With the death of Sally Ride this week, my mind is on some of the great firsts who paved the way for more women to apply for jobs and reach for goals not yet attained by women. Astronaut Sally Ride’s personal journey is nothing short of inspirational. So are many of the stories of women who dared to go boldy where we had never gone. We are getting there, for sure, and it is imperative that we remember the women who walked into the halls of power as firsts and began to make it more comfortable for all of us. It is one of the reasons I appreciate a new book from Lee Stout.
Stout, a former Penn State archivist who already had my full attention for his excellent book on another topic I can’t get enough of, Berkey Creamery ice cream, has now written an engaging book on the women of the Nixon administration, and specifically the career of Barbara Hackman Franklin, a Penn State alumnae. The book is carefully researched and beautifully written.
CIndy Simmons wrote a fine review of the book for the Centre Daily Times. Stout’s new book, A Matter of Simple Justice, sheds light on something we simply don’t think of when we call to mind the impressions of the Nixon administration: the advancement of women’s rights.
Former President Richard Nixon may have had to get a nudge, but once he did he did his part to name women to important posts in his administration. Stout’s book offers a review of women’s suffrage and the struggles of women entering the workforce in the 1950s and 1960s. Franklin and other important women, including a young Elizabeth Hanford are featured with their own oral reflections and an impressive collection of photographs.
Whether encouraging young women to enter fields of science and math, as the late great Sally Ride did or simply by being in places that women were not before, all these women are worthy subjects deserving of our gratitude.