Winter 1999

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Reviews of two books by Emerson Klees

One Plus One Equals Three
Pairing Man / Woman Strengths:
Role Models of Teamwork


The Women's Rights Movement
and the Finger Lakes Region

Reviewed by Beth Flory

One Plus One Equals Three: Pairing Man / Woman Strengths —Role Models of Teamwork is the first book of Emerson Klee's Role Models of Human Values Series. In this series, "biographical profiles illuminate how specific human values helped achievers reach their goals in life." The author's preface reveals his impatience with the current emphasis upon the differences between the sexes when desirable qualities of character and personality should be common to both.

Teaching by example is a time-honored and pleasantly old-fashioned device. Unlike some writers who hammered at readers to behave in certain ways, Klees does not belabor his points. The evidence is before us; we can learn from it in proportion to our inclination and our capacity to grow and to change for the better.

Short biographies are provided for nine famous pairs of men and women who achieved rich and productive personal and professional lives in spite of differing, even contrasting, personalities. All of the pairs but one were married and have died. Only the contemporary Betty Comden and Adolph Green are married to others. A number of the pairs lived in the last century. Represented are "the activist movement, the creative arts, the humanities, science, industry, religion and royalty."

Why were these couples so successful both in their work and in their personal lives? What do the Lunts, the Brownings and Burns and Allen have in common with Victoria and Albert and the Curies? Combine durable love and devotion with unwavering respect for each other and an absence of selfishness and pettiness. These very strong, talented individuals had the ability to collaborate rather than compete and what they achieved together brought them lasting fame. Supporting and enriching each other, one plus one equaled three: the work they couldn't have done by themselves.

Klees stresses society's need to have men and women working side by side as equals. But ours is still in many ways a patriarchal structure and change, if it comes at all, comes slowly. Klees concludes that "the best way to deal with change is to become agents ourselves."

This book dovetails with a second recent one by Mr. Klees. Lucretia Mott and Antoinette Brown, whose husbands were so supportive, appear in both.

In The Women's Rights Movement and the Finger Lakes Region we have two related books in one. The first section deals with the personalities, events and history of the Women's Rights movement based in Seneca Falls. This year increased activity and publicity surrounded the anniversary of the first major convention. Public attention came to a town not previously thought of by many as a tourist destination.

Readers attracted by its historic associations might wonder what else there might be to see and do in the area. Klees provides 150 suggestions of places and events of interest, some in Seneca Falls and others within a radius of 25 miles of that village.

Mr. Klees is thorough, clear and well organized. It is good to have the history of this area and the history of the Women's Rights Movement in such capable hands.

© 1999, Beth Flory

Other books by Emerson Klees

Persons, Places and Things In The Finger Lakes Region, 246 p, 11 photos, 1993

Pesons, Places and Things Around The Finger Lakes Region, 278 p, 11 photos, 1994

People of The Finger Lakes Region, 248 p, 60 profiles, 10 photos, index, bibliography, 1995

Legends and Stories of The Finger Lakes Region, illust. by Dru Wheelin, 144 p, bibliography, 1995

More Legends and Stories of The Finger Lakes Region, illust. by Dru Wheelin, 176 p. bibliography, 1996

The Erie Canal in The Finger Lakes Region, 218 p, 23 photos, index, bibliography, 1996

Underground Railroad Tales With Routes Through the Finger Lakes Region, 176 p, index, bibliography, 1997.

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