Archive for the ‘All News’ Category

#FoodieFriday: What would you do for a modern dream kitchen?

November 1st, 2013

by Elissa Blattman, Project Assistant

In an earlier Foodie Friday post, we explained how 20th Century kitchen appliances and food creations made women’s lives easier.  Take a look at this 1955 video entitled, “A Word to the Wives.”  In it, two women conceive of a plan to trick one of their husbands into getting a new modern kitchen.  What would you do to get the latest modern conveniences?

THE “PLOT”:

  • Jane is at her new neighbors’ house.  The neighbor is ecstatic over her wonderfully modern kitchen.  Jane is depressed.
    The neighbor tells Jane she should buy a new hat to make herself happier.
  • Jane tells the neighbor she cannot go shopping because she does not have a “dream kitchen” and, therefore, does not have time for pleasure.  She says she asked her husband, George, multiple times to move to a more modern house but George did not consider it seriously.
  • Neighbor says she needs “freedom from the unnecessary drudgery” of cooking and cleaning in an outdated kitchen.  She suggests that when Jane goes away for the weekend to visit her mother, she leaves work for George to do himself (i.e. not planning out meals ahead of time for her family).  If George has to do the housework himself, he might indeed get Jane the modern conveniences she has been wanting.
  • Jane agrees.
  • George makes a mess of the stove when trying to cook rice, has no ice cubes for his lemonade, spills garbage all over the floor, has no hot water to do the dishes, and cannot even open his own kitchen cabinet.  He gets very frustrated, and ends up yelling at their son and banging on things.
  • Jane and George go to neighbor’s house for a dinner party.  Neighbor explains to George how helpful having the latest kitchen is and tells him she even had time to play golf before getting everything ready for the party.
  • George discusses getting his own modern kitchen with the salesperson who got the neighbors their kitchen (he is also a guest at the dinner party).
  • Jane and George move into their own new “dream house.”
  • Plot is successful!

Join in on the conversation!  Post comments below, on Facebook, or Tweet us @womenshistory using the hashtag #FoodieFriday.

A History of Halloween

October 31st, 2013

By: Katherine Dvorack, NWHM Volunteer

Long before it was the mass marketed, slightly kitschy but always fun holiday we know and love today, Halloween was an ancient Celtic festival to the dead known as Samhain. The most important holiday on the Celtic calendar, Samhain marked the day when the veil between the living and the dead was at its weakest and the souls of those who passed during the year would journey to the underworld. Celebrated with bonfires and crop sacrifices, the festival marked the end of summer and the beginning of a long winter.

As with many pagan holidays, in an effort to convert Celts to Christianity, Samhain was appropriated by the Catholic Church in the early first century A.C.E. and renamed All Saints Day. But despite the Church’s best efforts, many of Samhain’s traditions and rituals remain. While the Church transformed the Celts’ pagan deities into malevolent spirits, people still left offerings for the dead and dressed up to appease the spirits. It was this mixing of beliefs that lead All Saints Day to become All Hallows Eve before finally becoming Halloween. Read the rest of this entry »

#Throwback Thursday: The Lizzie Borden Trial of 1892

October 31st, 2013

By: Emily McAfee, NWHM Intern

Happy Halloween from NWHM!

Yearning for a spooky tale from the annals of American women’s history? Look no further than the gruesome (and yet-unsolved!) double homicide that took place at the Borden household in Fall River, Massachusetts in 1892. You may have heard of the case through a famous old nursery rhyme:

Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks
When she saw what she had done
She gave her father forty-one.

The rhyme embellishes a bit, but you get the gist. On the morning of August 4, 1892, Andrew Borden and his wife Abby were found dead in their home, both crushed by the blows of a hatchet, 11 and 19 times respectively.

Andrew Borden’s 32-year-old daughter, Lizzie, was present in the house at the time of the murders. She was arrested a week later. Although Lizzie was acquitted (in fact, Massachusetts eventually elected to not charge anyone with the murders), her name remains inextricably linked to the case, and she lived out the remainder of her life as a shunned member of the Fall River community. Read the rest of this entry »

Happy Halloween from NWHM!

October 31st, 2013

How did Halloween make its way to the United States? And how did our foremothers and their families practice it? Find out in A History of Halloween, which explores the ancient origins of the holiday, as well as its origins and early practices by women at the turn of the 20th century America.

NWHM Mentioned in Huffington Post Article

October 29th, 2013

By Natalie Pace, Huffington Post

What Do Devious Maids and Family Guy Have in Common?

Seth MacFarlane and Brianna Brown use their star power to preserve history for posterity.

What do Devious Maids and Family Guy have in common? Beyond the obvious hitmaking gene, the people behind these beloved brands just threw two of the most inspiring parties of the year.

Anytime you can mix a joke or two, with a drink or two and a good cause or two, if I’m allowed in, I’m there. Thankfully, this week I was fortunate enough to be on the list for An Evening with The John Wilson Orchestra and a cocktail fundraiser for The National Women’s History Museum, thrown by Seth MacFarlane (creator of the hits Family Guy, American Dad!, Ted and more) and Brianna Brown (star of Devious Maids), respectively. These two celebrities, and the talented people in their inner circle, are creating far more than the best comedy on television. They are both reaching back into the past and resurrecting great stories and songs for us to enjoy today, which, without their efforts, might never be heard again.

John Wilson, maestro and conductor of The John Wilson Orchestra, loves old show tunes, but when he decided to put together a 100-piece orchestra to play them, he discovered that the scores were missing. Even Cole Porter’s “You’re Sensational,” originally arranged by Nelson Riddle, had to be reconstructed. Thanks to John Wilson’s arduous sifting through orchestra sheets and his astute ear, and Seth MacFarlane’s passion and support of the project, the world can now enjoy That’s Entertainment! A Celebration of the MGM Film Musical. The DVD features sing-along tracks to tunes like “I Got Rhythm,” “Singing in the Rain,” Love is Here to Stay” and much more. And yes, that is Seth MacFarlane crooning with the best of them on a number of the tracks.

Seth MacFarlane’s Evening with the John Wilson Orchestra and the Moonshine Lounge celebration was the best party I’ve ever been to. Truly!

The National Women’s History Museum is determined to exhume and display the stories that have been buried in the basement for centuries. As one example, Sacagawea was the guide for the Lewis and Clark expedition. History books acknowledge that, without her, the trek was doomed, so should her invaluable contribution earn her star billing in the name of the expedition? What about the woman who dressed up as a man to fight in the Revolutionary War? Shouldn’t we know her name? Read the rest of this entry »

NWHM had its 2nd Annual LA Event on Oct. 24th

October 29th, 2013

NWHM’s Los Angeles Regional Committee hosted its 2nd event in LA on Thursday Oct. 24th where it honored Grammy, Oscar and Tony-Award Winning Actress Rita Moreno, Actress and Activist Fran Drescher and the United Nation’s Girl Up program which provides girls around the world with life-changing opportunities.  The event was held at Mr. C Hotel. Check out some of the photos from the event below:

New Portrait of Female Supreme Court Justices Unveiled

October 29th, 2013

See the original Washington Post article.

What’s it like when the first four female Supreme Court Justices get together to sit for one oil portrait? “Semi-controlled chaos,” artist Nelson Shanks told us. The painting, unveiled Monday at the National Portrait Gallery, took not quite eight weeks to complete, and involved a very “upbeat” four-hour portrait session with the justices all talking and joking. “They’re tremendously good friends,” said museum director Kim Sajet. “They joke around a lot, and they respect each other a lot.” Sandra Day O’Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan are scheduled to attend a private gathering Monday night at the gallery to celebrate the painting, which was first commissioned by art collectors Ian and Annette Cumming about two years ago. And no, it’s not a coincidence that O’Connor and Ginsburg are the ones seated on the couch, in a room based on the Supreme Court Building — Sotomayor and Kagan are the relative newbies, so they had to stand.

#FoodieFriday: An Autumn Recipe from Betty Crocker

October 25th, 2013

As an homage to beloved American icon Betty Crocker and the arrival of autumn, this week’s #FoodieFriday features a delicious seasonal dessert recipe developed by Betty herself:

Cinnamon Streusel-Topped Pumpkin Bread

#Throwback Thursday: Ma Rainey and the blues

October 24th, 2013

By: Emily McAfee, NWHM Intern

Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, 1917

In the early 20th Century, the American working and middle classes began searching for modes of self-identification beyond their occupations, and a burgeoning mass entertainment industry set an example for how to fill this identity void. Performers—of different genders and various races—publicly enacted the identities they wanted, as opposed to the identities they had been given. This new entertainment culture was platform upon which all kinds of Americans reinvented the parameters of their self-expression and reclaimed (if only briefly) ownership of their public identities. A brilliant example of this phenomenon can be found in female blues singers. During its heyday in the 1920s, the blues were a forum in which black women could seize control of their public identity and redefine it on their own terms.

A powerful figure in this movement was Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, one of the earliest professional female blues singers—and one of the first to record. She was known for her deep, raspy voice, and the incredible impression she would make before she even began to sing. Blues women like Ma Rainey seized ownership over the freedom of the black female body: to travel, to be public, to love and lust. These themes—of freedom, mobility, and sexuality, are prominent in Ma Rainey’s blues.

Mobility
During the early 20th Century, the movement of African-Americans to urban spaces in the North was a massive demographic shift that redefined part of the African-American experience. This change was reflected in the blues genre, as women like Ma Rainey sang representations of black displacement and the liberating aspects of a newfound mobility. Female blues singers stressed the different experiences of black men and women, not only in migration, but also in domestic spaces, and in life more generally.
Notable songs: “Traveling Blues,” “Runaway Blues,” and “Lost Wandering Blues”

Join NWHM and GWU for our forum “Making a Business of Change: American Women in Business” on Nov. 12th

October 23rd, 2013

Click the image below to purchase tickets!

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