Alexander Street Opens up Its Digital Vault

Maybe it’s just the places I frequent, but the collaborators in getting the word out about Women’s History Month is doing the viral thing on the interwebs.

The folks over at Alexander Street, who maintain a scholarly database of all things female and social movements from the years 1600-2000 are tossing their hat in by offering free access to the likes of you and me.

If you’re doing a school project or are just plain interested, they’ve got archives, documents, biographies, and for the visual learners, graphics and tables. And lessons for teachers! Yay!

Check out Alexander Street

Women’s History Month


To commemorate Women’s History Month I wrote a mini-series for the connoisseurs of history over at

You can find all articles on Women’s History under Magazines/All history topics, then scroll down to Topics Sorted by Subject Matter. Click on Women’s History and poof! there the miniseries be.

Today’s installment includes the resume, as I imagined it, of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen of France, and then, when it suited her, Queen of England.

Read the entire Women’s History series.

Read about Heroines of Women’s History, including my beloved Eleanor.

Women’s History Month, An Introduction

A couple of days in March are famous: the Ides of March (thanks for the warning, Teiresias!) and St. Patrick’s Day (the Irish snake guy).

But the entire month of March is devoted to celebrating the women in history who made in impact – whether on their country, their cause, or maybe even just their family. The National Women’s History Project’s theme this year for Women’s History Month is Writing Women Back Into History.

I attempt to do just that for the fine folks over there at Please, go check me out and if you feel inclined, leave a comment.

Dolley Madison on PBS and Women’s History Month

Admit it, you think PBS is pretty awesome. Tomorrow, March 1, PBS is kicking off Women’s History Month with a biopic on the iconic first of all First Ladies, Dolley Madison. The 90-minute story of this fascinating women starts at 9PM Eastern, 8PM Central.

Read my preview at

Emily Dickinson and the Nature of Language

Grad school did me some good. Sure, it gave me more than a few grey hairs and an identity crisis that forced me to reinvent myself, but it gave me the gift of critical thinking. Maybe I would have become this critical thinker regardless of the thousands I handed over in tuition, but I’ll take the catalyst.

When I tell people I studied English literature on the graduate level, they are surprised that I’m not a social moron only interested in explicating the infamous Molly Bloom chapter at the end of Joyce’s Ulysses. I didn’t go to grad school to wrap myself in a critical theory cocoon; I went to enjoy literature on a deeper level and to get smarter. Definitely accomplished #1. The jury is still out on #2.

The best part of having this kind of knowledge is sharing it with those who would otherwise be more interested in watching NASCAR or riding bicycles or clipping their toenails. And the other best part is making literature from centuries past relevant, fun, and cool. Again.

I tried to do that with my personal favorite crazy lady in attic, Emily Dickinson. The pudding is over at Great History.

Lizzie Borden Was a Cold-Hearted Killer

Even though the 1892 all-white male jury found otherwise, the circumstantial evidence against this taciturn young woman means that we find her guilty in the court of public opinion, even without the murder weapon.

Who needs a murder weapon when you’ve got erratic behavior and a massive inheritance at stake? The American legal system, apparently.

But THE trial of the 19th century, where a young woman is acquitted of hacking her parents to death, is worth revisiting. Especially on Halloween Eve.

Virginia Woolf, Still Rocking After All These Years


I’ve got photos of the Colorado Rockies that I need to share with you. Next week I’m headed to Fruita, so they’ll be more from the Western Slope.

In the meantime, I continue to write for GreatHistory, a blog where history becomes more relevant than ever.

My lastest post for them is about my heroine, Mrs. Virginia Woolf. Take a read.

National Constitution Day, September 17

I celebrated the Fourth of July this year by watching the oldest parade in the United States, in my former hometown f Bristol, Rhode Island. There I sat proudly, with my nieces, sister, brother-in-law, and mother and watched as bands from Minnesota, Native American tribes, historic firetrucks, and the dancing policeman marched by.

On July 4 we celebrate our indepedence from England and crazy King George III. On September 17, we celebrate (well, I’m not actually sure that many folks do that much celebrating) the document that gave us the right of free speech, the right to a speedy trial, the electoral college, the right to vote (if you’re black or a woman you didn’t automatically get those rights).

The Constitution also, ironically, gave us both the death penalty and abortion. Well, no document’s perfect, but I sure am glad this one’s mine.

Visit the Constitution Center’s website.

My Prison, My Home: A Harrowing Tale from Iran

My first memory of Iran came in the fourth grade – it was video, pictures, and other coverage of the American hostages in Iran. Politics was often discussed over turkey at Thanksgiving, so events in Iran, Poland, and anywhere else evil was doing its thing, were often the topic of discussion.

I remember not being able to locate Iran on a map, but I knew that Iran was bad. Not as bad as the Soviet Union, but bad.

Over the years I’ve learned that those student kidnappers, although not the type you’d necessarily want to invite over for Thanksgiving, may have actually had a reason for the kidnapping. Weird. They weren’t just crazy Arabs, they were (somewhat understandably) paranoid of the United States intervening in their internal affairs.

Which you and I know is ludicrous. The United States would never meddle in the Middle East without good reason.

Still, Dr. Haleh Esfiandiari, an Iranian-born academic who also carries an American passport, writes about how the Intelligence Ministry in Iran was convinced she was working with the CIA to overthrow the Iranian government. Now, it’s not crazy to imagine the CIA overthrowing governments, but the good doctor, well, her duties at the Woodrow Wilson were misunderstood by her interrogators.

So they locked her up in the famous Evin Prison. Read her story.

The Williams Sister, Fashion, and the History of Women’s Tennis

The US Open starts this week, folks. Watch your favorites whap! with their rackets and watch for the fashion show the Williams sisters sometimes put on. Serena, fresh off a Grand Slam victory at Wimbledon this year, may just be feeling frisky enough to wear breathable pleather.  Ya never know.

The Williams sisters were not the first divas of the court. Check out this short history of Suzanne Lenglen (She’s so famous they named the female French Open trophy after her.) to find out the legacy behind outrageous fashion on the court.