Celebrate Women’s History Month all March with JSTOR Daily. The month-long observance in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia recognizes the contributions of women around the world—and throughout history.

We hope you’ll find the stories below, and the scholarship they include in full, a valuable resource for classroom or leisure reading.

Writing the World

Lady Elizabeth Eastlake, c. 1843-47

The Contrary Journalist: Lady Elizabeth Rigby Eastlake

One of the sharpest female journalists of Britain’s Victorian era, Eastlake considered Jane Eyre an exercise in rudeness and vulgarity.
Mary Wollstonecraft

Was This Book the Original Eat, Pray, Love?

Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark was arguably the most popular book ever written by Mary Wollstonecraft.
Bessie Beatty

Woman on a Mission

For pioneering journalist Bessie Beatty, women’s suffrage and the plight of labor were linked inextricably.
The Sunday, February 1, 1920 Society page of the Pittsburg Press

The Unfolding of the Woman’s Page

As women became the focus of advertising, newspapers began to broaden their offerings targeted to those areas of interest traditionally associated with them.
Gerda Lerner

Dispatches From the Beginning of Women’s History

The origins of Women's History Month.
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.
Portraits in the Characters of the Muses in the Temple of Apollo by Richard Samuel

The Bluestockings

Meet the original Bluestockings, a group of women intellectuals. Their name would eventually become a misogynist epithet -- but it didn't start that way.
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.
Mary Somerset

The Beaufort Botanist and Her “Innocent Diversion”

Despite the twelve volume herbarium she created, this seventeenth-century scientist earned little recognition. 
An unknown woman from the city of Grodno, circa 1900

Tsarist Russia’s Feminist Intelligentsia

In the context of Russia's patriarchal autocracy, its intelligentsia was surprisingly feminist, as Vera Podorovskaya's life illustrates.
Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz

Sor Juana, Founding Mother of Mexican Literature

How a 17th-century nun wrote poetry, dramas, and comedies that took on the inequities and double standards women faced in society.
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.
Illustration: An illustration from The Experiences of Loveday Brooke, Lady Detective

Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/britishlibrary/11305222256

Meet Loveday Brooke, Lady Detective

Fictional detectives usually reflect conservative values. But the first "lady detective" story written by a woman broke boundaries.

Famous (and Infamous)

Fanny Cradock, 1976

The Rise and Fall of Fanny Cradock

Cradock was one of Britain's first celebrity chefs, but in what her viewers called “the Gwen Troake Incident,” she fell from her pedestal—hard.
Photograph of Chinatown YWCA in San Francisco (now used by the Chinese Historical Society). Julia Morgan architect. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Chinatown_San_Francisco_%2826720090647%29.jpg

Julia Morgan, American Architect

Morgan, the first licensed woman architect in California, helped bring parity to the built environment, the community, and the profession.
A colorized photograph of Marie Curie

Marie Curie and Polish Resistance

The two-time Nobel winner helped preserve her native Polish language, and undertook her education, at a time when these acts were potentially treasonous.
Stephanie St. Clair

Madame Stephanie St. Clair: Numbers Queen of Harlem

The colorful career of a woman who ran a gambling ring, fought police corruption, and challenged white mobsters.
Lewis & Clark with Sacagawea

How Sacagawea Became More Than A Footnote

A suffragist searching for a heroine found Sacagawea and lifted her out of historical obscurity.
Ching Shih Pirate

Cheng I Sao, Female Pirate Extraordinaire

Learn more about Cheng I Sao, a female pirate who dominated the coast of the Kwangtung Province between 1795-1810.
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ada_Lovelace_portrait.jpg

Ada Lovelace, Pioneer

Ada Lovelace wrote extensive notes on the world’s first computer. Her innovations foreshadowed those used in twentieth-century PCs.
La Malinche (Young Girl of Yalala, Oaxaca) by Alfredo Ramos Martínez

Who Was La Malinche?

La Malinche was a key figure in the conquest of the Aztecs. But was she a heroine or a traitor? It depends on whom you ask.
Mexican film star Raquel Torres, circa 1930

La Pelona: The Hispanic-American Flapper

Flapperismo was no more appreciated by Hispanic guardians of traditional femininity than it was by Anglo-American ones.
"Olive Oatman, 1857" by unattributed - Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Olive_Oatman,_1857.png#/media/File:Olive_Oatman,_1857.png

Olive Oatman: The Girl With the Mojave Tattoo

The mysterious story of Olive Oatman who returned after years of captivity with the Mojave.
Intricate Paper cutting of a hunting scene by Dutch artist Joanna Koerten

Joanna Koerten’s Scissor-Cut Works Were Compared to Michelangelo

And then, snip by snip, she was cut out of the frame of Renaissance art history.
Christine Jorgensen

Was Christine Jorgensen the Caitlyn Jenner of the 1950s?

“What is femininity anyway?” Jenner writes in her new book, The Secrets of My Life. Perhaps the famous trans woman Christine Jorgensen knew.

Political Figures

Elma Lewis c. 1981 by Carol Spector

Elma Lewis: Boston’s Doyenne of Black Culture

An activist and and educator, Lewis created myriad cultural, educational, and social programs to build community and connections for Boston’s Black residents.
Women strike for peace, picket march in front of state building in Los Angeles, 1961

HUAC versus Women Strike for Peace

American leftists were hamstrung by the Cold War’s domestic clampdown on communism, but in the 1960s, Women Strike for Peace re-wrote the book of dissent.
Igbo women

Women Leaders in Africa: The Case of the Igbo

In the precolonial Igbo states of West Africa, power was often wielded by male chiefs or elders, but women had their own forms of authority as well. 
Me and My Parrots by Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo’s Forgotten Politics

Museum exhibitions of Frida Kahlo's work tend to focus on her personal style and persona. But Kahlo was intensely political, as were her paintings.
Ida B. Wells-Barnett

The Alpha Suffrage Club and Black Women’s Fight for the Vote

Black women's experiences in the suffrage movement show that the Nineteenth Amendment marked one event in the fight for the vote, not an endpoint.
Judi Bari speaks at an Earth First! forest rally in 1990 before she was bombed on the eve of Redwood Summer.

How Judi Bari Tried to Unite Loggers and Environmentalists

The radical environmentalist had a background in labor organizing and wanted to end the misogyny of the movement and the logging industry alike.
Rachel Carson Conducts Marine Biology Research with Bob Hines

Rachel Carson’s Critics Called Her a Witch

When Silent Spring was published, the response was overtly gendered. Rachel Carson's critics depicted her as hysterical, mystical, and witchy.
Mug shot taken in 1901 when Goldman was implicated in the assassination of President McKinley

From Enemy to Icon: The Life of Emma Goldman

While alive, Emma Goldman was considered an enemy of the state. In death, she became a celebrated American icon. 
enslaved women illustration

Two Women of the African Slave Resistance

African women, always a minority in the slave trade, often had to find their own ways of rebellion against slavery if they could.
A person hugging a tree trunk

The Tree Huggers Who Saved Indian Forests

The Chipko activists of 1970s and ‘80s India saved their forests by calling attention to the deep interdependence between humans and the natural world.
Poster for Women's Day, March 8, 1914, demanding voting rights for women.

The Socialist Origins of International Women’s Day

Why is International Women's Day on March 8th? The answer is much more complicated than you might think.
Portrait of Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Trujillo

The Women (Real and Imagined) Resisting Caudillos

In Latin America and the Caribbean, women's groups have acted to oppose military dictatorships. In fiction, their roles are rarely that of protagonist.

Out from the Shadows

Miss Charmion, 1904

The “Trapeze Disrobing Act”

Strongwoman Charmion used Thomas Edison’s experiments with moving pictures to encourage women to embrace strength and physical activity.
Detail from a poster for "Sapphire Show" designed by Eileen Nelson

How an Unrealized Art Show Created an Archive of Black Women’s Art

Records from a cancelled exhibition reveal the challenges faced by Black feminist artists and curators in the 1970s.
Krao Farini, c. 1890

Finding Krao Farini

Public discourse on the bearded lady, a staple of circus sideshow, revealed the racial biases underpinning Darwinian theory.
Gregory Peck and Mary Badham review the script for the film, 'To Kill a Mockingbird' directed by Robert Mulligan.

Defying the Gender Binary in the 1930s

In the 1930s, experimental psychologist Agnes Landis interviewed women who identified as "tomboys."
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.
WPA bookmobile

How Reading Got Farm Women Through the Depression

They worked over sixty hours a week but were also insatiable readers.
Two waitresses at Kate Cranston's Willow Tea Room

The Top-Secret Feminist History of Tea Rooms

Nearly all American tea rooms were owned by women. They often opened up rooms in their homes or set up tables in their gardens.
Kuan Yin and Attendants, 1368

Hair Embroidery as Women’s Buddhist Practice

In late imperial China, it was a devotional art using hairs plucked from devotees' own heads.
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.
Dangerous Librarians

Being a Victorian Librarian Was Oh-So-Dangerous

In the late 19th century, more women were becoming librarians. Experts like Melvil Dewey predicted they would suffer ill health, strain, and breakdowns.
The Flower Girl by Charles Cromwell Ingham, 1846

When Botany Was for Ladies

In nineteenth century America, young women took to studying botany—a conjoining of interest, social acceptance, and readily available schooling.
A women's hockey team, 1931

A Century Ago, Women Played Ice Hockey

Ice hockey came to the U.S. from Canada at the end of the nineteenth century. Women started playing immediately, forming their own clubs.

Women at Work

A dressmaker uses a sewing machine, 1928

Dressmaking Liberated American Women—Then Came the Men

The creation of bespoke clothing offered women a way to escape traditional middle-class expectations and gain unprecedented power, until men took over.
Nineteenth century typesetters

On Your Mark, Get Set… Print!

The Boston Typesetting Races of 1886 demonstrated the speed of women compositors, helping to lower the barriers to workplace equity for female “swifts.”
Japanese swordswoman in a duel, 1845

Onna-Bugeisha, the Female Samurai Warriors of Feudal Japan

In 1868 a group of female samurai took part in the fierce Battle of Aizu for the very soul of Japan.
Women sewing fabric for seats at Pullman Works, Chicago, Illinois.

Pullman Women at Work: From Gilded Age to Atomic Age

Pullman resisted hiring women and did his best to keep attention away from the company’s female employees.
Benito Mussolini meets an enthusiastic group of mothers and their babies in Turin, circa 1940.

Mussolini’s Motherhood Factories

In fascist Italy, childbirth, breastfeeding and motherhood were given a hybrid structure of industrial management and eugenicist biological essentialism.
Housewife Annie Driver of Hunstanton, Norfolk, scrubbing the floor, 1956

NOW and the Displaced Homemaker

In the 1970s, NOW began to ask hard questions about the women who were no longer "homemakers", displaced from the only role they were thought to need.

We’ll be adding more stories related to Women’s History Month throughout March.

Print