Now we know what she looked like: Catherine Pollard, first woman Scoutmaster

January 9, 2013

Some weeks ago I was looking for a good photograph of the late Catherine Pollard, the woman who became the first well-known de facto woman Scoutmaster in the Boy Scouts of America.  Ms. Pollard filled in in 1973 through 1975, when no one else could step into the job.  This was back in the pre-intelligent Anthropocene, however; BSA’s National Council refused to accept her paperwork to be Scoutmaster, officially.  Officially, BSA didn’t allow women to serve in that role.

Times changed.  In 1988 BSA got smart and changed the rules so women could serve as Scoutmasters.  Some alert person remembered Pollard’s fight to get recognition a decade earlier.  Pollard was asked to sign up officially as the first woman Scoutmaster in 1988, and she did.

Now, I don’t recall why I needed it then, but there is an entire period of history prior to 1980, and for about 20 to 25 years before that, that is missing from internet archives.  We need to do a better job of finding non-digital and non-digitized sources of photos, graphics, and other information from post-World War II times, and get them posted on the web, for the sake of history.

A kind reader named Brian sent us this photo.  Thank you, Brian.

First BSA woman Scoutmaster, Catherine Pollard of Milford, Connecticut

Catherine Pollard, first woman Scoutmaster in BSA history; in uniform with Troop 13 of Milford, Connecticut, in 1973 and 1975, unofficially. In 1988, when BSA changed rules, they asked Ms. Pollard to be the first registered Scoutmaster. Scoutmaster Pollard died in 2006.

To the memory of Catherine Pollard, whose bugle called dozens of youth to a lifetime of service, though there were those who thought she shouldn’t be tooting the horn at all.

(Y’all got other photos out there you should be sharing?  Send ‘em in.)


Vox Day, the goad goes on forever*

November 5, 2007

You couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried. The Right Wing is working hard to make sure that every parody of them comes true. Vox Day said this today, in a comment about serial plagiarizer and general garden-party skunk Ann Coulter:

What Ann understands and so many nominal conservatives do not is that women’s suffrage is completely incompatible with human liberty or a republic as described in the U.S. Constitution. The two cannot co-exist. One cannot defend freedom on the basis of emotion, as fear always runs to promises of security, however nebulous.

It’s interesting to note that since women received the right to vote, no bald politician has been elected in either the United States or the UK with the exception of Eisenhower and Churchill. (Atlee was bald too, but he was running against Churchill so there was no hair option in 1945.) And being bona fide war heroes, both Churchill and Eisenhower represented security even more than the archtypical tall politician with executive hair; neither one of them were capable of winning in less extraordinary times.

So, Vox thinks we should take the vote away from women to elect bald men again? That will make one heck of a campaign button, and I can’t wait to see how it’s phrased in the Texas Republican Party platform.

Isn’t that roughly the same sort of thinking that got us into Iraq — same quality of reasoning, same clear connections, and of course, same sorts of historical error in blind ignorance of the facts and amazingly tin ear on what people think.

Is Vox balding that much? He’s that sensitive about it?

Historical error? Well, yeah — who among the presidents prior to Eisenhower was bald? (You can check pictures of the presidents here.) John Quincy Adams certainly had a lot of shiny pate visible. Martin Van Buren was bald, if we don’t count the copious hair he had around his receding hairline. But if we count receding hairline as bald, then we’d have to count Coolidge, Hoover, Truman and Nixon (whose bald spot was rarely photographed).  The bald and balding presidents:  John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren (with qualifications), Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, Richard M. Nixon, Gerald R. Ford.

In fact, if we just look at the follicularly challenged, and not wholly bald, we find that the men with the least hair were all elected AFTER women’s suffrage. Vox Day rarely lets fact or reason get in the way of his thinking. Only Quincy Adams and Van Buren before women’s suffrage, and six baldies starting with Coolidge after.

But the question is, who is focusing on baldness here? Vox Day makes an implicit assumption that women do. It’s a wholly unevidenced, and in the light of history that shows the contrary, unreasonable assumption. He’s making hysterical error, with all the irony that drags along with it.

That anyone would argue for depriving women of the vote, hanging it on such flimsy evidence and bizarre reasoning, shows why women are justified in voting for Democrats. No one in the Democratic party is advancing arguments against women’s suffrage, on any basis.

You know what else? The mainstream media will “hide” Vox’s bizarre comments, not covering them at all, thereby protecting him and Republicans from the howls of justifiable outrage. Why do the media always protect conservatives who have taken leave of their senses?

* Apologies are probably due to Robert Earl Keen, composer of “The Road Goes On Forever.

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