My Name is Anonymous by Linda Harris Sittig

Image result for Eckhart Mines Maryland coal mines

This month’s blog is written about twenty very strong women, whose names I do not know. There was a time when their neighbors, or husbands, or perhaps friends could have listed their identity; but no more. They lived in a small mining community in western Allegany County, Maryland in 1894, and this is their story.

Back in the 1890s the economy of western Allegany County was almost completely dependent upon coal. Eleven miles west of Cumberland, Maryland, nestled between the mountains was a sixteen mile long strip of fertile land called the Georges Creek Valley. The Earth harbored so much hidden coal there that numerous companies set up business and bituminous coal was being dug and sent out at a rate of 8,000 hand-dug tons a week. Thousands of men were employed throughout the region as miners.

The immediate and surrounding area was composed of numerous coal mining towns and small mining villages. While the owners of the coal companies grew rich, the miners worked for 50 cents a ton. On a good day a man could dig 4 tons of coal. Out of his $2.00 haul, he would be charged for the rental and sharpening of his tools, and various other ‘deductions’. His resulting pay was often issued in script; small coins imprinted with the name of the coal company and redeemable at the local company store; which was, of course, aligned with the already prosperous mining company.

Accidents were commonplace and often fatal. Pay was meager and only came twice a month. While the miners dug, often in atrocious conditions, it was the miners’ wives who had to scrimp and save to put food on the table. In the toughest of times a pot of cabbage soup might be all there was to feed a family of nine or ten, for several days straight.

In late 1893 the U.S. experienced a devastating economic depression which affected every American business, including the coal industry. The owners of the Georges Creek coal companies reacted to the probable loss of revenue by reducing the miners’ pay to 40 cents per ton dug.

It was a decision that would have unprecedented ramifications.

At this same time, a fledgling union called the United Mine Workers was headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio and was championing for the rights of American miners. The officials of the UMW decided that a nationwide strike could cripple the coal industry and therefore the owners of the companies would be willing to meet in negotiation. The Allegany miners wanted their 50 cent pay re-instated and were petitioning for safer working conditions.

The strike was set for April 21, 1894 with the hope of including every miner from Indiana to eastern Pennsylvania.

However, three small mining communities in western Allegany County had been through this before. Back in 1882 their miners had gone out on strike for six months. In the end nothing changed, except that many people died from either sickness or starvation because of the six months without pay through a brutal time. Those communities of Hoffman Hollow, Ocean, and Eckhart Mines were not willing to join the current strike.

On April 21st, thousands of men went out on strike while the miners of the three Allegany communities continued to work. The UMW needed the solidarity of all the miners in order to make the strike successful. Violence ensued when striking miners rose up against their non-striking counterparts.

Saturday morning, May 12, 1894, started out quiet as the miners of Eckhart were preparing to go to work, unaware that a vigilante mob had formed the night before. The intention of the mob was to march in force, some 300 men strong, down to Eckhart and force the miners to abandon their jobs or be subject to violence that would leave them with broken legs, or worse.

To this day no one knows how the women of Eckhart found out ahead of time about the mob. But at 6:15am they marched alongside their husbands, supposedly in solidarity of the decision not to strike. By 6:30am the men had turned off toward the Number Four mine and the twenty women continued on their way, but soon encountered the mob of surly men coming down the pike to Eckhart, swinging baseball bats and other weapons.

The mob stopped when it met the human chain of twenty women, some with babies on their hips. Heated words were exchanged. One woman called out that they might prevent the men from digging, but then the Eckhart women would go into the mines and dig in their husband’s place.

About twenty minutes later the angry mob dispersed, apparently not willing to attack women.

After the sheriff got wind of what had happened he telegraphed Governor Brown in Annapolis asking for the National Guard to be called out to help him deal with the escalating violence. Troops of soldiers arrived, along with journalists from the Baltimore Sun Newspaper. Everyone wanted to meet the women who had held off the mob.

But no woman in Eckhart would take credit. In fact, no woman in Eckhart would even admit that she had been there. Six weeks later the strike was over.

To this day, none of the twenty women from Eckhart have ever been identified in print.

But if you are curious about the entire story, be patient. My next novel, Last Curtain Call, tells that story, and will hopefully be out in print by summer 2016.


You can sign up on the right side of the blog to become a follower of strong women, and can also catch me on Twitter #@LHsittig, or my website LINDASITTIG.COM, or on Amazon at


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Donaldina Cameron by Linda Harris Sittig

Donaldina Cameron


During the late 1840s when the California Gold Rush lured thousands of would-be miners to the West, San Francisco was a wild town of narrow alleyways, hilly streets, and an infamous section called Chinatown.

While some men like Levi Strauss made their fortunes providing needed supplies to the miners, others became corrupt–providing the men with women. These ‘women’ were actually young Chinese girls who had been sold into slavery back in China, and then shipped to California.

The average time for a Chinese girl to remain alive as a prostitute in San Francisco was six to eight years; after that they died from various health complications from sexual diseases. Many of the girls were as young as twelve.

By the 1890s a small group of Protestant women had managed to establish a safe mission house in San Francisco. The goal was to provide a haven for freed girls who had been illegally brought into the country for the purpose of permanent servitude or prostitution, but had escaped.

At the same time, far to the south, a young woman named Donaldina Cameron made a decision to leave the comfortable ranch where she lived with her family in southern California and travel to San Francisco. Her intention was to help out at the Protestant mission for a year or so.

At the safe house, she met Margaret Culbertson.

Soon after Donaldina arrived, Margaret Culbertson changed the goal; no longer would the group be content with simply running a safe house, she would conduct slave raids and free as many imprisoned Chinese girls as possible.

Young and impressionable at age twenty-five, Donaldina decided to stay and assist Margaret Culbertson in any way she could. Eighteen months later, Margaret Culbertson died, and Donaldina  became her permanent replacement.

In time Donaldina earned the nickname of ‘Lo Mo’, the Chinese equivalent of ‘The Mother’.  While the Chinese girls whispered the name of Lo Mo with reverence, the furious slave traders of San Francisco called her ‘The White Devil’.

It may be hard for us today to reconcile how the slave trade in San Francisco existed for over seventy years. Since slavery was once legal in China, extremely poor families would often sell off a daughter (or two) in order to gain some money. The sold girls traveled by boat to California, often lying in shipping crates designated as ‘household inventory’. Once inside San Francisco’s Chinatown, they lived under lock and key and were ‘given’ to various clients multiple times a day. Since the girls were virtually penniless and could not speak English, any hope of escape was dismal.

But Donaldina Cameron was a force. Tall for a woman, and with coppery flowing hair in her youth, she possessed a courageous streak that enabled her to carry out many an escape. Sometimes she was aided by the city police who went with her on a raid; often she was alone.

Word would reach the safe house of a particular girl being held in captivity. Since the girls were often kept behind secret panels in mazes of hallways, Donaldina had to work with speed and accuracy. She soon learned the confusing pattern of streets in Chinatown and would station herself at a particular entrance with a buggy nearby and then quickly grab the girl as she was being hustled and literally throw her into the buggy. Then Donaldina jumped into the small carriage, and off they sped.

Once when she discovered a young toddler who had been smuggled into California for the purpose of future slavery, Donaldina simply kidnapped the child when no one was watching. Then she lied to the authorities that she was involved. Knowing that if the baby was deported back to China she would be resold, Donaldina arranged for the little girl to be secretly adopted.

She dodged writs, ignored summons, and hid girls for whom warrants had been issued. More than once she had her life threatened. But she continued, because thousands of Chinese girls entered San Francisco on an annual basis and became prisoners in the crib houses of Chinatown. With Donaldina’s constant campaigning to end the slave trade, and with a new set of politicians coming into power, the slave trade was finally outlawed in San Francisco in the early 1920s.

By that time, Donaldina Cameron had rescued and educated over 3,000 Chinese girls and given them a new life.

When she died in 1968 at the age of 99, she was still called ‘Lo Mo’.

It was her badge of honor.

If you have not yet signed up to become a follower of this blog, please do so on the right sidebar, and  forward this blog to a friend. You catch me on Twitter @LHSittig or my webpage  My debut novel about one strong woman in particular is available on Amazon at

As always, thank you for reading about the many extraordinary women who deserve to have their stories told.

~ Linda ~

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Susan Koerner by Linda Harris Sittig

Stopping to read a historical marker, I found that in 1831 Susan Koerner had been born about six miles north of where I live today.

Who was she?    SusanK

Her father, John Koerner, was a German wagon maker who had ventured to the wilds of Virginia seeking work. Her mother, Catherine Fry came from a large extended family whose farms were nestled outside of the village of Hillsboro, Virginia, in view of the eastern slope of the Short Hill Mountains. Nearby, Milltown Creek furnished the various mills in the area with a fresh supply of running water. After ten years of farming in the lush Loudoun Valley (Loudoun County), her parents decided to relocate to the Midwest. They settled in Union County, Indiana when Susan was one year old.

The family prospered in rural Indiana where her father continued his trade of wagon building and in time owned a farm with numerous buildings sitting on 170 acres. There were five Koerner children, but it was Susan who became the most interested in her father’s occupation of wagon construction. From an early age her curiosity led her to visits in his workshop where she watched him use various tools for woodworking and metalwork.

Susan grew up around the tools, the wood shavings, the pieces of metal. Along the way she became knowledgeable about the mathematical and mechanical concepts involved with wagon building. She also excelled in school, graduating number one in her class.

At a time in history when many girls left school to become married, Susan Koerner was admitted to Hartville College, a United Brethren School for higher education. Here she went on to shine in literature, science, and mathematics and was awarded the distinction of top mathematician.

By 1859 she had married a fellow student named Milton and started a new phase of life as a preacher’s wife. Milton was often involved in church activities and away from home on church business. If the children’s toys broke or some household equipment needed to be fixed, Susan often took it upon herself to remedy the situation; with her own tools.

One winter when the Indiana snows made the hillsides perfect for sledding, she realized her children were devoid of a proper sled, so she made one. I can only assume that she crafted it with precise mathematical proportions.

Five of Susan and Milton’s children survived to adulthood, four boys and a girl. Milton’s successful career with the Church of the Brethren meant that the family moved several times. All together Susan set up house in twelve different locations of Indiana, Iowa, and Ohio. But as busy as she must have been, family stories tell that she took the time to encourage each of her children to be curious about the world around them, and use their imaginations to dabble in projects of interest.

Susan Koerner died at home in Dayton, Ohio, in 1889. She was 58 years old.

Who was she?

She was a homemaker, a preacher’s wife, and a tinkerer of all things mechanical and mathematical.  Susan Koerner was also the mother of Wilbur and Orville Wright.

It is to her credit that Orville Wright wrote: “We were lucky to grow up in an environment where there was always much encouragement for us to pursue our interests. In a different kind of environment, our curiosity might have been nipped long before it could have borne fruit.”

Remember that the next time you fly.

Thank you to Carolyn Unger for reminding me about Susan Koerner.

If you have not signed up to be a follower of this blog, I encourage you to do so on the right side bar.

You can also catch me on Twitter @LHSittig or my webpage LINDASITTIG.COM. If you are interested in a full length story of one incredible strong woman, check out Cut From Strong Cloth, available in both print and Kindle on

As always, thank you for supporting the idea that every woman deserves to have her story told.    ~ Linda~


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Elisabeth Koenigsberger Bing by Linda Harris Sittig

Take a deep breath, pushing your stomach out as you inhale. Now exhale slowly to the count of six. Welcome to the techniques of Lamaze, natural childbirth, and relaxation.


Although most women would not put childbirth and relaxation together in the same sentence, that is exactly what Elisabeth Koenigsberger believed should happen and she helped to revolutionize how American women experienced childbirth.

Born in 1914 in Berlin to parents of Jewish heritage, she was forced to quit college two weeks into her freshman year when the officials discovered her ethnic background. Her two older brothers were dismissed as well.

Elisabeth then immigrated at the age of 18 by herself to England and began to study physical therapy while working in a hospital with multiple sclerosis patients. Her job was to teach them how to exercise their limbs. At the end of each day she would go to the maternity ward and voluntarily give massages to new mothers. Her experience with these postpartum women led her to develop an interest in obstetrics.

In 1942 after reading British physician Grantly Dick-Read’s book on natural childbirth, she resolved to learn all she could about his ideas. Her goal was to teach women how to take a more active and prepared role in birthing their babies.

This coincided in an era when women in labor were almost always completely sedated and expectant fathers were left alone in the hospital waiting room to pace the floor. Recuperation for new mothers was normally a stay of ten days.

Elisabeth decided to pursue additional formal training in obstetrics, but WWII complicated that dream and prevented Elisabeth from achieving her objective. She remedied the situation with self- education; reading all the newly published research she could find on natural childbirth.

In 1949 Elisabeth moved to Illinois. A chance encounter with a local obstetrician led to a unique professional friendship between the two. It wasn’t long before the doctor invited her to become involved in his practice, teaching women how to exercise and relax in preparation for childbirth.

Two years later while in transit from New York City to a visit in Germany, Elisabeth met Fred Max Bing; they married the following year. Now living in New York City, Elisabeth began offering informal workshops in childbirth preparation.

As her name spread, she found a powerful ally in Dr. Alan Guttmacher, the head of Obstetrics at Mt. Sinai Hospital. He invited her to teach some workshops at the hospital’s newly opened maternity ward.

Around this same time, Dr. Fernand Lamaze was changing France’s perspective on childbirth. Dr. Lamaze advocated childbirth education classes, relaxation and breathing techniques, and continuous emotional support from both the father and a trained nurse. His methods became quite popular as French women using his techniques experienced childbirth with less fears.

With Dr. Guttmacher’s approval, Elisabeth began to incorporate some of Dr. Lamaze’s techniques into her seminars at Mt. Sinai; she found the classes filling up quickly.

Her next step was to ask Mt. Sinai to send her to France so that she could meet with Dr. Lamaze and learn his techniques first hand. The hospital cited a lack of funding and denied her request. In 1958 Elisabeth then turned to Marjorie Karmel, whose book, Thank You Dr. Lamaze, had become a best seller.

Elisabeth and Marjorie met, and became professional colleagues. In 1960 they co-founded the organization now called Lamaze International.

While fame and ego could have gone to her head, Elisabeth K. Bing always gave credit to Dr. Lamaze for his groundbreaking work. She also was quick to admit that natural childbirth is not always possible, and that drugs still had validity in certain deliveries.

The era of the 1960s launched the beginning of the women’s movement, and also helped to solidify Elisabeth’s passion that every woman deserves to be educated as to the choices involved in giving birth. Elisabeth used the term Prepared Childbirth, instead of Natural Childbirth, to emphasize the active participation of the mother.

She died recently at the age of 100, after having taught childbirth classes focused on the Lamaze techniques for over 50 years.

Breathe in deeply; now exhale slowly to the count of eight. Ah…..relaxation is beginning to seep in.

Thank you, Elisabeth K. Bing.

~ Linda~

Since August is my birthday month, please give me the gift of sending this blog on to a friend who may not know about Strong Women in History. Thank you.

You can also catch me on Twitter @lhsittig, my webpage, or on Amazon at

Thank for sharing my journey, celebrating women whose passions led them to live life fully, and in so doing, benefited the lives of others.

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Clara Shortridge Foltz by Linda Harris Sittig

Amidst the gentle rolling plains of central Indiana, Clara Shortridge was born in 1849. Her family then moved to Iowa where Clara had the unusual opportunity to attend a coeducational school and receive a basic education. By the age of fifteen she fell in love with a local Civil War soldier, Jeremiah Foltz, and they eloped. Babies came quickly and they  often moved in order for him to find work.

Then in 1876 her husband abandoned her.

Living near her parents, now in San Jose, California, Clara Foltz found herself a single mother with five children to support on her own. She took in sewing, she took in boarders, and she began to study the rudiments of law with her father’s help. She decided to become a lawyer because the pay would be steady, the job was respectable, and she would be in a position to help other women.

The only problem was that women in 1876 were not allowed to take the bar examination in California. That privilege was reserved for white males. The only other requirement to become a lawyer in California at that time was a six month residency.

In 1878 Clara tried to get The Woman Lawyer’s Bill introduced into the state legislature. It would give women the right to take the state bar exam; however, it had been relegated to a slush pile, where it would die. Clara went straight to the Governor of California and appealed to his sense of fairness, begging him to reconsider. Just before the midnight deadline, the governor retrieved the bill and signed it into law.

Clara sat for the exam and passed, becoming the first female in California to be admitted to the state bar.

Next, she applied to California’s only law school, Hastings School of Law, in order to solidify her understanding of judicial process. She was denied admission due to her gender.

So Clara, along with her friend Laura Gordon, sued the school on the issue of gender equality, argued their own case, and won.

Her next residence was San Francisco, where she began practicing as an attorney, and tried cases in court at a time when women were not allowed to even serve on a jury. Clara became intensely involved with the field of Women’s Rights. She sought to protect the property rights of women, and she actively campaigned for a woman’s right to vote.

Her trailblazing legal career would span a total of 56 years and include many milestones. It was Clara Foltz who introduced the idea of a public defender where even the poorest criminal is entitled to legal representation in court. At the time, her idea was looked upon as a radical notion but in 1965 the Supreme Court of the United States adopted the constitutional right to counsel for any criminal defendant.

She continued to fight for equal rights, for both men and women, and helped to establish the California Parole Board. Often highlighting the plight of justice for all, she went on the lecture circuit to heighten awareness of her views. After finishing an invigorating legal career, she ran for Governor of California, at the age of 81; ten years after women finally received the right to vote.

Asked how she had overcome adversity and became a beacon to other women who wanted to achieve their own dreams, her purported answer was, “I believed in myself.”

According to the Center for Research on Gender Equity, in 2012 women accounted for 33% of all lawyers in the United States, but less than 20% reach the equity partnership level. If Clara Foltz were alive today, she would be campaigning for those rates to be higher.

Strong women have the ability to enact change.

Thank you for reading my blog. Please sign up on the right side bar to become a follower of the blog, along with over 525 people from 51 countries. You can also catch me on Twitter @LHSittig or on my webpage at If you enjoy reading about strong women, then check out my novel, Cut From Strong Cloth, on Amazon at Thank you.

~ Linda ~

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Katherine G. Johnson by Linda Harris Sittig

The next time you look up at the night sky and are smitten by the pale opalescence of the moon, I don’t want you to think of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, or Michael Collins, the astronauts of the historic Apollo 11 space flight that landed mankind on the moon. I want you to think of Katherine G. Johnson, the woman who calculated the trajectories necessary for the success of that historic flight.

Born in 1918, the youngest of four siblings in an African-American family in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, Katherine had an aptitude and fascination with numbers from her earliest years. While her family walked to services, Katherine counted each and every step between their house and the church. By the time she entered school at the age of six, she was put into second grade due to her reading and mathematical abilities. Later she was promoted from 4th grade directly to 6th grade, based upon her outstanding academic performance. At home she would always finish arithmetic work quickly, and then offer to help her older siblings with theirs.

Because the local public schools provided only an 8th grade education for black students, Katherine’s father moved the family 125 miles away to the Charleston, WVA area. There, all four of his children enrolled in the West Virginia Collegiate Institute, a black institution that allowed students to complete a high school education and then transition into the college.

Katherine was ten when she entered the high school and fourteen when she started college with a full academic scholarship for room, board, and tuition.

While in college she came under the tutelage of W.W. Schiefflin Claytor, the third African-American to earn a Ph.D. in Mathematics. Recognizing her incredible aptitude with numbers, he counseled her to take every course in math that the school offered and then he set up a special class in analytical geometry; Katherine was the only student.

By the time she graduated summa cum laude with a dual Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and French, Katherine was well prepared for a career in analytical math. The problem was that no such job existed for black females in 1936. Deciding she could encourage young people to pursue their talents, she became a teacher for the next sixteen years.

In the early 1950s the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, the precursor to NASA, opened up applications for African-American females to work as human computers in their Guidance and Navigation Depart. Katherine applied and was accepted. She, and her husband James Francis Goble and their young daughters, moved to the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. She would make her mark there, calculating the mathematical equations necessary for successful space projects. Her career at Langley lasted for the next thirty-three years.

Math may have come easy to Katherine Johnson, but life did not. She experienced racism and sexism both in everyday life and in her career, but she persevered. She lost her first husband to brain cancer, but stayed busy with work and her family. Eventually she married Colonel James Johnson, a Korean War veteran. All along, she continued to push at NASA to be included in top level meetings within her department, and finally began to be recognized for her skill in analytical geometry by the male engineers.

In May 1961 when astronaut Alan Shepard was the first American to travel in space, it was Katherine Johnson who had calculated the computations for the launch window, including his successful return splash down.

In 1962 mechanical computers were used for the first time to calculate an astronaut’s orbit around the Earth, and the engineers at NASA asked Katherine to verify their numbers before John Glenn was sent into space.

During the mid-1960s Katherine worked on a NASA project to plot backup navigational charts to allow astronauts to guide their space ships by the stars, in case of any electrical failures.

In July 1969 when Neil Armstrong made his historic ‘one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind’ by walking on the surface of the moon, it was Katherine Johnson who made the calculated trajectories for the Apollo 11 flight.

Think of Tom Hanks in Ron Howard’s movie, Apollo 13. One of his classic lines was “Houston, we have a problem.” The spacecraft had malfunctioned and the astronauts were in peril of not being able to return to Earth.  In real life, those words are attributed to astronaut Jim Lovell; but it was Katherine Johnson’s work on the backup procedures and her charts that helped guide the astronauts safely home.

During her lifetime, she co-authored 25 scientific papers, wrote one of the first textbooks on space flight, and received 11 prominent awards in her field. Yet when we think of the U.S. Space Program, we seldom think of the people like Katherine Johnson who worked for decades behind the scenes in order for the program to succeed.

The next time you look up at the night sky and find the Man in the Moon, look again; it might just be a woman.

Katherine Johnson was a scientist, a physicist, a mathematician, and definitely a strong woman. As a trailblazer she opened pathways for every woman who has dreamed of achieving success—pathways that can lead to the moon and beyond.

Thank you to Jennie Blumenthal for alerting me to the amazing story of Katherine Johnson, and to Dixiane Hallaj for proofreading my blog entries.

If you have not yet signed up to become a follower of this blog, you may do that on the right sidebar. You can also catch me on Twitter @LHSittig or my webpage  My fiction appears on Amazon at

As always, thank you for reading about the many extraordinary women who deserve to have their stories told.

~ Linda ~

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Ann Seton Chase by Linda Harris Sittig

In the small town where I grew up, there was a unique rite of passage for preteens. Once you reached your twelfth birthday, and had a letter from a parent, you were allowed entrance into the hallowed halls of the town’s public library.

Prior to that momentous occasion children were limited to choosing and checking out books from the children’s library, housed in the lower level of the town’s municipal building.

The public library occupied the upper floor of the municipal building, which loomed on the horizon like an ancient sanctuary. Four massive white columns stood as stately sentinels to the entrance of the red brick multistory edifice. One had to walk up a spacious set of white stairs to get to the front portal. Not that I, however, had ever traversed those steps because the door to the children’s library had its own set of descending steps.

I remember  looking up at the windows of the town library, probably feeling elated that I would finally be allowed upstairs with the ‘real books’. No longer would I be relegated to Lad, A Dog or Nancy Drew, Girl Detective. This day would be my big chance to see what the grown-ups read.

Inside, the adult library was large compared to the cozy space I had been accustomed to downstairs with its child-friendly bookcases and furniture. Trying to look like I belonged, I held my head up high and marched right over to the check-out desk, holding my mother’s letter as proof that I could now enter the ranks of adult bibliophiles.

A short while later with my newly inked library card in hand, I sauntered around the stacks and glanced at the books. To my surprise there was not one author I recognized.  Undaunted, I slipped over to the fiction section and perused the titles there. Again, no success.

So I tried a new tactic. I moseyed over near the circulation desk where a pushcart filled with  newly returned books was poised, waiting for a librarian to re-shelve the contents. I spied a title that looked intriguing, called The Turquoise.

To this day I am not exactly sure what made me pick it up, but it must have been karma.

I thumbed through the first few pages and saw that the story took place in Santa Fe, New Mexico during the 1800’s, a place and time that promised to be exotic reading compared to my non-eventful suburban childhood. The author was Anya Seton, but I had never heard of her. Regardless, I took the book to the check-out counter and handed it along with my library card to the librarian.

She flipped through the novel and then with penetrating librarian-eyes asked, “Does your mother know this is the book you’re checking out?”

This threw me into in a quandary. It was my first experience ‘upstairs’ and I wanted that book, even more so now because of the librarian’s admonishment. So I lied. I told her my mother had agreed I could check out any book I wanted. With pursed lips, she stamped the date card, and told me I had two weeks before it was due back.

Bursting out into the brilliant late afternoon sunshine I held that book as if it was a treasure. Little did I know it would change my life.

With The Turquoise, author Anya Seton introduced me to the genre of Historical Fiction, and my reading habits would never be the same again.

I did not simply read the book, I devoured it. Yes, it was adult in nature, the love story of a strong young woman who married for security, but always loved another man. Love story aside, it was also the tale of beguiling New Mexico and fashionable New York City in the century before I was born. I drank in the geographic details as if they were an elixir.

In time I would go on to read every book Anya Seton (Ann Seton Chase) wrote; as her research combined with travel brought an authenticity to her settings. Through the language and lives of her characters I learned about Anglo-Saxon England, Tudor England, Medieval England, Colonial America, the Jacobite Rebellion in Scotland, and the strong women around whom she penned each story.

While some girls read magazines in their spare time, I found myself reading historical novels. As a college freshman I eagerly became a history major and years later started to travel, always to places where some historic event had occurred. Several destinations were the settings I had read about in Anya Seton’s novels.

Born in New York City in 1904, Anya Seton (Ann Seton Chase) was the child of two authors; her father was a nature writer and her mother composed travel articles. Anya’s first successfully published book came out through Houghton Mifflin when she was 37; later she went on to write a dozen novels. Although The Turquoise did not win any awards or bring her acclaim, it still remains my favorite.

Who knew that a book read by a skinny little girl would one day propel her to become a writer of historical fiction herself? I was that little girl and my debut series, “Threads of Courage”, centers on strong young women from the past who overcome monumental obstacles in order to carve out a life where integrity triumphs over injustice.

The first book in the series, Cut From Strong Cloth, is available from Freedom Forge Press and Amazon.

Thank you, Anya Seton; books really do change lives.

If you are new to this blog, then please sign up as a follower on the right side bar. Thank you for believing in strong women.

~ Linda ~

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