Red Rose Girls

The Same-Sex Household That Launched 3 Women Artists

The "Red Rose Girls"—Violet Oakley, Jessie Wilcox Smith, and Elizabeth Shippen Green—met at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in the 1880s.
Toast and coffee on wooden background,breakfast or meal

The Unbearable Sadness of Toast

One scholar sees the toaster as a symbol of a modernized, industrialized society—the culprit of bread’s mechanization and a perpetrator of assimilation.
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

The Victorian era involved a lot of lace. In the face of encroaching industrialism, handmade lace enjoyed a frilly revival—and masked fears about the commodification of female labor.