Tag: Women’s History

The Devastation of Peace: Otilia Noeckel and the Army Nurse Corps after the Great War

“I just adore the work I am doing right now. I am on a dressing team with another nurse and a surgeon. We dress wounds almost all day long. Today we did sixty. The horrors of the war are certainly evident around here. Some of the wounds are frightful and some of the poor boys… Read more →

“There Had Been No Penetration:” Male Surgeons’ Roles in Defining Rape in Eighteenth-Century England

In July of 1715, when Mary Marsh was asked about the details of her rape, she claimed that “the Prisoner threw her upon the Bed, press’d her very hard, and put something into her, but was so modest she would not declare what.”1 When two medical surgeons “depos’d that there had been no penetration,” William… Read more →

Women’s Health Advocacy at Work

I realized belatedly that writing a biography of a women’s health activist as my dissertation (and wrestling with the late journalist Barbara Seaman’s strong personality) was an exhausting task. I finished graduate school a semester late, burnt out, and in desperate need of a paycheck. So when I saw a job advertisement from a women’s… Read more →

“Bought some souvenirs as usual and a cheese:” Nurses’ Lives Outside the Hospital in the First World War

A great deal has been written about soldiers’ experiences behind the lines during the First World War and the relationships they forged in the course of their service. From visiting brothels to performing in amateur theatricals, interpersonal and romantic relationships had lasting effects on men after their service had ended.1 Janet S.K. Watson has noted… Read more →

“I Would Rather Have My Own Mind”: The Medicalization of Women’s Behavior in Ireland, 1914-1920

When he brought her to the asylum, twenty-four-year old Katie’s father was asked to describe what behaviors or actions had marked her “attack.” He noted, first, that she suffered from “some uterine trouble,” and secondly, that she was “addicted to reading Novels, esp. Modn. cheap ones. Fond of amusement and gay society.”1 It sounds like… Read more →

The Enigmatic Spinster

Judging from the number of books, blogs, news articles and interviews focused on the lives of single women, it seems that the “spinster” is making a resurgence. For example, Rebecca Traister’s All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation and Kate Bolick’s Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own received… Read more →

Caring for Women Veterans: A Brief History of the Cowdray Club

We are quickly approaching the 1918 centennial, commemorating the end of the First World War, with ceremonies and events being planned around the world. It’s increasingly important, however, to realize that for those who served in and survived the First World War, the end of hostilities did not mean a return to the world as… Read more →

Male Jealousy & Questions of Sexual Honor: A Look at Historical Cases of Domestic Murder in Ireland

At present in Ireland, a Domestic Violence Bill is rumbling its way through the Irish parliament, a welcome albeit overdue development. Louise Crowley has noted that failures to enshrine domestic violence as a discrete criminal offense have gone hand-in-hand with Ireland’s historic reluctance to intervene in such cases. A look at gendered violence in Ireland,… Read more →

“A Basic Issue of Women’s Liberation”: The Feminist Campaign to Legalize Contraception in 1970s Ireland

On May 22, 1971, forty-seven members of the Irish Women’s Liberation Movement (IWLM) boarded the 8am train from Dublin to Belfast. Their aim was to purchase contraceptives in the north, where contraception was legal under UK law, and to travel back to Dublin with them in order to highlight the hypocrisy of Irish law, which… Read more →

Women Against Abortion: Inside the Largest Moral Reform Movement of the Twentieth Century, by Karissa Haugeberg

Not a year goes by without state legislatures across the country implementing new regulatory burdens on abortion clinics, or requiring excessive waiting periods for women seeking abortions. In fact, while abortion continues to be a legal procedure, the twentieth-first-century abortion landscape is often much more restrictive than it was in the years immediately following the… Read more →