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Articles Categorized Women’s History

Women’s Equality Day

FEMINISM: THE FIRST WAVE The fight for women’s equality in the United States began at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848. Advocates worked tirelessly circulating petitions, holding rallies and conventions, and marching in public parades. In this parade, 20,000 women marched in New York City, many of them wearing white as a symbol of purity.

Back to School

Hawaii Public Schools start today, so it seems appropriate to look at how school days have changed over the past one hundred years or so. For example, there is a popular list of Rules for Teachers dated 1915 that makes me wonder why anyone took up the profession. Note the assumption that teaching was a

SUMMER READS: Two Novels of Forgotten Women

THE HANDFASTED WIFE It’s 1065 and Edith Swanneck is worried, because “These days everyone talked of how important a church wedding was, a priest listening to vows exchanged in the church porch and then blessing the marriage.” [Handfasted Wife, Chapter 1] Edith Swanneck didn’t stand on the church porch with her husband Harold Godwinson. They

SUMMER READS: Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton & Patsy Jefferson Randolph

We see Alexander Hamilton every time we take out a ten dollar bill. Our first Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton believed in a strong central government led by the executive branch, established the national debt as a means of developing international credit, and built the Bank of the United States. Alone among the Founding Fathers,

SUMMER READS: TWO NOVELS BY SUJATA MASSEY

Good historical fiction takes the reader into an authentic world where the story is presented against the backdrop of actual customs and material culture, for example, food as it is eaten and prepared or family customs such as purdah, the seclusion of women within the household. When there’s also a mystery involved, it becomes more

SWIMWEAR BY THE SEA

Summer will soon be upon us — the time of year when many of us will be seen in swim wear or, as it used to be called, bathing costumes. Summer wasn’t always synonymous with a seaside vacation. A convergence of factors in the mid-nineteenth century introduced the annual ritual to American life. Railways made

Peter Rabbit Hops Into Spring

  One of the many signs of spring is cute bunny rabbits like this one on the 1902 cover Beatrix Potter’s Tale of Peter Rabbit. Potter, who wrote and illustrated the book, was the first children’s author to dress small furry animals in jackets and dresses, perhaps inspired by the many small pets she kept

DNA TESTS “PROVE” FEMALE VIKING WARRIOR

It is impossible for anyone to look at anything with a completely unbiased eye. No matter how much we try to adjust for personal and cultural bias, none of us can completely escape what we think of as obvious. In 1871 Hjalmar Stolpe, a trained entomologist, went to the Swedish town of Birka looking for

Wash Day Miracle

We don’t think much about washing clothes. Which is to say most of us don’t think it’s an enjoyable occupation. This is true whether we take our washing to the laundromat, or have the luxury of a home machine. For some bizarre reason, every time I use the washing machine, I think it’s some kind

Washing Machine Leads to 1920s Scandal

This started out to be a blog about early labor saving devices, so I started researching washing “machines.” The machine on the left has a tub, agitator, and wringer. All improved the washing experience. As a term, “Washing Machines” wasn’t getting me what I wanted, so I entered “Wash Day,” which led me to a 1915