Tribute to Barbara Seaman: Better Late than Never!

It must be spring break, because I have time to write two posts in one day! Seriously spring break is the time when I get caught up on various projects and get editors off my back by turning in work that is weeks late. One of the projects is the paper for the Cancer Vaccines for Girls conference at Rutgers. Given the very contemporary nature of this project, much of my sources are web-based, or at least from electronic library databases. I could even get the full transcript of the Gardasil docket from the FDA website instead of schlepping down to the Dockets Management reading room in Rockville. Plus, my web crawling brought me to this excellent tribute to Barbara Seaman on Our Bodies, Our Blog, which also criticizes the rather catty obituary of Seaman in the New York Times, which trivializes her accomplishments and contributions to women’s health activism. [why are some women so mean to other women? Jealousy? Wanting to be one of the guys? Sure is obnoxious]

I never had the good fortune to meet Barbara in person — she died before I could schedule an interview with her. But, I got a sense of how generous she was with her time when I posted a query on a listserv about how I could get in touch with her, and within twenty-four hours received an enthusiastic message from the lady herself! There followed a fast and furious exchange, most of which I was smart enough to keep. She also sent me free, autographed copies of her various publications. She must have had tremendous energy, even at the end of her life. I can only hope I’m as productive.

Now that I’ve made some headway on my writing, I feel like I can take a few real days off so I won’t be so cranky when I go back to teaching next week.

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