A woman's mouth whispering into a man's ear.

Isabel Allende’s “Two Words”

Many have tried to guess the two magical words whispered by Allende’s character Belisa Crepusculario, but the author has yet to reveal them.
A detail from Ophelia by John Everett Millais, c. 1851

Elizabeth Siddal, the Real-Life “Ophelia”

A working-class woman with artistic aspirations of her own, Siddal nearly died of pneumonia after posing for John Everett Millais’s iconic painting.
Black and white photo of The Boston Athenaeum by Southworth & Hawes

The Boston Athenæum

Founded in 1807, the subscription library was a gathering place for local scholars, “men of business,” and members of the upper classes in search of knowledge.
Etching of early Italian physicist Laura Bassi profile

Laura Bassi, Enlightenment Scientist

The Italian physicist and philosopher was the first woman to earn a doctorate in science and the first salaried female professor at a university.
Etching of Catherine of Aragon by Wenceslaus Hollar (Bohemian, 1607-1677)

Catherine of Aragon: Europe’s First Female Ambassador

Remembered as the wife Henry VIII brushed aside for Anne Boleyn, Catherine of Aragon was viewed as a strong leader and diplomat in her own lifetime.
Edgar Allan Poe with some seashell illustrations from The Conchologist’s First Book

Edgar Allan Poe (Sort of) Wrote a Book About Seashells

The American writer was an enthusiast of the sciences, which may explain his decision to “adapt” a text about seashells for publication under his own name.
From the cover of Henry and June by Anaïs Nin

June Miller: More Than An Erotic Muse?

Anaïs Nin and Henry Miller, two writers in search of sexual and literary inspiration, modeled their most seductive characters on June Mansfield Miller.
A painting of Queen Eleanor by Anthony Frederick Sandys

Eleanor of Aquitaine’s “Court of Love”

Allegedly, the noblewomen of Poitiers solved the problems of love, lost and found. But was the court real, or was it just the fanciful invention of historians?
The Devonshire Manuscript facsimile 6v

The Devonshire Manuscript

The sixteenth-century handwritten collection of poetry and commentary offers a glimpse of intellectual life at the court of King Henry VIII.
French lawyer and politician Simone Veil, the Minister of Health, addresses the French Senate in Paris, on the subject of abortion, 13th December 1974

The Manifesto of the 343

In a dramatic act of civil disobedience, more than three hundred French women publicly confessed to having had an illegal abortion.