Sunbonnet Babies

The Merchandising Whiz Behind the Sunbonnet Babies

In the late 1890s, Bertha Corbett set up her own illustration studio in Minneapolis. Her simple drawing of children in sunbonnets became her ticket to success.
librarian obituaries

Overlooked: How the New York Times Covers Librarians’ Obituaries

In 2004, two researchers analyzed the New York Times obit section between 1977 and 2002 in an attempt to understand how the obituary section portrayed American librarians.
Parlor room

What Ever Happened to the Parlor?

For musicologist Edith Borroff, the parlor was egalitarian, open, and joyful—all qualities she equates with the best musical spirit.
Nuns and cows

How Frontier Nuns Challenged Gender Norms

Scholars Carol K. Coburn and Martha Smith write that nuns were an important part of westward expansion—and in Colorado, nuns quickly learned how to use their gender to their advantage.
portrait of abolitionist James Hinds, 1860s

The White Carpetbagger Who Died Trying to Protect African-Americans’ Civil Rights

James Hinds was assassinated for his beliefs, and today is largely forgotten. He stood up for African-American civil rights during the Reconstruction, provoking the KKK's ire.
Colonial headstone

Funerals Once Included Swag

In eighteenth-century New England, funeral attendees went home with funeral tokens–usually a pair of gloves or a ring that declared their sorrow.
Victorian gloves

What Gloves Meant to the Victorians

According to one historian, the year 1900 was “the zenith of glove-wearing,” when any self-respecting Victorian (British or American) wouldn’t be caught dead without covered hands.
Victorian-era lacemakers

How the Victorians Politicized Lace

Scholar Elaine Freedgood tells the story of how, in the face of encroaching industrialism, handmade lace enjoyed a frilly revival.
Women moonshiners bootleggers

How Prohibition Encouraged Women to Drink

During Prohibition, American women “made, sold, and drank liquor in unprecedented fashion,” writes historian Mary Murphy.
Candice Bergen Murphy Brown

Murphy Brown, Motherhood, and “Family Values”

Murphy Brown represented a threat to “family values”—a position that inherently placed her on the side of the families of color whose single family structures supposedly threatened the white, middle-class status quo of the 1990s.