Category Archives: Women

Madeleine Albright Dies at 84


Madeleine Albright, first female secretary of state, dies at 84

This photo is from the Washington Post, March 24, 2022.  What an amazing woman.  Google “Madeleine Albright” to read about her.  Goodbye, Madeleine, and thank you for your life of outstanding service to our nation. 

Uncommon Women

10/12/19:  Judy Kennedy sent the following letter to the Alumnae Quarterly in response to their mistaken citing of  the origin of the term “Uncommon Women”.


Wendy Wasserstein ’71 was certainly a brilliant “uncommon woman,” but “the original Uncommon Woman” (MoHome Memories, summer 2019, page 34), not so fast!  While her play, “Uncommon Women and Others” certainly cemented MHC’s claim to the phrase, let us not forget that it was President Richard Gettell who first said it in his inaugural address to the college entitled “A Plea for the Uncommon Woman” at Convocation in 1957, opening with his equally memorable salute to the Class of 1961, “Fellow Freshmen.”  It was at that moment that the “Mount Holyoke community quickly took ownership,” not twenty years later when the play was first produced in 1977.  — Judith Marshall Kennedy ’61

Judith M Kennedy
Mount Holyoke Class of 1961
PO Box 60
North Conway, NH 03860
(603) 356-6884

PS to the Quarterly Staff —  A plea from me and my classmates from the Great Class of 1961 for you to reprint President Gettell’s “A Plea for the Uncommon Woman” in its entirety in the Quarterly at some point.  I have searched for it on the college website, and while referenced there , it does not appear to be accessable (or any where else that I could easily find, for that matter).  –Judy


Women and Pregnancy

October 12, 2019
Hi all,
     In response to an email from EW detailing her firing from a teaching job when she became pregnant, which you probably also received – I submitted the following:     

As a recently married 1961 graduate of Mount Holyoke College with a BA in Economics, I was delighted to be offered a job with First National Bank of New York (now Citibank). I began my job in the Pension Trust Department as some sort of an administrative assistant, working for an all-male group of junior executives (some of whom were recent grads of Ivy League equivalents of MHC).

Oops, I got pregnant. At about 5 months into my pregnancy when I was starting to “show”, I was called into the HR office and told my employment would be terminated the next week, (after I confirmed my due date).

Being an Uncommon Woman from Mount Holyoke (see below), my next stop was the local Unemployment Office, where I was met with derisive sarcasm. Who would hire a woman, who would only work a few months before giving birth? they asked. No unemployment benefits for you, my girl!! At that time, there were no laws protecting the employments rights of pregnant women, obviously.

My story and many others from classmates who experienced the same treatment has been re-lived at almost every MHC 61 reunion ever since.

The reference to Uncommon Women originated with Richard Glenn Gettell, the new President of MHC in his welcoming address to our class. The phrase became a more common reference when Wendy Wasserstein, a MHC grad whose play The Heidi Chronicles became a Broadway hit in the 90’s.

Welcome to our world, Elizabeth!!

Did anyone else respond to this?



Let’s hear it for women — leading in every way toward every goal for always.  The Women’s March sort of got us started in a political way.  Let’s keep it up!

2018 Women’s March

January 20, 2018.  And so we were back at it, only this time with more messages and more determination. Jenifer Marx sent this first wonderful photo.  The others are from my march, and it was a great day.  Now I’ve signed up to support this candidate and that.   We have lots of good women candidates for local elections including our state senate.  Good stuff!.






There is a connection between the Women’s March and “The Post” which we’ve all been watching and loving.  Judy Kennedy comments that “this is very definitely far more than just a good first amendment story about freedom of the press.  With the anniversary of the Women’s March on Washington coming up…, this is Spielberg/Streep/Hanks’s “gift” to the cause.  While I’ll be “marching” iand “freezing to death” in the tiny town of Jackson NH again this year at noon, I might just go and see this movie all over again once we’re done with the march — to catch the nuances of the performances and pay a more quiet tribute to people like Kathryn Graham who ultimately put principle before everything that had ever meant anything to her and her life.  Incredibly inspiring — it’s what we have to “demand” of ourselves and everyone else for the future. As Betsy says, the ending will make you and every other woman tear up while your chest pounds with pride.  And Rocky, thanks for your fascinating insider comments.  Liz — take note, those are worth preserving on the class website and as part of the MHC archives.”

I asked Republican classmates if material from the March would be offensive to them.  The answers were that while they would not be offended, they respectfully ask that people shouldn’t expect everyone to agree with them.

Here’s a picture of Liz Webfoot at the March in Annapolis where the crowds were huge.  Her sign reads “We are the backbone of this nation.”



It was exciting to see the enthusiasm of all the people.  Although most were women, there were a good amount of men which pleased me.  There were many organizations which have formed over the past year to help women become first class citizens.  It was inspirational.

I think everyone had a really wonderful day!

This says it all!

Comments from 1961 Chat Group

End of January, 2017.  After the Women’s March, there was lots of news from classmates about the marching experience.  Some comments follow.  

Alice McGovern Doering:
The march in Philadelphia was exhilarating and fun.  The signs were interesting and in some cases added levity. It felt good to have some comic relief!!  Our participation numbers were way more than double the expected number:  I was one amongst 50,000 people, many young with young children, who marched down the main parkway of the city from the cathedral to the art museum.  What a day this was in the United States!!  When I returned home, my daughter who now lives in Germany said she had just returned home from marching in Berlin!!!  What a day in many parts of the world!

From Sue Carr:
I have no idea who he is, but on the Boston Common on Jan 21st…we were family…

From your editor:  How beautiful is that!


From Judy Kennedy:  
Over 300 showed up Saturday in little old Jackson, NH (total population 835), six times the number originally expected.  Here’s a photo of my friend, Lisa who made the 100 pussyhats for us, and me with our signs.   Admittedly, my sign is not original in  that someone else on television thought of it first.  As a follow-on to my previous post, the Pussyhat Project continues to swell.  Patterns for knitted or simple fabric ones available on their website, i.e.

     And we had an interesting thing happen here.  When one of us was buying additional hot pink fleece at Walmart to make more hats the other day for our local “march,” she bumped into a middle-age woman who was buying hot pink yarn and said “Are you doing what I’m doing and what I think you are doing?” and well yes, in fact she was, because she and six others were leaving that night in a car for Washington and the March — and they planned to knit their pussyhats en route because they hadn’t had time to do it here.  My friend said “I have some simple hot pink fleece ones in my car and I’m buying fleece for more of those, and you can have a few of the ones already done for yourself and your six colleagues if you’d like,”  which the woman gratefully took to either use or pass to others down there, but also intending to keep knitting for others on the way down.  That’s kind of the purpose of it all as you can see on the website — knitters and stitchers from the “sisterhood” across the country who can’t go are making hats for those who can.

From Sherry Urner:
And my daughter marched in Capetown, South Africa!
A granddaughter marched in Ct, a 2nd granddaughter in Pa.  I didn’t march but instead spent the morning with like-minded women, in public view – sadly without pussy hats!, planning to meet as a group to keep the energy and spirit and issues alive.  Saturday was such a significant day = exhilarating!!

From Mary Weinland:
Wow how cool! I marched( or stood in place) in DC. One Granddaughter marched in NY and the other in Seattle. My daughter in law marched in Tokyo. We will carry on!








Betsy Karch Wilson enjoying the march.

From Carol Benson:
Diana Chapman Walsh was president of Wellesley College 8 years ago. She recently emailed her former colleagues the following idea:  Received this today. Creative idea … easy and worth a try.
Listen Up! The Republicans need to get the message from the majority of Americans that we value and need the benefits of Obamacare. Here’s how we do that:
     On January 23rd, everyone who feels that way (our numbers are legion) sends a note to Donald Trump with a simple message:  “Don’t make America sick again. Improve Obamacare. Don’t repeal it.”  Just that simple message. Put it in an envelope, and put a stamp on it.  One envelope for every ACA supporter in your household…even if they are under 18 years old.  On January 23rd, mail it to 
Pres. Donald Trump,
 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW,
 Washington, DC 20500.
     Can you imagine the picture of 53 MILLION letters arriving at the White House by January 26th? It will be a mountain. That image might help deter the Republicans from killing the most substantial improvement to American healthcare since the discovery of Penicillin. Do it today! Drop it into a mailbox near you on Monday, January 23rd. Please send this email to 20 (or more) of your friends, neighbors and fellow Americans. Ask them to do the same.  This also helps out the US Postal Service, with about $20 Million of stamp sales. Don’t send emails to Trump…they don’t photograph well.
This is about images, since words and ideas are falling on deaf ears. 
     Editor’s note:  many of us followed this advice. Thanks, Carol.

From Barbara Sutton:  Well, at least all 2,000 of us stood for a couple of hours. The best line I heard was about snowflakes. One speaker said she was accused of being a snowflake. (daughter Mary told me that’s what Trumpists are calling liberals – snowflakes, delicate and disintegrate.) So the speaker said, “I’m from Syracuse. And all of us know what happens when lots of snowflakes get together. It’s a storm!” Good crowd for this line.

From Jenifer Marx:
We had a modest but thrilling march of about 600 grandmothers, mothers, children, and some men across the Eau Gallie Causeway over the Indian River Lagoon. Great spirit and a beginning.


At the right, Dee marches with a friend.  What fun they all had and so much enthusiasm from people all over the world.  It was a great day.


From Kim Holmquist:  They expected 2000 but we were more than 5000!  Such a great turnout of young, old, men and women –even dogs!   Imaginative signs and costumes.  This one says “Hands Off!”   So glad I participated!  Now we must continue to stay engaged!   Hard when POTUS argues about crowd sizes!!  A friend compiled a LIST OF SIGNS she’d seen or heard of, listed below.  (Editor’s Note:  Since this is historical, I decided not to omit the distasteful ones.  If you think they should be removed, please let me know which ones.  Thanks)









Defiant Voices Flood U.S. Cities as Women Rally for Rights

Defiant Voices Flood U.S. Cities as Women Rally for Rights
By SUSAN CHIRA and Jacky Naegelen, JAN. 21, 2017
WASHINGTON — The day after what many had assumed would be the inauguration of the first female president, hundreds of thousands of women flooded the streets of Washington, and many more marched in cities across the country, in defiant, jubilant rallies against the man who defeated her.
     Protesters jammed the streets near the Capitol for the main demonstration, packed so tightly at times that they could barely move. In Chicago, the size of a rally so quickly outgrew early estimates that the official march that was scheduled to follow was canceled for safety, though many paraded through downtown, anyway.
     In Manhattan, Fifth Avenue became a tide of signs and symbolic pink hats, while in downtown Los Angeles, shouts of “love trumps hate” echoed along a one-mile route leading to City Hall, with many demonstrators spilling over into adjacent streets in a huge, festival-like atmosphere. The marches were the kickoff for what their leaders hope will be a sustained campaign of protest in a polarized nation, riven by an election that raised unsettling questions about American values, out-of-touch elites and barriers to women’s ambitions.
     Hundreds of thousands of women came out to march in Washington, D.C. There were also hundreds of solidarity marches held around the nation and the world.

By NEETI UPADHYE on January 21, 2017. Photo by Jim Wilson/The New York Times
     On successive days, two parallel and separate Americas were on display in virtually the same location. First there was President Trump’s inauguration, his message of an ailing society he would restore to greatness aimed at the triumphant supporters who thronged Washington on Friday.
    Then on Saturday, in what amounted to a counter inauguration, the speakers, performers and marchers proclaimed allegiance to a profoundly different vision of the nation. They voiced determination to protect an array of rights that they believe Mr. Trump threatens, and that they thought only recently were secure.
     “Thank you for understanding that sometimes we must put our bodies where our beliefs are,” Gloria Steinem, the feminist icon and an honorary chairwoman of the march, told those gathered in Washington. “Pressing ‘send’ is not enough.”
To mobilize a progressive movement reeling from Hillary Clinton’s defeat, organizers broadened the platform beyond longstanding women’s issues such as abortion, equal pay and sexual assault to include immigrant rights, police brutality, mass incarceration, voter suppression and environmental protection.
     But the march’s origins were in the outrage and despair of many women after an election that placed gender in the spotlight as never before.  Mrs. Clinton assertively claimed the mantle of history, offering herself as the champion of women and families, and calling out her opponent for boasting of forcing himself on women in a recording that prompted a national conversation about sexual assault.   In a sly allusion to the crude remarks Mr. Trump made on the tape, many marchers, women and men alike, wore pink “pussy hats” sporting cat ears.
     In Washington, demonstrators old and young pushed strollers and hoisted children onto their shoulders or guided elderly parents through the milling crowds. They waved handmade signs: “Hate Does Not Make America Great,” “I Will Not Go Back Quietly to the 1950s” and “I’m 17 — Fear Me!” They chanted, “This is what democracy looks like.’”
     Emma Wendt, 13, came with a large group of family members and schoolmates from Kensington, Md., for a simple reason: “being part of history.”


Boston’s Ducklings

We all loved this photo.  Wonderful memories of the Women’s March.