Photo courtesy of Sewall-Belmont House & Museum

Women’s History Coming to AASLH!

I’m very excited to report that a Women’s History Affinity Group is in the works for AASLH. I am also very very excited to say that I will be working with the group, which is being spear headed by the National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites (NCWHS). We are spreading the word far and wide, so…

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Mississippi Goddam, 1964

Nina Simone wrote this song in response to the murder of Medgar Evers and the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing. Her work became increasingly political over time. Here she brilliantly composes powerful imagery set to a show-tune melody. The song was banned in several US Southern States.

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No More Generic Lady of the House

I originally posted this article in The Inkwell, the blog for the AASLH Educators & Interpreters Community, for Women’s History Month in 2013. It was written to discuss some current issues in women’s history interpretation at historic sites and offer suggestions for best practices. It’s Women’s History Month, and the question begs to be asked:…

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Fourth of July Mayhem, c. 1864

At first glance, this painting shows Lilly Martin Spencer (the artist) having a jovial Fourth of July picnic with her family. But look closer and you will find societal upheaval and mayhem everywhere! That is her husband Benjamin who fell from the swing and is getting no respect. In the right foreground, a male slave pours a glass of wine…

Photo of a tapestry made to celebrate Marie Antoinette's wedding to the Dauphin of France.

Historic Marie Antoinette Tapestries Up For Auction

A set of tapestries made to celebrate Marie Antoinette’s wedding to the Dauphin of France is among prized artworks being auctioned off from one of Ireland finest historic homes. The owners of Bantry House in Co Cork – once the seat of the Earls of Bantry – said they have taken the difficult decision to…

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Victorian Painter Turns Isabella de’ Medici into Baby Doll

Now that I am following this theme more closely, altering documents to change the facts, I am seeing it everywhere. Fantastic work was done by a Carnegie museum conservator on this Renaissance era painting of Isabella de’ Medici. She was the daughter of the Grand Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici, the great Florentine Family, and steeped…

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Annie Oakley Helps Usher In Motion Picture Era

In the race to create motion pictures, Thomas Edison and his team of engineers built the Kinetograph which was patented in 1891. Next, Edison needed subject matter that would be popular and commercial. Enter performers from the vaudeville circuit, traveling acts, sporting arena, and exotic dancers. Edison Manufacturing Company built a recording studio called Black Maria in…

A Bed of Poppies, 1909

Maria Oakey Dewing: Crazy for Flowers

“Flowers offer a removed beauty that exists only for beauty, more abstract than it can be in a human being, even more exquisite.” – Maria Oakey Dewing Painter, author, and amateur botanist Maria Oakey Dewing (1845-1927) expressed the visual power of flowers with these words in 1915. A leading light of the New York and…

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Rare Handwritten Text from Jane Austen Revealed

A rare handwritten note from the British author Jane Austen has been revealed at West Dean College in West Sussex. The text was written by Austen in 1814 and gives insight into her thoughts on her brother’s sermons – echoing a discussion later featured in the novel Mansfield Park. The Book Conservation department at West Dean…