One year ago today, I launched Historic Heroines to get more people Hooked on Heroines!
I wanted to create a destination for readers hungry for the female voice in history and literature. Something that offered fresh articles, book reviews, author interviews and original historical fiction. And I knew that I couldn’t do it alone. One instrument sounds nice, but many creates a symphony. So with the help of my amazing Board of Directors and a team of voluntary writers, we began this thing called Historic Heroines, and I am so proud of all that we have accomplished in one short year.
First, we have created a library of fascinating heroine stories. Stories that run the gamut from 17th century Italian painter Artemisia Gentilieschi to 21st century politician and human rights leader Vian Dakhil. We have articles featuring civil war heroines Mary Edwards and Harriet Tubman, scientists like Ada Lovelace and Valentina Tereshkova, and Presidential hopefuls like Virginia Woodhull and Shirley Chisholm. Historians have introduced us to lesser known heroines like educators Edith Rogers of Fairfax, Virginia and Trudi Lytle of Las Vegas, Nevada. Our most popular features have been our book reviews, especially for the nonfiction book The Whisleblower’s Dilemma that reexamines the Karen Silkwood case and the historical fiction novel Euphoria that presents audiences with a fictionalized version of Margaret Mead. In the last year, we have published nearly sixty heroine articles and book reviews, which exceeds our goal for the year.
But Historic Heroines is more than a blog; we also wanted to publish books. In our first year, we started an original fiction series – Daughter of Sparta – about a heroine from ancient Sparta. Gorgo of Sparta lived in the 5th and 4th centuries BC. She was the daughter of King Cleomenes I and the wife of King Leonidas. In our serial, she is a seventeen year old young woman living on the brink of war with the Persian Empire, but over the course of the story, this Spartan begins to question the purpose and implications of war. Nearly every month, we have published a new chapter to Gorgo’s saga. Between Historic Heroines and through online retailers, we have recorded nearly 2500 downloads!
In 2016, we also published our first book Children’s Letters to a Holocaust Survivor: Dear Esther about Holocaust survivor Esther Terner Raab. During her internment in a Nazi death camp, Esther had made a pledge that if she endured the ordeal, she would be the voice of the victims who were martyred and couldn’t speak for themselves. She kept her promise and shared her brutal story with school children. It was never easy for her to talk about her war experiences, but believed that by sharing her story, intolerance and hatred could be transformed into hope and love. School children were so moved by her story that more than a thousand wrote to her, sharing their own hardships, griefs, concerns and compassion through letters, poems and drawings. I am so proud that we are able to share these letters and Esther’s important story with Children’s Letter’s to a Holocaust Survivor: Dear Esther.
This book publication has compelled us to continue Esther’s work by developing the new Tolerance and Holocaust Education Program, “Never Forget Esther.” The
program will produce a new classroom edition of Children’s Letters to a Holocaust Survivor: Dear Esther that includes guided questions and suggested classroom activities, and each year we will give fifty schools fifty books until every school district knows Esther’s powerful story and hopeful message that compassion and acceptance conquers hate and bigotry.
In our inaugural year, we became a federally recognized nonprofit agency and we are currently fundraising for our “Never Forget Esther” program as well as to develop and support the creation of new original heroine fiction. Please help us celebrate our Birthday with a tax deductible donation to help us continue to champion heroines.
I am so tickled by all that we have accomplished in one year, and can’t wait to continue to share the journey with you, our supporters! Historic Heroines, an idea that became this beautiful home to so many heroine stories, cannot exist without you.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you!
Kristen LePine, President and Executive Director