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Erin Blakemore

Erin Blakemore is a Boulder, Colorado-based journalist Her debut book, The Heroine’s Bookshelf (Harper), won a Colorado Book Award for Nonfiction and has been translated into Italian, Korean and Portuguese. Erin has written about history and culture and other topics for Smithsonian.com, The Washington Post, TIME, mental_floss, NPR’s This I Believe, The Onion, Popular Science, Modern Farmer and other journals. You can find more of her work at erinblakemore.com.

Oklahoma play

Oklahoma! Changed Musical Theater Forever. Or Did It?

Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical was revolutionary in the way it “integrated” music, dance, and dialogue. Or was that language just a marketing ploy?
Charlotte Perkins Gilman

“The Yellow Wallpaper” and Women’s Pain

Charlotte Gilman wrote her famous short story in response to her own experience having her pain belittled and misunderstood by a male physician.
Jars of peach jam on table

The Nostalgic Pleasure of Preserves

Home canning was once a necessity, but even then the process was often defined by sensory pleasures and a deep sense of satisfaction.
Wheelmen

When Cyclists Made Up an Entire Political Bloc

The League of American Wheelmen was originally intended to spread bicycle appreciation. The 1896 presidential election changed all that.
Makeup Hazel Dawn

How Makeup Went Mainstream

Makeup was associated with prostitution and vice until the early 20th century, when movie actresses's cosmetics testimonials reached everyday women.
Antiques Roadshow

The Religious Experience of Antiques Roadshow

What has made this slow, quiet television show about antiques the sleeper hit of PBS? One scholar describes the show as enacting near-religious rituals.
Photograph: a promotional image of Robert Preston in "The Music Man" (1962)


Source: http://lantern.mediahist.org/catalog/boxofficeaprjun182boxo_0208

How a Beloved Musical Became a Cold War Weapon

The 1962 film The Music Man was seen as so all-American that some hoped it would help win the Cold War by transmitting American values abroad.
Martina Navratilova

Homophobia in Women’s Sports

Ever since women began to publicly play sports in the late nineteenth century, female athletes have been seen as threats and subjected to suspicion.
Jane Austen Sanditon

What Exactly Is Jane Austen’s Sanditon?

An unfinished, fragmentary Austen novel is being adapted for television. Can we ever know what Austen meant for this book to eventually become?
Niagara Falls postcard

When Souvenirs Peddle Stereotypes

The things travelers bring home reflect their worldviews. In 19th c. Niagara Falls, souvenirs revealed problematic stereotypes about Native Americans.
Gerber ad

Baby Food for Baby Boomers

Modern baby food didn’t exist until 1928, when Daniel Gerber launched his first line of mass-produced canned strained peas for babies.
Anne Frank

Saint Anne Frank

Pop culture has made Anne Frank into an icon, but one scholar notes that she was a terrified child trapped and killed by war, and should be seen as such.
Elizabeth Bennett

How Lizzie Bennet Got Her Books

In Regency England, a novel cost about $100. Subscription-based circulating libraries became a way for women of modest means to gain knowledge.
Library fallout shelter

Preparing Libraries for Nuclear War

During the Cold War, America's libraries helped patrons prepare for nuclear war, from stocking reference materials to providing fallout shelters.
Pioneer Woman at Texas State Capitol

Pregnant Pioneers

For the frontier women of the 19th century, the experience of childbirth was harrowing, and even just expressing fear was considered a privilege.
Baby Peggy

The Last Silent Film Star

The silent film star once known as Baby Peggy reminisces about how, decades before #TimesUp, children and women were exploited by Hollywood.
Hollywood's disappearing lesbians

American Film’s Disappearing Lesbians

In the 1990s, lesbian characters were repeatedly transformed into "close friends" in film adaptions of LGBTQ-themed books.
1970s singer songwriters

How Female Singer-Songwriters Taught Us to Love in the 70s

Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Carly Simon offered a way to imagine more modern ideals of romance and sexual relationships.
Moscow subway

The Soaring Symbolism of Moscow’s Subways

Lofty ceilings, massive slabs of marble, and colorful mosaics celebrated Soviets in all their incarnations, from military leaders to collective farmers.
Victoria wedding cake

England’s Obsession with Queen Victoria’s Wedding Cake

Queen Victoria's wedding, and its spectacular cake, caused a frenzy.
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.