Born May 21, 1867 in Red Wing, Minnesota
Died June 5, 1957 in Red Wing, Minnesota
US-American anthropologist and ethnomusicologist, helped preserve the music and culture of many American Indian tribes
155th birthday on May 21, 2022
65th death anniversary on June 5, 2022
I heard an Indian drum…. I have heard it in strange places, in the dawn and at midnight, with its mysterious throb.
Frances Densmore devoted her entire life to recording and preserving American Indians’ music and customs. Inspired from childhood by the sound of Indians singing and drumming, by the end of her life she had accumulated thousands of recordings and transcriptions of songs, and over twenty monographs and reports for public and professional journals. And she did it, in large part, on her own. By all accounts a very determined woman with a strong work ethic, she stated late in her life, “I have no special philosophy, but nothing downs me.”
Densmore was a woman of contradictions. At a time when most accepted roles for women were housekeeping and child rearing, she nevertheless achieved success in a traditionally male profession. During her long career – from the late 19th to the mid 20th century – she made her mark as an independent anthropologist when, by…read more
born August 24, 1915 in Chicago, Illinois
died May 19, 1987 in Maclean, Virginia
US science fiction writer
35th death anniversary on May 19, 2022
"Who, what is Tiptree?" asked Robert Silverberg in the preface to a short story collection by James Tiptree, Jr. He also gave the answer: "a man who has seen much of the world and understood a lot." He was right about almost everything. Tiptree received a great deal of attention from the start, was long considered a "token man" on the subject of women in SF (science fiction), hailed awards and nominations, but one thing remained hidden: identity.
Through Tiptree's extensive correspondence with fans, one of them finally managed to uncover the secret: Tiptree was a woman. This also threw a whole new light on the understanding of "male" and "female" writing. "But the most wonderful thing about him is that he is also Alice Sheldon," writes Ursula K. LeGuin.
Alice's mother was a writer and multi-faceted. She accompanied her husband on African travels and collected and translated folk legends. Alice Hastings Bradley was taken on these trips; later she went to school in Chicago and…read more
born 29 October 1930 in Neuilly-sur-Seine
died 22 May 2002 in San Diego, California
In the summer of 2000 Niki de Saint Phalle gave the city of Hanover a magnificent gift: she presented the Sprengel Museum with 300 of her works and re-established at the same time an old connection. For in 1969 she had held one of her first large one-woman shows in Hanover, and in 1974 the city had bought three of her glowingly colorful, voluminous female figures and positioned the Nanas prominently on the bank of the Leine, where they have since become a familiar trademark of Hanover.
Niki de Saint Phalle was a citizen of the world: she was born near Paris, raised in New York, traveled in Europe and later worked in Switzerland, France, Israel, Italy, and finally California.
Her passionately lived life provides the raw material for her works. Driven in part by aggressiveness, in part by the joy of life and love, and infused with humor and an enormous capacity for work, de Saint Phalle has been able to make the wounds of life productive for her art.
After her childhood in…read more
born June 2, 1731, at Chestnut Grove Plantation in New Kent County, Virginia
died on May 22, 1802 at Mount Vernon Plantation on the Potomac, Virginia
first US-American First Lady
220th death anniversary on May 22, 2022
Martha Washington, first First Lady of the United States, the "land of the free and home of the brave," was born in 1731 on a Virginia plantation farmed by slaves, the eldest of seven children. She maintained her early learned prejudices against blacks throughout her life. While her family was part of Virginia's upper class, they were not particularly wealthy. Martha received the usual education for girls of her class: her mother taught her how to run a large household, and she learned to read and write a little so that she could later keep in touch with her family by letter.
At eighteen, Martha married Custis, a slaveholder and plantation owner twenty years older, and gave birth to four children, of which two died young. Her husband soon died as well - by age 26, Martha Custis was a wealthy widow with two young children, John, called Jackie, and Martha, called Patsy. (Martha was also to outlive these two: Patsy developed epileptic seizures and died in 1773 at age 17; Jackie…read more
Born on May 21, 1932 in Darmstadt
died June 22, 2015 in Darmstadt
90th birthday on May 21, 2022
The most important German literature prize, named after Georg Büchner from Darmstadt, has not been awarded to Gabriele Wohmann from Darmstadt. The hope that the German Academy for Language and Poetry would eliminate this embarrassment on Wohmann's 80th birthday in 2012 was not fulfilled.
A biography about Gabriele Wohmann did not appear until 2012 (see Scheidgen below); until then, there were only autobiographical writings, interviews, short biographical outlines in "material books" and the like. The key data are quickly listed: Born in Darmstadt in 1932 as the third of four children in a parish family, happy childhood with loving parents and siblings who together resisted the Nazi madness. After the war, boarding school student on Langeoog, studies in Frankfurt in the early 1950s, then teacher. Freelance writer since 1956. Unusually versatile and extensive oeuvre ("I don't feel well if I don't write"): Short stories, novels, poems, radio plays, television plays, essays,…read more
Born on February 19, 1877 in Berlin
died May 19, 1962 in Murnau
60th anniversary of death on May 19, 2022
Her upbringing was marked by the pioneering spirit and desire for freedom of her wealthy German-American parents, who supported her training as a painter. After the early death of her parents, her first private drawing lessons in Düsseldorf and a two-year stay in America, Gabriele Münter moved to Munich in 1901. Because women had no chance of studying at an art academy at that time, the emancipated young woman entered the "Phalanx" school of Kandinsky, who soon became not only her teacher but also her lover. "A lot depends on you. You can't do everything, but only through you can I achieve truly great things," the otherwise married man wrote her in October 1905, by which time he had long since promised her marriage.
Between 1904 and 1908, the artist couple took long trips to Tunis, the Riviera, and Paris, where Münter, under the influence of Matisse and the other Fauves, found a completely new way of painting clear forms. In 1909 Münter bought a house in Murnau, where she…read more
born on November 18, 1911 in Zolkiew (Galicia, today Ukraine)
died May 16, 2002 in St. Gallen (Switzerland)
German-Jewish writer, cookbook author
20th anniversary of death on May 16, 2022
When Salcia Landmann was born, her birthplace, Zolkiew in eastern Galicia, was still part of the Danube Monarchy. Her parents, Israel and Regina Passweg, came from wealthy Jewish families of rabbis, merchants and landowners.
At the outbreak of World War I, the girl lived on her grandparents' estate, where she remained until the age of six and attended a Polish nun's school for a year. During the war, her parents moved to St. Gallen - they did not believe that Old Austria would last much longer. Salcia Landmann herself appreciated the coexistence of different minorities in the k. u. k. Monarchy throughout her life, especially the freedom and legal equality of the Jews. Thus, among other things, she wrote of the "relatively tolerant air of Old Austria."
Finally, she was brought to Switzerland by her parents and attended the humanistic grammar school in St. Gallen. First she studied in Berlin and Basel, then also in Geneva, Paris and Zurich. Her subjects were law, philosophy,…read more