The bad ass historical women we need to remember this month.

It’s officially Women’s History Month, which means it’s time to celebrate the many accomplishments that are so often looked over throughout the rest of the year.

Nellie Bly - Nellie Bly entered the journalism scene in an unabashedly feminist way, by submitting a letter to The Pittsburgh Dispatch that rebutted one writer’s diatribe about how women belonged in the home. An editor saw Bly’s potential and hired her in 1885. Just two years later, Bly famously posed as a mental patient on Blackwell’s Island for a New York World expose; a few years after, she that took a record-setting, 72-day trip around the world, writing about it for the same paper.

Agent 355 - Long before 007, there was 355. History books would do well to liven their account of the American Revolution by mentioning this member of the Culper Spy Ring, America’s first elite spy network. One of George Washington’s most valuable spies, the woman known only as “Agent 355” was likely the only one who could rock an evening gown while gathering information critical to the colonies’ achieving independence. 

Murasaki Shikibu - Little is known about the Japanese author credited with writing the world’s first modern novel, The Tale of Genji, other than that she certainly overcame plenty of obstacles to do so. Even her name is an invention, drawn from one of the novel’s characters and the author’s father’s job, according to Encyclopaedia Brittanica. Not only was Shikibu educated — a rarity for women at any point for most of history, but especially around the year 1010 — but she also became literate in both Japanese and Chinese.

Maria W. Stewart - Though her name is (unfortunately) not one often included in history books, Stewart can claim plenty of impressive firsts. She was the first American woman to speak to an audience of mixed genders and races, as well as one of the first African American woman to deliver any public speech at all.

Pauli Murray - Pauli Murray wore many hats, and each one was equally impressive. Murray became a civil rights lawyer in the late 1940s, a particularly impressive feat given that women in general, let alone black women, had been prohibited from becoming lawyers only decades before.

Read more about these women and 5 others we must never forget.


Today’s Women’s History Month post is about Linday Small, otherwise known as Linday Small-Butera, an animator. Lindsay recently gained attention online as a flash animator, but has worked on bigger projects for other companies as well.

Lindsay is probably most well known for her collaborations with her husband, Alex Butera. Alex is an animator and storyboard artist for cartoons like WordGirl, but the most well-known of their works are often done together. They have their own joint channel on youtube where they post their creations as a couple, entitled SmallButera. The channel has over b40 thousand subscribers as of this writing.

Lindsay recently gained a lot of internet fame for her flash cartoon "Let’s Play, a flash toon portraying her and Alex, and the very real situation of what happens when innocent fun accidentally causes true pain (also known as a bump to the head). The flash has over a million views on its original youtube posting. The cartoon has a lot of mileage here on tumblr—but sadly often gets passed around without any credit (side note: if you see it floating around without any credit, throw that on there!)

Lindsay and Alex collaborate on the mondo media series Baman Piderman. The series revolves around two goofy individuals who are totally not based on any superheroes that may already have existed. Baman Piderman’s first episode, “Find Da Sandwich,” aired in 2009 online. The video currently has almost 4 million views. The series recently ran a kickstarter that was very successful, making more than double its goal.

Lindsay has also worked on Dick Figures, another adult animated series hosted by Mondo Media. Lindsay recently did work on the short for the game Story War, a promotional animation hosted by Frederator on their channel Cartoon Hangover. Lindsay also voice acted in the cartoon.

Besides animation, Lindsay does illustration work on her own.

Lindsay has a cute style and a unique sense of humor. Her collaborations and her individual work both have their own lovable style. 

You can follow smalllindsay on tumblr.
You can also follow her on twitter.
The SmallButera youtube is here

"Being ladylike does not require silence."

In honor of Women’s History Month, here’s a fantastic quote from Betty Ford on the importance of women expressing their personal views. “Why should my husband’s job or yours prevent us from being ourselves?” she asked the audience at the International Women’s Year Conference in Cleveland, Ohio, on October 25, 1975.

Watch the full speech or view her speech cards.

Women Who Changed Free Expression: Alison Bechdel

Happy Women’s History Month! All through March, we’ll be celebrating women who changed free expression in comics. Check back here every weekday for biographical snippets on female creators who have pushed the boundaries of the format and/or seen their work challenged or banned.

Alison Bechdel grew up in the small town of Beech Creek, Pennsylvania, the daughter of high school English teachers. Her family also owned and lived in the local funeral home, which her father Bruce meticulously restored in his spare time. When Bechdel reached young adulthood and realized she was a lesbian, her mother informed her of a fact that made many puzzle pieces from her childhood fall into place: Bruce was also gay and may have had liaisons with underage students. Just a few weeks after Bechdel told her parents of her sexuality, Bruce was struck and killed by a car while restoring another house. His death was ruled an accident.

Bechdel began her now-legendary comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For in 1983 at the urging of friends who were amused by the cartoon doodles that adorned the margins of her letters. Within a few years the strip, which explored the various archetypes of lesbian subculture, was syndicated in alternative publications across the country and regularly collected into book volumes. A Dykes to Watch Out For strip also established what has come to be known as the Bechdel Test for gauging the meaningful character development of women in movies and other pop culture.

Bechdel’s 2006 graphic novel Fun Home, which recounts her complicated relationship with her father, met with widespread critical praise and mainstream success—which also led to it being challenged in at least three instances. In 2006 it was temporarily removed from the public library in Marshall, Missouri after a patron said it was pornographic, but the book returned to shelves after the library drafted a collection development policy to protect controversial material that was also critically acclaimed and/or in demand. Two years later a challenge at the University of Utah was also shut down when the English department and the university affirmed that the single student who objected to the book had been reasonably accommodated with an alternate assignment.

In 2014, Fun Home faced a greater challenge in South Carolina, where some state legislators proposed punitive budget cuts against the College of Charleston because it incorporated the book into a voluntary summer reading program for incoming freshman. After months of debate, the legislature eventually reached an unsatisfactory but highly ironic “compromise”: the college would have the funding restored, but would be required to use it only for teaching about historic documents including the Constitution. Meanwhile, Bechdel’s talent was recognized and supported with a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” also awarded in 2014.

Contributing Editor Maren Williams

Camden, New Jersey - Radio. RCA Victor. Coil winder - If a girl has good fingers for this work, she can become expert on this job in three weeks. If she is not naturally deft, she never learns., 3/4/1937

From the series: Lewis Hine Photographs for the National Research Project, 1936 - 1937. Records of the Work Projects Administration, 1922 - 1944.

From a series of taken by Lewis Hine for the Works Progress Administration’s (WPA) National Research Project, highlighting changes in industry and their effect on employment:

One way to break glass ceilings - design them yourself. At the turn of the last century, Violet Oakley was a pioneer in the male-dominated field of mural painting and the first woman ever to receive a public mural commission. On the heels of this success, she was hired by wealthy financier Charlton Yarnall to do a series of murals and design the stained glass dome for the grand foyer of his Philadelphia mansion.

Stained glass dome designed by Violet Oakley in Charlton Yarnall’s home in Philadelphia, 1911 Feb. 6 / unidentified photographer. Violet Oakley papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

"Women On 20s aims to compel historic change by convincing President Obama that NOW is the time to put a woman’s face on our paper currency. But who should it be? We believe that’s for you, the public, to decide from a slate of 15 inspiring American women heroes. Welcome to the voting booth. Here you may learn things about the candidates you never knew and get your questions answered about the whys and hows of our game plan. We believe this simple, symbolic and long-overdue change could be an important stepping stone for other initiatives promoting gender equality. Our money does say something about us, about what we value. So together, let’s make our money egalitarian and inclusive!

It’s our mission to generate an overwhelming people’s mandate for a new $20 bill, to be issued in time for the 100th anniversary in 2020 of the Constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote. Think of it as honoring the vote by casting your vote. The process of commissioning, designing and minting a new bill takes years, so now is a good time to act. 

We’re depending on you, the voters, to spread the word and spark a national conversation about respecting the accomplishments, power and influence of American women. That’s what will make this happen. So like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and email everyone you know with a link to this website. Won’t it be exciting to have a part in transforming American history into our story?”


 Cast your vote here: http://www.womenon20s.org

#WomenOn20s   #WomensHistoryMonth

Meet Rev. Ann Kansfield

She’s breaking barriers at the FDNY. Not only is she their first female chaplain, she’s also their first openly lesbian chaplain.

“We shouldn’t have to hide ourselves or worry about being judged…. If you fail, and when you fail, God will forgive you. God will say, ‘You are my beloved.’ ”


This week’s Wednesday in the Wild (#WedintheWild - nothing about weddings, sorry!) is Dr. Jennifer Connelly, an astronomer and visiting assistant professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Jennifer’s dress is the Star Studded Performance Dress in Comets by Emily and Fin from modcloth. You might expect me to snark on the description, because the pattern is clearly shooting stars, but shooting stars are actually comet dust!

In these photos Jennifer is #IntheWild at amnhnyc, where she worked as a Research Data Analyst before starting graduate school at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Germany. From what I’ve seen Jennifer has an amazing wardrobe I’m sure you’ll see more of her on the blog!



Historic Woman Printer/Publisher of the Week:

Jeanne Rivière (fl. 1589-1596)

When her famous husband Christoph Plantin died in 1589, the Antwerp branch of Plantin’s printing business passed into the hands of his widow (viduam) Jeanne Rivière. By most accounts, Rivière was a very modest, unpretentious individual who ably ran the Plantin household, but was very likely illiterate. Nevertheless, even though she authorized her son-in-law Jan Moretus to manage the business, from the time she inherited the print shop she was always listed first as publisher of Officina Plantiniana. Only for a short time were the publications signed “Ex Officina Plantiniana apud Viduam,” but from 1590 until Rivière’s death it appeared as “Ex Officina Plantiniana apud Viduam et Joannem Moretum.”

Chistoph and Jeanne had six daughters, most of whom, especially the three eldest, Margareta, Martina, and Catharina, were active in the family business. Martina was married to Jan Moretus who ran the Antwerp office until his death in 1610, after which Martina is listed as publisher of Officina Plantiniana, “Viduam Joannis Moreti,” along with her son Balthasar.

The painting of Jeanne Rivière pictured here is by Ruebens. It was commissioned by her grandson Balthasar I Moretus, and currently resides at the Plantin-Moretus Museum in Antwerp.

Find Proverbia Salomonis (1591) in the catalog here, and P. Statii Papinii Opera (1595) in the catalog here.


In honor of Women’s History Month,  we will be featuring a series of remarkable women in our collections.  This Wednesday, we’re highlighting Charlotte Russell Partridge and Miriam Frink.

Partridge came to Milwaukee-Downer college as a faculty member in the Fine Arts department in 1914. She met Frink, who taught English at college, that same year. They became lifelong companions, sharing their lives and a home for fifty-five years. 

Patridge and Frink are most known for founding Milwaukee’s Layton School of Art in 1920, which started with day and night classes for adults and Saturday classes for children. At Layton, Frink taught literature appreciation while overseeing business and student activities, while Partridge taught art classes, and oversaw the faculty and community activities. They remained with the school until 1954 when a Board of Trustees meeting decided to forcibly “retire” the women, carried out immediately, despite protests from faculty, students, and alumni. 

In addition to her work at the Layton School of Art, Partridge also served as the director of the Layton Art Gallery from 1922-1953, served on the gallery’s Board of Trustees from 1921 to 1973, and directed the Wisconsin Federal Art Project from 1935 to 1939 among other civic projects. 

Charlotte Partridge once said of Miriam Frink, “Miss Frink is the head and I am the feet of the school.” Margaret Clark Davis stated, “Charlotte was marvelous and Miriam was tremendous along with her… Miriam was like a Great Dane—[she] protected, undergirded, and saw to it that things worked out for Charlotte.” The two women’s individual talents complemented each other and the two, together, made the Layton School of Art unique.

For further exploration: the Smithsonian Archives of American Art has a fascinating oral history interview with Partridge.


THE exact role and status of women in the Roman world, and in most ancient societies has often been blurred by the biases of both ancient male writers and 19th-20th century CE male scholars, a situation only recently readdressed by modern scholarship which has sought to more objectively assess women’s status, rights, duties, representation in the arts and daily lives; and all this from male source material dealing with a male-dominated Roman world. 

Unlike some other ancient cultures such as the Greeks who had formed a creation myth where woman was a creature secondary to man and, more specifically, in the form of Pandora, a bringer of unhappiness and vices, the Romans had a more neutral approach where humanity, and not specifically the male, was created by the gods from earth and water.

In many cases Roman women were closely identified with their perceived role in society - the duty of looking after the home and to nurture a family (pietas familiae), in particular, to bear legitimate children, a consequence of which was an early marriage, (sometimes even before puberty but typically around 20 years old), in order to ensure the woman had no sexual history which might embarrass the future husband.

Read More 

(Info by Mark Cartwright on Ancient History Encyclopedia)  


WOMEN’S HISTORYLIVIA DRUSILLA (30 January 58 BCE– 28 September 29)

Livia was born in 58 BCE to Marcus Livius Drusus Claudianus and Aufidia. In 43 BCE, he married arranged for her to marry a cousin, Tiberius Claudius Nero. After the assassination of Julius Caesar, her father and husband had both sided with Marcus Junius Brutus and Caius Cassius Longinus against Octavian and Mark Anthony. After the Battle of Philippi, her father committed suicide but her husband switched his allegiance to Mark Anthony. Because of her husband’s hostility toward Octavian, their family was forced to flee Italy and stayed in exile for many years.

In 39 BCE, the family returned to Rome and Livia was formally introduced to Octavian. At the time, Livia was pregnant with her second child and Octavian was himself married to Scribonia who was pregnant with a daughter. Nevertheless, Livia and Octavian divorced their respective spouses and married each other. In 31 BCE, Mark Anthony committed suicide following his defeat at the Battle of Actium, which left Octavian as the sole power in Rome. In 27 BCE, Octavia was crowned Emperor of Rome and took the title Augustus.

Augustus and Livia never had any children together, though they arranged for Augustus’ daughter, Julia the Child, to marry Livia’s oldest son, the future Emperor Tiberius. Livia younger son, Nero Claudius Drusus, married Augustus’ niece, Julia Antonia, and they became the parents of the general Germanicus (who was the father of Caligula) and the future emperor Claudius, among others.

Augustus died in 14 CE and was deified on his death. Thereafter, Livia was given the title Julia Augusta. It was during this time that Livia acquired much of her reputation as a Machiavellian schemer. It was previously rumored that she had killed her husband, but this rumor is most likely untrue.

5th company, 3rd regiment, WAAC (Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps) Training Center at Fort Des Moines, Iowa, December 19, 1942

Learn more about the contributions of women in the military and related service organizations since World War I in the resources provided by our Women Veterans Historical Project. Oral histories, photographs, recruitment materials, and other resources documenting women’s military experience is available online at: http://libcdm1.uncg.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/WVHP/.


#Women Write the World

In honor of Women’s History Month, we remember the National Book Award Winning historian Barbara Tuchman. Twice honored as a Finalist for her  trenchant history of the months preceding the outbreak of WW1 and her biography of General Joseph Stillwell, Tuchman captured the National Book Award in 1980 for A Distant Mirror, her epic telling of the advancements and misfortunes of fourteenth century Europe. 

Women Write the World is a daily tribute to the female National Book Award Winners and Finalists whose nonfiction writing circled the globe and set new standards for American literature dedicated to expository writing.