In honor of Women’s History Month—and in celebration of the ongoing restoration of the Olivia Apartments at 320 S. Moffet Avenue—Historic Murphysburg Preservation, Inc. will present “Women of the Olivia,” long forgotten accounts of four unique, smart women. Paula Callihan, one of the group’s members, said, “We knew a little bit about two women connected to Murphysburg’s history, but when we decided to expand on it, we were excited to find evidence of two other women’s biographies.”
Mary Anne Phillips, another member, said, “Now that historical data is available on the internet, it’s amazing what can be found about Joplin’s or your family’s history by a simple word or name search. Expect to read politically incorrect language and content based on today’s standards.” When browsing old newspapers for women’s history, be sure to look at the so-called woman’s page, personals, club notes, social forecasts, and general society columns. There are also gaps in years/months/days of many archived newspapers.
All of the Bendelari women in the series were considered socialites, were well traveled, cultivated special talents, earned national recognition, and made their homes in Joplin before, after, and during their careers. The Bendelari sisters were educated at home and abroad. All four women lived to their 80s and 90s and all died in California.
Olivia Josephine Bendelari / Mrs. Alex Stein
Helen Bendelari Boughton-Leigh McAlpin
Frances Geddes Bendelari / Mrs. Arthur Bendelari