Women's History

In a top-secret program, talented, young female mathematicians calculated the artillery and bomb trajectories that American GIs used to win World War II

The air at 20,000 feet above Schweinfurt, Germany, was icy cold, but the bombardier crouching in the nose of the B-17 hardly noticed. Sweat poured down his forehead as flak rocked the aircraft, periodically spattering his compartment's Plexiglas bubble with fragments. Read more >>

The Women Airforce Service Pilots seemed strange and exotic to World War II America. In fact, not even the military could quite fiqure out what to do with them.

It is trivializing women’s history to suggest that baby has come a long way in the last 50 years. Women have always considered their past, often through genealogies, storytelling, oral histories, and even quilts. Read more >>

Nearly a century after she came on the scene, her wit, bravado, and sexuality are a bigger presence than ever

How women entrepreneurs reshaped the American economic landscape in the wake of WWII.

When the National Foundation of Women Business Owners announced in May 1999 that women own nearly 40 percent of the nation’s businesses, there was little fanfare or surprise. Americans have become increasingly accustomed to female entrepreneurs as an economic force. Read more >>

Consigned to the Pennsylvania Railroad’s “Garbage Run,” they fought their own war on the home front, and they helped shape a victory as surely as their brothers and husbands did overseas

All the new lady brakemen on the Pennsylvania Railroad were put to work on what was officially known as the Jersey Coast Extra List. Read more >>
On November 2 the first issue of the Harper brothers’ new magazine Harper’s Bazar appeared, based on the sophisticated German publication Der Bazar and headed by the admired translator and historian of New York Cit Read more >>

E.G. Lewis decided that a strong man could liberate American women and make money doing it

THE CELEBRATION began even before the opening gavel of the First American Woman’s League Convention. As the thousand arriving delegates made their way out Delmar Boulevard to University City, a new suburb of St. Read more >>

For millions of women, consciousness raising didn’t start in the 1960s. It started when they helped win World War II.

DURING THE FIRST three years of World War II, five million women covered their hair, put on “slacks,” and at the government’s urging went to work in defense plants. They did every kind of job, but the largest single need was for riveters. Read more >>

The author recalls two generations of “Cliffie” life—hers and her mother’s—in the years when male and female education took place on opposite sides of the Cambridge Common and women were expected to wear hats in Harvard Square

My mother was a member of the class of 1899 at Radcliffe College, having come east from St. Paul, Minnesota—a sort of reverse pioneer. Read more >>
Mr. Richard Reeves alleges that Tocqueville “thought American women were docile” (“If Tocqueville Could See Us Now,” June/July issue). Read more >>

How a young New York society matron named Alice Shaw dazzled English royalty with her extraordinary embouchure

Whistling women and crowing hens Always come to some bad ends. —American folk-saying Read more >>

How Juliette “Daisy” Low, an unwanted child, a miserable wife, a lonely widow, finally found happiness as the founder of the Girl Scouts of America

In 1911 Juliette “Daisy” Low taught her first seven female Girl Guides to raise chickens and to spin wool. Read more >>

How the mistress of the plantation became a slave

“WE’RE USED to living around ‘em. You Northerners aren’t. You don’t know anything about ‘em.” This is or was the allpurpose utterance of white Southerners about blacks. Read more >>
As three recent films show—one on the atomic bomb, one on women defense workers during the Second World War, one on the government arts projects of the thirties —this history of our times offers film makers arresting opportunities. Read more >>

The sexual habits of American women, examined half a century before Kinsey

The nineteenth century was, according to the stereotype, ashamed and fearful of all things sexual. It was an era when, as one visitor to America swore, teachers put “modest little trousers with frills at the bottom” over the “limbs” of their pianos. Read more >>

One of Ruth Snyder’s Crimes Was Murder

In 1925 a woman named Ruth Snyder too up with a salesman—a corset and brassiere salesman to be exact—and together on March 20, 1927, they murdered her husband in his bed. Months later, they were both electrocuted. Read more >>

Although it has been disparaged as “General Washington’s Sewing Circle,” this venture was the first nationwide female organization in America

When news that the British had taken Charleston, South Carolina, reached Philadelphia in May of 1780, merchants and government officials reacted to the disaster by taking steps to support the inflated Pennsylvania currency and solicit funds to pay new army re Read more >>

She was “one of the most active and most reliable of the many secret woman agents of the Confederacy.”

She began her career as a spy and ended it as an actress, and there are no two professions more thickly larded with myth and lies. At least one historian, despairing of seeing anything real behind the mists, concluded that she had never lived at all. Read more >>

Unschooled and uncompromising, she founded her own faith

Mary Baker Eddy was, against all odds, one of the most influential women of her age. Born into unpromising circumstances, she never mastered the limited education that was available to her. She lacked literary talent and any real vocation for family life. Read more >>

How a Crash Program Developed an Efficient Oral Contraceptive in Less Than a Decade

A good beginning for this story is a meeting in early 1951 of three remarkable people—the greatest feminist of our age, a great philanthropist who was as notably eccentric as she was fantastically wealthy, and a biological scientist whose subsequent world fam Read more >>
Ernest Hemingway and His World by Anthony Burgess Charles Scribner’s Sons, 144 pages, photographs, $10.95 Read more >>

“Viewed purely in the abstract, I think there can be no question that women should have equal rights with men …I would have the word ‘obey’ used no more by the wife than by the husband.”

”I first saw her on October 18, 1878, and loved her as soon as I saw her sweet, fair young face. Read more >>

Soujourner Truth's mission was “testifyin’ concerning the wickedness of this ‘ere people.”

IMAGES OF SWEETHEARTS, WIVES, AND MOTHERS HAVE OFTER BEEN USED TO INSPIRE PATRIOTIC FERVOR

“O thus be it ever when free-men shall stand Between their lov’d homes and the war’s desolation…” Read more >>

In forty years of scraping and scrapping for women’s rights, Abigail Scott Duniway never lost her nerve or wicked tongue

Man is, or should be, woman’s protector and defender. Read more >>

An interview with the famed suffragette, Alice Paul

Beset with ailments, Victorian women found solace, in more ways than one, in a new panacea—hydropathy

A century and a half ago American women faced a very different life prospect than today. Without dependable birth-control techniques they could expect to spend their prime years bearing children. Read more >>

Harriet Beecher Stowe, an extraordinary member of an extraordinary family, always claimed that God wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin

She had been brought up to make herself useful. And always it suited her. Read more >>

The prevailing Colonial feeling toward female education was unanimously negative. Learning to read was the first feminist triumph.

Could I have died a martyr in the cause, and thus ensured its success, I could have blessed the faggot and hugged the stake.” The cause was state support for female education, the would-be Saint Joan was Emma Willard, and the rhetorical standards of the 1820’ Read more >>