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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.

Photograph: Miss Beryl Goode, the well-known golfer, at her wedding to Mr W. J. G. Purnell, July 1913. 

Source: Getty

When Statutory Rape Laws Led to Forced Marriages

In early 20th-century New York, men accused of "ruining" women under eighteen could avoid prosecution by marrying them.
Photograph: Female fans of Frank Sinatra gaze adoringly at a picture of him in a copy of Modern Screen magazine, c. 1950

Source: Getty

How Teenage Girls Invented Fandom

They were mocked for their obsession with movies. But the fan culture they constructed help build Hollywood.
Girl Scouts, 1951

How American Girl Scouts Shocked Mexico in the 1950s

At a retreat center called Our Cabaña, girls from all over the world became Cold War–era diplomats. American scouts had additional ideas.
A Japanese woman cuts up radishes in her kitchen

The Unlikely Role of Kitchens in Occupied Japan

After World War II, "occupationaries" tried to spread American-style domesticity to Japanese women.
Two nuns caring for newborn babies, 1967

Inside a Home for Unwed Mothers

Young, unmarried pregnant women sometimes gave birth in secret at maternity homes. A historian uncovered some of their stories.
Photograph: Women marching c. 1975

Source: Getty

Consciousness-Raising Groups and the Women’s Movement

In the 1970s, one of the most powerful tools of feminism came from speaking out loud the nature of oppression.
An admission card to one of Anne Laura Clarke's lectures

This Forgotten Female Orator Broke Boundaries for Women

At a time when respectable women rarely spoke to the public, Anne Laura Clarke was a star lecturer.
Anna Julia Cooper, 1892

Black Women Have Written History for over a Century

Barriers of racism and sexism slowed them down, but academia wasn't their only venue.
Members of the women's police service during World War I.

Was “Khaki Fever” a Moral Panic over Women’s Sexuality?

At the start of World War I, young working-class women swooned for men in uniform, leading middle-class women to form patrols to police public morals.
Actors Robert Stephens (1931 - 1995) as a cook and Mary Peach as waitress Monique during rehearsals for the play 'The Kitchen' by Arnold Wesker at the Royal Court Theatre in London, 27th June 1961.

In The Gay Cookbook, Domestic Bliss Was Queer

Chef Lou Rand Hogan whipped up well-seasoned wit and served a gay take on home life during the early-1960s craze for camp.
A woman typing on a typewriter

Ione Quinby, Chicago’s Underappreciated “Girl Reporter”

She started off as a "stunt" journalist and moved into covering stories about women and crime in the Roaring Twenties.
classroom with Two children Doing Arithmetic. The teacher is colored red.

Did Communists Really Infiltrate American Schools?

Fears that teachers were indoctrinating kids were rampant in the 1950s. But the reality was more complicated.
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Drunkard%27s_Progress_-_Color.jpg

Tea Parties for Temperance!

Behind the Victorian movement to replace tippling alcohol with a very British ritual.
A sales assistant at the perfume counter of a department store, 1946

The Fight to Integrate Philadelphia’s Department Stores

Black women shopped at department store counters, but they weren't welcome to work where they spent their money.
Two pages from a baby book from the 1920s

The Long-Lost Ritual of Baby Books

Mothers used to documented their infant children's milestones—first steps, first smile—in specially made books. They're amazing historical documents.
Members of the Japanese Independent Congregational Church attend Easter services in Oakland, California, 1942

Who Helped Japanese Americans after Internment?

Resettlement was difficult and traumatic, but the religious community worked to provide housing, food, and job opportunities.
: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.