Other Rad Voices

Imagining Helen: The Life of Translator Helen Tracy Lowe-Porter

I first heard about Helen Tracy Lowe-Porter (1876 – 1963) when I fell in love with her grandson, a visiting American graduate student at my university in New Zealand. I knew of the great German novelist Thomas Mann but had not read his novels, and certainly had never wondered about how they came to appear in English.

“My grandmother was Mann’s translator,” my new boyfriend informed me. I was mildly impressed. He told me a little about her: how forbiddingly intellectual she was, how un-grandmotherly.

His mother, Patricia, who soon became my mother-in-law, always spoke with mixed awe and resentment of her illustrious mother, though adoringly of her illustrious father, a renowned paleographer. Read More→


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10 Fascinating Facts about Julia Ward Howe

Julia Ward Howe (1819 – 1910) was an American poet, essayist, editor, speaker, and activist extraordinaire, especially in the causes of abolition, suffrage, and the advancement of women everywhere. 

Although her iconic “Battle Hymn of the Republic” is ubiquitous in patriotic, inspirational, and popular settings, its author is far less known. Let’s look at 10 fascinating facts about the woman behind the verses. 

Howe was born on Bond Street and Broadway in New York City to an affluent, Calvinist family; when she was five, her mother died in childbirth. She was educated in a home with its own library and art gallery and well-propertied for a secure future. Her heroic but controlling husband stymied her spirit and mishandled her land holdings. Read More→


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Victoria Woodhull: Rabble Rousing Suffragist and First American Woman to Run for President

Shirley Chisholm may have been the first woman to seek the presidential nomination from one of the two major political parties — that was in 1972 — but exactly one hundred years before that, Victoria Woodhull (1838 – 1927) was the first woman to launch a national presidential campaign. She did so under the banner of the Equal Rights Party.

And running for president long before women even had the right to vote was just one chapter in an incredibly colorful, yet largely forgotten American life.

Victoria was a suffragist, publisher, stockbroker, orator, and agitator. She was also accused at various points of being a bigamist, prostitute, spiritual charlatan, and adulteress. Read More→


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12 African-American Suffragists Who Shouldn’t be Overlooked

The women’s suffrage movement in the United States led to the establishment of the legal right for women to vote nationally when the 19th amendment was ratified in 1920. Here we present twelve African-American suffragists whose contributions shouldn’t be overlooked, a mere fraction of those who should be acknowledged and honored.

As the women’s suffrage movement gained momentum in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Black women often were marginalized. Yet despite the odds, these suffragists made important strides in the fight for voting rights.

African-American women suffragists dealt with the political concerns of white suffragists who were aware that they needed the support of  Southern legislators both on the state and federal levels. Read More→


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Candace Wheeler, American Design Trailblazer

Despite having published seven books in her long lifetime, Candace Wheeler (1827–1923) might not be classified as a “literary lady,” let alone a classic author. She was one of the first American women to practice as an interior and textile designer, and opened the profession to other women who followed in her footsteps.

Born Candace Thurber, her father was a Puritan abolitionist so severe that he would not allow the family to use sugar or cotton, and he applied similarly stringent standards to his children’s reading habits, decreeing that they read nothing more fanciful than the Bible and Pilgrim’s Progress.

Yet, she evolved into a superlative aestheticist and the godmother of many female artists, writers, and designers. Often referred to as “the mother of interior design,” she was the actual mother of the accomplished artist and book illustrator Dora Wheeler Keith. Read More→


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