Saturday, October 13, 2012

Brave women, brave men: Janet Montgomery McGovern

In his post "Among the Headhunters of Formosa by Janet B. Montgomery McGovern" blogger Balancing Frogs gives pretty thorough account of this superb book, written by one brave woman back in 1920-ies. I wrote about it in Croatian, in astrosailor on "Headhunters..." , but since with Mr. Brendan we both found the same lack of information on author, who obviously was an interesting woman, I decided to search deeper. With help of a friend, genealogy researcher Nora D. in USA, who was already helping me very much in work on a genealogy project for my island, I got to the Daily Northwestern newspaper in Illinois, from January 5, 1939, where an obituary was issued few days after the death of Ms. Montgomery McGovern.

I copy it here:

The text is:

"Mother of Prof. McGovern dies"


"Mrs. McGovern was a world traveler, author, teacher Mrs. Janet Blair Montgomery McGovern died on December 30. 1938. in Loma Linda, California. She was the mother of Dr. William Montgomery McGovern, professor of politycal science in Northwestern University. Mrs. McGovern was born in Rome, Ga., on October 9. 1874 and was the daughter of a distinguished soldier in the Confederate army, Col. Alexander Blair Montgomery and his wife, Ella Janet Mitchell. After graduating from Shawter College, she also studied at Oxford University in England, where she took a degree. She taught at Briarcliff Manor and the Kyoto Girls school in Japan. Mrs. McGovern travelled extensively in Europe and Asia an as the result of her travels she published several books, including "Among the head-hunters of Formosa" and "Butterflies of Taiwan". She was also newspaper correspondent for several periodical including the New York World, the Literary Digest and the Kobe Chronicle. The last few years she was a tutor in anthropology at the university of New Mexico. As the contributor to the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute she attracted considerable attention."

From this article we see she remained active after her return to USA: she wrote scientific articles, was a tutor in New Mexico and, obviously, respected enough that a newspaper across the country would mention her passing away with reverence. Her son was a model for Indiana Jones (only that his life was much more adventurous than Harrison Ford's role), but I suppose she should be a model for Brave Woman of the times. Here I am at least putting the online available information straight.


Anonymous said...

I just added your web page to my bookmarks. I enjoy reading your posts. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I am really satisfied with this posting that you have given us. This is really a stupendous work done by you. Thank you and looking for more posts

Anonymous said...

Any idea of her cause of death?

mikidkolan said...

Not really, but her age was 64, might just be natural causes. She suffered some health troubles when younger.