Welcome to 'Lost in the Myths of History'
It often seems that many prominent people of the past are wronged by often-repeated descriptions, which in time are taken as truth. The same is also true of events, which are frequently presented in a particular way when there might be many alternative viewpoints. This blog is intended to present a different perspective on those who have often been lost in the myths of history.
Saturday, 7 April 2012
Sara Bard Field: Ahead of Her Time
Sara Bard Field was born in Cincinnati, Ohio to George Bard Field and Annie Jenkins (Stevens) Field in 1882. Her father was raised with a strict Baptist background, and her mother was of Quaker origin. The backgrounds of her parents greatly influenced her childhood and youth. Her father ran a very strict household with a loving wife and mother, who exercised more tolerance and care with her children. Sara experienced a conventional life of a middle class family, while living in Detroit, where they had moved after their time in Ohio.
When she was just 18, she married, Baptist minister, Albert Ehrgott, and accompanied him to his mission in Rangoon, Burma. Her experiences in Burma and India significantly widened her views on religion and social injustices. When they came back to the United States in 1903 (after the difficult birth of her first son) they were assigned to a church in Cleveland, Ohio where she started to work for social reform. After she started her work, her daughter, Katherine, was born in 1906.
During these times, Sara considered Christian Socialism to be a possible answer to the problems the world was facing. With her sister, Mary, she continued to work alongside American reformers. It’s no surprise that after her family moved to Portland, Oregon in 1910 that she joined in the struggle for women’s suffrage. She worked alongside Alice Paul, Emma Wold, Alva Belmont and many others. She worked as state organizer for the campaign that won suffrage in Oregon in 1912. At this point, she was doing a lot of work, which forced her to spend time apart from her family. She spent many summers traveling through her state speaking in towns to get the word out. She also made an auto journey across the country to petition President Wilson in 1915.
After these years of hard work, Sara decided to concentrate on her personal life and started to develop her own poetry. She produced two collections, and much of her poetry appeared in political and literary magazines. She socialized with John Steinbeck, Ansel Adams, Robinson Jeffers and many others. She was not without her own personal tragedies. She divorced in 1914 from her husband and formed a deep attachment to her new companion, Charles Erskine Scott Wood. She also dealt with the very heavy blow of the death of her son in 1918. It is fair to say, that the death of her son (with whom she shared a close relationship) affected her for the rest of her life - understandably, she found it very difficult to come to terms with this tragedy.
Sara and C.E.S. Wood (who went by "Erskine") began their lives together in San Francisco in 1918. Erskine also wrote poetry and branched out his works into social criticism essays. These two had a 35 year literary collaboration and their shared home in San Francisco became a meeting place for artists and writers in the Bay Area. When their moved to their new home “The Cats” at Poet's Canyon in Los Gatos, CA, their intellectual visitors followed. Sarah and Erskine were finally married in the later 30s (his first wife refused him a divorce) and spent their remaining years in Los Gatos. Erskine died in 1944, and in 1949 Sara was able to publish his Collected Poems. In 1955 Sara moved to Berkeley to be close to her daughter and her daughter’s family. In the early 60s she was able to record her oral history through the University of CA, Berkeley which tells the exciting story of her life. She speaks frankly, but poetically. Her views especially on social concerns and women’s issues certainly seemed ahead of her time. After such a full life, she died in Berkeley in 1974.
Posted by Val at 12:31