Dr. Darla Shaw portrays Mary Mallon, more commonly known as “Typhoid Mary” or “the most dangerous woman in America.” In the July 22, 1909 issue of the Ridgefield Press it said: “A woman who worked as cook for Ridgefield people, and who is called ‘Typhoid Mary,’ has been kept a prisoner in quarantine at North Brother Island for the past two years. It is said she was responsible for six cases of typhoid fever in one family in this town. She is said to be immune herself, but can communicate the disease to others. She is known by several persons in Ridgefield.”
- Series Introduction
Dr. Darla Shaw gives a brief overview of her upcoming new series of podcasts.
Dr. Shaw is a professor of education and women’s studies at Western Ct. State University. Prior to teaching at WCSU, Dr. Shaw was a teacher and administrator in the Ridgefield School System. She has been teaching for 63 years full time and history and related research are two of her passions.
To keep her college classes motivated, Dr. Shaw became a storyteller and now takes on the role of over 36 different historical characters. She will be sharing the stories of some of these famous Ridgefield women.
- Episode 1: Alice Paul
Dr. Darla Shaw portrays Alice Paul, resident of Ridgefield for 40 years and co-leader with Carrie Chapman Catt in the battle for the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.
*Please note the following correction: It was Harriet Tubman, not Harriet Beecher Stowe, who was selected to appear on the $20 bill.
- Episode 2: The Auditorium Ladies, Part 1 - Mabel Cleves
Dr. Darla Shaw takes on the role of Mabel Cleves, an early education specialist who was educated at Columbia University, studied with Dr. Maria Montessori, and was the first certified public kindergarten teacher in Connecticut. The Veteran’s Park Elementary School auditorium is named after her.
- Episode 2: The Auditorium Ladies, Part 2 – Anne S. Richardson
Dr. Darla Shaw takes on the role of Anne S. Richardson, prominent philanthropist and conservationist, who donated the land for Richardson Park. The Ridgefield High School auditorium is named after her.
This presentation is a wonderful complement to Terry McManus’s lecture series about Anne S. Richardson and Anne’s Ridgefield estate and gardens. Click here to view Terry’s program.
*Please note the following correction: Anne Richardson did not like colored lights at Christmas and had an ordinance drawn up to include only white lights in the decorating of the town for the holidays. The ordinance still stands today.
- Episode 3: The Women of Weir Farm
Dr. Darla Shaw portrays Cora Weir, youngest daughter of impressionist painter, J. Alden Weir. Cora, her two sisters, and Doris Andrews worked for 20 years to preserve Weir Farm and turn it into Connecticut’s first national historic site.
- Episode 4: Suffragists on Main Street, Part 1 - Laura Curie Allee Shields
In this episode, Dr. Darla Shaw portrays Laura Curie Allee Shields who lived at the corner of Market and Main Streets, Ridgefield. She was a suffragist, civic leader, and along with her first husband, Dr. William H. Allee, was a champion in the improvement of Ridgefield schools.
- Episode 4: Suffragists on Main Street, Part 2 - Mary Louise Olcott
In this episode, Dr. Darla Shaw portrays Mary Louise Olcott who lived at Casagmo, a mansion built by her father George M. Olcott, which was razed and is now a condo complex with the same name. She was an ardent feminist, poet, founder of the Ridgefield Garden Club, and a great supporter of woman suffrage.
- Episode 5: Border Sisters
In this episode, Dr. Darla Shaw portrays suffragist Elsie Hill who lived just over the border in Redding about one mile from Alice Paul. For over 45 years she worked more closely with Miss Paul than anyone else.
- Episode 6: Clare Booth Luce
In this episode, Dr. Darla Shaw portrays child actress, playwright, international correspondent, CT Congresswoman, ambassador, artist, philanthropist, and women’s rights activist Clare Booth Luce. She lived in a huge mansion with her husband Henry Luce on Great Hill Road in Ridgefield.
- Episode 7: Women of the Streets, Part 1 - Sarah Bishop
In part one of this episode, Dr. Darla Shaw portrays Sarah Bishop, known as the Hermitess of West Mountain and the Nun of the Mountain. In the 1700s she came by ship to Stamford and walked to Ridgefield where she lived in a cave for 30 years on the border of South Salem, NY. Sarah Bishop Road is named after her.
- Episode 7: Women of the Streets, Part 2 - Liz Leonard
In part two of this episode, Dr. Darla Shaw portrays Liz Leonard, the first female Selectman of Ridgefield. The stretch of highway on Route 116 from Barlow Mountain to Scotland School is named after her. She moved to town in the 1960s and found work as a political journalist for the Danbury News Times and Bridgeport Post, among others, before coming into office as State Representative and later First Selectman.
- Episode 8: Typhoid Mary
This episode is featured at the top of this page.