“Some history-making is intentional; much of it is accidental. People make history when they scale a mountain, ignite a bomb, or refuse to move to the back of the bus. But they also make history by keeping diaries, writing letters, or embroidering initials on linen sheets. History is a conversation and sometimes a shouting match between present and past, though often the voices we most want to hear are barely audible. People make history by passing on gossip, saving old records, and by naming rivers, mountains, and children. Some people leave only their bones, though bones too make a history when someone notices.”
― Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History
For a long time, history was the story of a man’s world. Evidence was the written word, hidden deep in dusty archives, preferably with political meaning written by “significant” men. Then came a new generation of scholars, including Laurel Thatcher Ulrich and A Midwife’s Tale, and the now-famous phrase “seldom do well behaved women make history.” Turns out there was more to history than “a story of victors.” It turns out that history is the story of us. This history was full of ordinary and extraordinary people, mundane details and unbelievable circumstances. And, despite what you’ve read in the textbooks, some of those people were also women.
This blog is for the women who were movers and shakers. The ones that had better things to do than spend all day in the kitchen making a sandwich. The women who had the ambition to be better than equal to men, or better yet, the ones that refused to be confined by their gender. This blog is for all the ill-behaved women of history.
We like history, but we find, quite often, that it is missing that special something. Aside from a few notable exceptions—Elizabeth I, Catharine the Great, Empress Dowager Tzu-Hsi (Cixi)—textbook history seems to have been a game played by men. We beg to differ with that particular interpretation.
History is full of amazing women that you never hear about in school. The past abounds with women who did daring deeds, who lived lives in unbelievable circumstances and even actively created the circumstances of their own lives.
This blog is also a creative effort to compile history about women by women (but don’t worry, if you are a guy who really likes women in history you can hang out too, we don’t bite!). I hope that it is inspiring–-that women have been balancing the demands of love, life, family, and responsibility for thousands of years, and several of them rocked at it. But ultimately we want to fill out some of the narrative of what we think we know about where we come from and to highlight amazing accomplishments that often go ignored.
Please keep in mind that this blog is a constant work in progress and we will make every effort to make it as accurate and as up to date as possible and to cite things to the best of our ability. If you find something out of place, or take issue with something please contact us, we aim to please. We are well aware that this is hardly the only hole in history textbooks, we can only do one mission at a time, one blog at a time.
Also, since history is always done in collaboration if you have an awesome woman of history that you would like there to be more information on let us know by clicking on the submit page!