One of my favorite entries from Isaac Werner's journal is his explanation for ordering a book on public speaking. It was his opinion that Women's issues would be important for quite some time, and he was considering becoming a public speaker in support of women getting the vote, as well as other rights, so he ordered the book to polish his skill.
He was supportive of women active in the populist movement during the 1880s, corresponding with Mary Elizabeth Lease and attending a rally in Pratt, Kansas with Mrs. Van de Vort as the main speaker. In the early 1870s, he wrote in his journal about the unfairness of men's treatment of women, specifically disapproving of his landlord's disrespectful comments about his wife, and also disagreeing with a fellow merchant's interference in the store's female bookkeeper's personal life.
When I saw Wally Funk burst out of Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin, I imagined how excited Isaac Werner would have been had he witnessed her achievement. He encouraged women's participation in the populist movement, participation that included women lecturers, and he supported women getting the vote. I do not doubt that he would have been cheering Wally that day.
|23-year-old Wally Funk's headline|
Like women generations before her who had to wait for the vote, Wally Funk had to wait much too long for her chance to go into space. The headline in the San Diego Union-Tribune reads: "'Wally' Funk Likes Her Chances To Be 1st U.S. Woman In Space." She had no idea that she would be 82 years old when she finally got her chance!
It wasn't as if Wally had started late. On the contrary, she got her pilot's license at the age of 17. Born February 1, 1939, the myth-making about her future in flying goes back to the age of 1, when it is said that when her parents took her to an airport, she walked right up to a Douglas DC-3 and reach out to touch it. At 20 years old she was a professional aviator. Reading her list of "firsts" is remarkable! Skipping past all of those piloting achievements, her preparation for flying in space continued.