Hi everyone, I seem to be running out of month here!
Honestly, time just seems to go so fast, and I always think there should be one more week in the month.
But, no, this really is the last week in March.
And since it is the last week in March, and I have not yet put up all the suggested reading postings for Women’s History Month that I promised on March 4, I’m going to simply combine the last three postings into one posting that you can look at, and celebrate the contributions women have made to western society, at your leisure throughout the next couple of months – so many books, so little time!
Ten books are featured in each of the following three categories:
Notable Women of the 20th Century
Notable Women of the 19th Century
And on to the books!
Notable Women of the 20th Century
Audition: A Memoir by Barbara Walters:
“Barbara Walters has been called the most important woman in the history of broadcast journalism, but she refuses to retire to a marble pantheon. Indeed, she continues to interview celebrities, stoke media controversies, and inspire mimics. Oddly enough, Audition is her first real book; a grand, deeply personal, sometimes defensive memoir that covers almost eight decades of intense activity. With surprising candor, the famed View host talks about her childhood as the privileged daughter of a Broadway producer who later went broke and her early career in an environment distinctly hostile to women. Although she describes in detail her numerous headline-making interviews with world leaders, Hollywood stars, and even Monica Lewinsky, one senses the author’s presence throughout as a solitary, sometimes lonely beacon of self-sufficiency.
…[a] legitimately star-studded autobiography…the portrait of a deftly calculating woman with an impeccable sense of timing…There will never be another television news career like this one.
—The New York Times, Janet Maslin
Eye On the Struggle: Ethel Payne, the First Lady of the Black Press by James McGrath Morris:
James McGrath Morris’s groundbreaking biography illuminates the life and accomplishments of pioneering journalist Ethel Lois Payne, and pays tribute to the critical role of the black press in the civil rights era.
A self-proclaimed “instrument for change,” Payne publicly prodded President Dwight D. Eisenhower to support desegregation. From Alabama to Vietnam, from Indonesia to Ghana, her reporting on legislative and judicial civil rights battles enlightened and motivated black readers, for whom she served as an eyewitness on the frontlines of the struggle for freedom. At great personal risk, Payne covered such landmark events as the Montgomery bus boycott, the desegregation of the University of Alabama, the integration of Little Rock’s schools, and the service of black troops in Vietnam. A trailblazing black woman in an industry dominated by white men, Payne also broke the glass ceiling, becoming the first female African-American radio and television commentator on a national network, working for CBS. Inspiring and instructive, moving and enlightening, Eye on the Struggle celebrates this extraordinary woman and her achievements—and reminds us of the power one person has to transform our lives and our world.
Grace Hopper and the Invention of the Information Age by Kurt W. Beyer:
The career of computer visionary Grace Murray Hopper, whose innovative work in programming laid the foundations for the user-friendliness of today’s personal computers that sparked the information age.
A Hollywood biopic about the life of computer pioneer Grace Murray Hopper (1906–1992) would go like this: a young professor abandons the ivy-covered walls of academia to serve her country in the Navy after Pearl Harbor and finds herself on the front lines of the computer revolution. She works hard to succeed in the all-male computer industry, is almost brought down by personal problems but survives them, and ends her career as a celebrated elder stateswoman of computing, a heroine to thousands, hailed as the inventor of computer programming. Throughout Hopper’s later years, the popular media told this simplified version of her life story. In Grace Hopper and the Invention of the Information Age , Kurt Beyer reveals a more authentic Hopper, a vibrant and complex woman whose career paralleled the meteoric trajectory of the postwar computer industry.
Both rebellious and collaborative, Hopper was influential in male-dominated military and business organizations at a time when women were encouraged to devote themselves to housework and childbearing. Hopper’s greatest technical achievement was to create the tools that would allow humans to communicate with computers in terms other than ones and zeroes. This advance influenced all future programming and software design and laid the foundation for the development of user-friendly personal computers.
Invisible: The Forgotten Story of the Black Woman Lawyer Who Took Down America’s Most Powerful Mobster by Stephen L. Carter:
The bestselling author delves into his past and retrieves the inspiring story of his grandmother’s extraordinary life
She was brilliant, ambitious, and unafraid to breakbarriers. As the only member of a squad of twenty high-powered lawyers who was not a white male, she devised the strategy that in the 1930s sent Mafia chieftan Lucky Luciano to prison. She achieved so much—but what could she have accomplished if not for barriers of race and gender?
Eunice Hunton Carter, Stephen Carter’s grandmother, was the daughter of a distinguished African American couple and the granddaughter of slaves. A graduate of Smith College and Fordham Law School, she became a key member of the legal team charged with breaking up organized crime in New York City. By the 1940s, she was one of the most famous black women in America. But at every turn, Eunice encountered prejudice, and her triumphs were shadowed by tragedy. Greatly complicating her rise was her difficult relationship with her younger brother, Alphaeus, an avowed Communist who—together with his friend Dashiell Hammett—went to prison during the McCarthy era. Yet she remained unbowed: constantly reinventing herself, she somehow found a way forward.
Moving, haunting, and written with dazzling power, Invisible tells the story of a woman who often found her path blocked by the socialand political expectations of the age. But Eunice Carter never accepted defeat, and thanks to her grandson’s remarkable book she is once again visible.
Juliette Gordon Low: The Remarkable Founder of the Girl Scouts by Stacy A. Cordery:
Born at the start of the Civil War, Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low struggled to reconcile being a good Southern belle with being true to her adventurous spirit. Accidentally deafened, she married a dashing British patrician and moved to England, where she quickly became dissatisfied with the aimlessness of privileged life. Her search for greater purpose ended when she met Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts, and was inspired to recreate his program for girls.
The Girl Scouts of the USA—which can now count more than fifty-nine million American girls and women among its past members—aims to instill useful skills and moral values in its young members, with an emphasis on fun. In this lively and accessible biography of its intrepid founder, Stacy A. Cordery paints a dynamic portrait of an intriguing woman and a true pioneer whose work touched the lives of millions of girls and women around the world.
Marlene by Marlene Dietrich:
A fascinating self-portrait of one of the greatest entertainers of Hollywood’s golden age
Film star. Cabaret sensation. Recording artist. Writer. Marlene Dietrich was nothing short of enchanting—and remains so as she chronicles her fabulous rise to stardom in Marlene. From her early career in Germany as a chorus girl to her breakout role as Lola in The Blue Angel to her courageous wartime tours, Dietrich recounts a life that captivates on the page just as she smoldered on the screen. She writes passionately of her friends—including Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles, and Edith Piaf, among many others—and she shares memories of what she calls her greatest accomplishment: entertaining the Allied troops during World War II. A sustained expression of her bold, sophisticated style, Marlene reminds us why Dietrich remains an international icon and a true Hollywood legend.
Mr. President, How Long Must We Wait?: Alice Paul, Woodrow Wilson, and the Fight for the Right to Vote by Tina Cassidy:
An eye-opening, inspiring, and timely account of the complex relationship between notable suffragist Alice Paul and President Woodrow Wilson in her fight for women’s equality.
Woodrow Wilson lands in Washington, DC in March of 1913, a day before he is set to take the presidential oath of office. Expecting a throng of onlookers, he is instead met with minimal interest as the crowd and media alike watch a twenty-five-year-old Alice Paul organize 8,000 suffragists in a first-of-its-kind protest led by a woman riding a white horse just a few blocks away from the Washington platform. The next day, the New York Times calls the procession “one of the most impressively beautiful spectacles ever staged in this country.”
Mr. President, How Long Must We Wait? weaves together two storylines: Paul’s and Wilson’s, two seemingly complete opposites who had more in common than either one could imagine. Paul’s procession led her to be granted a one-on-one meeting with President Woodrow Wilson, one that would lead to many meetings and much discussion, though little progress. With no equality in sight and patience wearing thin, Paul organized the first group to ever picket on the White House lawn—night and day, through sweltering summer mornings and frigid fall nights.
From solitary confinement, hunger strikes, and mental institutions to sitting right across from President Woodrow Wilson, Mr. President,How Long Must We Wait? reveals the inspiring, near-death journey it took, spearheaded in no small part by Paul’s leadership, to grant women the right to vote in America. A rousing portrait of a little-known feminist heroine and an inspirational exploration of a crucial moment in American history—one century before the Women’s March—this is a perfect book for fans of Hidden Figures.
Queen Bess: Daredevil Aviator by Doris L. Rich and Mae Jemison:
Here is the brief but intense life of Bessie Coleman, America’s first African American woman aviator. Born in 1892 in Atlanta, Texas, she became known as “Queen Bess,” a barnstormer and flying-circus performer who defied the strictures of race, sex, and society in pursuit of a dream.
A vivid portrait of a remarkable woman. . . . A timely and engaging introduction to a woman of stunning accomplishment and courage who deserves a place of high honor in the pantheon of early flying.”—Kirkus
Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space by Lynn Sherr:
When astronaut Dr. Sally Ride died in 2012, the woman who was once the most famous person in the world, shocked many when her obituary revealed that she was survived by her female partner of nearly three decades. Journalist Sherr, a longtime friend of Ride, gets behind the walls of the very guarded and private pioneer in this engrossing biography. Ride’s trajectory may have been entirely different if the former top-ranked 1968 college tennis player in the East had pursued the game professionally. But when NASA began recruiting women and minorities in 1976, Ride, who had been the only female student in her undergraduate physics class, beat out 8,000 others to get her spot. It was a heady and historic time, although not without an abundance of sexist and clueless ideas both from NASA (the engineers asking Ride if 100 tampons for a week in space was sufficient) and the press (a reporter infamously asked if she wept when angry). Level-headed and possessed of an optimistic live-in-the-moment attitude, she skillfully navigated such public moments and kept the personal locked away out of view. In the end, Sherr provides a window into one of the most fascinating figures of the 20th century. – Publishers Weekly Review
Shirley Chisholm: Catalyst for Change by Barbara Winslow:
A staunch proponent of breaking down racial and gender barriers, Shirley Chisholm had the esteemed privilege of being a pioneer in many aspects of her life. She was the first African American woman from Brooklyn elected to the New York State legislature and the first African American woman elected to Congress in 1968. She also made a run for the Democratic Party nomination for president in 1972. Focusing on Chisholm’s lifelong advocacy for fair treatment, access to education, and equal pay for all American minority groups, this book explores the life of a remarkable woman in the context of twentieth-century urban America and the tremendous social upheaval that occurred after World War II.
Simone de Beauvoir: A Biography by Deirdre Bair:
De Beauvoir’s extraordinary, long relationship with Jean-Paul Sartre is the focus of this portrait, which combines literary biography, intellectual and oral history and feminist theory. PW called pk the work “impressively researched. . . . Bair adds much to our knowledge of every aspect of de Beauvoir’s life,” commenting also that pk unfortunately she often overburdens readers with detail. – Publishers Weekly Review
The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America’s Enemies by Jason Fagone:
In 1916, at the height of World War I, brilliant Shakespeare expert Elizebeth Smith went to work for an eccentric tycoon on his estate outside Chicago. The tycoon had close ties to the U.S. government, and he soon asked Elizebeth to apply her language skills to an exciting new venture: code-breaking. There she met the man who would become her husband, groundbreaking cryptologist William Friedman. Though she and Friedman are in many ways the “Adam and Eve” of the NSA, Elizebeth’s story, incredibly, has never been told.
In The Woman Who Smashed Codes, Jason Fagone chronicles the life of this extraordinary woman, who played an integral role in our nation’s history for forty years. After World War I, Smith used her talents to catch gangsters and smugglers during Prohibition, then accepted a covert mission to discover and expose Nazi spy rings that were spreading like wildfire across South America, advancing ever closer to the United States. As World War II raged, Elizebeth fought a highly classified battle of wits against Hitler’s Reich, cracking multiple versions of the Enigma machine used by German spies. Meanwhile, inside an Army vault in Washington, William worked furiously to break Purple, the Japanese version of Enigma—and eventually succeeded, at a terrible cost to his personal life.
Fagone unveils America’s code-breaking history through the prism of Smith’s life, bringing into focus the unforgettable events and colorful personalities that would help shape modern intelligence. Blending the lively pace and compelling detail that are the hallmarks of Erik Larson’s bestsellers with the atmosphere and intensity of The Imitation Game, The Woman Who Smashed Codes is page-turning popular history at its finest.
Notable Women of the 19th Century
Ada Lovelace: The Making of a Computer Scientist by Christopher Holling:
Ada, Countess of Lovelace (1815-52), daughter of romantic poet Lord Byron and the highly educated Anne Isabella, is sometimes called the world’s first computer programmer, and she has become an icon for women in technology today. But how did a young woman in the nineteenth century, without access to formal schooling or university education, acquire the knowledge and expertise to become a pioneer of computer science?
Although it was an unusual pursuit for women at the time, Ada Lovelace studied science and mathematics from a young age. This book uses previously unpublished archival material to explore her precocious childhood—from her curiosity about the science of rainbows to her design for a steam-powered flying horse—as well as her ambitious young adulthood. Active in Victorian London’s social and scientific elite alongside Mary Somerville, Michael Faraday, and Charles Dickens, Ada Lovelace became fascinated by the computing machines of Charles Babbage, whose ambitious, unbuilt invention known as the “Analytical Engine” inspired Lovelace to devise a table of mathematical formulae which many now refer to as the “first program.”
Ada Lovelace died at just thirty-six, but her work strikes a chord to this day, offering clear explanations of the principles of computing, and exploring ideas about computer music and artificial intelligence that have been realized in modern digital computers. Featuring detailed illustrations of the “first program” alongside mathematical models, correspondence, and contemporary images, this book shows how Ada Lovelace, with astonishing prescience, first investigated the key mathematical questions behind the principles of modern computing.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton: An American Life by Lori D. Ginzberg:
Elizabeth Cady Stanton was a brilliant activist-intellectual. That nearly all of her ideas—that women are entitled to seek an education, to own property, to get a divorce, and to vote—are now commonplace is in large part because she worked tirelessly to extend the nation’s promise of radical individualism to women.
In this subtly crafted biography, the historian Lori D. Ginzberg narrates the life of a woman of great charm, enormous appetite, and extraordinary intellectual gifts who turned the limitations placed on women like herself into a universal philosophy of equal rights. Few could match Stanton’s self-confidence; loving an argument, she rarely wavered in her assumption that she had won. But she was no secular saint, and her positions were not always on the side of the broadest possible conception of justice and social change. Elitism runs through Stanton’s life and thought, defined most often by class, frequently by race, and always by intellect. Even her closest friends found her absolutism both thrilling and exasperating, for Stanton could be an excellent ally and a bothersome menace, sometimes simultaneously. At once critical and admiring, Ginzberg captures Stanton’s ambiguous place in the world of reformers and intellectuals, describes how she changed the world, and suggests that Stanton left a mixed legacy that continues to haunt American feminism.
Florence Nightingale: The Making of an Icon by Mark Bostridge:
The common soldier’s savior, the standard-bearer of modern nursing, a pioneering social reformer: Florence Nightingale belongs to that select band of historical characters who are instantly recognizable. Home-schooled, bound for the life of an educated Victorian lady, Nightingale scandalized her family when she found her calling as a nurse, a thoroughly unsuitable profession for a woman of her class.
As the “Lady with the Lamp,” ministering to the wounded and dying of the Crimean War, she offers an enduring image of sentimental appeal. Few individuals in their own lifetime have reached the level of fame and adulation attained by Nightingale as a result of her efforts. Fewer still have the power of continuing to inspire controversy in the way she does almost a century after her death.
In this remarkable book, the first major biography of Florence Nightingale in more than fifty years, Mark Bostridge draws on a wealth of unpublished material, including previously unseen family papers, to throw new light on this extraordinary woman’s life and character. Disentangling elements of myth from the reality, Bostridge has written a vivid and immensely readable account of one of the most iconic figures in modern history.
Lone Woman: The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell, the First Woman Doctor by Dorothy Clarke Wilson:
Known worldwide as the first woman to receive her degree as a Doctor of Medicine, Elizabeth Blackwell represents a historic moment in modern medicine and women’s liberation. Several years after her family immigrated to the United States, Dr. Blackwell studied privately with independent physicians, an education which culminated at Geneva Medical College in Upstate New York. Upon graduation, Dr. Blackwell founded the New York Infirmary for Women and Children. Later, she helped found the National Health Society, was the first woman to be placed on the British Medical Register, and taught at England’s first college of medicine for women. She pioneered in preventive medicine and in the promotion of antisepsis and hygiene.
Today, Dr. Blackwell serves as an important symbol of the barriers that women have overcome and those that remain. This web site has been compiled to provide a centralized archive of information, articles, and studies about her history and her legacy. – Hobart & William Smith Colleges
Marie Curie and Her Daughters: The Private Lives of Science’s First Family by Shelley Emling:
In Marie Curie and Her Daughters, science writer Shelley Emling shows that far from a shy introvert toiling away in her laboratory, the famed scientist and two-time Nobel prize winner was nothing short of an iconoclast. Emling draws on personal letters released by Curie’s only granddaughter to show how Marie influenced her daughters yet let them blaze their own paths: Irene followed her mother’s footsteps into science and was instrumental in the discovery of nuclear fission; Eve traveled the world as a foreign correspondent and then moved on to humanitarian missions. Emling also shows how Curie, following World War I, turned to America for help. Few people know about Curie’s close friendship with American journalist Missy Meloney, who arranged speaking tours across the country for Marie, Eve, and Irene. Months on the road, charming audiences both large and small, endeared the Curies to American women and established a lifelong relationship with the United States that formed one of the strongest connections of Marie’s life. Factually rich, personal, and original, this is an engrossing story about the most famous woman in science that rips the cover off the myth and reveals the real person, friend, and mother behind it.
Susan B. Anthony: A Biography of a Singular Feminist by Kathleen Barry:
“In this life of Anthony, Barry has produced a scholarly but very readable biography of the great women’s rights activist. She explores the interaction of her subject’s family background, education, Quaker upbringing, and early teaching career with the temperance movement to produce a woman who in her 20s chose striving for social justice over marriage as a vocation. Barry delineates Anthony’s friendships with other reformers, her involvement in the abolitionist movement, and her stance during the splits and scandals of the first feminist era.” Recommended.Christine M. Hill, Free Lib. of Philadelphia – Library Journal
Victoria: The Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire by Julia Baird:
Fifth in line to the throne at the time of her birth, Victoria was an ordinary woman thrust into an extraordinary role. As a girl, she defied her mother’s meddling and an adviser’s bullying, forging an iron will of her own. As a teenage queen, she eagerly grasped the crown and relished the freedom it brought her. At twenty, she fell passionately in love with Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, eventually giving birth to nine children. She loved sex and delighted in power. She was outspoken with her ministers, overstepping conventional boundaries and asserting her opinions. After the death of her adored Albert, she began a controversial, intimate relationship with her servant John Brown. She survived eight assassination attempts over the course of her lifetime. And as science, technology, and democracy were dramatically reshaping the world, Victoria was a symbol of steadfastness and security—queen of a quarter of the world’s population at the height of the British Empire’s reach.
Drawing on sources that include fresh revelations about Victoria’s relationship with John Brown, Julia Baird brings vividly to life the fascinating story of a woman who struggled with so many of the things we do today: balancing work and family, raising children, navigating marital strife, losing parents, combating anxiety and self-doubt, finding an identity, searching for meaning.
Vindication: A Life of Mary Wollstonecraft by Lyndall Gordon:
Vindication is the first biography to show this remarkable woman at full strength and bring out the range as well as the reverberations of her genius in the following and subsequent generations. Here is the drama of Wollstonecraft’s life as a governess in an aristocratic family in Ireland, as an independent writer in London, as an on-the-scene observer of the French Revolution, and as a daring traveler to Scandinavia on the trail of an unsolved crime. Although she died young, her spirit and unconventional ideas lived on in the lives of her daughter, Mary Shelley, and three other heirs who had to contend with a counterrevolutionary age. Vindication offers new evidence for the influence of early American political thought in England and demonstrates for the first time the profound effect of Mary Wollstonecraft’s own writing, especially her Vindication of the Rights of Woman, on American figures of the day, among them John and Abigail Adams. This groundbreaking biography follows the colorful wheelings and dealings of young American adventurers like Joel Barlow and the elusive frontiersman Imlay, who sought their fortunes amid the tumultuous events of late-eighteenth-century Europe and whose clandestine service to the fledgling American government is newly explored.
This is a brilliantly told story, moving on from the issue of rights to larger questions that still lie beyond us: What is woman’s nature? What will she contribute to civilization? Lyndall Gordon mounts a spirited defense of Mary Wollstonecraft, whose previous biographers have often doubted her integrity, her stability, and the exhilarating experiment that was her life. Vindication probes these doubts, measures Wollstonecraft’s life against her own strengths instead of the weakness that sometimes held her back, and reinterprets her for the twenty-first century.
Woman of Valor: Clara Barton and the Civil War by Stephen B. Oates:
When the Civil War broke out, Clara Barton wanted more than anything to be a Union soldier, an impossible dream for a thirty-nine-year-old woman, who stood a slender five feet tall. Determined to serve, she became a veritable soldier, a nurse, and a one-woman relief agency operating in the heart of the conflict. Now, award-winning author Stephen B. Oates, drawing on archival materials not used by her previous biographers, has written the first complete account of Clara Barton’s active engagement in the Civil War.
By the summer of 1862, with no institutional affiliation or official government appointment, but impelled by a sense of duty and a need to heal, she made her way to the front lines and the heat of battle. Oates tells the dramatic story of this woman who gave the world a new definition of courage, supplying medical relief to the wounded at some of the most famous battles of the war — including Second Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Battery Wagner, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Petersburg. Under fire with only her will as a shield, she worked while ankle deep in gore, in hellish makeshift battlefield hospitals — a bullet-riddled farmhouse, a crumbling mansion, a windblown tent. Committed to healing soldiers’ spirits as well as their bodies, she served not only as nurse and relief worker, but as surrogate mother, sister, wife, or sweetheart to thousands of sick, wounded, and dying men.
Her contribution to the Union was incalculable and unique. It also became the defining event in Barton’s life, giving her the opportunity as a woman to reach out for a new role and to define a new profession. Nursing, regarded as a menial service before the war, became a trained, paid occupation after the conflict. Although Barton went on to become the founder and first president of the Red Cross, the accomplishment for which she is best known, A Woman of Valor convinces us that her experience on the killing fields of the Civil War was her most extraordinary achievement.
Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America by Ellen Chesler:
“Former Columbia University Faculty Fellow Chesler succeeds admirably in bringing the extraordinary career and controversial personality of Margaret Sanger (1879-1966) to life in this skillfully researched and objective biography. Sanger, a political radical, devoted herself to ensuring women’s access to contraception after observing the plight of the poor as a public health nurse. An astute organizer, she fought against the opposition of a conservative political and religious male establishment, building a national and international birth control movement. Chesler explores the negative as well as the positive aspects of Sanger’s character, noting that she was known to manipulate people and sometimes modified her views to achieve her ends. A strong believer in her own right to a fulfilled sex life, Sanger married twice and took many lovers, including Havelock Ellis and H. G. Wells. This is an outstanding biography of a feminist reformer whose achievements changed the lives of women forever.” Publishers Weekly Review
America’s Jewish Women: A History from Colonial Times to Today by Pamela Nadell:
A groundbreaking history of how Jewish women maintained their identity and influenced social activism as they wrote themselves into American history.
What does it mean to be a Jewish woman in America? In a gripping historical narrative, Pamela S. Nadell weaves together the stories of a diverse group of extraordinary people—from the colonial-era matriarch Grace Nathan and her great-granddaughter, poet Emma Lazarus, to labor organizer Bessie Hillman and the great justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, to scores of other activists, workers, wives, and mothers who helped carve out a Jewish American identity.
The twin threads binding these women together, she argues, are a strong sense of self and a resolute commitment to making the world a better place. Nadell recounts how Jewish women have been at the forefront of causes for centuries, fighting for suffrage, trade unions, civil rights, and feminism, and hoisting banners for Jewish rights around the world. Informed by shared values of America’s founding and Jewish identity, these women’s lives have left deep footprints in the history of the nation they call home.
History vs Women: The Defiant Lives that They Don’t Want You to Know by Anita Sarkeesian, Ebony Adams & T. S. Abe:
Rebels, rulers, scientists, artists, warriors and villains
Women are, and have always been, all these things and more.
Looking through the ages and across the globe, Anita Sarkeesian, founder of Feminist Frequency, along with Ebony Adams PHD, have reclaimed the stories of twenty-five remarkable women who dared to defy history and change the world around them. From Mongolian wrestlers to Chinese pirates, Native American ballerinas to Egyptian scientists, Japanese novelists to British Prime Ministers, History vs Women will reframe the history that you thought you knew.
Featuring beautiful full-color illustrations of each woman and a bold graphic design, this standout nonfiction title is the perfect read for teens (or adults!) who want the true stories of phenomenal women from around the world and insight into how their lives and accomplishments impacted both their societies and our own.
Identity Unknown: Rediscovering Seven American Women Artists by Donna Seaman:
Who hasn’t wondered where-aside from Georgia O’Keeffe and Frida Kahlo-all the women artists are? In many art books, they’ve been marginalized with cold efficiency, summarily dismissed in the captions of group photographs with the phrase “identity unknown” while each male is named.
Donna Seaman brings to dazzling life seven of these forgotten artists, among the best of their day: Gertrude Abercrombie, with her dark, surreal paintings and friendships with Dizzy Gillespie and Sonny Rollins; Bay Area self-portraitist Joan Brown; Ree Morton, with her witty, oddly beautiful constructions; Loïs Mailou Jones of the Harlem Renaissance; Lenore Tawney, who combined weaving and sculpture when art and craft were considered mutually exclusive; Christina Ramberg, whose unsettling works drew on pop culture and advertising; and Louise Nevelson, an art-world superstar in her heyday but omitted from recent surveys of her era.
These women fought to be treated the same as male artists, to be judged by their work, not their gender or appearance. In brilliant, compassionate prose, Seaman reveals what drove them, how they worked, and how they were perceived by others in a world where women were subjects-not makers-of art. Featuring stunning examples of the artists’ work, Identity Unknown speaks to all women about their neglected place in history and the challenges they face to be taken as seriously as men no matter what their chosen field-and to all men interested in women’s lives.
A Lab of One’s Own: Science and Suffrage in the First World War by Patricia Fara:
2018 marked a double centenary: peace was declared in war-wracked Europe, and women won the vote after decades of struggle. A Lab of One’s Own commemorates both anniversaries by revealing the untold lives of female scientists, doctors, and engineers who undertook endeavours normally reserved for men. It tells fascinating and extraordinary stories featuring initiative, determination, and isolation, set against a backdrop of war, prejudice, and disease.
Patricia Fara investigates the enterprising careers of these pioneering women and their impact on science, medicine, and the First World War.
Suffrage campaigners aligned themselves with scientific and technological progress. Defying protests about their intellectual inferiority and child-bearing responsibilities, during the War they won support by mobilizing women to enter conventionally male domains. A Lab of One’s Own focuses on the female experts who carried out vital research. They had already shown exceptional resilience by challenging accepted norms to pursue their careers, now they played their part in winning the War at home and overseas.
In 1919, the suffragist Millicent Fawcett declared triumphantly that ‘The war revolutionised the industrial position of women. It found them serfs, and left them free.’ She was wrong: Women had helped the country to victory, had won the vote for those over thirty – but had lost the battle for equality. A Lab of One”s Own is essential reading to understand and eliminate the inequalities still affecting professional women today.
Lighting the Fires of Freedom: African American Women in the Civil Rights Movement by Janet Dewart Bell:
A groundbreaking collection based on oral histories that brilliantly plumb the leadership of African American women in the twentieth-century fight for civil rights—many nearly lost to history—from the latest winner of the Studs and Ida Terkel Prize
During the Civil Rights Movement, African American women were generally not in the headlines; they simply did the work that needed to be done. Yet despite their significant contributions at all levels of the movement, they remain mostly invisible to the larger public. Beyond Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King, and Dorothy Height, most Americans, black and white alike, would be hard-pressed to name other leaders at the community, local, and national levels.
In Lighting the Fires of Freedom Janet Dewart Bell shines a light on women’s all-too-often overlooked achievements in the Movement. Through wide-ranging conversations with nine women, several now in their nineties with decades of untold stories, we hear what ignited and fueled their activism, as Bell vividly captures their inspiring voices. Lighting the Fires of Freedom offers these deeply personal and intimate accounts of extraordinary struggles for justice that resulted in profound social change, stories that remain important and relevant today.
Published to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, Lighting the Fires of Freedom is a vital document for understanding the Civil Rights Movement and an enduring testament to the vitality of women’s leadership during one of the most dramatic periods of American history.
Reclaiming Our Space: How Black Feminists Are Changing the World from the Tweets to the Streets by Feminista Jones:
In Reclaiming Our Space, social worker, activist, and cultural commentator Feminista Jones explores how Black women are changing culture, society, and the landscape of feminism by building digital communities and using social media as powerful platforms. As Jones reveals, some of the best-loved devices of our shared social media language are a result of Black women’s innovations, from well-known movement-building hashtags (#BlackLivesMatter, #SayHerName, and #BlackGirlMagic) to the now ubiquitous use of threaded tweets as a marketing and storytelling tool. For some, these online dialogues provide an introduction to the work of Black feminist icons like Angela Davis, Barbara Smith, bell hooks, and the women of the Combahee River Collective. For others, this discourse provides a platform for continuing their feminist activism and scholarship in a new, interactive way.
Complex conversations around race, class, and gender that have been happening behind the closed doors of academia for decades are now becoming part of the wider cultural vernacular—one pithy tweet at a time. With these important online conversations, not only are Black women influencing popular culture and creating sociopolitical movements; they are also galvanizing a new generation to learn and engage in Black feminist thought and theory, and inspiring change in communities around them.
Hard-hitting, intelligent, incisive, yet bursting with humor and pop-culture savvy, Reclaiming Our Space is a survey of Black feminism’s past, present, and future, and it explains why intersectional movement building will save us all.
The Women of Corning: The Untold Story by Geoffrey Kabaservice:
Foreword by the Honorable Amory Houghton Jr.,– Author’s note — Corning women from pioneer times to the Civil War — Women in Corning from industrialization to the dawn of the twentieth century — Corning women from the progressive era to World War One — Corning and the new woman : from the 1920s to World War II — Corning women in the modern world.
Why We March: Signs of Protest and Hope–Voices from the Women’s March:
On January 21, 2017, millions of people gathered worldwide for the Women’s March, one of the largest demonstrations in political history. Together they raised their voices in hope, protest, and solidarity. This inspiring collection features 500 of the most eloquent, provocative, uplifting, clever, and creative signs from across the United States and around the world. Each is a powerful reminder of why we march. As with the recent battle cry of “Nevertheless, she persisted,” these messages continue to reverberate daily and fortify a movement that will not be silenced.
Women’s Bands in America: Performing Music and Gender by Jill M. Sullivan:
Women’s Bands in America is the first comprehensive exploration of women’s bands across the three centuries in American history. Contributors trace women’s emerging roles in society as seen through women’s bands—concert and marching—spanning three centuries of American history. Authors explore town, immigrant,industry, family, school, suffrage, military, jazz, and rock bands, adopting a variety of methodologies and theoretical lenses in order to assemble and interrogate their findings within the context of women’s roles in American society over time.
Contributors bring together a series of disciplines in this unique work, including music education, musicology, American history, women’s studies, and history of education. They also draw on numerous primary sources: diaries, film, military records, newspaper articles, oral-history interviews, personal letters, photographs, published ephemera, radio broadcasts, and recordings. Thoroughly, contributors engage in archival historical research, biography, case study, content analysis, iconographic study, oral history, and qualitative research to bring their topics to life. This ambitious collection will be of use not only to students and scholars of instrumental music education, music history and ethnomusicology, but also gender studies and American social history.
Contributions by: Vilka E. Castillo Silva, Dawn Farmer, Danelle Larson, Brian Meyers, Sarah Minette, Gayle Murchison, Jeananne Nichols, David Rickels, Joanna Ross Hersey, Sarah Schmalenberger, Amy Spears, and Sondra Wieland Howe.
Women’s Struggle for Equality: The First Phase, 1828-1876 by Jean V. Matthews:
Jean Matthew’s new study of the early years of the women’s rights movement outlines the period from 1828 to 1976 as a distinct “first phase.” Ms. Matthews situates this early feminist activity within the lively nineteenth-century debate over the Woman Question and pays attention to the opponents as well as the advocates of equal rights for women. Her book demonstrates that the intense conflict generated by the movement was due less to any specific reform proposals than to the realization—among men and women—that the early feminists were aiming at a complete rethinking of what womanhood meant and of the relationship between the sexes. In many ways, as Ms. Matthews shows, the early nineteenth-century movement—in its origins, individualism, hostility to tight organization, dedication to self-discovery, and concern for health issues—strongly resembled the revived feminism of the 1970s. Like the late-twentieth-century movement, its nineteenth-century precursor fostered an initial yearning for personal “liberation” and opportunity, and was later riven by issues of race and sexuality, and confused over the perennial question of “difference.” Women’s Struggle for Equality builds upon recent scholarship to present a concise synthesis of what was probably the most exciting period of early American feminism.
Have a great day!
Linda Reimer, SSCL