Marie Curie, Josephine Baker, Ida B. Wells, and more: ‘The Dead Ladies Show Podcast’ spotlights iconic women’s stories from history

History March 8, 2022
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Listen to ‘The Dead Ladies Show Podcast’

“The Dead Ladies Show Podcast” is a monthly series sharing inspirational stories of fabulous ladies from history. Episodes are co-hosted by Katy Derbyshire and Florian Duijsens recorded during live presentations in Berlin and around the world. With guests each episode, hear about iconic women’s achievements, lives, and work from a variety of disciplines. You’ll hear about athletes, silent movie stars, mathematicians, writers, and more women rising above adversity and impacting history.

Start the series in any order, with over 50 standalone episodes to choose from. Katy, Florian, and creator/editor/producer Susan Stone have been releasing episodes since 2017, running less than 40 minutes each.

Featured “dead ladies” include lepidopterist (think butterflies and moths) Margaret Fountaine, architect Zaha Hadid, writer Emily Hahn, physicist Marie Curie, and legendary guitarist and gospel singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe – just to name a few. Episode 35 is all about Ida B. Wells, an African-American investigative journalist, activist, and suffragist.

Josephine Baker was highlighted in Episode 22. Aside from her career in entertainment, Josephine was an activist, spy, and mothered a ‘rainbow tribe’ of international children. In 1927, Josephine was the first Black woman to star in a major film and used her fame to get intel during WWII. She transported secret messages for the Resistance via sheet music and lived in France with her 12 adopted children. In the states, Josephine was banned by the FBI after she was named NAACP’s “Woman of the Year” as a result of her campaigns and anti-segregation articles.

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu was an English aristocrat and later became an inoculation influencer, as we learned in Episode 49. Known for her wit and beauty, Lady Mary was encouraged to keep all opinions to herself. But she published in secret, traveled extensively, and convinced people to take steps to save lives. In 1716, her husband was the Ottoman Empire’s ambassador, and she joined his trip to Constantinople.

Lady Mary arrived in Turkey and observed smallpox inoculations. There, her son was immunized. Her brother had died from the virus, and she suffered facial scarring. This science set the stage for the modern vaccines. Later on, Lady Mary fell in love with an Italian count and left her husband in England. Her letters, poetry, and essays were published after she died. She encouraged ladies to get inoculated and travel.

In Episode 50, hear about the Victorian-era magician and performance pioneer Adelaide Herrmann. From childhood, Adelaide was recognized for her abilities, starting with acrobatics, dance, and trick cycling. She married magician Alexander Herrmann, was his stage assistant, and starred in many of his acts.

Adelaide began dressing as his double among other on-stage illusions. After Alexander’s death, Adelaide continued the act and rose to prominence as the super-successful Queen of Magic. She added animal acts to her show and toured for 25 years until she was 74.

“The Dead Ladies Show Podcast” is an inspirational listen during Women’s History Month or anytime you’d like to learn more about incredible achievements from dead ladies.

Listen to ‘The Dead Ladies Show Podcast’
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