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Claremont Courier FOCUS 2.2.13

Claremont Courier FOCUS 2.2.13

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Published by Claremont Courier
The Claremont Courier is the community newspaper in Claremont, CA. This is our special Focus on Women special section.
The Claremont Courier is the community newspaper in Claremont, CA. This is our special Focus on Women special section.

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Published by: Claremont Courier on Feb 02, 2013
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02/02/2013

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F
COUS
Unique women of Claremont
CHS wrestlers Dina Marron and Clarissa Garciawere always ready to step into the ring.
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Marilee Scaff has been donating her time tothe Claremont community for 7 decades.
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Monique Saigalʼsjourney fromthe FrenchResistanceto Claremont.
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February 2, 2013
See the entire FOCUS edition online at claremont-courier.com
 
FOCUS/Unique Women of Claremont 2013
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 A history lesson
by Sarah Torribio
One woman’s journey from the French Resistance to Claremont
Sugar and spice
by Chris Oakley
Dina Marron and Clarissa Garcia wrestle with the boys
 An activist’s perspective
by Beth Hartnett
Marilee Scaff keeps her eye on local politics
FOCUS: Unique Women of Claremont
O
ften studying the roleof women in frontier towns has been anafterthought. Not so inClaremont. From the very beginning women have beenan integral part of the story,through committees, businesses, organizations andelected and appointed office.
In Judy Wright’s book 
ClaremontWomen 1887-1950 They Created aCulture
she sums it up this way, “Ioften say that the men built thecollege(s) and the women built thetown.”Claremont founders included alarge number of college-educatedwomen—not the usual pattern infrontier communities.Since Pomona College was thereason for Claremont’s existence,faculty members were drawn fromeastern and mid-western collegetowns. Many of the wives of theseearliest pioneers were well aware of what they had lost in the “civilized” places they had left behind.One young woman looking norththrough the sagebrush from one of thefew buildings in early Claremontwrote: “I wept hot tears down my baby’s neck.” From these tears, acommitment to make this wild placemore like what they had left behindhad developed.One tradition they brought withthem was the New England TownMeeting, where men and women hadan equal voice and vote, beforewomen could vote in regular state or national elections. It has often beennoted that Claremont women beganserving in elective office far earlier than others in this valley.Sarah Bixby Smith served on theschool board from 1918 until 1926and our first city councilwoman waselected in 1946, to be followed bymany councils with a female majority.All of this occurring before womenwere admitted to the Rotary, Kiwanisor University Clubs.Another reason that the townattracted independent women was thatwidows were drawn to a town thatwas “dry,” where they could raisechildren away from publicdrunkenness. Widow Ruth Powell brought her children from San Diego,which was then a sailor’s town. Sheopened a dry goods store that later  became Powell’s Hardware. And she became the first postmaster in our 1930s post office. She was only thefirst of many women entrepreneurs— the Whinery Sisters Blue DiamondRestaurant, Kitty Urbanus’ firstgrocery store and the Barrett sisters’ pharmacy.The citrus packing houses wouldnot have functioned without the Angloand Mexican American women whosorted and packed the fruit. One of themost influential women in Claremontfor many years was Leila Ackerman,director of the Claremont Chamber of Commerce from 1923 until 1944. Sheworked to bring the message of the“City Beautiful” movement toClaremont. Her drive to create well- planned and attractive public buildings and parks has been ahallmark of the town ever since.Women’s history is not anafterthought in Claremont. It is partand parcel of what we are and howwe got here. In the upcoming centurywe will need the work of both menand women together to solve civic problems, nurture the arts, educate our children, help the less fortunate and be the stewards of our rich heritage.
From thefiles of 
Claremont women:
Past and present, integral to a flourishing town
by Ginger Elliott

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