NEWSLETTER: In The Tidal Pool

A Rube Goldberg perspective

Yesterday I voted in Boston's mayoral election where there were two candidates, both women. A little more than a century ago, this could not have happened -- neither me in the voting booth nor women on the ballot. Upstate New York had a lot to do with making it possible.
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Self-portrait with Bernardino Campi

How women saw themselves

This month, I'm talking about art again. Actually, a book about art, The Mirror and the Palette, by Jennifer Higgie, where she covers five hundred years of women's self-portraiture, a genre women have long practiced, even if mostly under the radar.
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The Rape of Europa painting by Titian

What would Titian do?

What would Titian do? With six of his paintings now on view at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, a bruhaha has arisen about how they should be presented to a contemporary audience. This leads me to wonder what Titian would do if he were among us today.
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Halston dress, mask and headpiece

A moment before everything changed

Earlier this summer I went to New York to see an exhibit about the life of Katharine Graham, the groundbreaking publisher of the Washington Post.
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Her face could move history

In last month's newsletter, I ruminated on how women can move history. Now I'm back with more on the subject, specifically Phebe Lord Upham, born in Maine in 1804.
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Lemon soda buttermilk parfait

Anna Karenina at the beach

Two years ago I was invited to give a reading in New York. My husband Andrew came with me and, naturally, we added museums and restaurants to the trip. One evening we went to Prune, a wonderful place on East 1st Street (now regrettably closed) run by chef Gabrielle Hamilton and her wife.
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Talking Covers and Newsletters

This month’s newsletter is about covers and newsletters. That sounds circular, to have a newsletter about a newsletter, but bear with me. First, though, let’s talk about covers. I’m a sucker for a good book cover. Probably you are too. It beckons and promises to transport you to another world. Everything about it – abstract...
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Vaccine news from 66 years ago

Vaccines are all the buzz these days. Saturated with news coverage, we’ve absorbed new terms like spike protein and messenger RNA, and learned that some vaccines, like Pfizer-BioNTech’s and Moderna’s, are really a new breed. Without recent advances in biotechnology, we wouldn’t have these vaccines at all. Did you know that the polio vaccine, which...
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Dr Susan Smith McKinney Steward

For them, work was more than a job

Susan Smith was born in 1847 into a farming family that raised pork in Weeksville, a section of Brooklyn, New York sandwiched between Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville and Crown Heights. Her nine siblings became school teachers and principals, but she went into medicine, graduating as valedictorian from New York Medical College for Women in 1870. When she...
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