I've been working on a personal history project, and while searching for some people from my past, I put in the name of a woman I knew back in the early days of the Web who I know passed away a few years back...just to see what I'd find.
My search easily yielded three mentions of Eva Shaderowfsky:her personal web site
some of her photograms on a web site from 2002 called SherryArt (by artist Sherry Miller)
From her bio:
I first met Eva on America Online in 1992. I had recently logged in for the first time, picking the name "NYCwriter" because it was gender neutral and the early 90s was a time when women made up less than 10% of the online population so using your real name or one that revealed you were female was risky.
Looking for other women to speak with about the Internet and women's issues, I was directed by several people in random chat rooms to contact EvaS. I did, and she was immediately welcoming to me, a total stranger. I wasn't yet used to the idea of making contacts, much less friends, on a service like America Online.
I began attending "Evenings with Eva," live moderated chat sessions held in AOL and led by Eva. I started calling her "The Oprah of the Internet" for her easy way with conversation, moderating and with interviewing guests. At one point, she had me on her "show" as a guest to talk about my work to promote women's issues online and support women on the Internet.
In those early days - the "Enlightenment Era" of the Internet, I was doing several things to turn my Internet hobby into something more:
1. The Women's List - I started an email list (using America Online email, mind you, not a listserv-type software) called The Women's List. I emailed all the women I knew online and asked them to provide me with a description of who they were, what they did, and what they needed. Then I compiled this list into a very long email in the form of a directory of sorts and then emailed it out to all the women participating so they could meet one another and network. Remember, this was pre-Web so I couldn't build a web site to post this information for easy access.
2. The Women's Pharmacy - I was working with a girlfriend of mine - someone who I had also met online on a national BBS called Women's Wire - to do some market research on her new business idea called The Women's Pharmacy. She wanted to bring women's health information and women's health and beauty products together in a package and was hoping to get feedback on a "Starter Kit" she was developing for pre-teen girls full of information about getting your period along with some sample products including tampons. I helped her organize email and group discussions online with women not only to discuss her business ideas but to have open discussions about menstruation and memories of our first periods. It was a very safe space where women felt they could be incredibly candid which was surprising because of the rampant sexual harrassment that was going on in most online spaces.
I met Eva several times in person, first in a small cyber cafe in the East Village where the first Webgrrls met face to face. Later, she invited me to her home in Upstate New York. I learned over time what it meant to have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and how it kept her often confined to her home and was interfering with her creativity. For Eva, the Internet was a salvation, her connection to the world, a place where she could still be active - if only in mind and spirit - while she was bedridden.
EvaS was my inspiration. She was my mentor. She taught me the art of online chat for more than just socializing but to be harnessed as a powerful communications tool to bring people together for valuable conversations. She taught me that the Internet was not only a place to showcase your creativity but a place to be creative.
And she taught me that true friendships can be formed online.
Over time, the Internet became my own lifeline on many occasions. But I never would have trusted its power to connect if I hadn't first connected with EvaS.
Who do you know who has passed away but who still has a presence online? Stories welcome.