Our international woman

“Woman’s” – that’s not a typo. Of course March 8th is International Women’s Day, plural, as in all women of the world. But key to observing is framing with context. So let’s focus on Ethel Bertling O’Hare, born in 1873 in western Ohio.

Great farmland that German immigrants immediately realized could yield great bounties and grow nice communities. Ethel may not have travelled the world – she was born in the US to immigrants, but she did travel the country at a young age, alone or with female relatives. Secured advanced education in nursing, waited for my grandfather Leo to summon the nerve to commit to marriage. Gave birth to two sons and helped them and most of her family endure the “Spanish” flu.

Petite but rock solid. I only knew her as an elderly but feisty woman. Thanks to the relatively new technology of photography, this image was captured and this picture exists. It’s a testament to the beautiful young woman that was Ethel, 56 years before she was my grandma, a woman worthy of international note.

Here’s to all women of note.

Perfect longhand, written in pencil on the reverse, tells us this was taken on July 26, 1900, with Ethel posed “in her first long dress.”

– Jim O’Hare

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