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Maya Angelou Becomes First Black Woman on a Quarter

By Jenna Renaud

Photo courtesy of the New York Times / Chester Higgins Jr.

The U.S. Mint has announced that on Monday, Jan. 10 they began shipping quarters featuring poet Maya Angelou.  

This quarter represents the first in the American Women Quarters Program. This Mint program will take place over four years and includes issuing five quarters a year to honor women in fields, including women’s suffrage, Civil Rights, abolition, government, humanities, science, and the arts.  

Women to be featured in 2022 include physicist and first woman astronaut Sally Ride; Wilma Mankiller, the first female principal chief of the Cherokee Nation; Nina Otero-Warren, a leader in New Mexico’s suffrage movement and the first female superintendent of Santa Fe public schools; and Anna May Wong, the first Chinese American film star in Hollywood. 

Photo courtesy of the Washington Post.

Women have previously been featured on coins, although never the quarter. In 2017 the Mint introduced a commemorative gold coin featuring Lady Liberty as a Black woman. Suffragist Susan B. Anthony was the first to be featured on a coin in circulation when silver dollars were released with her image in 1979. Other women featured on currency include writer and activist for the disabled Helen Keller and Sacagawea, the Shoshone woman who helped Lewis and Clark across the plains.

Author, poet, and Civil Rights activist, Angelou rose to prominence with the publication of her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in 1969. She was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010 by President Barack Obama. Although having passed away in 2014 at the age of 86, Angelou’s impact and writings live on.

The quarter design depicts Angelou with outstretched arms and was created by Emily Damstra, a designer, and Craig A. Campbell, a medallic artist. Behind her is a bird in flight and a rising sun. Both of these selected images are inspired by her poetry and the way she lived her life. 

Below we have compiled a list of some of Maya Angelou’s most important and impactful pieces of work, all of which are available in Falvey’s collection: 

Click here to find a full list of Falvey’s collection of Maya Angelou pieces and make sure you are on the lookout for these quarters over the next four years. 


jenna newman headshotJenna Renaud is a Graduate Assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a Graduate Student in the Communication Department.


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Celebrating Black Women’s Voices with Seeking Peace Podcast Series

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By Merrill Stein

Visit the Seeking Peace: stories of women peace builders podcast series  during Black History Month to spend some time listening to podcasts, featuring women’s voices from around the world addressing struggles for peace and security, including Opal Tometi, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, Nobel prize laureates, legislators, journalists and other human rights advocates from all walks of life.

The podcasts are part of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS) , a resource celebrating its tenth anniversary. The Institute also features original research publications, the Global Women, Peace and Security Index, the U.S. Women Peace and Security Index, a multimedia section and a host of other resources promoting women as critical to achieving sustainable peace.

More information about women peacebuilders and the Institute can also be read in Telling stories of women peacebuilders in the midst of a pandemic and viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igaEcc9IDHQ.

A link to the Institute’s global index is available on the Falvey Library’s homepage, Databases A-Z list.

 


Merrill Stein is Political Science Librarian at Falvey Memorial Library.


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Beauty is in the eye of the ten cent handbook

Posted by Amanda McCollom, Digital Library Intern

How to become beautiful; or, Secrets of the toilet and health, published in 1882 by Frank Tousey, is a part of the Ten Cent Handbook series, which provides “how-to” guides on an assortment of topics ranging from card tricks to taxidermy to engineering. How to become beautiful offers a look into late 19th century beauty standards for women and how moderation and temperance were upheld as the key to beauty and good health. The introduction stresses the importance of avoiding extremes in food, temperature and emotion with mandates such as “Let your food be plain and not too highly seasoned,” (8). The guide urges women to resist any expression of emotion as it, “is just as sure to leave a wrinkle either in the mind or body, which can never be eradicated,” (6). As developments in industry enabled families to purchase more goods, men started working outside of the home while women were expected to live up to the ideals of the “cult of domesticity.” Women’s roles revolved around maintaining the home and acting as the moral center for the family; advices guides like How to become beautiful were common during this time as they offered women instructions for being the ideal wife and mother.

The remainder of the handbook offers a collection of “toilet recipes,” to be used to improve and enhance one’s skin, eyes, teeth, hair, breath, hands and feet. The handbook claims these “toilet recipes” are “carefully tested by experienced chemists, and are guaranteed not to produce other than beneficial results,” yet the precise sources of the formulas are unknown (11). While DIY beauty recipes are still popular today, you won’t find many of the ingredients for these 1882 recipes at your local store. For instance, the recipe for preventing baldness calls for 1 drachm of Powdered Spanish flies and 1 ounce of alcohol, which once macerated and filtered, should be combined with lard at a 1:9 ratio (22). The final thirty pages contain perfume recipes, many with romantic names such as “Dreamer’s Extract,” “Enchanted Drops,” and “Kiss of Cupid,” (40, 44, 48). This language reinforced the importance of femininity and attractiveness as key components to a women’s health and identity. While beauty standards and gender roles have certainly changed today, advice for women still proliferates today through magazines and blogs. How to become beautiful provides a way to examine how expectations for women have both changed and remained the same.


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Last Modified: February 22, 2017