Campaign books tend to be full of boring bromides about how the candidate will make everything better.

Cover of Lisa Savage’s new book about women history has ignored.

But U.S. Senate contender Lisa Savage, one of two independents in Maine’s U.S. Senate election, released a new book this week that takes an entirely different approach.

The Solon educator’s volume — titled “Ever Heard of Her?” — focuses instead on the stories of nine women whose names few will recognize.

Savage tells the stories of women such as composer Florence Price, geographer Joni Seager and athlete Alice Coachman, none a household name.

Savage may have more sympathy than most for lesser-known women given she is an often-overlooked challenger to four-term U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican seeking reelection.

Collins and state House Speaker Sara Gideon, a Freeport Democrat, are engaged in a costly, high-profile political contest that rarely takes notice of independents Savage and Bar Harbor businessman Max Linn, who are also on the Nov. 3 ballot.

Savage, a longtime stalwart in the Maine Green Independent Party, has devoted decades to fighting for the environment and for peace.

Her book aims to highlight women she thinks ought to be remembered.

Savage said in a press advisory that “just about everyone knows” who track star Jesse Owens was after his standout performance bringing home four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.

“Why is it that so few people know who Alice Coachman is?” Savage wrote. “She was the first Black woman to win an Olympic gold medal for the United States, and she won 10 national championships in a row. But you’ve probably never heard of her.”

In another example, she cited labor leader Cesar Chavez as a household name, “but almost no one today has heard of Emma Tenayuca, a union organizer who founded two chapters of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union before the age of 24 and on whose shoulders Chavez acknowledged standing. Why?”

Savage’s 118-page book aims to rectify what she views as an injustice — spurred by sexism, racism and homophobia — that has pushed the stories of too many women into the margins of history, diminishing their accomplishments.

Illustrations of the nine women Savage picked were drawn by Ruby Pfeifle, a senior at Gray-New Gloucester High School.

Lisa Savage

“One of my favorite things about this project,” Savage said, “was working with a confident young woman who was inspired to illustrate these portraits. Ruby did such a wonderful job bringing these women to life on the page.”

Until next Tuesday, the book will be available only at Devaney Doak & Garrett Booksellers in Farmington, but after that it be available through Savage’s campaign website and other sellers, as well.

In her book, Savage wrote it was tough to pick just nine women to feature when there were “dozens and dozens” who could have easily made the cut.

She urged readers to add to her list of women who should be celebrated, telling them nominate other deserving women at everheardofher.com, a website that is still in the works.

“Help us write the sequel so that more and more people can read it and say, ‘We’ve heard of her!'” Savage wrote.


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