Calloway, Before the Cab Came

blanche calloway to follow

Blanche Calloway (1904-1978) was a Jazz singer, bandleader, and composer from Baltimore, Maryland. And she was the older sister of a guy named Cab…yep, that would be Cab Calloway. While not as many people may recognize her name the same way you do her sibling, she may have been the very first female to lead an all male orchestra. Her brother credited her for inspiring him to begin a career in show business. Blanche’s first recordings was as a sideman in Louis Armstrong sessions in 1925.
You can see the family resemblance. Just another piece of history that seems to have slipped through the cracks.


The Life of the Forgotten

ImageThe concept of nymphomania developed during the Victorian period. One-third of all patients in Victorian asylums suffered from this mental illness. It was described as an irresistible desire for sexual intercourse and a “female pathology of over-stimulated genitals”. Nymphomania included much more than a simple sexual drive, though, as it was also associated with the loss of sanity. It was described as an “illness of sexual energy levels gone awry, as well as the loss of control.” This was also a time that any husband, brother, or father could commit a woman against her will. All it took was two physicians to sign off on it, and no exam. Often women who were in the way were tucked away in asylums, and spent their lives there forgotten. There really was no humane treatment for mental illness, experiments were provided on the living against their will. This was still in practice in the 30’s and my Great Grandmother was one of these women, she was bi-polar before they knew what it was, committed in her late 20’s and left there for the rest of her life and only whispered about at family gatherings. It was a horrible life for the forgotten.

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