials. Hermila Galindo’s prominence is shown by her distinguished political career and feminist movements.
Women were also important in their selfless support of the troops that fought the battles. These soldaderas (female soldiers) not only joined the men on the frontlines, but they also supported them in a way that allowed the troops to succeed, by doing the many thankless tasks that go along with fighting. Unfortunately, because of women’s lower class standing, male historians have often omitted information about many of these spectacular women. The legends of these women have been popularized romanticized by male storytellers, making them seem more like sexual beings rather than heroes.
Actresses featured in the Moriarty playing card series issued in 1916 by the Movie Souvenir Card Co.
George Grosz dressed as Dada Death. Berlin 1918. Grosz walked down the Kurfuerstendamm in Berlin dressed as Dada Death, perhaps as an image of the condition in which the Dadaists considered contemporary life to exist.
ca. 1919—Italian—Ivo Pannaggi’s costume design for prisoner G/H2 in Vasari’s Anguish of Machines.
A Telephone Operator, 1911
The women of the Mexican 1910 revolution. Badass.
Man geht mit by Hannah Höch, c. 1916