Category Archives: Empowered Women

Clara Bow - Empowered Women in History - Historical Fiction Author Kari Bovee

Flash Briefing: Clara Bow

Join host Kari Bovee, award-winning author of historical fiction as she shares stories of strong women of history combined with mysteries of the past.

>> Listen to Flash briefing HERE. <<

Named the first ever “It girl,” Clara Bow made a huge impact in the roaring twenties and was known as one of the decade’s leading sex symbols.

In 1921, at sixteen years old, she entered a nationwide acting contest called “Fame and Fortune.”

Showing up in her tomboyish sweater, lackluster skirt, and with absolutely no experience, Clara’s chances of winning were slim. But when she turned on the emotion, she won the judges over. She walked away with a silver trophy and an evening gown.

After the contest, Clara dropped out of high school to pursue her dreams. Then with two Clara Bow - Empowered Women in History - Historical Fiction Author Kari Boveemovies under her belt, Clara felt she was on her way, but then tragedy struck. Her mother’s mental health began to deteriorate after a diagnosis of epilepsy. Her father offered little help and left Clara alone to deal with her mother’s erratic fits of rage and temper. One night, Clara woke up to her mother holding a knife to her throat. Clara’s father had his wife committed. Even though Clara knew this was in her best interest, it still caused her great distress and in 1923, her mother died.

That same year, Clara left her father and New York and headed for Hollywood. She secured several other silent film roles and charmed audiences with her perky personality and her bold sexuality. She portrayed the perfect, adorable and charming “flapper” and the motion picture world took notice.

In 1926 she signed her first big movie contract with Paramount Pictures, and in 1927 she landed the lead role in a movie called It. The film was an instant box office success and Clara Bow became America’s first “It girl.”

Clara starred in 46 silent films, and eleven “talkies.” Her star burned bright, but at age 26, the actress burned out and started to show signs of mental instability, much like her mother. In 1931, Clara married Rex Bell, a rancher from Texas. She dropped out of Clara Bow - Empowered Women in History - Historical Fiction Author Kari BoveeHollywood and went to his ranch to recuperate. She starred in two more movies, but then officially retired from acting two years later to devote her life to her husband and sons.

But, Clara’s gradual slide into mental illness culminated in a suicide attempt in 1944. She was  diagnosed with schizophrenia. When she was released from the hospital, she did not return to the ranch but instead bought a modest bungalow where she lived out the rest of her days until she succumbed to a heart attack in 1965.

Clara Bow became one of America’s best-loved film icons and the highest paid actress of her day. She influenced some of the most powerful people in Hollywood, and also the common woman who wanted to personify the loveable flapper with her “Clara Bow heart-shaped lips” and her charming down-to-earth realism and individuality.

Lady Henry Somerset - Empowered Women in History - Historical Fiction Author Kari Bovee

Flash Briefing: Lady Henry Somerset

Join host Kari Bovee, award-winning author of historical fiction as she shares stories of strong women of history combined with mysteries of the past.

>> Listen to Flash briefing HERE. <<

Bertha Honoré Palmer and her Board of Lady Managers set out to celebrate and honor women of the world who were dedicated to making a difference through their art, their philanthropy, and their beliefs at the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893.

One such woman who was invited to speak at The Woman’s Building was lady Henry Lady Henry Somerset - Empowered Women in History - Historical Fiction Author Kari BoveeSomerset, an advocate of women’s rights and the Temperance Movement.

Born to London nobility, Lady Isabella Caroline Somers-Cocks was the first born of Charles Somers-Cocks, third Earl of Somers, and his wife Virginia. Fun fact, Isabella was also the first cousin of the writer Virginia Woolf’s mother, Julia Stephen. The family was deeply religious and raised as an Anglican, young Isabella had aspirations to become a nun.

But, it was not to be. In 1872, she married Lord Henry Somerset and two years later, they had a son. However, what seemed to be an idyllic marriage was doomed to failure as Lord Henry was homosexual. Because homosexuality was against the law in England at the time, Isabella, as a woman, was expected to keep her husband’s secret and remain in an unhappy marriage. But this wouldn’t do. She separated from Lord Henry and sued for custody of their son, thus exposing her husband’s infidelities.

She won custody of her son and Lord Henry moved to Italy, but because of her deep religious convictions, Lady Henry would not divorce her husband. Although she still enjoyed her life as a titled, wealthy heiress, the custody battle, the couple’s separation and Lady Henry Somerset - Empowered Women in History - Historical Fiction Author Kari Boveeher husband’s sexual orientation resulted in scandal and Lady Henry was shunned by London society. She moved to Ledbury and immersed herself in the raising of her son and charity work. When her father died in 1883 he left her vast estates in Surrey, properties in London, and the slums in the East End.

Her interest in Temperance came about when a close, personal friend committed suicide while intoxicated. She was also alarmed by the considerable occurrence of public drunkenness she witnessed in the streets of London’s East End, particularly in children. She became a member of the Order of Rechabites, an organization dedicated to the promotion of total abstinence from alcoholic beverages.

In 1890, Lady Henry was elected president of the British Women’s Temperance Association. The following year, she travelled to the United States, where she spoke at the first World’s Christian Temperance Association convention in Boston. In 1893, she would return to the United States to speak at the Woman’s Building on women’s rights and temperance at the request of the Board of Lady Managers.

In 1895, Lady Henry opened the Colony for Women Inebriates, a facility intended to Lady Henry Somerset - Empowered Women in History - Historical Fiction Author Kari Boveerehabilitate alcoholics, in Surrey, England where she devoted the rest of her life to the women who’d come seeking help from their addictions.

Did you know that Annie Oakley believed in temperance? Raised a Quaker, she never touched alcohol. I wonder if she went to see Lady Henry speak at The Woman’s Building of the Columbian Exposition in 1893?

In celebration of my newest release in the Annie Oakley Mystery series, Folly at the Fair, I am giving away three signed copies of the book! To enter just go to http://karibovee.com/raffle/ Good luck!!

Helena Modjeska - Empowered Women in History - Historical Fiction Author Kari Bovee

Flash Briefing: Helena Modjeska

Join host Kari Bovee, award-winning author of historical fiction as she shares stories of strong women of history combined with mysteries of the past.

>> Listen to Flash briefing HERE. <<

 The Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago was filled with attractions from around the Helena Modjeska - Empowered Women in History - Historical Fiction Author Kari Bovee world. Great Britain was represented with a model of its latest warship, the Victoria. Japan hosted an outdoor exhibit of its unique Buddhist temple, and Egypt’s “Streets of Cairo” featured beautiful belly dancers. Fairgoers could walk through a Moorish palace, a German Village, and pavilions from Canada, Norway and Russia to name just a fe

One of the most interesting aspects of the fair was the celebration of women, thanks largely to the efforts of Bertha Honoré Palmer and the Board of Lady Managers. These women were dedicated to making the woman’s voice, and the woman’s cause, heard. Female artists, dancers, actresses, and suffragettes, were invited to show their talents, or speak their truths to the hordes of visitors who attended the fair. One such honored guest was the Polish Shakespearean actress, Helena Modjeska.

Born in Kraków, Poland in 1840, many of the aspects of Helena’s parentage and early life are ambiguous. Also uncertain in Helena’s history were the details concerning her first marriage, to her former guardian, actor and director, Gustave Sinnmayer—even to Helena. Years later, she discovered the marriage was null and void as he was still married to his first wife.

In 1861 Helena made her stage debut and for twelve years she graced the stage of theaters in Krakow and Warsaw, establishing herself as a consummate Shakespearean star. During that time, she left Gustav and in 1868 she married a Polish nobleman, Karol Bozenta  Helena Modjeska - Empowered Women in History - Historical Fiction Author Kari BoveeChlapowski who was employed as the editor of a liberal nationalist newspaper. Helena later wrote that their home became the center of the artistic and literary world of Kraków. Poets, authors, artists, actors and politicians clamored to frequent the couple’s salon.

In 1876, Helena and her husband emigrated to America to, in her words, “settle down somewhere in the land of freedom, away from the daily vexations to which each Pole was exposed in Russian or Prussian Poland.” 

Despite the fact she could barely speak English, Helena was discovered by theatrical agent Harry J. Sargent who signed her for a tour on the east coast where she made her New York debut. She then spent three years abroad, mainly in London, attempting to improve her English, before returning to the stage in America where she achieved great success as a Shakespearean actress.

In 1893 Helena was invited by the Board of Lady Managers to speak to a women’s conference at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Her topic was the plight of women under Russian and Prussian ruled Poland. The talk resulted in a Tsarist ban on her traveling in Russian territory.

My novel, Folly at the Fair, the third installment in the Annie Oakley Mystery series, takes place at the Columbian Exposition of 1893, where Annie Oakley herself was one of the empowered women celebrated at the Fair. In celebration of the book’s recent release I am giving away three signed copies. To enter simply go to http://karibovee.com/raffle/

 

 

 

Sophia Bennet - Empowered Women in History - Historical Fiction Author Kari Bovee

Flash Briefing: Sophia Hayden – Empowered Woman in History

Join host Kari Bovee, award-winning author of historical fiction as she shares stories of strong women of history combined with mysteries of the past.

>> Listen to Flash briefing HERE. <<

Sophia Hayden is best known for designing The Woman’s Building at the Columbian Exposition in 1893. She was only twenty-one years old.

Born in Santiago, Chili, Sophia would leave there at a very young age, on her own, to attend school. At six years old, Sophia’s parents, Elezena Fernandez, a Santiago native, and George Henry Hayden, an American dentist from Boston, sent their daughter to Jamaica Plain, a suburb of Boston to live with her grandparents and attend the Hillside School. 

Later, at Roxbury High School, Sophia became interested in architecture. An extremely Sophia Bennet - Empowered Women in History - Historical Fiction Author Kari Boveebright and dedicated student, she was then accepted to MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts where she obtained a degree in architecture and graduated with honors. But unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to get her hired as an architect, most likely because she was a woman. After graduation, she took a job at Boston High School as a mechanical drawing teacher.

Fast forward to 1891. Businesswoman, philanthropist, and socialite Bertha Honoré Palmer and her Board of Lady Managers, a group of women dedicated to representing women at the Columbian Exposition of 1893, needed someone to design The Woman’s Building to do just that. They ran a design competition for female architects. Thirteen women entered the competition by submitting their designs. Hayden based her design on her college thesis project, a striking classic Renaissance structure with pavilions at the center and both ends, multiple arches and columned terraces. She won first prize and the chance to go down in history as the only female architect involved in the building of what would become known as the White City. 

However, the Board of Lady Managers and Sophia didn’t see eye to eye on much of Sophia Bennet - Empowered Women in History - Historical Fiction Author Kari Boveeanything after the contest, particularly concerning philosophies of obtaining furnishings and art for the interior. Sophia also faced frustration with the continual changes demanded by Bertha Palmer and her construction committee. Other architects sympathized with and defended Sophia’s ideals, but in the end, Bertha Palmer fired her.

Sophia’s frustration and dismay at being removed from the project was somewhat soothed with an award for the building’s “delicacy of style, artistic taste, and geniality and elegance of the interior.”

The following year, Hayden designed a memorial for women’s clubs in the U.S. but the memorial was never built. Hayden never worked as an architect again. Sadly, all of the buildings in the White City were destroyed two years after the Fair.

Since all of my books in the Annie Oakley Mystery series feature strong, talented and empowered women, I had to highlight the Woman’s Building in my latest release Folly at the Fair, which takes place during the Columbian Exposition of 1893. In celebration of the release I am giving away three signed copies of the book to my Alexa listeners. All you have to do to enter is go to http://karibovee.com/raffle/ I hope you are a winner! Good luck!

 

Bertha-Honore-Palmer-Empowered Women in History

Flash Briefing: Bertha Honore Palmer, Empowered Woman in History

Join host Kari Bovee, award-winning author of historical fiction as she shares stories of strong women of history combined with mysteries of the past.

>> Listen to Flash briefing HERE. <<

In 1870, at twenty-one years of age, Bertha Matilde Honoré married Chicago millionaire Bertha-Honore-Palmer-Empowered Women in HistoryPotter Palmer, a merchant who’d made his fortune catering to the tastes and needs of women through his popular mercantile. Palmer made even more money when he sold his store to a retail syndicate that would eventually become Marshall Fields.

With his riches, Palmer invested in real estate. He also built a luxury hotel which he named The Palmer House. Unfortunately, the hotel and many of their other assets fell victim to the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Luckily, with the help of Bertha, Palmer was able to re-establish his fortune and rebuild his hotel, which would soon become the toast of the town and a Chicago landmark.

Meanwhile, Bertha was on the rise to the top of Chicago’s social elite. She became one of the earliest members of the Chicago Woman’s Club, a group of women dedicated to creating solutions to their cities’ social and economic concerns. The group in Chicago campaigned for impoverished children and also for the children of women incarcerated in prison. In addition, they developed and supported early childcare in the form of preschools and kindergartens, and petitioned for them to become part of the Chicago school system.

In 1891,Chicago was preparing for the World’s Columbian Exposition to take place in the city in 1893. Women played a large role in the planning of the fair, led by Bertha Palmer, the new President of the Board of Lady Managers. Collectively, they set out to celebrate women from around the world, and did so first by hiring female architect Sophia Hayden to design and build what would become known as the Woman’s Building.

The Woman’s Building contained exhibits of works by women across a variety of fields from fine art, applied art, literature and music, to science and home economics. There were also exhibits about women in American History and other cultures and places in the world.

Annexed to the Woman’s Building was the Children’s Building which exhibited American 19th century best practices for child-rearing and education.

In addition to her social causes, Bertha had passion for art, primarily French Impressionist art. She and her husband amassed quite a collection including almost thirty Monet’s and a dozen Renoirs. These works now form the core of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Impressionist collection.  

Later in life, after the death of her husband, Bertha purchased over 80,000 acres of land in Florida. An astute business woman, she became a progressive rancher and farm developer. She introduced many innovations to foster Florida’s ranching, citrus, dairy, and farming industries. Within sixteen years after her husband’s death, she managed to double the value of the estate he had left her.

Bertha Palmer was such a prominent figure in the history of the Columbian Exposition of 1893, I just had to make mention of her in my latest release, Folly at the Fair. In fact, in the book she invites Annie Oakley, Buffalo Bill, and other members of the Wild West Show to a party at the lovely Palmer House hotel where Annie’s sidekick, investigative journalist Emma Wilson has taken up residence. 

In honor of the release of Folly at the Fair, I will be giving away three signed copies of the book. All you have to do to enter is go to http://karibovee.com/raffle/ Good luck!

 

Perle de Vere- Empowered Women in History - Historical Fiction Author Kari Bovee

Flash Briefing: Perle de Vere

Join host Kari Bovee, award-winning author of historical fiction as she shares stories of strong women of history combined with mysteries of the past.

>> Listen to Flash briefing HERE. <<

Shortly after her arrival in Denver at the age of fourteen or fifteen, a girl with mysterious beginnings, who called herself “Miss Martin” became known as Perle de Vere, a beautiful Perle de Verea- Empowered Women in History - Historical Fiction Author Kari Boveewoman with red-hair, a strong will, and good business sense. Her family believed she worked as a dress designer and catered to Denver’s wealthiest women. But, in fact, she catered to the city’s wealthiest men as a favorite prostitute.

During the Silver Panic of 1893, business in Denver dried up. Miss de Vere, then at 30 years old, packed her bags and moved to the booming gold camp of Cripple Creek, Colorado. She invested her savings and bought a house on Myers street. She hired several beautiful girls and started her own brothel. Her business proved to be an instant success, affording Perle fine clothing and an extravagant lifestyle. She also knew how to protect her investment and demanded her girls practice good hygiene, dress well, and have monthly medical exams.

Perle, a discerning business woman and the most successful madam of the town, didn’t cater to just anyone. Patrons of her establishment had to apply for a visit. Once their application was approved and their wealth determined, Perle allowed them to choose their girl. Evenings at Perle’s house, called the Old Homestead, often consisted of live entertainment, socializing, cards, and dancing before the girls and their clients retired upstairs. Perle often hosted lavish parties with imported foods and plenty of champagne and other spirits.

Much of Pearl’s early life is shrouded in mystery, and so is her death. In the summer of 1897, Perle hosted an extravagant party sponsored by one of her wealthiest clients and Perle de Verea- Empowered Women in History - Historical Fiction Author Kari Boveemost ardent admirerers—a millionaire from either Poverty Gulch or Denver. Imported champagne, liquor, and caviar graced Perle’s establishment, for the wildest party the town would ever see. Perle’s admirer even brought her a beaded gown imported from Paris to wear to the event.

During the evening, after much drinking and revelry, Perle and her admirer got into an argument. He stormed out of the house and Perle retired to her bedroom. Later that night, one of the girls found Perle her lying on her bed, still in her gown, her breathing labored. Unable to rouse the madam, the girl called for a doctor, but it was too late. In the early hours of the morning, Perle de Vere died. She was 27. Gossip spread that Perle’s admirer poisoned her. The coroner stated her death was due to an accidental overdose of morphine, a drug she sometimes used for insomnia. Most of the newspapers reported the same, but one reported the death as suicide.

Perle de Vere- Empowered Women in History - Historical Fiction Author Kari Bovee

Most likely, Perle died of an accidental overdose, as the coroner stated. But, with a story as rich as hers, and with a cast of the intriguing characters she possibly entertained, it’s interesting to speculate on what might have happened to Colorado’s most famous “soiled dove.”

If you like to learn about more wild women of the west, you might be interested in some of my historical mystery novels featuring gutsy, sassy, female leads like Annie Oakley. You can find my books on Amazon.

Dora Hand - Empowered Women in History - Historical Fiction Author Kari Bovee

Flash Briefing: Dora Hand

Join host Kari Bovee, award-winning author of historical fiction as she shares stories of strong women of history combined with mysteries of the past.

>> Listen to Flash briefing HERE. <<

What woman could inspire four of Dodge City’s legendary lawmen to come together to find a killer? A beautiful songbird named Dora Hand.

Born between 1840 and 1844, Dora Hand came from a prominent Boston family. She is said to have studied music in Europe and had once performed opera in New York City. She married a musician named Ted Hand, but the relationship did not last.

Suffering from tuberculosis, Dora moved west for the dry air. She settled in Dodge City, Kansas, and the town was instantly smitten. Described as beautiful and gifted, legend has it that attentions for her favor caused more gunfights than any other woman in the west.

One of her most ardent admirers was James Kelley, also known as Dog Kelley, the mayor ofDora Hand - Empowered Women in History - Historical Fiction Author Kari Bovee Dodge and part-owner of the Alhambra Saloon and Gambling House. Dora sang every night at the Alhambra, and also sang at the Lady Gay Dance Hall and Saloon. She earned upwards of $75 per week.

Sweet natured and generous, Dora gave much back to the community through charity and good works. But, despite her benevolence, she still encountered her fair share of jealous and ill-meaning followers. Some thought her an angel, and others thought her a whore.

A Reverend Mr. Wright, a local pastor, both confounded and delighted his flock when he invited Dora to sing weekly at his Sunday evening services. Like her or not, every Sunday night the church was packed to hear the lovely Dora sing.

One of Dora’s admirers was Spike Kennedy, the son of a wealthy Texas cattle rancher. Spoiled and not adhering to his father’s Quaker sensibilities, or his mother’s Catholic devotion, Spike was, in short, a hell-raiser who loved drinking, gambling and whoring, and who felt he was above the law because of Daddy’s money—which, ultimately he was.

One night, after much drinking at the AlhamDora Hand - Empowered Women in History - Historical Fiction Author Kari Boveebra, Spike turned his attention to Dora. Dog Kelley threw him out on his ear. Humiliated, Spike would have his revenge. On an early October morning, Spike fired two shots into the thin walls of Kelley’s cabin. Little did he know, the mayor had gone to nearby Fort Dodge to visit a doctor for a stomach ailment. Sleeping in a bed in the back room of the cabin, was Dora. The second bullet zinged through the door, then the interior wall, and hit Dora in the side, killing her instantly.

Dodge’s renown lawmen, Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Charlie Bassett and Bill Tilghman set out to find Spike. They did, but he didn’t hang. His father somehow bought him an acquittal, and the court cited “lack of evidence.”

Dora’s funeral drew one of the biggest turnouts Dodge City had ever seen. It was said the town shut down for her funeral and 400 men rode behind the wagon carrying Dora’s body up Boot Hill for burial.

If you love tales of the old west, you might enjoy my Annie Oakley Mystery Series. You  can find the books on Amazon.

Eleanor Dumont - Empowered Women in History - Historical Fiction Author Kari Bovee

Flash Briefing: Eleanor Dumont

Join host Kari Bovee, award-winning author of historical fiction as she shares stories of strong women of history combined with mysteries of the past.

Eleanor Dumont - Empowered Women in History - Historical Fiction Author Kari Bovee>> Listen to Flash briefing HERE. <<

Gambling halls and bordellos. These were some of the most lucrative businesses of the old west. And one of the best known proprietors of such an establishment was a woman called Eleanor Dumont, also known as Madame Moustache.

Eleanor began life as Simone Jules and hailed from either France or New Orleans. She was a petite and pretty woman who excelled at the game of 21, the precursor of American Blackjack.

After she was accused of card sharping in San Francisco in 1854, Simone emerged onto the booming mining scene in Nevada City, California, as Eleanor Dumont, where she opened  her own gambling establishment. Her emporium was furnished with elegant style, and she often treated her guests to free champagne.

Charming and pretty, Eleanor had no trouble attracting men to sit at her table while she dealt the cards and gracefully rolled her cigarettes. While she had many admirers, Eleanor had no known lovers at this time. She kept her admirers at bay telling them she was a lady.

When the gold was all played out in Nevada City, Eleanor got out of the business. With a great deal of money in her purse, she moved to Carson City, Nevada where she bought a ranch. Soon she met Jack McKnight, a supposed cattle buyer, and fell head over heels. Eleanor Dumont - Empowered Women in History - Historical Fiction Author Kari BoveeLittle did she know that Jack was a swindler. In less than a month he sold Eleanor’s ranch and disappeared with all of her money, leaving her with enormous debts.

Eleanor tracked him down and shot him. She never claimed responsibility for the crime and was never charged. Years later, she allegedly confessed to killing him.

With no money and no prospects, Eleanor moved to various mining camps across the western United States and finally ended up in Bodie, California.

As the mining camps dried up, times were hard for Eleanor. Needing to support her establishment, she soon added prostitution to her business model. Now a true Madam, Eleanor changed in other ways as well. Where once she drank champagne in moderation and acted the lady in every way, she turned to whiskey, used rough language, and took up cigar smoking. She grew plump, and the once thin line of dark hair on her upper lip thickened earning her the name, Madame Moustache.

Life did not end happily for Madame Moustache. Strapped for cash, she borrowed $300 from a friend to open her table. Lady Luck abandoned her and she lost everything. Her body was found some time later with a suicide note. The coroner ruled cause of death as an overdose of morphine.

Fannie Brice - Empowered Women in History - Historical Fiction Author Kari Bovee

Flash Briefing: Fannie Brice

Join host Kari Bovee, award-winning author of historical fiction as she shares stories of strong women of history combined with mysteries of the past.

>> Listen to Flash briefing HERE. <<

Fanny Brice (sometimes spelled Fannie) was born on New York’s lower east side in 1891 as Fania Borach. The third child of Hungarian/Jewish saloon owners, Fanny’s interests were not in the family business. At fourteen years old, she made her stage debut during amateur night at Keeny’s Theater in Brooklyn. Shortly after, she started working in burlesque reviews as a singer and comedian.

In 1910 while performing in a burlesque show, she was noticed by famous show-man, Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. After the show, he approached her back stage and said he wanted to Fannie Brice - Empowered Women in History - Historical Fiction Author Kari Boveeput her under contract for his Ziegfeld Follies. Fanny agreed and thus began her long association with the popular entertainment icon. She performed in seven Follies between 1910 and 1923 and in several Midnight Frolic editions 1915 to 1921. In the 1921 Follies she was featured singing “My Man.” Wildly popular, the song became her signature hit.

Brice was most famous for her character Baby Snooks. She performed as Baby in the 1934 Follies. Fanny and Snooks then hit the airwaves in radio at CBS and The Baby Snooks Show was featured weekly till 1948. In 1944, Brice got her own half-hour show on CBS and earned $6,000 a week. Brice was so invested in Snooks, she would often do her radio performances in costume, even though her audience couldn’t see her.

Completely devoted to the character, she told biographer Norman Katov: “Snooks is just the kid I used to be. She’s my kind of youngster, the type I like. She has imagination. She’s eager. She’s alive. With all her deviltry, she is still a good kid, never vicious or mean. I love Snooks, and when I play her I do it as seriously as if she were real. I am Snooks. For twenty minutes or so, Fanny Brice ceases to exist.”

Brice was married three times, first to a local barber in her teens. The marriage lasted three days before she sued for divorce. Her second husband, known as the love of her life, Fannie Brice - Empowered Women in History - Historical Fiction Author Kari BoveeNicky Arnstein, was a lady’s man, professional gambler, and white collar criminal. Arnstein served fourteen months in Sing Sing for wiretapping, and Brice visited him in prison every week. In 1918 they married after living together for six years. In 1924 Arnstein was charged in a Wall Street bond theft , was convicted, and sentenced to Leavenworth Federal Prison where he served three years. Upon his release, he never returned to Fanny and their two children. She divorced him and then married Billy Rose, a songwriter and stage producer. Her third marriage, too, ended in divorce.

Fanny’s career was long and varied. She worked as a song “model”, comedian, singer, theater and movie actress. She starred in many films, two in which she plays herself, The Great Ziegfeld (1934) and The Ziegfeld Follies, (1936.) She recorded several songs for Victor and Columbia. After her death, she posthumously received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award for her 1921 recording of “My Man.”

At the age of 59, Fanny Brice died on May 29, 1951, of a cerebral hemorrhage in Hollywood, California, depriving the world of her varied and abundant talents. She is most famously portrayed in the movies Funny Girl (1968) and Funny Lady (1975) by the incredibly talented Barbara Streisand.

Wife Victoria - Empowered Women in History - Historical Fiction Author Kari Bovee

Flash Briefing: Wife Victoria

Join host Kari Bovee, award-winning author of historical fiction as she shares stories of strong women of history combined with mysteries of the past.

>> Listen to Flash briefing HERE. <<

I don’t know about you, but I love the history of the British monarchs—from the mythical  tales of King Arthur, to Henry VIII, to Elizabeth I, and beyond. Probably one of my most favorite monarchs is Queen Victoria. Up until the current reign of Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Victoria was the longest ruling monarch in Britain, reigning for 63 years. But not everyone wanted it that way. During her time as Queen, Victoria endured eight assassination attempts—eight because one of the would-be murderers tried to kill her twice.

Wife Victoria - Empowered Women in History - Historical Fiction Author Kari BoveeThe first attempt occurred in 1840, when Victoria was pregnant with her first child. Victoria and Albert were enjoying a carriage ride when a man by the name of Edward Oxford fired a pistol at the couple. Twice. And twice he missed. Unflustered, Victoria demanded the driver drive on, so they could continue their ride.

Two years later, a man named John Francis made an attempt on the Queen’s life while again, she and Albert were out in their carriage, but Francis either did not pull the trigger, or his gun didn’t fire. He then crossed the mall and ran into Green park. Victoria figured the best way to capture the man was to lure him out of hiding by yet another carriage ride the next day. But, this time, she ordered the carriage to ride faster. It probably saved their lives as Francis fired on them for real, this time.

There were five more attempts on Victoria’s life, but, unafraid, she never let it stop her from riding in an open air carriage, or attending outdoor events, to see and be seen by her adoring public. While such attempts are usually met with a death sentence, Victoria wouldn’t have it. None of her would be assassins suffered that fate—but they suffered another one, imprisonment for life.