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Victory statue in Union Square

August 9, 2009

Victory StatueWhile searching around for an historical building in San Francisco in which to film, I cam across this fascinating story of Alma Emma Spreckels.  From very modest beginnings, she became the model for the Victory statue in Union Square, a rich socialite, a great patron of the arts (after meeting the famous dancer Loie Fuller in Paris in 1914), and a researcher on working conditions for women, and philanthropist.  We are thinking about which character we could loosely base on Alma!

I find one little tidbit in her story particularly fascinating: her father thought he was of royal blood and working for a living was rather below him.  Luckily her mother was more industrious and entrepreneurial, and started a business (bakery/laundry service/massage parlor) that supported the family.  I wonder how often this story has played out of men who in essence said “Work?  Me?  I don’t think so” and women who stepped in and took over, despite the  social norm in the West in the last few centuries that men are the bread-winners and women more decorative.  Clearly Alma had the 0.7 ratio figure that is much touted in undergraduate Human Biology classes, and that did in fact work out well for her in terms of attracting a wealthy mate who could easily support her offspring.  Luckily, Alma also inherited her mother’s proclivities for being economically independent, and pursued many ventures in business, the arts, and charity.

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