Chandler O’Leary and Jessica Spring have teamed up to create a fantastic compilation of women who have positively influenced the world. The project was initiated as a response to the 2008 U.S. presidential election and the media’s hyper-focus on the female candidates’ appearance. O’Leary and Spring teamed up to create an advertisement that critiqued media’s focus on Palin’s glasses, voiced support for Obama, and shared information on suffragette Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The connection being Stanton’s quote, “Come, come my conservative friend, wipe the dew off your spectacles and see the world is moving.”
Eight years later, we have Dead Feminists: Historic Heroines in Living Color, a work that combines O’Leary’s talents of illustration and lettering with Spring’s talents as a letterpress artist. The resulting book exalts feminists through all the ages and hopes to educate the masses on how awesome these ladies were (and are). The collection includes historic photos and posters, original illustrations, related ephemera, and more. The result is a gorgeously visual collection that you can spend hours and hours pouring over.
The book has eight categories, with three different women highlighted in each category. For example, the fifth category is Tell, which details the lives of three “extraordinary storytellers.” First up is Virginia Woolf, best known to the world as an author but who was also an influential editor, composer and publisher.
Less well known among the Tellers is Rywka Lipszyc (RIV-ka Lip-SHITZ), a Polish women born in 1929, who began a beautiful and lyrical diary when she was a teen. While living in one of the worst Jewish ghettos in Poland, her entire immediate family, save one sister, was murdered by Nazis. Lipszyc filled the pages of her diary with her heartache, her dreams, and her faith. She was eventually sent to Auschwitz, where her sister was immediately killed. She was liberated in 1945, though no one knows what became of her. A Russian military doctor found the diary in Auschwitz, allegedly in the ashes of the crematorium, and it was passed down in her family until her granddaughter gave the diary to the Jewish Family and Children’s Services Holocaust Center in San Francisco. The organziation authenticated and translated the diary and had it published 70 years after it was written.
Last but not least is Sarojini Naidu, a poet and activist known as the Nightingale of India. She was a good friend of Gandhi, participating in hunger strikes and even getting arrested with him, and Naidu was the first female president of the Indian National Congress. She advocated for Indian independence, as well as for women’s and worker's rights. To this day, her birthday is celebrated in India as Women’s Day. The best news: her work is now public domain, so you can read two of her greatest collections, The Golden Threshold and The Broken Wing: Songs of Love, Death & Destiney, 1915-1916 through archive.org.
Check out this amazing collection. Everyone I've talked to about this book has immediately placed a request on it. O'Leary and Spring do not disappoint.