Morning Musically-Minded, Medically-Minded, Masticators!
(Today’s post is sponsored by the letter “M”)
Over the past 600+ episodes, The Simpsons has taken us on an amazing journey involving music, science, and food to name a few concepts.
And what better way to start your week, then by discussing some of these concepts Monday morning?
So let’s get started this week by talking about two real-life 19th century American abolitionists and social activists, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Julia Ward Howe.
In the thirty seventh episode of The Simpsons, Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington (Season 03, Episode 02), Homer becomes a fan of Readers Digest magazine. During his readings, he comes across a contest for an all expense trip to Washington D.C.. Unfortunately it’s an essay contest for children. Thanks to Lisa’s patriotic winning essay, the Simpsons win the trip.
During the trip, we come across a lot of Washington D.C. staples; like Dulles International Airport, the Watergate Hotel, the IRS, the U.S. Mint, the National Air and Space Museum (including an up close look at the Spirit of St. Louis), the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, and of course a trip to the White House with special appearance by then First Lady Barbara Bush in a bathtub.
However, in light of the recent passing of associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I’m going to focus this weeks musings on Lisa’s visit to the Winifred Beecher Howe Memorial.
Lisa: “I’m too excited to sleep. Anyone up for the Winifred Beecher Howe Memorial?”
Homer (half-asleep): “Who’s that?”
Lisa: “An early crusader for women’s rights. She led the Floor Mop Rebellion of 1910. Later, she appeared on the highly unpopular 75-cent piece.”
But have you ever wondered if the monument of Winifred Beecher Howe is real?
Harriet Beecher Stowe and Julia Ward Howe
Winifred Beecher Howe is not a real historical figure who led a floor mop rebellion in 1910. Rather she is a fictional amalgamation of two real-life 19th century American abolitionists and social activists, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Julia Ward Howe.
Harriet Beecher Stowe (June 14, 1811 – July 1, 1896)
Harriet Beecher Stowe was an American abolitionist and author, who came from the famous religious Beecher family. Harriet is best known for her novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” (1852), which depicts the harsh conditions for enslaved African Americans. The book reached millions as both a novel and a play. The book became influential in the United States and Great Britain, energizing anti-slavery forces in the American North, while provoking widespread anger in the American South. Harriet wrote 30 books, including novels, three travel memoirs, and collections of articles and letters. Harriet was influential for both her writings and her public stances and debates on social issues of the day.
Julia Ward Howe (May 27, 1819 – October 17, 1910)
Julia Ward Howe was an American poet and author, known for writing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and the original 1870 pacifist “Mother’s Day Proclamation“. The “Appeal to womanhood throughout the world” (later known as “Mother’s Day Proclamation“) was an appeal for women to unite for peace in the world. It was a pacifist reaction to the carnage of the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War. The appeal was tied to Julia’s feminist conviction that women had a responsibility to shape their societies at the political level. She was also an advocate for abolitionism and a social activist, particularly for women’s suffrage.
In 1986, Harriet was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. In 1998, Julia was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
On June 13, 2007, the United States Postal Service issued a 75¢ Distinguished Americans series postage stamp in Harriet’s honour. Julia was honoured by the United States Postal Service with a 14¢ Great Americans series postage stamp issued in 1987.
Harris–Stowe State University in St. Louis, Missouri, is named for Harriet and William Torrey Harris. The Julia Ward Howe School of Excellence in Chicago’s Austin community is named in Julia’s honour, as is the Julia Ward Howe Academics Plus Elementary School in Philadelphia since 1913.
Now that we’ve learned more about Harriet Beecher Stowe and Julia Ward Howe, be sure to come back next week when we continue our Monday morning musings with the next episode of The Simpsons.
Have you ever heard of Harriet Beecher Stowe? What about Julia Ward Howe? Do you remember the monuments appearance in this episode? Have you ever been to Washington D.C.? What’s your favourite monument in Washington D.C.? What’s your favourite monument anywhere in the world? Sound off in the comments below. You know we love hearing from you.