Tag: Women’s History

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 →

Murder and Motherhood in 1950s Ireland: The Trial of Abortionist Mamie Cadden

On the evening of April 17, 1956, thirty-three-year-old Helen O. visited nurse Mamie Cadden at 17 Hume Street, Dublin, for what she likely thought would be a routine, if illegal, abortion.1 Helen O.’s death after the attempted abortion provoked a national controversy that complicated dominant constructions of motherhood and domesticity in mid-twentieth-century Ireland. In the… Read more →

Mad Libs: A Guide to (White) Women’s History Month

From high school textbooks, we all learned about  famous woman’s name  who is known as the mother of  traditionally masculine discipline . But, few have heard of  not famous woman’s name , an intrepid, fearless, tenacious woman who historians consider the grandmother of  closely related traditionally masculine discipline , paving the way for millions of future women in… Read more →

The Lady with the Alligator Purse

A Tisket a Tasket, Three Little Fishies, Baa Baa Black Sheep — these nursery rhymes were an integral part of my childhood experience. The rhyme that most captured my attention when I was a child, however, was Miss Lucy Had a Baby: Particularly fascinating to me were not the presence of the nurse, doctor, or… Read more →

Colonial Colette: From Orientalism and Egyptian Pantomime to Polaire’s Jamaican “Slave”

I first read excerpts of Colette’s Sido in my IB French class in 2007, so when the recent biopic starring Keira Knightley and produced by Wash Westmoreland came out, I knew that I had to see it. Colette was one of the most prolific French writers of the early twentieth century, well known for her… Read more →

How the “Advisory State” Shapes American Bodies and Politics: A Conversation with Rachel Louise Moran

In her new book Governing Bodies: American Politics and the Shaping of the Modern Physique, historian Rachel Louise Moran examines the U.S. government’s efforts to influence citizen bodies, not through legislation or overt force, but through what Moran calls “the advisory state.” This political control stemmed from a “subtle but powerful … repertoire of governing… Read more →

“Battalion of Life”: American Women’s Hospitals and the First World War

Shortly after the United States entered the First World War in April 1917, Dr. Rosalie Slaughter Morton of Virginia published an article describing the work of Scottish Women’s Hospitals, a medical unit staffed entirely by female physicians who were caring for wounded servicemen among the Allied nations. Morton hoped this agency would serve as a… Read more →