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Articles Categorized Women’s History

Victoria Woodhull: The First Woman to Run for President

Victoria Clafllin Woodhull lived life on her own terms and if her terms were scandalous, all the better. She was the seventh of ten children born to unmarried parents. Her mother, a believer in spiritualism; her father, a some-time lawyer and con man. As a child, Victoria worked as a fortune teller and child preacher,

The Sewing Machine Revolutionized Stitchery

The sewing machine, beloved by stitching hobbyists and home fashionistas, was invented by French tailor Barthelemy Thimonnier. In 1830 he patented a mechanical device that could produce a simple chain stitch that would allow uniforms for the French army to be mass produced, rather than sewn by hand. Thimonnier’s innovation was not well-received. Realizing mechanized

Aphra Behn: Restoration Playwright

In 1929 Virginia Woolf published A Room of One’s Own in which she argued that if a woman is going to write fiction, she must have money and a room of her own. Woolf developed her theme by looking at female writers in history, many of whom did not publish their writings. In her observations

Lady Mary Wroth & the English Renaissance

When we think of women novelists writing in the English language, Jane Austin is usually the first name that comes to mind. It’s fair to say the Jane Austin was the first to have a popular impact, but the first female author writing in English was Mary Wroth (1587-1653). Jane Austin’s work came out 200

An 18th Century Woman Gets Dressed

I write historical fiction based on the lives of actual women. This involves a great deal of research on the person being profiled and the world in which she lived, as well as information on events that occurred. Saxon Heroines, for example, focused on the lives of four royal women in 7th century Northumbria. Information

It’s Administrative Professionals Week: From Secretary to Administrative Professional

In 1957, Time Magazine observed a national shortage of secretaries.  With over 21 million women in the workforce, only 2 million were employed as secretaries which meant that every day there were 250,000 unfilled secretarial positions. To make matters worse, employers were caught in a dilemma. Women over age 35 were considered to set in

First Ladies Move into a Post-War World

When Franklin Delano Roosevelt took the oath of office on March 4, 1933, unemployment was 25 percent; homes and farms were lost to foreclosure, and people were hungry. Hobos rode the rails looking for work. Farmers from the Great Plains migrated to California, a journey described by John Steinbeck in the Grapes of Wrath.  Incumbent

First Ladies in the “Roaring Twenties”

For various reasons, we are more aware of some First Ladies than others. Last week, I skipped over Edith Roosevelt and Helen Taft in favor of closing the blog with Edith Wilson. This week, I intended to begin with Lou Hoover, but I started thinking about 1920 as a pivotal year.  The United States had

First Ladies in Unusual Circumstances

After the civil war, American First Ladies were women with direct experience in the social movements of their time. As young women, none had any expectation of the office they would hold, but their role as presidential spouses continued to bring change to the White House. The Election of 1876 After eight years in the

First Ladies: Expanding the Role

During the course of the nineteenth century, First Ladies emerged from behind their husband’s careers to become separate personalities. Though these women were still identified most broadly as wives and mothers, social expectations changed. This second installment in my series about First Ladies profiles a selection of nineteenth century First Ladies who caught my interest: