Joan Marie Johnson: November 6, 1917 — Women Win the Right to Vote in New York State

Today we welcome a guest post from Joan Marie Johnson, author of Funding Feminism: Monied Women, Philanthropy, and the Women’s Movement, 1870–1967, on how women won the right to vote in New York State. In Funding Feminism, Joan Marie Johnson examines an understudied dimension of women’s history in the United States: how a group of… Continue Reading Joan Marie Johnson: November 6, 1917 — Women Win the Right to Vote in New York State

Jessica Ziparo: One Hundred and Fifty Years of Equal Pay

Today we welcome a guest post from Jessica Ziparo, author of This Grand Experiment:  When Women Entered the Federal Workforce in Civil War–Era Washington, D.C., looking back on the first debates about equal pay for equal work. In the volatility of the Civil War, the federal government opened its payrolls to women. Thousands of female… Continue Reading Jessica Ziparo: One Hundred and Fifty Years of Equal Pay

Joan Marie Johnson: Supporting the Struggle for Women’s Reproductive Rights

Today we welcome a guest post from Joan Marie Johnson, author of Funding Feminism: Monied Women, Philanthropy, and the Women’s Movement, 1870–1967, on the anniversary of the founding of America’s first birth control clinic, and the women behind the scenes who made it possible. In Funding Feminism, Joan Marie Johnson examines an understudied dimension of… Continue Reading Joan Marie Johnson: Supporting the Struggle for Women’s Reproductive Rights

Author Interview: Emily Herring Wilson, The Three Graces of Val-Kill

Gina Mahalek talks to Emily Herring Wilson, author of The Three Graces of Val-Kill: Eleanor Roosevelt, Marion Dickerman, and Nancy Cook in the Place They Made Their Own. # # # Q: How did you discover this story? A: I wanted to understand Eleanor Roosevelt as a woman making her own private life—after a troubled marriage… Continue Reading Author Interview: Emily Herring Wilson, The Three Graces of Val-Kill

Emily Herring Wilson: The Three Graces of Val-Kill

The Three Graces of Val-Kill changes the way we think about Eleanor Roosevelt. Emily Wilson examines what she calls the most formative period in Roosevelt’s life, from 1922 to 1936, when she cultivated an intimate friendship with Marion Dickerman and Nancy Cook, who helped her build a cottage on the Val-Kill Creek in Hyde Park on the Roosevelt family land. Continue Reading Emily Herring Wilson: The Three Graces of Val-Kill

UNC Press Summer Reading List

Happy Summer! In honor of the summer solstice, we’re posting our suggestions for your summer reading list. If you’re planning a fun tropical vacation or just heading to your neighborhood pool, UNC Press has your perfect summer read. Pick up a fun guidebook or new biography, and don’t forget about our 40% sale! Continue Reading UNC Press Summer Reading List

Jennifer Van Horn: The Deceptive Caboodle

I remember with fondness, as do many of us who came of age in the 1990s, my neon pink and purple “caboodle.” For those of you unfamiliar with the form, it is a molded plastic container with a latched top that raises up to reveal a multitude of trays, containers, and mysteriously shaped indentations all intended to house cosmetics, hair products, and personal accessories. For my teenage self the caboodle was the ultimate symbol of femininity and the mysterious physical manipulations of skin and hair that being an adult woman required. My caboodle is long since gone, but I suspect its lingering memory shaped my interest in eighteenth-century cosmetics and the dressing furniture that housed them. Continue Reading Jennifer Van Horn: The Deceptive Caboodle

Nora E. Jaffary: Midwifery in Mexico

Midwives were the dominant obstetrical and gynecological practitioners in Mexico in pre-Hispanic and colonial Mexico. Their medical knowledge was vast. Early post-conquest writers observed that Mexican midwives possessed hundreds of medical remedies to provide contraception, encourage fertility, counteract the side effects of pregnancy, assist in complicated deliveries, and treat postpartum complaints. They could soothe labor pains, initiate stalled labor, facilitate the placenta’s expulsion, encourage lactation, and soothe that most vexatious of post-partum symptoms: hemorrhoids. Continue Reading Nora E. Jaffary: Midwifery in Mexico

Sharon McConnell-Sidorick: How Flappers Helped Radicalize the Labor Movement and the New Deal

Union activists advanced a far-reaching, class-based vision that saw labor as a means to advance the rights of all working people. It was a vision of a new, socialist world and young members made it their own, combining Jazz Age rebelliousness with the left-wing traditions of the union. Women unionists used the brashness and irreverence that were hallmarks of the “flapper” in a surprisingly left-wing labor culture, merging constructions of “worker” with those of “modern woman.” They became “street-fighting women” supporting labor as a cause for human rights. They picketed and went to jail in droves for refusing to “move to the other side of the street” when ordered to by police, or participating in “lie-downs” to block driveways in front of mills, or calling strikebreakers “scabs” and threatening to beat them up. Women became such stalwarts on the picket lines that when they demanded a greater role in the union leadership, many of their male co-workers rushed to support them, insisting that “the women did do the fighting and you better give them their rights soon.” Continue Reading Sharon McConnell-Sidorick: How Flappers Helped Radicalize the Labor Movement and the New Deal

Judy Kutulas: What If My Relatives Were on the “Wrong” Side of History?

I understand that Ben Affleck was unhappy to learn his ancestors owned slaves. I mention this because I was also unexpectedly side-swiped by history while researching a chapter for After Aquarius Dawned on the Peoples Temple and the Jonestown mass death. As traditional authority, aka the Establishment, declined after the war in Vietnam and Watergate and all those liberation movements – sexual, gay, women’s, black – Americans practiced more freedom of choice, summarized by a women’s movement slogan, “the personal is political.” Since I was already looking into the Temple, I took a side-jaunt into the story of my cousins who perished in Jonestown. Continue Reading Judy Kutulas: What If My Relatives Were on the “Wrong” Side of History?

Jessica M. Frazier: Networks, News, and Activism

Many also found friendship, understanding, and compassion in their Vietnamese counterparts. Following face-to-face interactions, American and Vietnamese women maintained contact with one another through the exchange of letters, telegrams, and newsletters. Indeed, Vietnamese and American women formed part of a people’s diplomatic network that provided alternative interpretations of the war. Continue Reading Jessica M. Frazier: Networks, News, and Activism

Judy Kutulas: How Mary Tyler Moore Helped 1970s America Imagine a New Future

Fictional Mary worked at a television station in Minneapolis even she knew was second rate. Yet it was also so beyond how she imagined her future unfolding that she embraced it with a mixture of gusto and relatable fear. So many of us were in that predicament in the 1970s, jarred out of what was supposed to be our future by the revolutions of the 1960s. Americans identified with Mary far more personally than most previous characters. As someone who studies sitcoms, I could explain to you the structural set-up that facilitated that bonding, but the outcome is what’s more relevant here: that Americans regarded fictional Minnesotan Mary Richards as a real person. They sent letters to the Minneapolis post office addressed to her and made so many pilgrimages to knock on the door of the house featured in the opening credits that they exhausted and angered the actual owners of the house. Real people showed up in the series playing themselves, including first lady Betty Ford, who loved Mary as much as the rest of us. Continue Reading Judy Kutulas: How Mary Tyler Moore Helped 1970s America Imagine a New Future

Nora E. Jaffary: Ancient Abortifacients in Modern Mexico

One of the things that surprised me the most was that throughout the colonial period and up until as late as the 1860s, neither community members nor judicial authorities in Mexico seemed particularly troubled that women were procuring abortions. Continue Reading Nora E. Jaffary: Ancient Abortifacients in Modern Mexico

University Press Week 2016 Blog Tour Day 5: #FF UNC Press Publishing Partners

We have celebrated the theme of Community for the past several days with our sibling publishers in the Association of American University Presses’ #UPweek. Today we invite you into our own virtual rolodex to introduce you to just some of the many partner organizations with whom we have collaborated to make many of your favorite books and journals possible. Continue Reading University Press Week 2016 Blog Tour Day 5: #FF UNC Press Publishing Partners

Martha S. Jones: Don’t Miss Out on What Michelle Obama Actually Said in 2008

Don’t let Melania Trump’s Monday night speech be your guide to what Michelle Obama said in 2008. Instead, keep listening. There is more to learn than who borrowed what words. Continue Reading Martha S. Jones: Don’t Miss Out on What Michelle Obama Actually Said in 2008

LaKisha Michelle Simmons: Landscapes, Memories, and History in Beyoncé’s Lemonade

Some writers have noted the presence of the “southern gothic” or the “southern porch” in Beyoncé Knowles-Carter’s visceral visual album Lemonade. But the landscapes are unambiguously part of the geography of Louisiana; the visual album is haunting because of its specificity to place. Barely visible, in the discussion thus far, is the history of slavery—and its remnants—all over the landscape of the album. Continue Reading LaKisha Michelle Simmons: Landscapes, Memories, and History in Beyoncé’s Lemonade

Excerpt: Chained in Silence, by Talitha L. LeFlouria

For many Americans, Independence Day of 1884 was an occasion for merriment. Sunrise gun salutes, picnics, orations, wheelbarrow races, greased-pig-catching contests, and pulsating fireworks that blistered the sky were popular scenes implanted in America’s nineteenth-century viewfinder. But for fourteen-year-old Mollie White, July 4, 1884, signified the closing of her innocence and the suspension of her liberty and bodily sovereignty; it was the day that marked her dreadful passage into Georgia’s itinerant state penitentiary system. Continue Reading Excerpt: Chained in Silence, by Talitha L. LeFlouria

Shabana Mir: The Headscarf/Hijab Debate

Recently, a blogosphere debate erupted on headscarves/hijab among various Muslim women. The debate was preceded by physical harassment against visibly Muslim women. The worsened climate of Islamophobia was greeted with shock and disgust by a number of Americans. A number of non-Muslim women—Dr. Larycia Hawkins of Wheaton College, for instance—put on the headscarf as a gesture of solidarity with Muslims. While some Muslims critiqued hijab solidarity as a form of appropriation, many welcomed it as a well-intentioned and courageous gesture in difficult times. Continue Reading Shabana Mir: The Headscarf/Hijab Debate

Excerpt: The Trials of Laura Fair: Sex, Murder, and Insanity in the Victorian West, by Carole Haber

In arguing that the jury had to find Laura “not guilty by reason of insanity,” Quint and Cook hoped to focus their attention around four central issues. At the heart of their case, they argued, was the notion that Laura was unconscious and irrational at the time of the murder. In contrast to the prosecution, which had relied on gossip and rumor to condemn Laura’s character, they would base their case on the latest scientific findings and medical expertise. By calling to the stand doctors with advanced knowledge and training, they would prove that Laura—much like Mary Harris before her—was a victim herself, captive to the effects of severe organic disease. Especially when her menstrual cycle approached, she experienced recurring bouts of hysterical mania that left her without control of her actions or awareness of events. Thus, no matter how heinous the act appeared, she was not responsible for its commission. Continue Reading Excerpt: The Trials of Laura Fair: Sex, Murder, and Insanity in the Victorian West, by Carole Haber

J. Samaine Lockwood: Nineteenth-Century New England’s Queer Thanksgivings

As we travel home this Thanksgiving, it is worth taking time to reflect on the various meanings of this holiday—personal, collective, regional, and national. A product of nineteenth-century sectional, socio-sexual, and imperialist imperatives, Thanksgiving is far from a physically satisfying celebration involving a return to an uncomplicated home. Continue Reading J. Samaine Lockwood: Nineteenth-Century New England’s Queer Thanksgivings