This month, we’re celebrating the women nerds and the amazing scholarship about them on JSTOR. It’s available for easy, free download through these stories.

The Total Bookworms

Five female literacy volunteers return to Havana at the end of the literacy campaign in December 1961.

Rosa Hernández Acosta on the Cuban Literacy Campaign

Armed with just some textbooks and a kerosene lantern, Rosa Hernández Acosta taught literacy in rural Cuba without electricity, running water, or paved roads.
Sylvia Beach outside of Shakespeare & Co., circa 1935

The Patron Saint of Bookstores

100 years ago, Sylvia Beach, the first publisher of James Joyce’s Ulysses, opened the doors to her legendary bookstore, Shakespeare & Co.
Dorothy B Porter

What Dorothy Porter’s Life Meant for Black Studies

Dorothy Porter, a Black woman pioneer in library and information science, created an archive that structured a new field.
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.
WPA bookmobile

How Reading Got Farm Women Through the Depression

They worked over sixty hours a week but were also insatiable readers.
A teacher teaches her young pupils how to spell, 1930.

The Woman Teacher Documents a Feminist Labor Union’s Victory

The UK’s National Union of Women Teachers went from splinter group to union in its own right, winning on equal pay—as The Woman Teacher shows first-hand.
Octavia Butler the Golden Chain

When Science Fiction Becomes Real: Octavia E. Butler’s Legacy

Ten years after her death, the writing of Octavia E. Butler has a persistent influence—one that spans well outside of the science fiction genre.

The Chic Geeks of STEM

Lady Montagu in Turkish dress, circa 1756

Before Vaccines, Variolation Was Seriously Trendy

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu is credited with popularizing variolation among the aristocracy in England.
Alice Ball

The Chemist Whose Work Was Stolen from Her

The Black scientist Alice Ball helped develop a treatment for leprosy in the early twentieth century. But someone else took the credit.
Usnea antarctica

The Unsung Heroine of Lichenology

Elke Mackenzie’s moments of self-citation illuminate the hopes of someone who, against ease and tradition, did not wish to separate her identity from her research.
Termites

Margaret S. Collins, Pioneering Black Entomologist

She was the first African American woman to earn a PhD in entomology as well as an activist for freedom in the Civil Rights Movement.
"Diagram of the causes of mortality in the army in the East" by Florence Nightingale, 1858

Florence Nightingale, Data Visualization Visionary

The woman who revolutionized nursing was also a mathematician who knew the power of a visible representation of information.
Lillian Smith, noted author and lecturer, congratulating Mrs. Mabel Keaton Staupers, winner of the 36th Springarn medal, for outstanding work in the integration of African American nurses into the American nursing profession

The Black Nurse Who Drove Integration of the U.S. Nurse Corps

In World War II, Mabel Keaton Staupers tirelessly fought for the integration of the Army and Navy Nurse Corps—and eventually won.
Jeanette Epps

More Hidden Figures of NASA History

Katherine G. Johnson, Charles F. Bolden, Jeanette Epps, and roles of African Americans in NASA.
Ynés Mexía

Ynés Mexía: Botanical Trailblazer

This Mexican-American botanist fought against the harshness of both nature and society to follow her passion for plant collecting.

The Scribblers and Historians

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.
Jarena Lee

Jarena Lee, The First Woman African American Autobiographer

Jarena Lee was the first female preacher in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1836, she published her autobiography.
Felicia Hemans portait

What, Prithee, Is a Poetess?

The loss and recovery of a poetic genre shows how the canon of literary history treats women writers the moment they start to gain attention and approval.
Illustration: An illustration from the cover of Warm Worlds and Otherwise by James Tiptree, Jr.

Source: Ballantine

James Tiptree Jr. and Joanna Russ: Sci-Fi Pen Pals

The two feminist authors corresponded about writing and romance, especially after Tiptree's true identity leaked.
A portrait of Emily Dickinson in front of an evolutionary illustration

How Emily Dickinson Wrestled with Darwinism

The current vogue for the Amherst poet needs to give credit to the way she readily examined her childhood ideas about fixed and immutable truth.
The front and back cover of an edition of Miss MacIntosh, My Darling by Marguerite Young

Sick of Streaming? Try This Really Long Cult Novel

Marguerite Young's Miss MacIntosh, My Darling is a dense fusion of poetry and prose. One critic says it's unjustifiably forgotten.
A depiction of cholera by Robert Seymour

Disease Theory in Mary Shelley’s The Last Man

Shelley's third novel, about the sole survivor of a global plague, draws on the now-outdated miasma theory of disease.

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