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Introduction
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Myths and Mermaids
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Life in Port
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Going to Sea
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Lighthouse Keepers
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Changing Roles for Women
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Women in the Military
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Women in Wartime Production
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Early Yachting and Racing
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Women and the Sea in the 20th Century
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Timeline
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Resources
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In This Chapter

Introduction

Abbie Burgess
Ida Lewis
Fannie Salter

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Ida Lewis

Idawally Zorada Lewis moved to Lime Rock Lighthouse, Newport, Rhode Island, at the age of fifteen. Her father, Captain Hosea Lewis, was in poor health and relied on Ida as the oldest child to help with the lighthouse keeper's duties. After only four months at Lime Rock,
Ida Lewis at Home
1869
From Harper's Weekly, July 31, 1869
The Mariners' Museum Research Library and Archives

Captain Lewis suffered a stroke and could no longer perform the job. Rather than lose a good income, Ida carried out all his duties. She also cared for her sick father and, at a time when it was considered improper for a woman to row a boat, Ida rowed to the mainland every weekday to bring her siblings to school and pick up supplies.

Miss Ida Lewis, The Heroine of Newport
1869
From Harper's Weekly,
July 31, 1869
The Mariners' Museum Research Library and Archives


After her father died, Ida received the appointment as lighthouse keeper, earning $500 a year. During her thirty-nine years at the lighthouse, she is believed to have saved eighteen people from drowning. Her heroics earned her celebrity status and a good deal of media attention. Even President Ulysses S. Grant went to meet her. In 1924, the Lime Rock Lighthouse was renamed the Ida Lewis Lighthouse--the only lighthouse named for a keeper. Today it serves as a yacht club.

The Heroic Action of Miss Ida Lewis
1869
From Harper's Weekly,
April 17, 1869
The Mariners' Museum Research Library and Archives


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