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Mary Jane Bradbury

Historic interpreter Mary Jane Bradbury, a speaker with Humanities Montana, will tell the stories of four different pioneering women scientists at 6 p.m. Wednesday, at the Darby Community Public Library and Thursday morning in Darby High School. 

Careers in science were once thought to be beyond the abilities of women. 

The Life-long Learning Series at the Darby Community Public Library begins with a presentation by scholar and historic interpreter Mary Jane Bradbury as she examines the challenges and successes of four pioneering women scientists.

“Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History: Women in Science” is the topic for 6 p.m. on Wednesday.

“I portray women in history,” Bradbury said. “Women tried to make changes and people back then thought they were poorly behaved. We would call them brave, courageous and bold.”

Bradbury said her presentation looks at women who achieved success despite obstacles.

“Science was considered too much for women,” she said. “At the time they thought women were not smart enough and didn’t have the competence or the disposition. The first women scientists were pioneers who overcame fierce opposition.”

Bradbury will discuss the lives and writings of science pioneers Martha Maxwell (Rocky Mountain naturalist), Maria Mitchell (astronomer), Ruth Underhill (anthropologist) and Rachel Carson (biologist).

“Some of it will be first person but most of it will be about their lives and what they came up with,” she said.

Bradbury lives in Helena and is a speaker with Humanities Montana. She does a number of “Well Behaved Women” programs throughout Montana. She will present at the Montana Historical Society’s 43rd annual Montana History Conference in Hamilton on Friday.

Wendy Campbell, library director, said the presentation would be wonderful.

“This fascinating look at women who challenged and crossed boundaries in science will be especially interesting to anyone who enjoys learning about history, science or the achievements made by trail-blazing women,” she said.

Other presentations in the Life-Long Learning Series at the Darby Community Public Library include additional speakers through Humanity Montana: UFO’s and Extraterrestrials in Montana with Joan Bird - Nov. 2, Before the Horse: Northern Rockies Lifestyles with Kae Cheatham – Nov. 16, Developing Community Literary Programs with Tami Haaland — Jan. 11, Life and Loves of a Nuclear Weapons Inspector with Shirley Johnson — March 8 and Cuban-American Relations with Brian Kahn — April 12. 

Campbell said she is pleased with the selections for the Life-Long Learning series.

“Actually, the feedback we received from events last year informed our decision to bring a greater variety of topics to the community this year beginning with this study on women,” Campbell said. “Through the Humanities Montana Speakers Bureau, we found speakers matching community interest. The result is a line up for the year that is fun, educational and certainly interesting.”

All programs begin at 6 p.m., are free and open to everyone. The Darby Community Public Library is located at 101 and a half S. Marshall St. in Darby.