Black and white photograph of three women standing amongst bushes and trees

Lydia’s Diaries: Uncovering Women’s History in the Archives

By Rebecca Hopman “Topsy’s Journal. Strictly private!” So begins Lydia Olsson’s diary. Olsson was an early female student at Augustana College in Rock Island, IL, and the five diaries now held by Augustana Special Collections document her life on campus. I encountered Olsson’s diaries in the archives nearly a decade ago, and reading them changed my path in life. In the summer of 2010, I … Continue reading Lydia’s Diaries: Uncovering Women’s History in the Archives

Hispanic Heritage and Making America Great

By Madison Filzer Madison is a second year Master’s Candidate in the Women’s History program at Sarah Lawrence College. Her research interests include Civil Rights activism in Cleveland, Ohio and Black women’s activism in the United States. Let me take you back to 1942, only a few years after the Great Depression, in the midst of World War II. In many ways, the United States … Continue reading Hispanic Heritage and Making America Great

For the NEH…

Historians Joan Kelly, Alice Kessler-Harris, Joan Scott, and Nell Painter, photographer Candacy Taylor, and filmmaker Mira Nair. What do these women have in common? All received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), a government-funded agency now more than a half-century old. Operating under the banner “Because democracy demands wisdom,” the NEH provides funds to “cultural institutions, such as museums, archives, libraries, colleges, … Continue reading For the NEH…

Weekly Feminist Smorgasbord: All-American Muslim, Victim-Blaming Ad Campaign & “Muscular Empathy”

In an attack on women of color’s reproductive freedoms, anti-choice members of Congress have pushed for a bill called the “Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act,” which seeks to prevent women of color from attaining abortions in the name of “civil rights.” Clarification: Neither Susan B. Anthony nor Frederick Douglass would have supported this BS. In some of the most public displays … Continue reading Weekly Feminist Smorgasbord: All-American Muslim, Victim-Blaming Ad Campaign & “Muscular Empathy”

Researching New York : A Sneak Peek at This Year’s Conference

  {Director of the Women’s History Program at Sarah Lawrence College, Rona Holub, shares the abstract for her upcoming presentation at this year’s esteemed “Researching New York” conference series.}  In Defense of a “Noble Metropolis”: The Irish and German Immigrant Response to New York State’s Attack on Home Rule in New York City, 1857 In April of 1857, the New York State Legislature passed new laws, … Continue reading Researching New York : A Sneak Peek at This Year’s Conference

Miscegenation: A Law Review

Until the Supreme Court’s 1967 decision in Loving v. Virginia, interracial marriage was legally banned in a few states in this country.  Although we may look back and say to ourselves how can that be? That was so recent! the changes in legal thinking that made eradicating all miscegenation laws from the books were actually quite remarkable.  Rather, it was not so much that the … Continue reading Miscegenation: A Law Review

Another Body Talk

by Robert Leleux


One of the most peculiar things about The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls is that it seems, at times, to have been written by your Great Aunt Rose. Joan Jacobs Brumberg is an accomplished historian and an enlightened thinker, but she sometimes expresses a tone of agonized propriety that I can’t recall having heard since the days when Lucy and Ricky slept in separate beds. Take, for example, the following sentence, delivered absolutely without irony in the course of an impassioned plea on behalf of sexually exploited teenage girls: “The way in which a society handles young girls in trouble,” she writes, “is…revealing.”[1] The “trouble” to which Brumberg is referring to is, incredibly, the “Is she in trouble?” kind of trouble. The kind of “trouble” that always comes with quotation marks around it, even when it’s used in conversation.

Except, I haven’t heard that kind of “trouble” used in conversation since I was a small boy in Texas, playing under my grandmother’s dining room table, and listening in on the conversation of the old ladies in my family who still considered “pregnant” an unsuitable term for that “delicate condition.” Likewise, “out-of-wedlock births,” another Eisenhower-era phrase of which Brumberg avails herself several pages later.[2] In fact, The Body Project is sadly, but revealingly, littered with such creaky, antiquated expressions. Never more so, I’m afraid, than in the very, very unfortunate section devoted to body piercing, of which the following sentence is perhaps the most mortifying: “Teenagers today,” Brumberg explains, “grow up in a world where rigid dichotomies between gay (homosexual) and straight (heterosexual) behavior are disappearing.”[3] Oh, dear, dear, dear. Statements like this remind me of the kind of “talks” ladies used to give on current events during monthly luncheons at the club. Continue reading “Another Body Talk”

The History Blogging Project

via The History Blogging Project. Blogging technology has created new opportunities for postgraduate historians to engage with specialist and non-specialist audiences, and to demonstrate the impact of their work by creating and informing new, virtual, public spheres and spaces. While there are a number of for-profit blog training courses in the private sector, there is no training provision in blogging as a method of public … Continue reading The History Blogging Project

Women’s History Sources

We got a tip from friend of R/V, Kate Angell, about this great collaborative blog focused on primary sources.  It’s called Women’s History Sources: Women’s History Sources is a collaborative blog that serves as a current awareness tool for anyone who is interested in primary sources at archives, historic sites and museums, and libraries. Some of the types of sources that the blog covers: New … Continue reading Women’s History Sources

Melissa Harris-Perry: Michael Vick, Racial History, and Animal Rights

After feeling as if her comments regarding Michael Vick were not properly contextualized on her appearance on The Rachel Maddow Show last night, Melissa Harris-Perry took the opportunity to flesh out the history of race and animal rights on her group blog today.  I was happy to see she tackled the issue of Tucker Carlson’s recent comments that Michael Vick should be executed as punishment … Continue reading Melissa Harris-Perry: Michael Vick, Racial History, and Animal Rights