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October 23, 2020
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The True Story of Min Matheson, the Labor Leader Who Fought the Mob at the Polls

Smithsonian
Labor leader Min Lurye Matheson made her name facing down the mob. She arrived in northeastern Pennsylvania in 1944, dispatched by the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, or ILGWU, to organize the hard-pressed garment workers of the Wyoming Valley anthracite coal region. Here, in towns with deep mob roots such......
History

The Trailblazing French Artist Rosa Bonheur Is Finally Getting the Attention She Deserves

Smithsonian
The soft sunlight of a late afternoon streams into the atelier, dapples the 20-foot-high walls, and rests on a paint-stained blue smock draped over an upholstered chair. A carved oak case contains the artist’s tools: small bottles of pigments, paint tubes, palettes, brushes. Beside it is a cushioned wooden pole......
History

How Women Vote: Separating Myth From Reality

Smithsonian
A century has elapsed since the 19th Amendment granted women the right to vote at the federal level. But no single analysis of those 100 years can explain “the women’s vote,” as it’s impossible to summarize half of the country’s population with one political narrative. That aside, for political scientists......
History

Why Eleanor Roosevelt’s Example Matters More Than Ever

Smithsonian
At 3 a.m. on December 10, 1948, after nearly three years of intense deliberation and maneuvering, the United Nations General Assembly voted to adopt what Eleanor Roosevelt envisioned as a Magna Carta for a new age: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As a U.S. delegate to the nascent international......
History

For Generations, Black Women Have Envisioned a Better, Fairer American Politics

Smithsonian
The traditional narrative of American voting rights and of American women’s history, taught in schools for generations, emphasizes the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920 as the pinnacle of achievement for suffragists. A look at the headlines from last month’s centennial commemorations largely confirms women’s suffrage as a critical......
History

Catherine the Great’s Lost Treasure, the Rise of Animal Rights and Other New Books to Read

Smithsonian
By the end of her reign, Catherine the Great had acquired more than 4,000 paintings, 38,000 books, 10,000 engraved gems, 16,000 coins and medals, and 10,000 drawings. But as writers Gerald Easter and Mara Vorhees point out in The Tsarina’s Lost Treasure, this collection—which later formed the foundation of the......
History

Women Senators Reflect on the 100th Anniversary of Suffrage

Smithsonian
When suffragist Jeannette Rankin was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1916, she made a prescient prediction: “I may be the first woman member of Congress. But I won’t be the last.” One hundred and four years later, a record-breaking number of women sit in both congressional......
History

How the American West Led the Way for Women in Politics

Smithsonian
On Sept. 6, 1870—Election Day—officials in Wyoming were concerned. The previous year, a violent mob in South Pass had attempted to prevent African American men from voting. And since then, the territorial Legislature had granted full political equality to its women citizens. It was not clear how this latest change......
History

How 12 Female Cookbook Authors Changed the Way We Eat

Smithsonian
Of all the cookbooks that made their mark in the past 300 years, Fannie Farmer’s The Boston Cooking-School Cookbook—known today as The Fannie Farmer Cookbook—may have changed at-home cooking the most. When Little Brown & Company released the 600-page tome in 1896, the publisher expected minimal sales, and even made......
History

How the 19th Amendment Complicated the Status and Role of Women in Hawaii

Smithsonian
When the 19th Amendment was finally ratified on August 18, 1920, some women in Hawaiʻi wasted no time in submitting their names to fill seats in government. But, as Healoha Johnston, curator of women’s cultural history at the Smithsonian’s Asian Pacific American Center (APAC), explains, these women didn’t realize that......
History

What the First Women Voters Experienced When Registering for the 1920 Election

Smithsonian
“Play Election Devised to Teach Women How to Vote,” blared a Boston Globe headline. The Washington Post discussed the League of Women Voters’ planned “schools of citizenship to train women in civic duties,” and in the Midwest, the Grand Forks Herald detailed a mock voting booth—complete with “judges, clerks, printed......
History

100 Years of Women at the Ballot Box

Smithsonian
On August 18, 1920—a full century ago—the 19th Amendment was ratified by Tennessee’s legislature. But that date marks neither the beginning nor the end of the struggle for suffrage. The movement to secure the vote for women took a long, thorny path that extends until today; it’s a trail dotted......
History

Mary McLeod Bethune Was at the Vanguard of More Than 50 Years of Black Progress

Smithsonian
The 19th Amendment, ratified in August 1920, paved the way for American women to vote, but the educator and activist Mary McLeod Bethune knew the work had only just begun: The amendment alone would not guarantee political power to black women. Thanks to Bethune’s work that year to register and......
History

What Made Lucretia Mott One of the Fiercest Opponents of Slavery and Sexism

Smithsonian
After the close of the 1840 World Anti-Slavery Convention in London, some 500 people gathered at the Crown & Anchor Meeting Hall in the city’s West End to drink tea and hear speeches from renowned abolitionists such as William Lloyd Garrison. Lucretia Mott, already the most famous white woman abolitionist......
History

The Multiple Truths in the Works of the Enslaved Poet Phillis Wheatley

Smithsonian
I do not remember how old I was when my grandmother showed me Phillis Wheatley’s poetry. Ten, maybe 11? Young enough that my hands were open to everything she put in them—a crochet needle and thick hot pink yarn, a sewing needle, a gingham apron. Young enough that I obeyed,......
History

Five Women Veterans Who Deserve to Have Army Bases Named After Them

Smithsonian
Should the U.S. military remove the names of Confederate generals from its Army bases in the South? The longstanding debate was recently revived by demonstrations against police brutality—and just as quickly quashed by President Donald Trump, who refused to consider the idea despite reports military officials were open to the......
History

158 Resources for Understanding Systemic Racism in America

Smithsonian
SMITHSONIANMAG.COM | June 4, 2020, 11:47 a.m. In a short essay published earlier this week, Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch wrote that the recent killing in Minnesota of George Floyd has forced the country to “confront the reality that, despite gains made in the past 50 years, we are still......
History

The True Story Behind Hulu’s Catherine “The Great” | History

Smithsonian
SMITHSONIANMAG.COM | May 15, 2020, 8 a.m. Catherine the Great is a monarch mired in misconception. Derided both in her day and in modern times as a hypocritical warmonger with an unnatural sexual appetite, Catherine was a woman of contradictions whose brazen exploits have long overshadowed the accomplishments that won......
History

A 2,000-Year History of Restaurants and Other New Books to Read | History

Smithsonian
With much of the world on lockdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic, dining out has become a cherished memory of the “before” period. Though diners can still support local restaurants by ordering food for curbside pickup or delivery, actually sitting down at any eatery, be it a tavern, café, noodle joint......
History

The Science of Fear, the Royal Scandal That Made France Modern and Other New Books to Read | History

Smithsonian
To confront her crippling fear of heights, journalist Eva Holland jumped out of an airplane and learned to rock climb. But while she endured these experiments with a semblance of aplomb, she found that the experience did little to assuage her fears. “I was facing my fear, but it was......

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