Best of the Blogs: Rural Women’s History
This week we highlight other blogs that document the history of rural women. We welcome additions to this list and invite suggestions for a future listing of blogs and websites devoted to contemporary activism.
A team of historians at the University of Exeter seek to uncover women’s everyday work experiences in pre-industrial England. Women’s Work in Rural England, 1500-1700 seeks to “systematically describe and explain the contours of women’s working lives in rural England,” using court documents and accounting records. Blog posts pose questions such as, “Why do women carry things on their heads?” and detail the process of historical research.
Historian Andrea Radke-Moss attracted attention at the recent “Beyond Biography: Sources in Context for Mormon Women’s History” conference at Brigham Young University when she presented Mormon poet and Relief Society president Eliza R. Snow as a victim of sexual violence during the 1838 Missouri War. In this blog post, Radke-Moss reflects on her use of primary sources to research sexual violence against Snow and other Mormon women.
Nursing Clio is a peer-reviewed, collaborative blog project that encourages historians, health care workers, community activists, and the public to engage with issues related to gender and medicine. Their team of editors and writers publish articles that connect today’s headlines with historical scholarship. Recent posts have addressed abortion and miscarriage, a hip hop artist’s struggle with diabetes, and gender neutral public bathrooms.
Historian Jenny Barker-Devine provides a behind-the-scenes look at the work of researching, writing, and publishing her new book project, American Athena: Cultivating Victorian Womanhood on the Midwestern Frontier, 1825-1925. Jenny contributed a post to this blog about this project last fall.
This blog highlighting South Dakota History includes excellent women’s history work, including a seven-part series on professional women in Sioux Falls as railroads and a new meatpacking plant caused that city to boom at the turn of the twentieth century.
The Nebraska State Historical Society has a vibrant blog. Of particular interest to rural women’s studies is “Too educated to teach: Letters from a Nebraska educator in the 1890s.”
Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House” children’s book series are considered classics, and inspired a long-running television show. But while often accepted as true depictions of life on the nineteenth-century American frontier, scholars in recent decades have labored to separate fact from fiction. In 2014, Wilder biographer Pamela Smith Hill and the South Dakota Historical Society Press released an annotated edition of Wilder’s autobiography – written for adults – that served as the inspiration for the beloved children’s books. The Pioneer Girl Project blog follows this project from its inception to publication, and explores the process of historical research.