Mother and Child Hand Coloured Ambrotype (Collodion Positive) c. 1860

Industrial London’s Maternal Child Abductors

In industrial-era England, children took on new value in family life. Around this time, they started to be stolen more often, too.
Women's March 1970

The Divide in Feminist Ethics on Mothering

In the 1960s, two groups of feminists had very different views about motherhood. Unsurprisingly, race and family played a role.
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Percy Bysshe Shelley

Mary Shelley’s Obsession with the Cemetery

The author of Frankenstein always saw love and death as connected. She visited the cemetery to commune with her dead mother. And with her lover.
breastfeeding eighteenth century

When Breastfeeding Was a Civic Duty

Think people are judgmental of mothers now? In the 18th- and 19th-centuries, mothers who bottle-fed their babies were blamed for many of society's ills.
obstetric forceps

Why Male Midwives Concealed the Obstetric Forceps

The history of obstetric forceps shows the dangers of privatizing important medical know-how.
Ignaz Semmelweis

The Man Who Invented Modern Infection Control

He's hailed as the "father of infection control" and the "savior of mothers," but the truth about Ignaz Semmelweis is more complicated than that.
Baby Drinking from Bottle, close-up

The Continuing Controversy Over Baby Formula

Nestlé promoted formula in the developing world, even though they knew bottle-feeding with limited sanitation and refrigeration could be dangerous.
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.
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.
Norma Jean the Termite Queen

A Forgotten Feminist Novel About the Creative Power of Rage

Remembering history helps us to parse the present, and it follows that women struggling to process these "decades of pent-up anger" can find apt reading material in the feminist fiction of the 1970s.