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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.

:A woman drinking from a cup of tea

The Anxious “China Hunters” of the Nineteenth Century

After the Civil War, some elite women became obsessed with collecting antique china, the better to connect themselves to illustrious histories.
An advertisement for an American Kitchen Plan-a-Kit

The Midcentury Women Who Played With Dollhouses

How to sell white, middle-class women on suburban domesticity after World War II? Tantalize them with dollhouse-like models of new cabinets.
Henry Ford

The Text That Stoked Modern Antisemitism

What's the history of the vicious The Protocols of the Elders of Zion?
Miss Navajo Nation Shaandiin P. Parrish grabs a box filled with food and other supplies to distribute to Navajo families on May 27, 2020 in Counselor on the Navajo Nation Reservation, New Mexico.

How Influenza Devastated the Navajo Community in 1918

Like COVID-19, the 1918 influenza pandemic moved swiftly through the Navajo community, but firsthand accounts of the devastation are rare.
A view of Salt Lake City, Utah from the August 1866 issue of Harper’s Weekly, accompanied by portraits of sixteen important early leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Mormon Fans of Europe’s 1848 Revolutions

As the crowned heads of Europe shuddered at the unrest in the streets, members of the Latter-Day Saints movement cheered.
A few BabySitters Club Books

Do Series Books Turn Kids Off Adult-Approved Novels?

Goosebumps. The Baby-Sitters Club. Even Nancy Drew. In the 1990s, concerned educators wondered if series books were luring kids away from "literature."
The Loud Family, 1973

Remembering Craig Gilbert and An American Family

The twelve-part documentary chronicling a family's dissolution was one of the most talked-about TV shows of the past fifty years.
Hollywood film star and actress Jacqueline Logan preparing a rug pattern for embroidery, c. 1928

Why Modern Women Got All Colonial in the 1920s

Flappers stole the headlines for their hemlines and wild ways. But were some of them stitching samplers in the meantime?
The title page of Life and confession of Ann Walters, the female murderess

How “Female Fiends” Challenged Victorian Ideals

At a time when questions about women's rights in marriage roiled society, women readers took to the pages of cheap books about husband-murdering wives.
Photograph: Anya Taylor-Joy in the 2020 film Emma

Source: Focus Features

Is Emma Really the Heroine of Emma?

Jane Austen gave her character Emma Woodhouse plenty of off-putting qualities. So does she even deserve her popularity?
Charleston Orphan House

Poor Charleston

Letters from desperate mothers to the nation's first public orphanage.
King Lear, Act I, Scene I by Edwin Austin Abbey

The Rowdy Women of Early Modern Theater

There were, in fact, women in the audiences of Shakespeare’s plays. Some came to watch; others to sell their wares; others to get on stage themselves.
Illustrated chart from the late 19th Century

Dispatches from Deaf Education’s Infancy

Despite deep biases, the early editions of the American Annals of the Deaf and Dumb contain the seeds of a distinct deaf culture.
Women and men in the California Gold Rush, 1850

Yes, Women Participated in the Gold Rush

“Conventional wisdom tells us that the gold rush was a male undertaking,” writes the historian Glenda Riley. But women were there, too.
Circa 1960s: Group Of Grade School Children Running Down School Stairs With Books & Bags.

How White Kids See Race

A study of white children in 1960s Wisconsin showed how strongly peer groups can affect the way people think about race.
A German man in lederhosen holding a beer stein

How Should German Teachers Approach Oktoberfest?

Americans have some pretty specific and limited stereotypes about German culture. The way teachers address topics like Oktoberfest can make a difference.
Großer Garten in Dresden

Regrowing Germany’s Trees After WWII

The cities of Dresden and Hamburg saw their green spaces decimated by WWII, but each city grew back its trees in a very different way.
television personality Garry Moore and Kellogg's cereal character Tony the Tiger from a 1955 Kellogg's ad.

Blame Your Inner Child For Your Brand Affinities

Research shows that the advertising we see in childhood stays with us for a very, very long time.
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cover_of_Strange_Affair_by_Edwin_West_-_Illustration_by_Harry_Schaare_-_Monarch_Book_1962.jpg

Pulp Fiction Helped Define American Lesbianism

Between 1950 and 1965, steamy novels about lesbian relationships, marketed to men, inadvertently offered closeted women much-needed representation.
A disabled war veteran in Berlin, 1923

When Germany Called its Soldiers Hysterical

After WWI, German psychiatrists diagnosed traumatized soldiers as having "hysteria," othering the men to somewhat disastrous effect.
Lon Chaney and Richard Arlen lead vigilante committee in a scene from the film 'The Town Tamer', 1965.

The Civilian Solution to Bank Robberies

The surprising story of the vigilantes who took it upon themselves to catch bank robbers in the 1920s and 30s.
Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield

Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield, “The Black Swan”

Born into slavery, Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield broke barriers with every note she sang.
Ruth Page and Harald Kreutuzberg in Bacchanale, 1934

Ruth Page, the Ballerina Who Danced Poems

In the 1940s, American dancer Ruth Page combined poetry, performance, and personal reflection to create a new type of dance.
A yellow ribbon on a red background

The Many Meanings of Yellow Ribbons

The strange and convoluted history of why yellow ribbons became a symbol of the Gulf War in the 1990s.
A pair of pink high heels

The Inherent Drama of High Heels

How can a shoe communicate many different messages at once?