Tuesday, February 26, 2008

My favorite tidbit from today's sojourn in the archives

Found today at the California Academy of Sciences, amidst the Ynes Mexia papers. She's writing about a trip to the Grand Canyon in 1919:
You have no idea how high the walls are until you have climbed them, but I took my time and reached the top at 5.30, then discovered that quite unbeknownst to myself I had become a Notable Person, and was pointed out as the Lady Who Walked Down The Trail. Said Lady was very glad of Supper, Bath and Bed, and though a little bit stiff next day was otherwise no worse for the trip.
Another find: Like all of the other women scientists whose lives I've researched, Mexia had at least one newspaper article written about her in the "ZOMG! A Woman Scientist! Adventuress in the Amazon!" genre. I get a kick out of those when they're vintage. I'm a little less pleased when I see them today.

Anyway, I really enjoyed the passage above--taken from Mexia's scrapbook--because it's such a nice metaphor for women in science in the first third of the 20th century.

3 comments:

susan said...

Lady Who Walked Down the Trail sounds like a quaint pseudonym from a modern blog, doesn't it?

trillwing said...

Susan, that's exactly what I was thinking when I saw it.

Ubiquitous Pidgeon said...

Actually, the whole passage looks blog-ey. Complete with Sentences In Which Most/All The Words Begin With Capital Letters. There's surely grist for the comparative cultural studies mill in there somewhere.