Noted June dates in Spiritual History, by Tina Simson

I have this widget on my MacBook that’s called Day in History, but I recently turned it off because the only things listed were related to war and disaster. I’m a history nut, but to read this daily digital calendar, you’d think our world was mired only in tragedy. Besides, anything accomplished, good or bad on this calendar, was done by a man. Women’s contribution was invisible.

We often gather inspiration from the words and deeds of noted people. I believe there must be days to mark our history related to our best selves as humankind. And in times such as these, we need them. So here’s Wellspring’s attempt to spin the month of June.

June 3, 1972 – Sally Jan Priesand was ordained a rabbi thus becoming the first woman rabbi in the U.S. She then became an assistant rabbi at the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in New York City.

June 6, 1872 – Pioneering feminist Susan B. Anthony was fined for voting in a presidential election at Rochester, New York. After voting rights had been granted to African American males by the 15th Amendment, she attempted to extend the same rights to women. She led a group of women that voted illegally, to test their status as citizens. She was arrested, tried and sentenced to pay $100, which she refused. Following her death in 1906 after five decades of tireless work, the Democratic and Republican parties both endorsed women’s right to vote. In August of 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was finally ratified, allowing women to vote. Susan B was also a member of our home congregation, First Unitarian Church of Rochester.

Noted June Birthdays

French painter Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) was born in Paris. He worked as a stockbroker, then became a painter in middle age. He left Paris and moved to Tahiti where he developed an interest in primitive art..

American architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) was born in Richland Center, Wisconsin. He designed about 1,000 structures and is considered the most influential architect of his time. He became the leader of a style known as the Prairie School featuring houses with low-pitched roofs and extended lines that blend into the landscape. He once wrote,

“No house should ever be on any hill or on anything. It should be of the hill, belonging to it, so hill and house could live together each the happier for the other.”

Film comedian Stan Laurel (1890-1965) was born in Ulverston, England. He teamed up with Oliver Hardy as Laurel & Hardy delighting audiences for more than 30 years.

Social worker Julia Lathrop (1858-1932) was born in Rockford, Illinois. She fought to establish child labor laws and was instrumental in establishing the first juvenile court in the U.S. In 1912, President Taft named her to head the newly created Children’s Bureau. In 1925, she became a member of the Child Welfare Committee of the League of Nations.

Helen Keller was born in 1880 (d. 1968). She wrote, “A person who is severely impaired never knows his hidden sources of strength until he is treated like a normal human being and encouraged to shape his own life.” Although facing the daunting challenges of being both deaf and blind, she showed remarkable resilience in her life of service.

Inspirational words from Helen Keller

“Science may have found a cure for most evils, but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all — the apathy of human beings.”

“My faith in the goodness of the human heart is unshaken. All the days of my life I have been upheld by that goodness.” 


“I long to accomplish a great and noble task but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.” 


And if that’s not enough!

First drive-in movie theater opened in New Jersey, June 14, 1933

Superman Comics were launched in June 1938

And in 1853 it snow in June in Upstate New York

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