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Articles Categorized Women’s History

West v.West:The Salem Scandal of 1806, Part 2

On May 23, 1783, Elizabeth Derby married Nathaniel West. As noted in last week’s blog, Betsey, as she was known, was the eldest daughter of the richest man in Salem, Massachusetts. Betsey was 21 years old, free to marry the man of her choice. Nathaniel West, five years older than his bride, had been sailing

West v. West:The Salem Scandal of 1806, Part I

In 1761 Elias Hasket Derby, age 22,  married Elizabeth Crowninshield, age 26. When they married, Elias’ father built them a brick house on Salem’s waterfront. Elizabeth’s father provided household items, including furniture, linen, brass kettles, and looking glasses. Elias acquired a new beaver hat to mark the occasion.  The couple were well-suited. The Derby family

VICTORY OVER SMALL POX

While spending time sheltering-in-place at home, I, like many other people, considered previous pandemics. Many media stories compare COVID-19 to the 1918 H1N1 virus pandemic. But that event is one of many throughout history, including small pox, also known as the speckled monster, a virulent viral disease once endemic in Europe, Asia, and Arabia. It

Women’s History Month: An Unfinished Revolution

Fifty years ago, with some notable exceptions like Eleanor Roosevelt, women were invisible in history. White males led corporate America while secretaries took notes and made coffee. And marriage was the goal of most college educated middle class young women. Though many issues remain unsolved, Women’s History Month is an opportunity to celebrate positive changes

Kensington Palace: A Home for Princesses & Royal Duchesses

When Victoria became queen in 1837, she immediately moved to Buckingham Palace and demoted Kensington Palace to a residence for members of her extended family and various retainers. THE DUCHESS OF TECK Mary Adelaide was George III’s granddaughter. Prohibited by royal protocol from marrying anyone who wasn’t also a royal, she was a spinster of

Kensington Palace: The First Occupants

For more years than I’m going to mention, I’ve stayed in the Kensington area of London when I travel for my urban fix and British Library research. If you’re familiar with London’s layout, you’ll quickly point out that the library is on the other side of the city. Thankfully, it’s a quick trip on The

Fanny Farmer & Modern Cooking

On August 23, 1902 Fanny Farmer opened her School of Cookery and continued her revolution in American cookery. In order to appreciate her efforts, it’s useful to start with a recipe comparison for Bird’s Nest Pudding. The original 1833 recipe is from The American Frugal Housewife by Lydia Maria Child. Bird’s Nest Pudding If you

Nylon Stockings: Why or Why Not?

In 2009 journalist Gail Collins wrote a Letter to Young American Women, advising them that if they had come of age in 1960 they would feel more restricted, “if only because you were doomed to spend you days in a skirt, nylon stockings and girdle. (Everybody wore a girdle back then, even Barbie, the individual

Titanic Survivors: The Socialite, The Actress, and The “Unsinkable” Woman

At 11:40 p.m. on April 14, 1912, RMS Titanic struck an iceberg. At 00.25 a.m. the next morning, the Titanic sent out a distress call. At 2:20 a.m. the ship sank. At 4:00 a.m. the Carpathia began picking up the 710 survivors. This is a story about three women who traveled in first class. One

PANDITA RAMABAI’S DAY OF RECOGNITION

Friday, April 5 is the day the Episcopal Church (USA) dedicates to Pandita Mary Ramabai. It’s also the date of her death in 1922. At the time of her birth in 1858, Rama was an unlikely candidate for Christian recognition. Her father was an itinerant shastri who took his family from temple to temple. He