Christine de Pizan

Christine de Pizan
The Writer Christine de Pizan at Her Desk

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Alida Withoos, Botanical Illustrator

Alida Withoos, painter (buried 5 December 1730)


Alida Withoos, probably born about the year 1661, was the fourth child (and second daughter) of Matthias Withoos, a Dutch painter, and his wife, Wendelina van Hoorn.

Alida Withoos, persian poppy,
image from ArtNet
The family lived in Amersfoort, a city in the province of Utrecht (the Netherlands) where Alida was born, but in 1672, when the French invaded, the family relocated to Hoorn, her mother's place of birth.

Matthias Withoos trained his children as artists--in addition to Alida, Johannes, Pieter, Frans, and Maria all became artists. (Little is known about the work of Maria.)

Trained by her father, Alida Withoos nevertheless attained some recognition in her own name. She was one of the artists commissioned by the botanist, art collector, and patron, Agnes Block, to work on her estate, Vijverhof (where, in 1687, she is said to have painted the first pineapple bred in Europe). There she worked with other women botanical artists, including Maria Sybilla Merian and her daughter Johanna Helena Herolt-Graf.

Alida Withoos also contributed to the Moninckx Atlas, a nine-volume "botanical album" of 420 watercolor studies of the plants in Amsterdam's famed garden, the Hortus Medicus. While the majority of the illustrations were done by Jan Moninckx and his daughter, Maria Moninckx, Alida Withoos contributed twelve of the images. 

On 31 January 1701, Alida Withoos, then thirty-nine years old, married the painter Andries Cornelisz van Dalen. (Her age was recorded at the time of her marriage, thus suggesting the year of her birth.)

Although she lived until 1730, no work by Alia Withoos is known to have been completed after 1700. She may have stopped painting after her marriage, though she may also have continued to work in some capacity in the workshop of her husband's family. 
Alida Withoos, columbine,
image from ArtNet

For the best information available online, I recommend Liesbeth Missel's biographical essay in the Digital Vrouwenlexicon of the Netherlands; to access, click here.

As an excellent resource for viewing her work, I suggest the online gallery at ArtNet; click here.

One of my most frequently cited sources for information about women artists is Germaine Greer's The Obstacle Race: The Fortunes of Women Painters and Their Work. Greer refers to Withoos briefly in the context of women and still-life painting, "flower painting," and botanical illustration in her chapter, "Still Life and Flower Painting" (227-49)--I highly recommend it!








Thursday, November 29, 2018

Back to the Future, Part 12: More Great News on Pay Equity!

Back to the Future, Part 12: More News on Pay Equity (or, More Good News for Women--How Can You Stand All the Winning?)


The Institute for Women's Policy Research has just issued a reassessment of the gender wage gap. In Still a Man's Labor Market: The Slowly Narrowing Gender Wage Gap, researchers Stephen J. Rose and Heidi I. Hartmann have undertaken a "multiyear analysis" of wage data that "provides a more comprehensive picture of the gender wage gap and presents a more accurate measure of the income women actually bring home to support themselves and their families."


In the "Highlights" section of the report (really, that is just about the worst title imaginable), Rose and Harmann note their findings: 
  • Women today earn just 49 cents to the typical men’s dollar, much less than the 80 cents usually reported. . . . Progress [in achieving pay equity] has slowed in the last 15 years relative to the preceding 30 years in the study. 
  • The penalties of taking time out of the labor force are high—and increasing. . . . 
  • Strengthening women’s labor force attachment is critical to narrowing the gender wage gap. . . . 
  • Strengthening enforcement of equal employment opportunity policies and Title IX in education is also crucial to narrowing the gender wage gap further. . . . 
So, yay! Did you see the great news! Instead of, on average, women earning 80 cents for every dollar made by men, in actuality, they earn less than half of what men do!

Rose and Hartmann outline what makes this report distinctive, emphasizing its more comprehensive analysis:
In 2017, the most recent year for which year-round earnings data are available for full-time workers, the gender earnings gap was 20 percent; that is, women earned 20 percent less than men. . . . This figure is based on the ratio of women’s to men’s median earnings for full-time, year-round work and is derived from the annual Census Bureau report on income and poverty that is released every fall using data from the Current Population Survey. . . . This commonly used annual figure, however, understates the problem, especially for women workers, since it leaves so many of them out of the picture. The authors’ 2004 report, which pioneered the analysis of the earnings gap over 15- year periods, found an earnings gap of 62 percent for all women compared with all men (of prime working age) in the period studied, meaning that women made just 38 percent of what men made. . . . The current analysis updates and revises the analysis from the authors’ 2004 report and finds that a wide disparity exists between all workers and the smaller group of workers who work full-time, year-round. Although the earnings gap across the most recent 15 years for those who generally work full-time, year-round in this study is similar to the more commonly used one-year numbers from the same years (23 percent), the earnings gap across all 15 years for all women and men with some earnings is very different, a gender earnings gap of 51 percent (meaning that women earn only 49 percent of what men do across a 15-year period). Among women workers in this study, 43 percent had at least one year with no earnings, while only 23 percent of men did, indicating that being out of work for a year is still a common experience for women but unusual for men. (1)
And, of course, "The long-term gender earnings gap has narrowed since 1968, but it has by no means disappeared." 

This year just keeps on getting better! And we still have a month to go!

For more on issues of pay equity and the gender wage gap, click on the label "pay equity," below. And for more in this Back to the Future series, click on the label below.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Back to the Future, Part 11: Gilead Redux

Back to the Future, Part 11: Home, The Most Dangerous Place for Women (or, Gilead Redux)


The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has just issued a stunning new report, a Global Study on Homicide: Gender-Related Killing of Women and Girls.*

In the press-release announcing the publication, the UNODC begins with a statement that is shocking but, upon reflection, is not at all surprising: "Home," the study says, is "the most dangerous place for women." 

Why? Because 58% of all murders of women and girls occur at the hands of their intimate partners or family members. To put this in terms that are painfully stark, every hour of every day, some six women are killed "by people they know." 

In other words, "137 women across the world are killed by a member of their own family every day. More than a third (30,000) of the women intentionally killed in 2017 were killed by their current or former intimate partner ̶ someone they would normally expect to trust" (Gender-Related Killing, 10).

And, even more painfully stark,  "little progress has been made in preventing such murders." In fact, the "annual number of female deaths worldwide resulting from intimate partner/family-related homicide . . . seems be on the increase" (10).

The study also examines other forms of "femicide": "gender-related killings perpetrated outside the family sphere." Such gender-related killings include systematic killings of women in armed conflicts, gender-based killing of aboriginal/indigenous women, killing of female sex workers, killings as a result of sexual orientation and/or gender identity, among others (30-38).

UNODC, Gender-Related Killing of Women and Girls, p. 7

Globally, 1 of every 5 homicides is "perpetrated by an intimate partner or family member." But, 
women and girls make up the vast majority of those deaths. Victim/perpetrator disaggregations reveal a large disparity in the shares attributable to male and female victims of homicides committed by intimate partners or family members: 36 per cent male versus 64 per cent female victims. Women also bear the greatest burden in terms of intimate partner violence. The disparity between the shares of male and female victims of homicide perpetrated exclusively by an intimate partner is substantially larger than of victims of homicide perpetrated by intimate partners or family members: roughly 82 per cent female victims versus 18 per cent male victims. (11)
UNODC, Gender-Related Killing of Women and Girls, p. 11

As if all this isn't enough, here's one last cheerful note: "While the killing of a person tends to be recorded by the police more effectively than other crimes, it is well evidenced that violence against women is poorly reported to the police and that a large share of it remains hidden." And, of course, "[v]iolence against women is almost universally underreported" (42-43). 

The problem is global--many of the graphs in the report show statistics for specific countries all around the world. While none of the charts and/or graphs gives statistics for the United States, the situation in homes in the United States is no different than in other countries; as the CDC reported earlier this year, "[o]ver half of all female homicides (55.3%) are Intimate Partner Violence related." 

So, happy holidays?

*As the UNODC notes, "not all female homicides are gender related. Therefore, only a specific, if considerable, share can be labelled 'gender-related killings of women and girls,' i.e. 'femicide'" (9).

For more fun stories on the state of affairs for women and girls, click on the label "Back to the Future," below.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

"Mad Anne" Bailey and the Revolutionary War

Anne Hennis Bailey, Scout and Courier in the American Revolution (died 22 November 1825)


Born in 1742, Anne Hennis emigrated to the colony of Virginia in 1761, after the death of her parents, probably arriving as an indentured servant. Settling in the Shenandoah Valley (where she may have had family), she married the British soldier and frontiersman Richard Trotter in 1765, with whom she had a son, William.

 A drawing of Anne Bailey, frontispiece,
Virgil A. Lewis's Life and Times of Anne Bailey,
the Pioneer Heroine . . .
(1891),
"copied from Historical Collections of Ohio"
Richard Trotter was a member of the Virginia militia and fought in Lord Dunsmore's War, a conflict between the colony and the Shawnee and Mingo native peoples--Trotter was killed at the battle of Point Pleasant in 1774. 

After her husband's death, Anne Hennis Trotter left their son with neighbors and joined the Virginia militia herself. Clad in a mixture of men's and women's clothing--buckskin leggings and a man's coat and hat but still wearing petticoats--she became "Mad Anne," working as a scout and courier while also recruiting for the militia.

Once the war for independence began, Anne Hennis Trotter also served as a recruiter, messenger, and spy for the continental army.

She married again, in 1784. Her husband, John Bailey, was also a frontiersman and scout. The two relocated to Clendenin's Settlement, now Charleston, West Virginia. Anne Bailey continued to go on patrols for the militia, and she also carried messages between various settlements.

In 1791, when Fort Lee was under attack by Native Americans, and supplies, especially gunpowder, were running low, Anne Bailey made a daring ride--she traveled by horseback 100 miles to Fort Savannah in order to secure supplies. She made the round trip (200 miles) in three days, returning with gunpowder. She is credited with having saved Fort Lee and its defenders.

After she was widowed again in 1794, Anne Bailey continued her restless move west, dying in Ohio in 1825. At the time of her death, she was eighty-three years old.

Memorial for Anne Bailey,
Tu-Endie-Wei State Park
(also known as Battle Monument State Park)
 Point Pleasant, Mason County, West Virginia;image posted at Find a Grave

About "Mad Anne" Bailey, the online History of American Women notes:
In 1823, Ann Bailey was interviewed by Anne Royall, a local reporter. When speaking of her adventures and bravery she said, "I always carried an ax and auger, and I could chop as well as any man. . . . I trusted in the Almighty. . . . I knew I could only be killed once, and I had to die sometime."
You might enjoy Virgil A. Lewis's 1891 The Life and Times of Anne Bailey, the Pioneer Heroine, which you can read at Google Books (click here). Surprisingly, for the source I love to hate, there is a brief entry for this "American scout" in the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Constance of Hauteville, "A Brightness Kindled by All the Light That Fills Our Heaven"

Constance of Hauteville, Queen of Sicily (born 2 November 1154)


The daughter of Roger II, king of Sicily, and his wife, Beatrice of Rethel, Constance was born nearly nine months after her father's death--Beatrice of Rethel had only been married to the king of Sicily for three years, and she was just a few weeks pregnant when he died on 26 February 1154.

A twelfth-century manuscript illustration of
Beatrice of Rethel, queen of Sicily, and her infant daughter,
Constance, born posthumously
(from Peter of Eboli, Liber ad Honorem
Augusti,
1196)
But the succession in Sicily did not have to wait for the birth of the king's posthumous child. Beatrice of Rethel was Roger's third wife. His first, Elvira of Castile, had given birth to six children, including five sons. The eldest, Roger, died before his father, and had had no children with his wife, Isabella of Champagne, but he had two with his mistress, Emma, the daughter of the count of Lecce. (This illegitimate family will become important later.) Roger II and Elvira of Castile's second and third sons, Tancred and Alfonso, also predeceased their father.

So when Roger II died in 1154, he was succeeded by his fourth son, William, who became William I, king of Sicily. William and his queen, Margaret of Navarre, had four sons--but, just as William's elder brothers had died before their father, William's two oldest sons predeceased him. When William I died, he was succeeded on the throne of Sicily by his third son, who became William II of Sicily. William II ruled until his death in 1189. He and his queen, Joan of England (who was one of the daughters of Eleanor of Aquitaine) had no children. 

And that brings us back to Constance--because, it seems, Tancred of Lecce, one of the illegitimate sons of Roger, believed that he, rather than the legitimately born Constance, should succeed to the throne of Sicily. 

Tancred had already caused his share of trouble in Sicily. In 1161, he had rebelled against William I, taking the king, his queen, Margaret of Navarre, and their sons as prisoners. And then there was his involvement in a massacre of Muslims. Once order was restored and William I was back in control, Tancred was exiled to Constantinople. 

Pardoned on the accession of William II, Tancred seems to have behaved himself reasonably well until the king's death in 1189, when he once more rebelled and this time succeeded in seizing power. (And imprisoning Joan of England.) He settled himself uncomfortably on the throne, which he had to defend until his death in 1194. Tancred was succeeded as king of Sicily by his son, William, who reigned as William III of Sicily for only ten months, under the regency of his mother, Sibylla of Acerra. 

Throughout these decades, not much information is available about Constance. In 1168, when she was about fourteen, a rumor circulated that the chancellor had plans to depose William II, put his own brother on the throne, and marry him to Constance--he had to flee, his plot, if it were more than a rumor, coming to nothing.

Some two centuries later, the writer Giovanni Boccaccio would write, of Constance, that there was a monk present at her birth who predicted that Constance "would cause the destruction of the Kingdom of Sicily." Boccaccio claims that her father "believed this prediction." And so, in "amazement and terror," 
he began anxiously to brood on how this could be caused by a woman: the only possibilities he could visualize involved a husband or a child. Out of compassion for his kingdom, he formed a plan to prevent, if possible, this outcome. To remove all hope of marriage and children, he shut up the little girl in a monastery and made her promise God eternal virginity.
Boccaccio says that this "would not have been a reprehensible plan if it had succeeded." But, "powerless fools," our designs are frustrated. 

In her narrative study of Constance, Mary Taylor Simeti offers a version of Constance's life that is no less fanciful: "Constance grew up in Palermo amidst the gilded mosaics of churches and palaces, her youth blooming and fading among the flowers and fountains of Moorish cloisters and gazebos; as a potential heir to the throne, she was too valuable a pawn to international diplomacy to be ceded lightly."

Henry VI and Constance of Hauteville,
Holy Roman emperor and empress
(from Peter of Eboli, Liber ad Honorem
Augusti, 
1196)
Whatever version of these years is closer to reality, it is true that no marriage was arranged for Constance until she was thirty years old, and her brother, William II, had no heir.

In 1184, Constance was betrothed to Henry of Hohenstaufen, king of the Germans, the second son of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. Boccaccio claims that Constance objected to the marriage--she "held fast to her religious vows," and she also thought her advanced age "seemed to pose an obstacle."

Nevertheless, because of the "deadly tumult" that might erupt in Sicily--and with the approval of the pope--Constance of Hauteville married in Milan in 1186. Or, as Boccaccio kindly puts it, "Thus did a wrinkled crone abandon the sacred cloister, discard her monastic veil, and, royally adorned, marry and emerge in public as empress." (Constance was only thirty-two at the time of her marriage, and Henry did not become emperor until 1190 . . . )

Recognizing that there would be opposition among Sicily's Norman elite to the influence of the Hohenstaufen family of Constance's husband, the childless William II, who had forged this alliance with the Holy Roman emperor, sought to have Constance's succession in Sicily recognized. 

Although Constance's rights to the succession were widely accepted, Tancred wrested control of Sicily after William's death, as we've seen. Because William II's widow, Joan of England, supported Constance, Tancred imprisoned her. (When he arrived in Sicily, Richard the Lionheart freed his sister--a story I related in an earlier blog post; click here and scroll down.)

After Frederick Barbarossa's death in 1190, Henry and Constance were crowned in Rome as Holy Roman emperor and empress. The two proceeded to Sicily in order to take the crown from Tancred. During the fight that followed, Constance was taken prisoner by Tancred--seeing the support for her among the Norman aristocrats and the people, Tancred's mother suggested he kill her. He did not, but he moved her to Naples, where she could be closely and securely guarded in the Castel dell' Ovo. 

The emperor found himself unable to liberate or ransom the captive empress. Pope Celestine III threatened Tancred with excommunication, so he finally freed Constance, who was reunited with her husband in 1192.

The couple returned to their imperial realm until 1194, when Tancred died. With the aid of the enormous ransom that had been paid for the captive Richard the Lionheart, who had been turned over to the emperor in 1193, Henry immediately turned his attention to Sicily and invaded, deposing Tancred's young son, William III. For her part, Constance followed Henry to Sicily, but she traveled slowly, since she was pregnant. Henry had himself crowned king of Sicily on 25 December 1194. 

Constance, giving birth to her son in front of witnesses
But Constance still wasn't queen of Sicily. She gave birth to her son, Frederick, on 26 December, the day after her husband had made himself king of Sicily. She was finally crowned as queen regnant on 2 April 1195.

(Boccaccio thinks Constance is far older than she really is--he thinks she's fifty-four when she is pregnant, and relates the story of the emperor inviting "all women in Sicily who so desired" to come to witness the birth in order "to remove any suspicion." And thus a multitude of women witness the birth of Frederick, "the monster and scourge not only of Sicily but of all Italy. Thus was the prophecy [made at Constance's birth] fulfilled."**)

Having at last secured the throne, Henry at first offered generous terms to Sibylla and her son, William III. But a conspiracy against the emperor and now king of Sicily was revealed, and Henry took vengeance on those who had supported Tancred, his wife, and his son. 

Henry is said to have had William blinded and castrated; that may or may not be true, but the boy was sent off as a prisoner to Germany, where he is believed to have died in 1198. Many of his supporters were burned alive, some hanged, including Sibylla's brother. Sibylla herself was imprisoned and sent to Germany with her other children, but she eventually escaped and wound up in France, where she died in 1205.

Henry, however, proved to be an unpopular ruler in Sicily, surrounding himself with German troops, who who occupied themselves by looting and pillaging, and he severely repressed the Norman elite who had ruled in Sicily. Nor could he bring peace to the greater Italian peninsula. Sympathetic to the sufferings of the people of all classes, and herself a member of the Norman Hauteville ruling dynasty, Constance rebelled against her husband--she turned the tables on all those who had held her captive and she besieged her husband, keeping him holed up in a castle, eventually forcing him to agree to a treaty.

Henry died in 1197--it was whispered that he had been poisoned, perhaps by his wife. In April 1198, with her son's election as queen of the Germans disputed, Queen Constance of Sicily had Frederick crowned as king and herself named as regent. She died just a few months later, however, on 27 November 1198. She was just forty-four years old.

The quotation in the title--"a brightness kindled / by all the light that fills our heaven"--is from Dante's Paradiso, where he includes a few lines about "the great Constance" (Canto 3, 109-20). 

Constance of Hauteville's tomb,
Cathedral of Palermo
(photo by José Luiz Bernardes Ribeiro


There are many translations of Bocaccio's Famous Women--I've used Virginia Brown's here. 

For a good resource, see Soumaya Bourougaaoui's entry at Italia Mediavale. Mary Taylor Simeti's Travels with a Medieval Queen narrates a year in Constance's life, her journey as Holy Roman empress from Germany to Sicily, beginning in May 1194 and ending with her coronation. I'm not crazy about this book--it's a combination of history plus Simetti's own travels with friends--but it does offer the most detail about a critical period of Constance's life.

*Although Beatrice was only about twenty years old when Roger II died, she did not remarry--she survived her husband by more than thirty years, dying herself on 31 March 1185.

**I'm not sure why Boccaccio thinks Frederick was awful--by all accounts, he was an enormously successful ruler. Here's just one contemporary historian's view:
This Germany king who was born and bred a Sicilian . . . was one of the most remarkable monarchs in history. A man of extraordinary culture, energy, and ability – called by a contemporary chronicler stupor mundi (the wonder of the world), by Nietzsche the first European, and by many historians the first modern ruler – Frederick established in Sicily and southern Italy something very much like a modern, centrally governed kingdom with an efficient bureaucracy. (Donald Detwiler, Germany: A Short History, 43)

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Maria Magdalena of Austria, Regent of Tuscany

Maria Magdalena of Austria, Grand Duchess and Co-Regent of Tuscany (died 1 November 1631)*


Born in the city of Graz on 7 October 1589, Maria Maddalena of Austria was a member of the Habsburg family, the royal house that ruled over a vast empire in Europe and the Americas. 

Maria Magdalena of Austria,
grand duchess of Tuscany, c. 1603
portrait by Frans Pourbus the Younger
Maria Maddalena was daughter of Charles II, archduke of Austria, and his wife, Maria Anna of Bavaria--who was also Charles II's niece. Yes, another good example of traditional marriage: Maria Anna of Bavaria was the daughter of her husband's sister, Anna of Austria. Got that? (Keeping marriage in the family was a favorite Habsburg strategy, as I've noted before on this blog.**) 

Maria Magdalena was also the fourteenth of the fifteen children born to the couple, thirteen of whom survived infancy.

As for Maria Maddalena, she was well educated, taught by Jesuit instructors, her course of studies including Latin. Her father's court was deeply religious, Charles II a keen defender and promoter of the Catholic Reformation. Music played an important role in the court, and Maria Maddalena also performed in "didactic plays," based on the lives of saints. 

In 1608, when she was nineteen years old, Maria Maddalena was married to Cosimo II de' Medici, who would become the grand duke of Tuscany the next year. Between August 1609 and November 1617--just over eight years--she gave birth to eight children, all of whom survived infancy. (Although her first child, a girl, is believed to have suffered from some kind of physical or mental disability.)

Maria Maddalena's husband died when her eldest son, Ferdinando II, was just ten years old. And so, Maria Maddalena and her mother-in-law, Christina of Lorraine, became co-regents of Tuscany. 

In her recent discussion of Maria Maddalena of Austria, Maria Galli Stampino surveys the overwhelmingly negative views of Maria Maddalena's co-regency--though it is important to note that these are historians' views and not those of the regent's contemporaries. Her contemporaries keep up a detailed commentary on what's happening at court--later historians mark her regency as the beginning of the end of Florence. 

Maria Magdalena of Austria,
regent of Tuscany, c. 1621
As early as the eighteenth-century, an Italian historian decided that "everything started to decline from the moment of Cosimo II's death." As recently as 2008, the judgment is still the same: "the regency marked the beginning of the downward slope of the Medici government."

Maria Magdalena was too religious, too stern, too given to "magnificence," too dull and boring (yes, she is criticized for spending too much on lavish display and for not spending enough on lavish entertainment), too powerful, too influential over her son, 

She is "despotic" and "arbitrary," "nefarious" and "sanctimonious." Most important, she and her mother-in-law were both female and foreign. As the historian J. R. Hale concluded in his history of Florence and the Medici, "For the first time Medici rule was woman-ridden not by mistresses, anxious to please, but by viragos, determined to dominate." You can get a similar taste of this virulent attitude toward Maria Magdalena by looking at the Encyclopedia Britannica entry for her son (click here)

All that said, in her role as co-regent, Maria Magdalena developed a foreign policy that favored both the papacy and Habsburg politics. She performed charitable works. She continued her husband's support for Galileo. (A support that would be continued by her son, once he succeeded as grand duke.) She was a great patron of music and painting. And, notably, she did not lead Florence into war. Instead, she, her mother-in-law, and son got along harmoniously

Nor did she overthrow the state--her son, Ferdinando II, quietly succeeded as grand duke of Tuscany when he reached his majority at age eighteen. For many historians, that stability is also bad--he carried on his mother's policies, the people of Florence growing disappointed when "they realized that nothing had changed after his formal accession to power."

In 1631, leaving Florence under the personal rule of her son, Grand Duke Ferdinando II, Maria Maddalena left for a visit to the Habsburg court in Vienna, where her oldest brother was now Holy Roman Emperor. She traveled with two of her sons, Mattias and Francesco, and after stops in Italy, visited her brother Leopold, archduke of Austria, in Innsbruck. She became ill on her way to Passau, Germany and died there on 1 November 1631. She was forty-two years old. 

Her body was returned to Florence. She is buried in the Medici Chapels, adjoining the Basilica of San Lorenzo. 

Maria Galli Stampino's essay, "Maria Magdalena of Austria and Grand Duchess of Florence: Negotiating Performance, Traditions, and Taste," is in Early Modern Habsburg Women: Transnational Contexts, Cultural Conflicts, and Dynastic Continuities, ed. Anna Cruz and Maria Galli Stampino. I have used Stampino's excellent biographical information here, and I highly recommend her thorough summary and analysis of three centuries of critical assessments of Maria Magdalena's regency by historians. 

For online reading, I recommend Laura York's entry on Maria Magdalena in Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia.

*Although her name is frequently given as "Maddalena," she herself always signed "Magdalena."

**Another of Maria Anna of Bavaria's daughters, Anne, married Sigismund Vasa, king of Sweden and Poland--after Anne's death, Sigismund Vasa married her younger sister, Constance. More traditional marriage.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Olympia Morata, Scholar, Teacher, and an "Italian Heretic"

Olympia Fulvia Morata (died 26 October 1555)


Olympia Fulvia Morata was the daughter of the Italian humanist Fulvio Pellegrino Morato. A Mantuan, he was exiled from the city by 1517 (for unknown reasons) and made his way to the Este court in Ferrara. There he was appointed to oversee the education of the two youngest sons of the duke, Alfonso I. And there, in Ferrara, he married Lucrezia Gozi. Their eldest daughter, Olympia Fulvia Morata, was born in 1526; her father provided her with an excellent classical education. 

Olympia Morata, c. 1550
But in 1532, Morato left Ferrara--again, the reasons aren't clear--and took his family to Vicenza, in the Veneto, where he secured a post as a public master of Latin. He also gave lectures, wrote, and published.

During the years of his absence from the Este court, Morato also spent time in nearby Venice and began not only expressing anti-clerical views but also opening his home to young intellectuals for discussions of the work of religious reformers like Erasmus, Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin.

All of which drew attention from the Council of Ten in Venice, anxious about the dangerous effect of teachers like Morato on the religious views of their students. Papal legates arrived in Venice in order to investigate, and prosecutions followed. Although Morato was not accused of heresy, he felt himself to be in some danger and, after six years of absence, he returned to Ferrara.

Back in Ferrara, Morato was once again appointed to oversee the education of two young sons of the Este court, these the children of the new duke, Ercole II, and his mistress, Laura Dianti. Morato also took up a position teaching rhetoric, oratory and Latin authors at the University of Ferrara.

The court to which Morato returned had become a refuge and support for religious dissidents, especially those fleeing from France. The duchess of Ferrara, Renée of France, had grown up under the influence of her aunt, Marguerite of Navarre, a supporter of French Huguenots. Renée had carried her reformist views with her to Ferrara, and she had begun to shelter to religious dissidents, including John Calvin, whom she met in 1536 as he fled persecution in France. She also fostered intellectuals like the poet Vittoria Colonna who also found themselves investigated for their religious views.

Soon after her father's return to Ferrara, between 1539 and 1541, Olympia Morata joined the court of the duchess of Ferrara, where she was to be the companion of Renée's daughter, Anna d'Este. There she continued her studies, earning praise as a prodigy of learning. As Jennifer Haraguchi notes in her biographial essay on Morata, the young woman, still in her early teens, "was considered a 'fanciulla prodigio,' and won the praise of many intellectuals for her fluency in Latin and Greek."

A poem from this period reflects on Morata's aspirations and her sense of herself:
And I, though born female, have left feminine things,
     yarn, shuttle, loom-threads, and work-baskets.
I admire the flowery meadow of the Muses,
     and the pleasant choruses of the twin-peaked Parnassus.
Other women perhaps delight in other things,
     These are my glory, these my delight.
While at the ducal court, Morata shared tutors and texts with the young Anna, but these educational opportunities came to an end in 1546 when Morata returned home to take care of her sick father. After his death in 1548, Olympia Morata attempted to return to court, but she met with obstacles--her father's interest in Protestantism (some sources indicate he converted to Calvinism before his death) and her own religious sympathies may account for some of the problems. But during Morata's absence, Anna d'Este had been married to a French prince, a member of the Guise family, and had left Ferrara--Morata was no longer needed as a companion. And, finally, increasing pressure on the Calvinist sympathies of the duchess may also have prevented Morata's return.

Having lost her father, her friend, and her position at court, Morata remained in her mother's house, and it seems to have been during this period that she herself became a Protestant. She continued her her correspondence with other intellectuals, including one through whom she met a student who had come to study medicine in Ferrara, Andrew Grunthler of Schweinfurt.

In 1550 she married Grunthler, and within a few years the two left Ferrara, taking Morata's younger brother with them, at least in part to evade the Inquisition. Grunthler found a position in Schweinfurth, a Protestant town, where he was physician to Spanish troops that had been stationed there. The couple were caught between opposing forces in the city when religious tensions broke out into war--a Protestant town, pillaged by the Spanish soldiers garrisoned there, trying to withstand the emperor's troops that were besieging Schweinfurth. The city suffered famine, bombardment, plague, and fire.

They were eventually able to escape to Heidelberg, where Grunthler took up a medical lectureship. Olympia Morata began to tutor Latin and Greek.

She did not live long, however. She died on 26 October 1555, just twenty-nine years old. Two months later, her husband and brother were also dead. She is buried, with her husband and brother, in St. Peter's Church, Heidelberg.

Much of Morata's work was lost--some during the siege of Schweinfurth and the hasty flight from the city, some when Renée of France's archive at the ducal court was destroyed in 1559 by the Roman Inquisition.  But Morata's husband sent Morata's surviving work to Celio Secondo Curione, who had been Fulvio Morato's friend and who had been one of Olympia's most dedicated supporters and a life-long correspondent.

An Italian humanist scholar, Curione had fled the Inquisition himself, eventually winding up at the University of Basel. Curione published Olympia Morata's collected work (in editions of 1558, 1562, 1570, and 1580): fifty-two letters (most written in Latin), two dialogues (in Latin), two declamations (in both Greek and Latin), eleven poems (eight in Greek and three in Latin), translations of seven Psalms (in Greek), and the first two stories of Boccaccio's Decameron (in Latin).

Curione's 1580 edition of
the works of Olympia Morata

For Haraguchi's essay, part of the University of Chicago's Italian Women Writers database, click here. An extended account of Morata's life and work, in addition to a complete edition of her texts, is Holt N. Parker's The Complete Writings of an Italian Heretic

Jules Bonnet's full-length biography of Morata, The Life of Olympia Morata: An Episode of the Revival of Letters and of the Reformation in Italy, is dated in style and tone (it was originally published in 1854), but it is still a useful source. The biography is prefaced with an extended account of the Reformation in the Italian states, a geographical area not often considered by those reading about the Protestant Reformation. There is also an excellent contextual essay focusing on Renée of France and her daughter, Anna d'Este. And best of all? You can access the entire book via Google Books! (Click here.)



Thursday, October 25, 2018

Angélique-Louise Verrier and the Paris Salon of 1802

Angélique-Louise Verrier (born 25 October 1762)


Until recently, so little was known about the painter Angélique-Louise Verrier that the few printed references to her, as "Mademoiselle Verrier," were often considered to be misspelled references to a similarly elusive French painter, Marie-Nicole Vestier.

Not that Verrier was completely unknown.  As Germaine Greer notes in The Obstacle Race, "A Mademoiselle Verrier who exhibited work in 1786 became Madame Maillard, but of her career as a painter we know nothing more."

Greer published The Obstacle Race in 1979. Now, some forty years later, a bit more is known--the most accessible source of information about Verrier is found in Neil Jeffares's Dictionary of Pastellists before 1800

According to Jeffares, Verrier was born on 25 October 1762 in Paris, in the parish of Saint-Eustache. She exhibited a pastel portrait in the 1785 Salon de la Jeunesse, an exhibition of student work.* (She would have been about twenty-three years old.) 

Issue of the Mercure de France containing
the reference to Verrier's work in the
Salon de la Jeunesse**
According to a description of Verrier's work published in the Mercure de France, a newspaper and cultural journal, the portrait was of a woman wearing a straw hat. The writer describes the "tone of the color" in Verrier's work as "very good" and the drawing as "sensible and correct" ("Le ton de couleur m'en a paru fort bon; le dessin en est sage & correct"). The writer offered one bit of hesitation--the portrait seemed a bit cold--but then suggested that perhaps that was the fault of the model ("peut être est la faut de la modèle") rather than of the artist. In another contemporary review of this 1785 work, its color is described as "fresh and harmonious."


Verrier submitted another work to the 1786 Salon de la Jeunesse, though the medium is not identified. It too drew critical attention. The Mercure notes that her talents progress "each year," developing in "a very interesting manner." In this 1786 reference, Verrier is identified as one of Adélaïde Labille-Guiard's students.

One other portrait by Verrier is listed by Jeffares, a pastel of Louis-Charles, the younger son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette--the portrait is dated to 1789, the same year Louis-Charles became dauphin just after his older brother's death. If the French Revolution had not intervened, he would have become Louis XVII.

At some point, Verrier married Louis Maillard--their son, Louis-Auguste-Jean-Baptiste, was baptized on 27 July 1799, when Verrier would have been in her late thirties. Louis Maillard had died by 1801--an inventory after his death, requested by his wife, was made on 16 October of that year. 

Angélique-Louise Verrier exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1802 although, aside from mentioning this, Jeffares includes no further details. A Google search also fails to turn up any more information. But the digital library of the Bibliothèque nationale de France (which has provided many incredible resources as I've been posting on this blog) makes available all of the livret of the Paris Salons. 

According to the 1802 catalog, Madame Verrier-Maillard's exhibited work was a full portrait of "Mme. ***" and her son,” who is presenting to her his "verses on peace, which have won a prize" ("à qui son fils présente des vers sur la Paix, qui ont remporté prix"). In the catalog, Verrier is still being identified as a student of "Madame Vincent," Labille-Guillard's married name. 

Angélique-Louise Verrier-Maillard died in Paris on 29 July 1805.

I haven't been able to find any reproductions of her work . . . 

*In her essay on female self-portraits in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Marie-Jo Bonnet says of the Salon de la Jeunesse that it was "réservé aux élèves, qui dure une journée et se tient en plein air le jour de la Fête-Dieu, place Dauphine à Paris." ("reserved for students and which takes place in the open air on Corpus Christi Day at the Place Dauphine, Paris").

**Digitized copies of the Mercure de France are available via Le gazetier universel: Resources numériques sur la presse ancienne, which you can access by clicking here.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Jadwiga of Poland, Queen Regent of Poland

Jadwiga, Queen Regent of Poland (crowned 15 October 1384)


Born in 1373, Jadwiga was the youngest of three daughters born to Elizabeth of Bosnia and Louis, king of Hungary and Croatia--and, after 1370, of Poland--a member of the extended Anjevin line of the French Capetian dynasty.

A sixteenth-century imagined portrait
of Jadwiga of Poland
Without a male heir, Louis made plans for his three daughters, Catherine, Mary, and Jadwiga, to succeed him in Hungary and Poland as well as in Provence and in the kingdom of Naples.* His daughters were not only desirable marital prospects, but their marriages were also a way for Louis himself to consolidate his influence and power. 

In pursuit of his political ends, Louis arranged for the marriage of his eldest daughter, Catherine, to Louis I, duke of Orléans, and he promised the Holy Roman Emperor that his second daughter, Mary, would be married to Charles IV's second son, Sigismund of Luxembourg, an agreement that was signed by deed in 1373. In 1375, Louis arranged Jadwiga's marriage to the Habsburg William of Austria, and the girl was sent to the court in Vienna, where she lived from 1378 until 1380.

After the death of Catherine in 1378, Louis clarified his intentions for Mary and Jadwiga, indicating that Mary was to succeed him in Poland and Jadwiga in Hungary. But after the death of Louis himself in 1382, Elizabeth of Bosnia had Mary crowned "king" of Hungary, with Sigismund of Luxembourg attempting to take control of Poland. 

In resisting Sigismund (and the Habsburg powers), the Polish nobility ultimately ended the personal union of Hungary and Poland that Louis had forged, electing Jadwiga--then a child of nine--as "king" (rex) of Poland on 15 October 1384.** She was crowned immediately--probably as a signal that William of Austria was considered an altogether unsuitable match.

Instead, Jadwiga was married to Jogaila, grand duke of Lithuania, on 15 February 1386. The marriage was desirable for Poland and not only because it would allow them to resist pressures from Austria--the newly combined territories of Lithuania and Poland were larger than the previous union of Hungary and Poland. 

But Leopold of Austria did not relinquish his son's marriage to Jadwiga easily. Leopold demanded that the marriage between Jadwiga and his son be consummated, and William of Austria traveled to Krakow, only to be barred entry to Wawel Castle. A confusion of accounts blurs what might--or might not--have happened when Jadwiga and William did finally meet. Did William and Jadwiga consummate their marriage? 

Contemporary chroniclers provide different answers, and modern historians are also divided, but one fact is clear: William of Austria was ultimately forced out of Poland, and the match with Jogailo was made. 

Jadwiga of Poland,
Wawel Cathedral
There was one still slight problem to be overcome before the marriage could be solemnized--neither Jogailo nor his people were Christian. And so, by the terms of the Union of Krewo, Jogailo converted to Catholicism, was baptized as Władysław Jagiełło, and pledged to promote the conversion of the people of Lithuania. 

(The duke's mother, Uliana of Tver, had hoped her son would marry Sofia, the daughter of Prince Dmitri of Moscow, but that would have required his conversion to the Orthodox faith--and since Lithuania was subjected to a series of crusades by Catholic Teutonic knights, that wouldn't have ended the problems of Lithuania quite the way his conversion to Catholicism did . . . )

By the way, one more note about traditional marriage: on the day of their marriage, 15 February 1386, Władysław Jagiełło was thirty-five years old, and Jadwiga just twelve. Sigh. 

Of course, the rejected William refused to give up, his Teutonic knights invading Lithuania, despite having been offered compensation by Władysław Jagiełło. William persisted in claiming that he had consummated his marriage with Jadwiga, the rumors and claims ultimately leading to a papal investigation, forcing Jadwiga to swear that she had never had a sexual relationship with anyone but Władysław Jagiełło.

When she wasn't defending her marriage against William, Jadwiga and her husband also had to resist invasion by her sister Mary's husband, now king of Hungary, who hoped to add Poland, or parts of it, to his own territory (he had problems of his own, however, and spent a great deal of time defending Hungary against the threatening Ottomans).

After her sister Mary's death in 1395, Jadwiga became the heir to the crown of Hungary. If she and her husband were to succeed there, they would themselves pose a threat to the German empire--and so, after years of turmoil, a peace was negotiated. Jadwiga's claims to Hungary were recognized, but no further conflict with Sigismund followed, though tensions remained. 

On 22 June 1399, Jadwiga, queen of Poland, gave birth to a daughter, named Bonifacia. Within a month, both daughter and mother had died. Jadwiga, queen regnant of Poland, was just twenty-five years old. She is buried in Wawel Cathedral.

After his wife's death, Władysław Jagiełło ruled as king of Poland  

Despite her relatively brief reign, Jadwiga is regarded by historians as one of the most important rulers of Poland--primarily for her marriage, which resulted in the creation of a great state. She is also noted as a patron of religion and scholarship. She founded hospitals and schools, notably a college in Prague. The University of Krakow, which had been founded in 1364, had dissolved; Jadwiga refounded the university, modeling it after the University of Paris.  

Related to Elizabeth of Hungary, Jadwiga was also noted for her holiness. A number of legends attest to her religious faith. She was canonized by Pope John Paul II in Kraków on 8 June 1997.

Jadwiga of Poland,
Wawel Cathedral
A brief biography in Europe, 1450-1789: Encyclopedia of the Early Modern World, can be accessed by clicking here. There is also a brief entry on Jadwiga of Poland in the online Encyclopedia Britannica (click here). 

I recommend the entry on Jadwiga in Helen J. Nicholson's The Crusades--you should be able to access it via Google Books. It is particularly good for its account, though brief, of the Jadwiga-William-Jogailo marriage question. And, then, there is Charlotte Kellogg's 1931 biography, Jadwiga: Poland's Great Queen; it is out of print, but used copies do pop up on Amazon occasionally.

*Louis involved himself in Neopolitan power struggles after his brother, Andrew of Hungary was assassinated, and Andrew’s wife, Queen Joanna I of Naples, was held by some to be responsible for her husband's murder. Despite all of Louis' claims and meddling, he could never acquire the kingdom of Naples, and Queen Joanna's successor, Charles of Durazzo, in his turn claimed the crown of Hungary.

**In designating her as rex, the intention seems to have been to emphasize that Jadwiga was a queen regent, and that whomever she married would be her consort, not her replacement.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Mary Beale and the Business of Painting

Mary Craddock Beale (died 8 October 1699)


Although the date of her birth is not recorded, Mary Craddock was baptized on 26 March 1633 by her father, the Reverend John Craddock, in the rectory of St. Paul's Church, Barrow, Suffolk. Her mother's name was Dorothy--her family name is obscured on her marriage record.

Mary Craddock Beale,
self portrait
Her father may have begun his daughter's training, for the Puritan clergyman was known to have been an amateur painter. He was also a member of the Painter-Stainers Company of London, presenting one of his own paintings ("of varieties of fruits") to them in 1648.

Speculation about other painters who may have contributed to Mary Craddock's training include the portrait painter Robert Walker, who painted the Reverend Craddock's portrait in the late 1640s, as well as the court painter Peter Lely and the miniature painter Matthew Snelling, both of whom lived and worked in nearby Bury St. Edmonds, and who were members of John Craddock's social group. 

Mary Craddock met and married Charles Beale, a cloth merchant, in 1652, when she was eighteen. Like her father, Beale was an amateur painter. Mary Craddock Beale relocated with her husband to London, settling in Covent Garden.

Over the course of the next few years, she gave birth to and buried a son, then gave birth to two more boys. During these early years she must have continued painting, because by 1658, she is well enough known that she is named in Sir William Sanderson's The Excellent Art of Painting, where she is noted as one of four (married) women painters active in London.

In 1665, the couple relocated to Hampshire in order to escape the plague in London, but they returned to London, this time taking up residence on Fleet Street. At about the same time, Charles Beale lost his job as clerk in the Patent Office, and Mary Beale transitioned from painting as an amateur to painting as a professional.

Charles Beale took over the management of his wife's studio, "organizing commissions," recording payments received and debts paid, and "preparing colors." His detailed notebooks, a few of which survive, contain records of Mary Beale's work, her associations with other artists,  and the "business" of art, including the close care needed with her subjects, who needed to be chosen in order to protect her reputation. 

Through her work as a painter, Mary Craddock Beale was able to support her family--in 1677 alone, she had eighty-three commissions (all carefully recorded by her husband in his notebooks). But by 1681, when fashions had changed, her popularity waned, and Beale once again made an adjustment, taking on students, including Sarah Curtis Hoadly.

Beale died in London on 8 October 1699, aged sixty-six, and is buried at St. James's Church, Piccadilly. 

In her work, Mary Craddock Beale focused on portrait painting, working in oil, water color, and pastel, her style sometimes described as "vigorous" and "masculine," a word often used to praise women painters. Her work was also praised for its "color, strength, force" and "life." In addition to her painting and teaching, Beale wrote, including instructional materials, a piece titled Observations, in which she explained how to paint apricots. 

A large body of work survives, as a quick Google search will show. I recommend the gallery at Artnet for a good survey--it currently includes 169 of her works. 

I recommend Ruth Dugdale's charming essay, "On the Trail of Suffolk Artist Mary Beale," published in the East Anglian Daily Times. There is also a chapter on Beale in Ellen Creaythorne Clayton's 1876 English Female Artists, accessible at the Internet Archive (click here).







Sunday, October 7, 2018

Rosalba Carriera, the "Most Famous Pastellist"

Rosalba Carriera (born 7 October 1675)


Born in Venice, Rosalba Carriera was the daughter of Andrea Carriera, a government clerk, and his wife, Alba Foresti, a lacemaker. Carriera is thought to have begun her career making lace-patterns for her mother. It may have been the decline in the lace trade that led to her change of medium: Carriera began painting miniature portraits on snuff boxes.

Rosalba Carriera, self-portrait
The self-taught Carriera was also an innovator, using ivory as the ground for her miniatures. In 1705, at the age of twenty-five, she earned recognition from (and a special membership in) the Accademia di San Luca in Rome.

She had also begun experimenting with using pastels for portraits, her earliest pastel dated to 1700. The medium had been used for informal studies or preparatory sketches, but Carriera is credited with the use of pastel for "serious portraiture." While many women artists contribute to the development of the medium of pastel, Germaine Greer notes, in The Obstacle Race, that "the exploration of the possibilities of pastel portraiture was advanced most" by Carrera's work. 

After 1708, art historian Neil Jeffares writes, Carriera "devoted herself particularly to pastel." Of the 440 surviving works now credited to  her, "three-quarters are in pastel."

Carriera's reputation as an artist grew as notable visitors to Venice sought her out for their portraits, including Maximilian of Bavaria, in 1704; Christian Ludwig of Mecklenburg, in 1706; Frederick IV of Denmark, in 1708-09; and the prince elector of Saxony, later Augustus III of Poland in 1713, when the young man was making a grand tour. In addition to a portrait of himself (in oil), he commissioned a series of allegorical works: The Four Seasons, The Four Elements, and The Four Continents. (He would later acquire 150 of her pastels and filled a room in his Dresden palace with her work.)

Spring, one of The Four Seasons,
National Gallery of Ireland
Also visiting her studio was a notable collector, the French banker Pierre Crozat. In 1720, at his suggestion, Carriera traveled to Paris, where she spent "a triumphant year," receiving commissions for some fifty portraits, including one of Louis XV. She was  elected to the French Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture in that year, as well as to the Accademia Clementina in Bologna.
  
After leaving Paris, Carriera returned to Venice, but in 1723 she left for Modena, where she spent five months at the Este court. Back in Venice, one of her great patrons was the British consul, Joseph Smith--later, the work he commissioned from Carriera was acquired by King George III.

In 1730, Carriera again left Venice, this time for the court of Vienna, where she spent six months and fulfilled a number of commissions for Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI, whose empress, Elisabeth Christine, became her pupil. But by 1737, her output began slowing--her sister Giovanna, who had traveled and worked with her, died, and her own eyesight began to fail. 

By 1745, Rosalba Carriera was blind. She lived in Venice, in Dosoduro, where she died in 1757, at the age of eighty-four. 

In describing Carriera's style, Jeffares notes her "distinctive vaporous style" and her "delicate and light palette." She was, above all, a "consummate artist."

Muse, 
Jeffares's comprehensive essay on Carriera, in the Dictionary of Pastellists before 1800, is readily accessible online (click here).

There is an excellent entry by Margherita Giacometti in the Dictionary of Women Artists. 

catalogue raisonné of her work was published in 2007, in Italian, with black-and-white illustrations--used copies are occasionally available. But for once I might suggest you look at the Wikipedia entry for Carriera, which has a wonderful, expansive gallery of her work. You can search online and see her work in various collections--the National Gallery (London) the Victoria and Albert, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Getty, and the Uffizi, for example. 











Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Anna Maria Lane, Revolutionary War Soldier

Anna Maria Lane, Soldier of the American Revolution (battle of Germantown, 3 October 1777)


Virtually nothing is known about the early life of Anna Maria Lane, not even her name before she was married. 

In For Virginia and For Independence: Twenty-Eight Revolutionary War Heroes from the Old Dominion, historian Harry M. Ward indicates that she was probably born about the year 1737 somewhere in New England, perhaps New Hampshire or Connecticut.

A marker honoring Anna Maria Lane,
Richmond, Virginia,
erected 1997
At some point before 1776, she married John Lane, who seems to have been born about 1727. His place of birth is also unknown, but in 1776, John Lane enlisted in the Continental Army in Connecticut, serving under General Israel Putnam. 

For all that is unknown about Anna Maria Lane, one thing is certain: she is the only Virginia woman documented for her role as a soldier in the Revolutionary War.

The Lanes seem to have been middle-aged in 1776. They also had a daughter, a young girl named Sarah. Anna Maria Lane may have followed her husband when he joined the Continental Army, but at some point, either by necessity, deception, or with permission, she dressed herself in men's clothing. No longer a camp follower, she began to live and fight as a "common soldier."

Together with her husband, she was at the battles of White Plains, Trenton, Princeton, Germantown, and Savannah.

Indeed, it is because she was severely wounded at the battle of Germantown on 4 October 1777 that we know about her military service. During the battle she suffered a wound to her leg, perhaps a fractured femur or hip. The injury was severe enough that it would leave her permanently disabled.

The wounded Anna Maria Lane may have been left behind at a makeshift military hospital in the Boehm German Reformed Church when Washington retreated--but she may also have resisted, since she would have risked discovery if she were subjected to medical examination.

She may or may not have continued on with her husband--accounts vary as to whether she was with him in Savannah, where he was wounded and captured as a prisoner of war in 1779.

By 1782, John Lane had been released and transferred from the Continental Army to the Virginia militia. In 1783, after the militia was disbanded, John Lane was appointed a state guard of Virginia, and then transferred from Richmond to Point of Fork, near Charlottesville. Anna Maria Lane was with him there, and both she and their daughter Sarah were hired in various capacities, including working as laundresses.

In 1801, John Lane was transferred back to Virginia. Then seventy-five years old or so, he was one of the sixty-eight old soldiers who made up the "guard garrison" and performed light duties. For her part, Anna Maria Lane went to work as a nurse in the military hospital in Virginia. In recognition of the work she performed there, Dr. John H. Foushee, Virginia's health officer, petitioned then-governor James Monroe on her behalf, and she was paid a small stipend.

By 1804, Anna Maria Lane was so incapacitated by her old injury that she was dismissed, no longer capable of working. In 1808, John Lane and several other old soldiers were also dismissed from the guard garrison. 

Elderly, infirm, and now living in poverty, John and Anna Maria Lane applied for military pensions from the state of Virginia. Recognizing their military service, Governor William H. Cabell requested the General Assembly provide pensions for seven disabled male solders--and one female veteran.* 

William Cabell's letter to the speaker
of the Virginia Assembly,
posted by the Library of Virginia
In awarding a military pension to Anna Maria Lane, the Virginia Assembly noted that she was "very infirm, having been disabled by a severe wound, which she received while fighting as a common soldier . . . from which she never recovered."

And, further:  "In the Revolutionary War, in the garb, and with the courage of a soldier, [she] performed extraordinary military services at the Battle of Germantown."

For her "extraordinary military services" she was awarded an immediate grant. And then, for the remainder of her life, she collected a quarterly pension payment of $25. (Her husband, meanwhile, collected payments of $10 every quarter.)

Anna Maria Lane died on 13 June 1810. 

In addition to Ward's history, noted above, I recommend the interview with historian Joyce Hunter posted on the Colonial Williamsburg website--to access it, click here.


*Three other women received pensions at this time, but all three had been nurses during the Revolutionary War, not soldiers.