Summary: What’sHerName women’s history podcast is hosted and produced by academic sisters Olivia Meikle and Katie Nelson. Committed to reclaiming forgotten history, What’sHerName tells the stories of fascinating women you’ve never heard of (but should have). Through compelling interviews with guest historians, writers, and scholars, Katie and Olivia bring to life the “lost” women of history. Fascinating and funny, thought-provoking and thoughtful, What’sHerName restores women’s voices to the conversation. New episodes every other Monday.
In Mussolini's Italy, Luisa Spagnoli became one of the most influential purveyors of chocolate - and fashion - in European history. But how did she do it? Our guest is Diana Garvin.
For too long, the "story of humankind" has been a story of men. But how would the narrative of human history change if we put the 'lost women' center stage? In our 100th Episode Special, we tell the whole history of the world, in one sweeping narrative, through all 100 What’sHerName women!
Lois Meek Stolz's bold refusal to "do what had always been done" helped change American education forever - but that was only the beginning! Meet the "model teacher" who became one of the most influential Child Development experts in a century... and then was completely forgotten.
In 1790, Judith Sargent Murray became the first American to publicly argue that men and women were equal. Hailing from seafaring Gloucester Massachusetts, she educated herself, weathered some of life’s cruelest storms, and published hundreds of bold, brave essays. She expected to rock the boat, steering her new American nation toward equality. And America went…meh. Why? Join Katie on location at Sargent House Museum in Gloucester. Judith Sargent Murray’s Unitarian Universalist Catechism is available here. Find the full text of Sargent Murray’s essay “On the Equality of the Sexes” from the National Humanities Center here and a good analysis of her essay here. Watch another interesting talk on Judith Sargent Murray by scholar of American Revolution Women Dr. Carol Berkin. All photos by Katie Nelson unless otherwise credited. Jen Turner is a doctoral candidate in history at UMass Amherst and a long time adjunct faculty member in the history department at Bridgewater State University. She is also a museum professional and has worked at various museums throughout Massachusetts, including the Paul Revere House and Plimoth Patuxet Museums. Currently, she is the part-time Museum Educator at the Buttonwoods Museum in Haverhill, Mass and the Lead Tour Guide, Curatorial Associate, and Site Manager of the Sargent House Museum in Gloucester, Massachusetts. She is the harried mother of a toddler son born in the middle of a global pandemic and a first grader who may or may not like history as much as her mother. Music featured in this episode included:
Even in the wildly eccentric cabaret culture of 1920s Berlin,Valeska Gert stood out. And even thought it would take nearly fifty years for society to "catch up" with Valeska's vision - this unique and irrepressible dancer would eventually (and against all odds) become revered as the "Mother of Punk"! Our guest is dancer and dance historian Janet Collard.
What makes a good wife? In 1700s Virginia, there was one clear path for colonial women: Marry. Have children. Preserve the family wealth. Fail at this, and you’ve failed at life. But what if the family wealth you were tasked to preserve was an old mansion…and a slave plantation? Katie takes us on location to Bacon’s Castle, one of America’s oldest houses. You can read Elizabeth Bray Allen’s will here, and take a 3D tour of the entire house here! You can also see more photos and information about the house and the family here. Carol Wiedel is the site coordinator at Preservation Virginia’s Bacon’s Castle in Surry County where she has worked for 9 years. She is a strong member of the community, serving on the Chamber of Commerce as well as the Tourism Advisory Group. She lives in Surry with her husband and their chickens and has 4 grown children and 7 grandchildren. Carol loves Bacon’s Castle and all of its many years of history and works to make more people aware of its importance and place in the greater community. She enjoys introducing new guests to the castle as well as building relationships with those who have family or other connections to the site. Music featured in this episode includes:
When 21 year-old Catherine Leroy hopped on a plane in Paris, headed for Vietnam, she had no idea what she was getting herself into. Despite having no experience of either war or photography, Leroy was determined to make her mark as a world-class combat photojournalist. And somehow, against all odds - and against massive opposition from most of her male colleagues, top-ranking military officers, and the press itself - she did it. But at what cost? Olivia brings us the story of this incredible, indomitable woman with guest Elizabeth Becker, author of You Don't Belong Here: How Three Women Rewrote the Story of War.
Germany was still burning witches when Maria Sibylla Merian daringly filled her 17th-century home with spiders, moths, and all kinds of toxic plants. Bold choices saved her from accusations of witchcraft–and from a mundane life. Merian’s fascination with metamorphosis led her all the way to the rainforests of South America, where she recorded countless new species, 130 years before Darwin! Our guest is Kim Todd, author of _Chrysalis: Maria Sibylla Merian and the Secrets of Metamorphosis._
Frances Glessner Lee was 52 years old when she discovered the mission that would become her legacy - to "convict the guilty, clear the innocent, and find the truth." After five decades as a prominent social hostess (and innovative part-time artist) this indomitable woman took on centuries of entrenched medical and legal tradition to become the Mother of Forensic Science. And she did it - at least partially - with dollhouses?! Our guest is Bruce Goldfarb, author of _18 Tiny Deaths: The Untold Story of the Woman Who Invented Modern Forensics._
An Egyptian child bride awakens to the reality of life in a harem, and dreams of revolution. And that’s just the beginning! Huda Shaarawi led thousands of women in a movement to liberate themselves from the harem, the veil, and all inequality. But in 1920s Egypt, how far could they get? Our guest is Professor Ayfer Karakaya-Stump at the College of William & Mary.
Chand Bibi served as regent of two different Sultanates in the 16th century Deccan peninsula, and ruled over some of the most important - and tumultuous - years in the region's history. Versions of her story have been told and retold in India for generations - but what really happened to this enigmatic queen?
Mary Stuart Boyd spent Christmas 1900 in Versailles, not on a festive tour of the grand palace, but to stay with her 13-year-old son, quarantined there with scarlet fever. Her Versailles experience seems worlds away from today’s tourist mobs. The author of eight novels and three travel narratives, her delightful insights leave us amazed that no one’s ever heard of her. This year’s Christmas Special is read by Sophie Greenhalgh-Cook.
Frances Marion was one of the most important, influential, and well-paid screenwriters in Hollywood. Her films moved audiences to tears and brought out the best in every actor for whom she ever wrote. And when the switch to 'talking pictures' left most other silent film writers in the dust, Frances continued to astonish, creating dozens of the most famous and beloved films of the first half of the 20th century. So how come nobody remembers her name? Pam Munter is our guest.
Celia Sánchez Manduley was probably the most important woman in the Cuban Revolution - yet outside of Cuba, almost nobody knows her name. The first woman to fire a shot in the revolution, and the brains behind the revolution's complex logistics, she is known in Cuba as the powerful heart of a movement to "make people's lives better."
Some say Tituba was the easy target in 1692, as an enslaved woman of color. But surprise! She confessed to witchcraft, offering elaborate descriptions of a widespread Satanic conspiracy. Her tales launched Salem, Massachusetts into an unparalleled witch mania. No one was safe…except Tituba herself. How did she start it all, and how did she escape? Join Katie on location in Salem, Massachusetts for this year’s Halloween special. For more of Tituba’s story, this fascinating Smithsonian article is a great resource. Army vet and military historian David Tullis guides off-the-beaten-track tours of Salem and works as a historical pewter smith. Music featured in this episode included: Your purchases help support the podcast!