Demi-monde refers to a group of people who live hedonistic lifestyles, usually in a flagrant and conspicuous manner. The term was commonly used in Europe from the late 18th to the early 20th century, and modern use often refers to that period. Its connotations of pleasure-seeking contrasted with wealth and high-class behavior make it comparable to the later jet set or nomenklatura.
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"Mrs. Horton, Later Viscountess Maynard (died 1814/15)", c. 1770, by Sir Joshua Reynolds (English, 1723-1792). The sitter was one of the great courtesans of her day. In 1763 she was the mistress of the third Duke of Grafton, and later, in 1769, of the third Duke of Dorset. In 1776 she married Charles Maynard, second Viscount Maynard, who, at twenty-three, was at least a decade younger than she. In 1784 she began an affair with the nineteen-year-old Francis Russell, fifth Duke of Bedford.
Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley was a former slave who became a successful seamstress, civic activist and author. She was best known as the personal modiste and confidante of Mary Todd Lincoln, the First Lady. Keckley had moved to Washington in 1860 after buying her freedom. She created an independent business in the capital based on clients who were the wives of the government elite. Among them were Varina Davis, wife of Jefferson Davis; and Mary Anna Custis Lee, wife of Robert E. Lee.
Henrietta Lacks (August 1, 1920 – October 4, 1951) (sometimes erroneously called Henrietta Lakes, Helen Lane or Helen Larson) was an African-American woman who was the unwitting source of cells (from her cancerous tumor) which were cultured by George Otto Gey to create an immortal cell line for medical research. This is now known as the HeLa cell line.
1878 Sarah Bernhardt (October 1844 – March 1923) was a French stage and early film actress, and has been referred to as "the most famous actress the world has ever known". Bernhardt made her fame on the stages of France in the 1870s, and was soon in demand in Europe and the Americas. She developed a reputation as a serious dramatic actress, earning the nickname "The Divine Sarah."
Geraldine Hoff Doyle (July 31, 1924 – December 26, 2010) is believed to be the real-life model for the World War II era "We Can Do It!" poster, later thought to be an embodiment of the iconic World War II character Rosie the Riveter.
Meet Caroline Norton. If you have gone through a divorce and had a lawyer defend your rights , you have her to thank for it. In the mid 1800's Caroline was in a loveless marriage to a man who beat her savagely. In those days, married women were put into the same category as "lunatics, idiots, outlaws and children". .
As Prime Minister, Golda Meir was asked to place a curfew on women to end a series of rapes. However, she refused, saying...- "But it is the men who are attacking the women. If there is to be a curfew, let the men stay at home."