"Notorious Women' coming to Bennington Battle Monument

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BENNINGTON — "Notorious! Shady Ladies of 19th Century America," a portrayal of women who became infamous for challenging the norms of the day, will be presented at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 17, by the Bennington Battle Monument. Tea and seating start at 2 p.m. in the Barn on Monument Circle.

Historic interpreter Phyllis Chapman, in costume, will present a first person account of the lives of some 19th century American women who chose their own paths. Chapman will appear as Victoria Woodhull, spiritualist, financier, and advocate of free love who was the first woman to run for president of the United States.

Scandal and gossip can be so delicious, and these ladies tasted their fair share of both.

Woodhull, who was "infamous" herself, delights with tales not only of her own escapades, but also those of "shady ladies" such as Calamity Jane, Belle Starr, Lizzie Borden, Lydia Pinkham, Carry A. Nation and others. They were women who found innovative (and sometimes inappropriate!) means of making their way in the world.

Tasty tidbits include the answers to questions such as who the inspiration was of the all-American Gibson Girl? Did Lizzie do it? Why was Calamity Jane a calamity? In the days when a lady's name only appeared in the newspapers three times in her life, these gals were frequently headliners. If you like gun-swinging, bone-crackling, axe-wielding, free-loving women, this is a must-see. The program includes visuals and hands-on audience activities as well as a generous dose of humor.

Friends of the Monument will be serving tea and refreshments during the show. Admission is $10 per person.

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