American Women of the Colonial Period and the Nineteenth-Century City

All opportunities for education, prospect, liberation and development were closed to women. By Khelifa Arezki and Katia Mahmoudi Introduction The aim of the present paper is to shed light on women’s condition within the American society during the colonial period and the 19th century. The study will center on the gendered place that women were[…]

The Social and Legal Status of Women in the Middle Ages

The very concept of “woman” changed in a number of ways during the Middle Ages. Introduction Women in the Middle Ages occupied a number of different social roles. During the Middle Ages, a period of European history lasting from around the 5th century to the 15th century, society was patriarchal and this type of patriarchal[…]

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross: Pioneering Death as a Part of Medical Practice

Kübler-Ross was one of the central figures in the hospice care movement. Introduction Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (July 8, 1926 – August 24, 2004) was a Swiss-American psychiatrist, a pioneer in near-death studies, and author of the internationally best-selling book, On Death and Dying (1969), where she first discussed her theory of the five stages of grief,[…]

Helen Taussig: Changing the Face of Medicine for Children in the 20th Century

She was the first woman to be elected head of the American Heart Association. Introduction Helen Brooke Taussig (May 24, 1898 – May 20, 1986) was an American cardiologist, working in Baltimore and Boston, who founded the field of pediatric cardiology. She is credited with developing the concept for a procedure that would extend the[…]

The Nudge and Tie Breaker That Took Women’s Suffrage from Nay to Yea in 1920

The final step toward ratification hinged on the decision of one young man in Tennessee: State Rep. Harry T. Burn. Introduction The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified 100 years ago this week, and it comprises just 39 words: The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied[…]

Suffragists and Hunger Strikes in the Early 20th Century

How suffragists first used hunger strikes as a form of resistance and protest. Introduction Asylum seekers held in detention by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in California have launched a series of hunger strikes to demand personal protective equipment, medical care and provisional release as COVID-19 cases surge among incarcerated populations. In Kentucky, four activists went[…]

Were Women the True Artisans Behind Ancient Greek Ceramics?

A new paper makes the case that scholars have ignored the role of female ceramicists in Greece going back some 3,000 years. By Dr. Max G. Levy Painted over the enormous midsection of the Dipylon amphora—a nearly 2,800-year-old clay vase from Greece—silhouetted figures surround a corpse in a funeral scene. Intricate geometric patterns zig and[…]

The Shoulders of Bella Abzug for Today’s Women in Politics and Government

A warrior for every social justice movement of her day, Abzug stood on the front lines protesting injustices that still roil this nation. Introduction Since winning the vote a century ago, only four American women have captured the major parties’ nominations for president and vice president. Blasting open the road leading them to the top[…]

Suffragist Village: Leaders in the Ballot for Women’s Right to Vote in the United States

After years of struggle, on Aug. 18, 1920, Tennessee became the final state needed to ratify the 19th Amendment. Introduction Through the mid-19th century and early 20th centuries, women from all backgrounds in the United States pushed for social reforms that affected their lives. They formed antislavery organizations, temperance unions and sparked movements for equality[…]

Cleopatra: ‘Queen of the Nile’

As the last Ptolemaic heir of Alexander the Great, she remained committed to his policy of cultural fusion. Introduction Cleopatra VII Philopator (January, 69 B.C.E. – August 12, 30 B.C.E.) was queen of Ancient Egypt, the last member of the Macedonian Ptolemaic dynasty and hence the last Greek ruler of Egypt. Although many other Egyptian[…]

Marie Tharp: The Woman Who Pioneered Mapping the Ocean Six Decades Ago

Geologist and cartographer Tharp changed scientific thinking about what lay at the bottom of the ocean. Introduction Despite all the deep-sea expeditions and samples taken from the seabed over the past 100 years, humans still know very little about the ocean’s deepest reaches. And there are good reasons to learn more. Most tsunamis start with[…]

The Black Nurses Who Were Forced to Care for German Prisoners of War

Prohibited from attending the white GIs, the women felt betrayed by the country they fought to serve. On the summer afternoon in 1944 that 23-year-old Elinor Powell walked into the Woolworth’s lunch counter in downtown Phoenix, it never occurred to her that she would be refused service. She was, after all, an officer in the[…]

The History of Women in the Republican Party

The Republican Party had established itself as the party of reform in the 19th century, not the conservative organization it would become. Introduction Though 19th-century women could not vote, they could and did align with political parties and ideologies. Average citizens demonstrated their partisan loyalties at rallies and public celebrations. And, this included women. The[…]

I Spy Something Free

Women spies of the American Revolution. Introduction Throughout the Revolutionary War, there are stories of heroism; those who sacrificed to save others, those who put their lives on the line to warn of impending danger. The vast majority of these stories involve men. But there are countless extraordinary women who risked and sacrificed just as[…]

Love and the Revolution

Two wives of the American Revolution – one a patriot, one a spy. By Victoria Cooney Lucy Flucker of Boston and Peggy Shippen of Philadelphia were beautiful, well-born, and well-bred specimens of the ideal eighteenth-century American lady when love altered the course of their lives and thrust them into the action and intrigue of the[…]

Mythbusting the Founding Mothers

Examining some myths about women during the Revolutionary War and trying to find the truth. We all can picture the Founding Fathers, gathered in Independence Hall in Philadelphia, debating what to do about tyrannical Britain, and finally signing their names onto the Declaration of Independence. But what about the Founding Mothers? Often the women of[…]

Sex, Power, and Violence in the Renaissance Nude

Visual access to real women’s bodies was strictly policed in the Renaissance, particularly in Italy. The relationship between art, gender, and power goes back centuries; it didn’t start with #MeToo. Cultural production, such as novels, paintings, or films, does not merely reflect the ideas of a single artist or a patron—it articulates and reflects the norms[…]

The Three Daring Women Who Traversed the Himalayas in 1958

They called their adventure the Women’s Overland Himalayan Expedition. Antonia Deacock, Anne Davies and Eve Sims were three rather extraordinary women who, when in their mid-twenties and thirties, set off overland from England to Tibet in 1958.  Their aim was climbing one of the Himalayas’ unexplored high peaks. They made the 16,000-mile drive to India and back,[…]

Female Artists in the Renaissance

Women have always been artists, even famed artists. So why were many forgotten? Recovering Forgotten Masters When Renaissance painter Plautilla Nelli got her first solo exhibit at Florence’s Uffizi Gallery in 2017, some art historians asked . . . Plautilla who??  Despite being a celebrated artist in sixteenth-century Florence, Nelli had been forgotten by art[…]

19 Facts about the 19th Amendment

Women’s historic struggles to vote continue to resonate as the country debates who should vote and how. The 19th Amendment enfranchised millions of women across the United States following a seven-decade campaign. The struggle to expand voting rights to women resonates today as the country continues to debate who should vote and how. As scholars[…]

Vibrators Had a Long History as Medical Quackery before Their Use as Sex Toys

By the 1930s, vibrators were just another household electric appliance that could soothe your pains at the end of a long day. And then…. In the contemporary moment of sex-positive feminism, praises for the orgasmic capacity of the vibrator abound. “They’re all-encompassing, a blanket of electricity, that’ll course through your veins, producing orgasms you didn’t[…]

Waging Health: Women in Medicine in Nineteenth-Century American Wars

The nineteenth century is a decisive time in the development of medicine and the medical profession in Europe and North America. Thinking of war from a U.S.-American perspective will almost immediately evoke associations of male soldiers fighting heroic battles for a good cause such as democracy and/or the liberation of people from dictatorships, tyrannies, and[…]

Lifting as We Climb: African American Women’s Clubs in Progressive Era Chicago

How the work of African American clubwomen deepens our understanding of the Great Migration and the Progressive Era. Introduction When one considers the typical Progressive Era (1890-1930) reformer, figures such as Jane Addams, founder of Hull House, John Dewey, educational reformer, or political progressives, like Robert La Follette or Teddy Roosevelt come to mind. All[…]

Pocahontas: Her Life and Legend

The most famous event of Pocahontas’ life, her rescue of Captain John Smith, did not happen the way he wrote it. By Sarah J. Stebbins Introduction Not much is known about this memorable woman. What we do know was written by others, as none of her thoughts or feelings were ever recorded. Specifically, her story[…]

Motherhood in the Early American Republic

Women’s roles present in the emerging United States before, during, and after the American Revolution. Introduction “Republican Motherhood” is an 18th-century term for an attitude toward women’s roles present in the emerging United States before, during, and after the American Revolution. It centered on the belief that the patriots’ daughters should be raised to uphold[…]

Childbirth and Maternal Health in 17th-Century England

Historical material about the bodily and emotional experience of the period after birth has been relatively neglected. Summary For a month after childbirth, the authors of medical and religious prescriptive literature instructed new mothers to keep to their beds. During this time they were expected to bleed away the bodily remnants of pregnancy. At the[…]

A Saint, a Seurat, and a Baby in a Cot

How three artists, from three different eras, depicted motherhood. Introduction The first official Mother’s Day holiday was observed in the U.S. in 1908, but celebrations of mothers date back to the ancient Greeks and Romans who honored goddesses who were mothers. Depictions of mothers range from images of Aphrodite and her son Aeneas on a[…]

Ten Noble and Notorious Women of Ancient Greece

Many women in ancient Greece led interesting lives and performed heroic acts and who remain lesser known in the modern day. Introduction There were, no doubt, many notable women in ancient Greece, but history books are usually silent on female accomplishments. According to the historian and novelist Helena P. Schrader, this is because, “Herodotus and[…]