Women's History Month
Women's History Month Submissions: Women Who Made History
Phyllis Little served as secretary to borough manager, Mr. Bob Robinson for twenty years and was selected as the first female Lansdowne Health Officer in the mid-1970's. Read on...
Thank you to Robyn Young for sending in a Lansdowne "History Heroine". Robyn shares with us the story of Tatiana Proskouriakoff. Proskouriakoff (1909-1985) emigrated to the US with her family in 1916 and settled in Lansdowne. She graduated from University of Pennsylvania in 1930 with a degree in architecture. In 1936, she was an unpaid excavator at a Mayan site in Guatemala. She worked for the Carnegie institute as an illustrator and then returned to Guatemala in 1939. After illustrating the acropolis and other buildings for years, Tatiana decoded the hieroglyphs on the monuments. Her discovery changed the way data is transcribed at archeological digs today. For her efforts she was awarded the Alfred V. Kidder Medal in 1962. She also received the Order of Quetzal, the highest honor awarded to a foreigner by Guatemala. Her ashes are buried at the Piedras Negras acropolis. In 2015, Ms. Young received approval from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission to place a historical marker near her former home in Lansdowne.
Thank you to Nicholas Hoyt who sent us this beautiful tribute to his grandmother, Marcia Siegel, who lived in Lansdowne with her family and was a huge advocate for adoption.
"My Grandmother (along with Grandpop) were adoption advocates in the 1970s and 80s. They were routinely recognized for their efforts by the local news. Below is a Daily Times article about them after they both had passed away. Attached is a photo with former State Senator Joe Loeper and Governor Thornburgh after Grandmom and Grandpop helped get certain legislation passed in Harrisburg to improve the adoption process in Pennsylvania."
H. Emilie Groce, Tireless Director of War Work
by Matthew Schultz
During World War I, Miss Emilie Groce, a teacher at Lansdowne School, was appointed by the Lansdowne School Board as Director of War Work in Lansdowne. As reported in the June 4, 1930, Garnet and Gray, the Lansdowne High School newspaper, "During the year 1918-19 she (Miss Groce) superintended the making of socks, sweaters, and other clothing for the soldiers, and established many war gardens among the school children. She personally cultivated a war garden. She also made jellies, sold them, and contributed the money toward the war work, spending the proceeds, about $500.00, on wool for sweaters."
Miss Groce worked tirelessly to support the efforts of her former students who were serving their country in the Great War. Students passing the old Gladstone Hall, located in what is today Gladstone Manor, would see Miss Groce tending to her war gardens on the front lawn of the estate. She spent the summers of 1918 and 1919 cultivating produce in the gardens. She sold the produce and turned over the profits to the American Red Cross in 1919 to be used to purchase clothing for American soldiers.
Following the war, Miss Groce wrote to the 250 Lansdowne School veterans and the families of those who died requesting information about their military service. She compiled the information she gathered, along with portraits of each student, in her 1919 book entitled Lansdowne School and the World War. This fascinating book recounts the significant contribution the men of our community made to the war effort. She was also instrumental in securing the shrubbery which surrounded the Lansdowne World War Monument at its original location at Lansdowne School, then at Baltimore and Highland Avenues.
After retiring from teaching, Miss Groce remained active in the community and authored a local history column which ran serially in the Delaware County Times.
A simple plaque in the garden at the Lansdowne World War Monument recognizes Miss Groce's contributions to the World War I effort.
Miss Groce died at the age of 92 in 1951. She had spent 54 years as an educator and was fondly remembered and admired by the many adults who had once been her students
Twentieth Century Club of Lansdowne
Thank you to Bill Henderson for this Beautiful tribute to his mother, who was an integral part of the Fair Housing movement in Lansdowne and Delaware County.
"My Mother, Kathleen Henderson, moved from Iowa to Lansdowne in 1959. She immediately got actively involved with the local Fair Housing group. Initially known as the Lansdowne and vicinity Fair Housing Council, and later as the Fair Housing Council of Delaware County. It is now known as Equality PA. She served many terms as President and as Secretary. Lansdowne at that time was totally segregated. When I came home from college for Christmas in 1959, she immediately let me know what names she had used to determine the availability of housing. She most often used her maiden name - Wilson. She was also an active member of Suburban Fair Housing, the real estate firm established to enable Black families to purchase housing in segregated parts of suburban Philadelphia. Several of the initial Black families who moved into Lansdowne had to learn about their new home from my Mother as they wouldn't have been able to purchase the house if the seller knew they were Black. Lansdowne has come a very long way since 1959 in part due to the dedication of my Mother and those who partnered with her. Her family is very proud of her dedicated leadership in promoting fair housing in Lansdowne and else where within suburban Philadelphia over the last 50 years of her life. Lansdowne is a more welcoming community in part due to her leadership."