WGBH Journal; Nancy Drew Author Harriet Stratmeyer, Jackhammer Women, Womens Printshop In Cambridge, Louis Lyons
I have asked many times do I consider Nancy Drew to have been the first women's libber and I know it's her. Haha.
If so I was unconscious but kept bugging the guys that we used to be using me to make it out to you like you can do it because you know woman I say I can do it you know I can play things you can do.
So I took the jacket when I showed him that I could use it just like they own your own work and we were going to work with your husband. Clemens the rumor don't get discouraged when the pool was pretty for women.
GBH radio has devoted much of its programming this week to a focus on women in honor of International Women's Day which was celebrated yesterday. In today's edition of GBH Journal we have three features which deal with women who bring unusual perspectives to their work.
We have interviews with an author a jackhammer operator and owners of a print shop. Then to close the show lines we'll take a look at the news. Harriet Stratemeyer Adams is the author of 178 books for children most of which are mysteries. She has been writing professionally for almost 50 years and has had a such a prolific career that the odds are very good that her work is familiar to you. Under one name or another. John Morgan tells more.
Just about everyone likes a good mystery story. You know the kind. The one that keeps you on the edge of your seat knees knocking teeth chattering jumping in even the slightest sound. Well many of us as young impressionable readers boys and girls alike read both the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys Series with wide eyed admiration.
But what about the authors of these spine tingling classics. Who are they. Well the greatest mystery of all is that the author of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys as well as the Bobbsey twins the Dana girls and the Tom Swift series are all one in the same person and the real name is not Carolyn Keene or Franklin W. Dixon or Laura Lee Hope she is Harriet Stratemeyer Adams. I spoke with Mrs. Adams recently at an achievement awards ceremony held at her own alma mater Wellesley College. Mrs. Adams graduated from Wellesley in 1914. I asked Mrs. Adams if her most famous female sleuth Nancy Drew had changed as a character over the years.
I consider Nancy Drew to have been the first women and if so I was unconscious. I think you know she has become a code so. And most psychiatrists some of the cases she's handled I find myself in writing advising people through her lips WHAT TO DO NOT to do what has been the value system that you've used from which Nancy's actions spring. Well I think I'm probably in that Wellesley motto nomen a strawberry said in the struggle not to be ministered unto but to end the strike. So Nancy is never asking people to help her. She's always hoping oh there's. When was the first book published 1930. My father did the first three and then later after I took over the series I reviewed those books to take out some of the things which were. Like in the car and the opposition and various things to do with ethnic groups. Oh of the mood. Even from the earliest books I ever did you feel that you.
Were accepted as a writer when you began writing was it easy for you to fill in your father's footsteps.
Oh I had many problems with men as hers. They always want to rewrite my books to their way of thinking of how a girl should be. Course I never permit that. But they are too.
Where do your solutions and clues come from. They from personal experience or solely from your imagination.
Both but not so much clues as adventures make episodes in the story. I actually am writing a mystery story you have to have the solution firmly in mind before we can begin. And I find it call it a game to start in pretending I don't know how it's going to come out and this is how I work up cuh. I always make an we want and if more I start dictating stories. That was hopelessly lost.
Do any of your experiences come from things that have happened to you or you've heard about.
Oh yes things in my own childhood and Lidgerwood and even the answers on trips I take doing research and then my children and grandchildren.
What do you think is the universal appeal of the mystery many people have compared you to Agatha Christie in that you've been very prolific and you've been read by many generations and that people keep reading them over and over what's the appeal.
I think people would in their own way have this freeze. Which might sometimes be called ProComp limbs and sometimes in talking to groups. Oh I know he had some problems. I say treat the problem as it were mystery. Pretend your name is you drew or or and saw like a mystery hunt for clues. Get evidence and figure it out.
Do you think in some ways Nancy was the way that you could live out the adventure you really weren't having in your own life. You could let this. Nancy Drew be the person that maybe you'd like to have been at age 18.
Yes very much. I always wanted to do things on my ome. And of course in the age where this wasn't to children or even to teenagers how would you rank the Nancy Drew mysteries in the Bobbsey twins and the Hardy Boys the books all the series you have written.
How would you rank them on a literary basis I think.
The books I've written in the last 10 years are perhaps better than some of those whom away and I would call them good literature.
Are you writing anything now or are you sitting back and enjoy the years of writing and rewriting and work that you have done in the past. I am writing all the time.
I'm on a Nancy Drew sleuth book clues to good sleuthing and as soon as I finish it I will be doing the 1970 even on an interview.
With Harriet Stratemeyer ADAMS This is Joe Morgan.
Lawrence Cook has a rather unusual season job for the city of Cambridge. He operates a jackhammer for that city's Department of Public Works. Neither working procedure or operating a jackhammer is particularly unusual. But as a woman jackhammer operator Florence Cook finds herself one of a very small number of people she shares some reflections on her work with reporter Andrea Davis.
Florence Cook is a black mother of eight children. This year after almost 20 years at home raising her children she got a job to see that the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act to work for the Department of Public Works in Cambridge Massachusetts. She works on the street crew.
When I first out I was using the jackhammer like I'm doing now the some guys do.
It was another woman. It was interesting because I never use a jackhammer before. And they show me how to use it and I loved it fs and it seemed like a tomato and I wanted to use I kept bugging the guys let me use let me use it and they tell me get audio like you can do it because you're a woman I say I can do it you know I can do anything you can do.
So I took the jacket.
And I showed him that I could use it just like they could we cut out water cuts in the straight and clean the hole out and then another crew will come by and put the binding in the hard top and it's not that hard really because the fellows I work with like if I come in one day and I don't feel good to tell me to take it easy of some but I still do my work but you know it's not really that.
Do they treat you differently because you're a woman to give you razzing anything they don't have as movers sometimes they'll try to pull the mantrip while your woman so you can do this not going to help either. If there's something too heavy and I'll call one of the guys I would help make you say what you suppose I say I didn't tell you I was Hercules or nothing like that for you get over and help me you know. What were you doing before you started working for Sita Fong taking care of eight kids in the house day in day out doing nothing.
On a cool one time what Carter has said that he wanted to take everybody off welfare and just have a family of four which meant a wife a husband and two kids and and help with the rest of us.
So that really got me to thinking you know what's going to happen to me and my kids you know how you know how am I going to support them. This ain't one of the best jobs I picked to support my kids but is there anything I can do at this time. So I just got up and come out to work.
What was the job that you really wanted.
It's OK I want to go in training for the mechanics tronics but they don't seem to have any openings right now for me to do. But when I was little I used to take the radios of clocks. I loved taking things apart and put them back together always did you know I don't like tripe and in all like that I like to sit with my hands you know and say you know you know where the why is goal and what makes something tick like pick a cow and put it back together.
I always was like that since I was little.
Did you ever get a chance to do anything like that in school.
When I went to school no not when I went to school girls weren't allowed to do all that but I know as my daughter's not the one that's twal mainly She takes one work and she don't want to take so if she loves it which I think is that in my case I wish I could when I was a kid take woodworking and like that I love the work but would you know tree mechanics which I love doing that. And so now she'll have a chance that I didn't have which I think is dynamite.
Are you making more money this way than you were on welfare.
I make a little more like welfare. I try to cut me cut my check down too much. But I'm fighting that case now because it cut it way down and I still got seven kids to support my oldest is on his own and I got to. It's in high school too that's in junior high and this isn't grandma's So it's still a little bit odd.
What do you think is going to happen in the future you think you going to stick with this job or are you going to try and get into the mechanical stuff you're interested in.
OK what I want to do is stay with the city as long as I can. So that means I have to fill out some silver service papers which I'm going to do and send it in. And if Cambridge has no programs open up I guess I have to go to school on my own but I'll still have to say you know some kind of money are you going to stick it out so that nobody can say you quit. Almost took the whole year just to prove to a guy you know that I don't have to pay and I can work beside you just like other guys can with guys in the slots along with women out there working if they think they can do it.
It's not a long way. If I think I can't do that I'll tell me I can't do it. Annette and the Spaza girls and they say that's OK because they call me cookie.
That's OK cookie. You know I mean that by this time you're working with for months now that we all have a lot of respect for each other they don't have as mean no more like they start at the beginning.
And we all have understood a good understanding now how how big are you how tall are you. About 5 1 I weigh a ball. 150 not very tall at all shot fat losing a little bit of weight which is good. Do you think of yourself as a strong person.
No but I also know that if I'm using the jackhammer I know I can do it.
Do you have any advice for women who might think of doing this.
Sure don't go through that you're stronger than that guy just go into the best you can. And is this something you can do is nothing along with saying help me. And if they get smart with us some time hey you need help at times too.
You know it's not only us women.
For GBH Journal. I'm Henrietta Davis in Cambridge Massachusetts.
Operating a printing press is another form of physical labor which is often overlooked as a profession in which women take part.
Physically difficult tiring and extremely boring. There is a small and successful print shop in Cambridge known by two women.
Our reporter has more of the demand for multiple copies of signs flyers and various other forms of printed paper has increased as evidenced by the countless Xerox and offset shops that have sprung up all over Boston. You really see print shops that make use of the old fashioned letter presses. If you were to come across such a shop you'd probably not expect to see women manning or should I say women in the presses located behind Central Square in Cambridge tram printers is one place where you will find women at work printing up stationery posters miniature books and other fine designs printers Jude Goldman and Jan Whitted would like to see more women learn vocational skills like printing. They also point out that women are not really new to the field pretty much.
Have a do you guys trio in corneal in America many women with printers who worked with their husbands in the shops. There's a rumor that the Declaration of Independence was printed by a woman women in printing. Women have had a hard time getting into printing because of a high paid skilled profession. The excuse that's often given is that it's something that would be dangerous to them. Recently more and more women are getting into printing through the high school of occasional schools which are encouraging young girls to go into printing. Most women that we know were in Britain got their training from other women who are already in a shop and hired women to work with them.
We didn't learn how to do so I learned by starting a shop with some other people. Several years ago we basically we got a little bit of training from another shop but we pretty much taught ourselves. And I also learned letterpress by working at San Francisco at a friends I went to Boston trade high school at night and it was a good place to go if you really wanted the training. But it wasn't encouraging and it wasn't that good home Graham. At the same time I did that I got a job in a friend's printing shop and. After that worked in companies and is there any reason why women have kept out physically. I mean is it dirty or is it hard work. It's dirty but you can clean up afterwards. That's not in the things you can build is heavy but unless you're running a very large press it's you know it's heavier than it's probably heavier than typing but not heavier than moving a large file cabinet with women of course a secretarial yourselves. Well there's a whole history and printing of trim printers who were people go from town to town from city to city to do whatever jobs really necessary in that particular place for the day it was usually day by day labor. And before we had our shop we were caring type cases in our car and traveling from press to press using other people to whip you. So when we finally did find its location and settle down. Because we really like the tradition because it has nothing to do with the other implications of the word travel. Definitely not at the beginning. People would raise eyebrows you know but we generally felt that if we have to introduce ourselves we trained as a hobo. But speaking of people raising eyebrows do you have problems of anybody not dealing with you seriously as well. Not our clients are the people who come to us and concerned with work and many of them are concerned with having women do quality work. And that's why we get you on their orders. On the other hand our suppliers are primarily men who are used to dealing with men. Some of them in primarily those who are older and don't need to feel threatened are really supportive. And some of the really horrible and don't take us seriously and don't give us the same treatment that they would get a million. And it's it's really it can be difficult. We recently bought a brand new off the press from a local supplier and we went to a cocktail party that they had and at the cocktail party our press was sitting there on the floor and there was another there with a man. And we went up to have a look at him. Good well girl this is the printing press and we could we just bought it. I didn't believe it at all until the whole of the Living on our press. But that's the kind of thing that we run into a lot where people just don't take it seriously.
For GBH Journal this is Vivian Duquesne in Cambridge.
For a look at the new series commentator.
The government reports that wholesale food prices rose another 3 percent in February pushing up the overall wholesale price index past 1 percent for the month. That's right double last year's inflation. Even as the Carter administration moved to court today for a Taft-Hartley injunction against the coast right it holds in reserve the alternative of seizing the mines. If the miners balked at the injunction the hearing before the present fact finding board strongly indicates that they well and they found some support the auto workers union has pledged to millions to the miners relief fund. The auto union president Douglas Fraser saying is union has not forgotten the miners support for their organizing struggles. Forty years ago he favored seizure of the mines as the miners do when that action was followed in the Truman administration the miners were able to secure help in pension funds from negotiation with the government during the period of seizure.
The administration would have preferred seizure where the Taft-Hartley is anathema to unions. It was passed by a Republican Congress over President Truman's veto but seizure requires an act of Congress and that would mean delay and possible political division while fighting off the Panama treaty amendments the administration would understandably avoid further division of action.
Instead it seeks to make the injunction acceptable urging the operators to start now to pay the increase they agreed Joe saying it's not intended to force anyone back to work but to protect the miners who do return. The administration reportedly counts on piecemeal reduction of the strike by settlements of individual companies with district unions.
Some districts supported the contract after the hearing but the fact finding board yesterday its chairman noted deep divisions not so much between the national negotiators as among the people from the various districts and locals. The real difficulty he said is that their concerns vary all over the lot.
Some of our some initial some about another union struggle reached a climax yesterday. The president of the J.P. Stephens textile company resigned under pressure from the board of The New York Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company. The National Textile Union claimed to be the source of the pressure. The union had threatened withdraw over a billion dollars in pension and trust funds from the bank. But the union had support the Stevens stockholders meeting heard the National Council of Churches among others. Civic groups and Dos a boycott of Stevens products in protest against quote obstructive and illegal tactics and quote against union organization. These have included 15 citations for violations of labor laws and contempt action by two courts for ignoring injunctions.
The church council said action will be taken against Stevens directors in other corporations.
The agreement finally reached last night in Italy that except the Communists and the government coalition will influence the French parliamentary elections that starts Sunday for president. This card has campaigned against the communist socialist coalition on the issue that the French economy is too fragile to stand the program of the left. But polls show the left coalition well ahead of the center right grouping that she's Khan has put together with Chirac's Neo Gaullist a big question mark is the first voting of 18 year olds. They're assumed lean to the left as France middle class increasingly has done with the cityward movement of population from the conservative rural districts into technical occupations.
But serious divisions have arisen between Miller and socialists and the Communists over such issue is nationalizing industry. The solidity of the left coalition will be tested only in the second round of their election a week from Sunday for French elections like Boston's first and elimination final round. The left coalition agreement is that each party will refrain from opposing in the second round the candidates of the other leading first.
The Italian political agreement meets the communist demand for a share in the government that brought the resignation of the embryonic cabinet in January.
A compromise now accepts the communist as one of the five parties in the government coalition that determines policy without including them in the cabinet bringing the communists into the Italian government. Is it defeat for American policy which is strenuously oppose it as also in France.
Has Israel as prime minister begun prepares to come to Washington Monday. The issue of the settlements widens the rift between Bergen and President Carter.
It's also brought embarrassing internal division to both Begin's government a shop a divided over the issue Israel's intense defense minister is a wiseman now in Washington telephoned a threat to resign unless the extension of West Bank settlements would stop. He was promised further activity would be halted pending begins discussions in Washington and the Carter administration also feels the strain of its relations with Israel.
The White House aide assigned to listen with the Jewish community quit that role after he was booed at a United Jewish appeals meeting while trying to defend the planned sales to Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
The United States is holding off support for the Rhodesian agreement that he and Smith completed with the black political leaders inside Rhodesia. A great deal remains unclear about it Secretary that says he and Britain's David Owen are conferring about the position to take on the issue that the Organization of African Unity has brought before the United Nations Security Council. The Africans protest the failure to include the Patriotic Front in the negotiated agreement for the transfer of power.
Joshua and Koma leader of the Patriotic Front charges the agreement would perpetuate a white group bishop who signed the agreement with Smith both at the UN and seeking to be heard by the council but has refused to meet with the base.
This transcript is machine-generated and has not been corrected. It is likely there will be errors.
- WGBH Journal
- Nancy Drew Author Harriet Stratmeyer, Jackhammer Women, Womens Printshop In Cambridge, Louis Lyons
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