Tag: Women’s History

Mujeres Libres: Women, Anarchy, and the Fragility of Democracy in Spain

Prime Minister of Spain Pedro Sanchez decided to call a snap election in April 2019 following the withdrawal of support by the Catalan separatists who were propping up his government. The short-term implications of another general election in Spain were great, as the lack of a stable government in recent years has impacted Spain’s social… Read more →

Women in the French Resistance

In France, women have long played a vital role in the military. Like most modern militaries, in multiple conflicts the French army had “camp followers,” mostly women, but also men and children, who took care of the cooking, laundering, and other tasks needed to maintain a large standing army. During the French Revolution, some women… Read more →

“Immoderate Menses” or Abortion? Bodily Knowledge and Illicit Intimacy in an 1851 Divorce Trial

In 1851, four years after actress Josephine Clifton’s death, she was named as one of Edwin Forrest’s adulterers during the American actor’s divorce trial. Forrest was an established transatlantic celebrity who exemplified rugged American masculinity in both his roles and celebrity persona. In 1849, Forrest’s rivalry with English thespian William Charles Macready inspired the deadly… Read more →

“Who but Women Should Manage It?”: Convalescent Home Matrons and Medical Recuperation

Today we often hear reports about women’s invisible labor. Female family members do the lion’s share of housework and caregiving — not just for their own children, but for any household member. Given that such caregiving takes time, often drawing women away from wage-earning jobs, this care is likely one source of wage discrepancies between… Read more →

What Women “Want”: Wordsmithing Education Reform Rhetoric

Persuaders and Persuadees The decentralized nature of public education in America means that any one individual who wants to implement sweeping change needs to use rhetoric and persuasion to convince others their idea is the best one. For most of American history, the persuaders have generally come from one demographic group and directed their powers… Read more →

Uncovering the Convent

I study nuns. Now, let me start by saying that I’m not Catholic; I just study nuns in the nineteenth century. I am one of a handful of scholars, mainly women, who study nuns, or more accurately, women religious.1 Although I am immensely passionate about my topic, I find that most people are not aware… Read more →

Murder, She Miniatured: Frances Glessner Lee and The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death

Homemaking and Homicide From the outside, Frances Glessner Lee’s childhood home resembled a prison. H. H. Richardson designed the home in 1886 with imposing granite and an austere facade, complete with barred windows. At the time of its construction, the home was considered the eyesore of Chicago’s fashionable Prairie Avenue. The inside of the home… Read more →

Between the Pages: Victorian Women’s Letters to H. Lenox Hodge

This essay was first published at Fugitive Leaves, the blog of The History Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Cracking open the accordion-notebook of Dr. Hugh Lenox Hodge at The History Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, I read from the top, thumb and index finger poised delicately at… Read more →

From Hospital to Home: Wendy Kline’s Coming Home: How Midwives Changed Birth

Wendy Kline has delivered a new addition to the history of childbirth in America. In her engaging and well-researched book, Coming Home: How Midwives Changed Birth, Kline presents a new and necessary chapter in the story of the medicalization of childbirth in the United States: the history of the home birth movement. Kline has a… Read more →

Japan’s Once and Future Female Emperors

With the abdication today of the Japanese emperor, Akihito, and the passage of the throne to his son, talk has emerged yet again about the future of Japan’s imperial family and its insistence on male dynastic succession. But would it be so revolutionary to put a woman on the throne? History tells us no. In… Read more →