Isabella Stewart Gardner: the Lady, the Legend, the Legacy ~ a guest post by Alexandra G. Kiely

Although not a member of the royalty or nobility as is usually my type when reading about and learning history, I still found this article about the interesting Isabella Stewart Gardner enjoyable and informative. I recommend reading this if you wish to know more about her in a more or less objective manner and having the facts presented well! 🙂

The Freelance History Writer

Alexandra is a twenty-something art historian and researcher with omnivorous interests in arts, culture, and history. She is also a figure skater and a dancer. Read more about her various intellectual pursuits at

Isabella Stewart Gardner in Venice, 1894 as painted by Anders Zorn Isabella Stewart Gardner in Venice, 1894 as painted by Anders Zorn

Isabella Stewart Gardner. Even among the ranks of art collectors – glamorous and fascinating characters all – that name looms large. A rare, early female art collector, and more importantly a female who founded her own museum, she was a powerful member of late nineteenth-century Boston’s influential upper crust. She was a woman of great curiosity and fierce intellect who travelled the world and made friends with the likes of Henry James, but she was also the subject of sensational news stories in her day and extravagant legends in ours. Her name will forever be associated with the mysterious and still-unsolved 1990 robbery that…

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Formidable Women – Rosalind Franklin (1920 – 1958)

A fascinating post about a woman who has suffered from the Matilda effect in being given due recognition for her efforts, works, and achievements in the field of science but has now thankfully been generally recognized for them — showing that the Matilda effect *can* be overcome if people just work together and try their best to give credit where it is due. But it is still sad that her contributions were not recognized immediately and attributed to male scientists and by the time that people realized their mistakes, it was really quite too late.

Gerhart von Kap-herr

rosalind Franklin

On the days preceding and ending with International Women’s Day, I intended to write about four formidable women from history, to remind people of the recognition they deserved but were often denied. However, I had scheduled a memorial service in the local church for the two women who had been dearest to me for March 8th. Subsequently, preoccupied with remembered loss and sorrow, I was unable to write anything on that very special day.

Now, I am Europe for a month to visit friends and relatives in Austria and Germany, perhaps for the last time. However, I must still tell you, to give her, her due, of my impressions of “The Dark Lady of DNA,” as she was titled by her biographer, Brenda Maddox.

Today, let us remember…

Rosalind Franklin (1920 – 1958)


Rosalind Elsie Franklin was born in London, England in 1920. She was an extremely…

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The Princess and the Eye Patch

Here’s an article about a fascinating Renaissance-era woman who definitely needs more interest from modern viewers! 😀

Columbia Classical Fencing, LLC

Doña Ana de Mendoza y de la Cerda_400Doña Ana de Mendoza, the Princess of Éboli, is a woman full of historic intrigue and mystery. Fascination of her is fueled not only by her legendary beauty, courtly manipulations, and murderous plot, but also the mystery surrounding an alleged fencing accident and her eye patch. She has captivated attention for centuries, been immortalized in opera by Verdi, portrayed in Hollywood by Olivia de Haviland, and is the subject of numerous books and video productions.  So who is Doña Ana de Mendoza and why is she wearing an eye patch?

A Very Brief Biography
Born in 1540 into the powerful house of Mendoza, Doña Ana was the daughter of Diego Hurtado de Mendoza and Catherine de Silva.  Doña Ana endured what appears to be a dysfunctional home life as a child, including the embarrassment of her father’s infamous philandering, something not accepted in 16th Century Spain.  Little is known of…

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Lady Margaret Beaufort, The King’s Mother

I recommend my fellow English royal history aficionados to read this well-written and informative article on another of my favorite historical figures, Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby. 🙂

The Freelance History Writer

Lady Margaret Beaufort at Prayer from the National Portrait Gallery (Image in the public domain) Lady Margaret Beaufort at Prayer from the National Portrait Gallery (Image in the public domain)

Lady Margaret Beaufort was the matriarch of the Tudor dynasty of Kings in England. Her life was greatly influenced by the turning of the Wheel of Fortune. That she managed to survive the vagaries of the War of Roses in England is something at which to be marveled. We have the memories of her confessor, John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester and Margaret gave him permission to share these memories after her death. Fisher saw the emotional Margaret but most people saw the steely, self-controlled Margaret of politics. She had great presence and a forceful personality. She was skilled and effective and could be ruthless.

Margaret was born on May 31, 1443 at Bletso in Bedfordshire. She was the daughter of John, Earl of Somerset. Somerset was a grandson of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster…

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Elizabeth of York, Queen of England

An informative, well-researched, and more or less accurate article on one of my favorite historical figures and English queens, Elizabeth of York.

The Freelance History Writer

Portrait of Elizabeth of York, Queen of England Portrait of Elizabeth of York, Queen of England

Elizabeth of York symbolized the epitome of the perfect medieval queen. She was beautiful, charitable, and beloved by the people. By marrying Henry Tudor, who had taken the throne of England by conquest, the Houses of Lancaster and York were united and the War of the Roses came to an end. And Elizabeth was the mother of an heir who would become King Henry VIII of England and two of her daughters would become queens.

Elizabeth of York was born at the royal palace of Westminster on February 11, 1466. She was the eldest child of Queen Elizabeth Wydeville and King Edward IV of England. While she was still young she received religious instruction, learned manners, embroidery, music, singing, dancing and other necessary things in preparation for her role as a royal wife and mother. When Elizabeth was four years old, her…

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