“Queen of the gospel and the mother of rock and roll” The person who brought the electric guitar to the popular masses wasn’t Chuck Berry, and it sure wasn’t Bill Haley. It was a woman from Arkansas who saw her mission as bringing the music of the light into the dark places (nightclubs), and consequently invented crossover pop gospel. Since it’s… Read more →
Emma Goldman was a Russian Jewish immigrant to the USA, who spent her life being persecuted for her work campaigning for the rights of workers and marginalised groups of all kinds.
One for the dressmakers, costumiers and historians among us: an unexpected family treasure unearthed.
It’s Shakespeare! Today is Shakespeare’s 450th birthday. Probably. Nominally. Well, we know he was baptised on the 26th, and it was usual for that to happen about three days after the birth. Also he died on April 23rd, 52 years later, so it appeals to our sense of symmetry.
Hortense Mancini was married at fifteen to one of the richest men in Europe, who turned out to be an obsessive, violent, controlling abuser. She found a way to escape, and to live the rest of her life with an exuberance that would be difficult to match.
The second in my set of Three Wise H’s. Poor, tragic Heloise was one of the great minds of the twelfth century. Eventually Abbess of the Oratory of the Paraclete, she was not a nun by vocation, but through the medieval systems of sexual repression and ultra-strict gender role enforcement, along with a good sized dollop of bad luck.
The Rover is one of the all-time great Restoration comedies. One of the greatest silly romps of any era of playwriting, in fact, because it has everything: disguises, sword fights, carnival, a girl dressed as a boy, thwarted lovers, drunken shenanigans, sex, danger and a jilted courtesan. And its heroine, Hellena, is the ultimate witty wench.
Two of the most influential figures in modern aesthetics spent decades as footnotes to the biographies of their husbands. Margaret MacDonald, wife of Charles Rennie Macintosh, and Marion Mahony, wife of Walter Burley Griffin, have in recent times begun to be acknowledged as the great artists they were.
I had never heard of Beate Sirota Gordon until I saw this piece on Shakesville saying she died earlier this week. One of those people who make me wonder what I’ve been doing with my time, and why I haven’t made more of an effort to contribute to humanity. Here is more in the New York Times; and here is… Read more →
With Katniss and Merida currently ruling our movie screens, this is a great year for women with a flair for archery. Certainly time, then, to give some love to the prototype arrow-wielding woman, the Greek goddess Artemis.
Today, it is twenty years since since native title was first recognised in Australia and the doctrine of terra nullius was rejected by the High Court.
“Working with college students, I often recall myself as a sophomore at Barnard College in 1966. I wanted nothing to do with women’s movements or women’s history. When my advisor, Annette Baxter, suggested that I enroll in her course on U.S. women’s history, I had the nerve to reply that I would rather study “real” history.”
In 1-3 paragraphs, how would you have responded to the young Ms Freedman, and to women like her?