Women's History

Martha Raye in conversation with members of the 173rd Airborne Brigade. Raye and the soldiers sit outside on benches.
Around 1966, Dr. Carl Bartecchi was serving as an army flight surgeon in the Mekong Delta in South Vietnam. When units in his area engaged...
A woman delivers a presentation in front of a large group of seated people. The stage is filled with various electrical appliances, as well as a large banner with the text, "Electricity, your helper, convenient, safe, economical," as well as as a smaller poster titled "Electric Cooking ABCs."
Louisan Mamer, known as the First Lady of the REA, spearheaded the expansion of women’s roles in business and leadership through her work...
Dozens of women seated behind rows of desks in a large office space
In 1967, the magazine Cosmopolitan featured an article about the growing number of job opportunities for women in computer programming. In...
Anna Dickinson, seated
On a Saturday evening in January 1864, abolitionist Anna Dickinson stood inside the Hall of Representatives looking out into the U.S. House...
Group of people led by Dr. Marie Curie and President Harding walking down steps at the White House
One hundred years ago Marie Curie stood among the rose bushes, the press, and a crowd of White House guests, holding a golden key. The key...
Case showing changes in girls' uniforms in exhibition, Girlhood: It's complicated
"Girlhood (It’s complicated)" opened to the public on October 9, 2020.Three years ago our museum convened a diverse group of scholars and...
Detail of ten dollar note showing illustration of an interiror iron foundry with figures working
A sudden tragedy thrust Rebecca Lukens into the family business and into history, making her the nation’s first woman industrialist and the...
Jessica Govea
As a little girl, Jessica Govea had become accustomed to rising early and making her way to the fields with her family. During the cotton...
Isabella Aiukli Cornell’s prom dress
For many high school students in the United States, prom is considered one of the most highly anticipated events of the school year....
Sponges of diverse shapes and colors arranged in a line
While the iconic egg-shaped Beautyblender sponge is wildly popular and used by makeup professionals and everyday people from all...
Joan Trumpauer Mulholland
Last year I began working as a stage manager for Join the Student Sit-Ins, an interactive theater program at the museum set in 1960. The...
Chef Lena Richard and others filming a television segment
Lena Richard was an African American chef who built a culinary empire in New Orleans during the Jim Crow era. She reshaped public...
Anti-Suffrage pendant
The trouble began soon after well-known social reformer Emily Bissell had finished her remarks at the meeting of the National Association...
Mary Walker
Mary Edwards Walker defied convention in just about everything she did. Walker was uncompromising in her beliefs about herself and the...
In March 1995, Ladies Home Journal named Dr. Florence Haseltine one of the ten most important women in medicine. Haseltine, currently...
Maggie Lena Walker was one of the most important Black businesswomen in the nation, and today too few people have heard of her.Maggie Lena...
Have you ever wondered how companies pick their holiday card designs? How do they know what will sell? During the 1880s, Boston...
Skateboard
When you think about the culture around skateboarding, you might think about the laid-back vibe of acceptance and inclusion that the sport...
A heart shaped content
They had just arrived in a foreign country and the small girl’s mother was sent away.  Ernest and Mimi Hausner fled their home in...
These are our most fascinating blog posts of 2018, according to our readers.When FBI agents showed up with a pair of sparkly, red shoesA...
Lace with U.S. seal
Safely cared for in the collections of the National Museum of American History are about 6,000 examples of hand- and machine-made lace from...
Grace Hopper examines a computer at work.
On December 7, 1941, two days before her 35th birthday, Grace Murray Hopper, an associate professor of mathematics at Vassar College, was...
A book of poetry
Curators at the National Museum of American History often rely on scholars in the field to illuminate new areas of collection and research...
Multiple layer cake
"Regions Reimagined," the theme for this year's Smithsonian Food History Weekend, will explore the power of place and the...
Shirtwaist made by Fisk, Clark & Flagg, about 1910.Shirtwaists, tailored blouses of the 1890s and early 1900s, became especially...
Photo of album cover featuring Aretha Franklin shown in four reflections with stained glass background
Today we're reflecting on the life of singer, songwriter, diva, civil rights activist, and cultural icon Aretha Franklin. Over 100 of...
"It was now quick work," Maria Mitchell noted. "As the last rays of sunlight disappeared, the corona burst out all around the sun, so...
Sheets wearing the Special Olympics oath on his shirt with Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Courtesy of Dave Sheets.
"Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of Special Olympics, recited this oath at...
A white doily with blue embroidery.
Embroidery by the Deerfield Society of Blue and White Needlework is beautiful . . . but that's just the beginning of the story. These...
Portrait of Madam C. J. Walker, taken in 1915
A former laundress who became a millionaire from her hair-care company, Madam C. J. Walker (1867–1919) was a leading philanthropist of the...
Woodcut showing figures playing baseball
She found symmetry in baseball. She made a triptych celebrating American agriculture. Her portraits featured the work of human hands, her...
A white debutante gown with an empire waste and fabric flowers around the neckline.
"I was 17 years old at the time and the dress made me feel so grown up and beautiful," Pauline "Polly" Carver Duxbury wrote about the dress...
Wooden Gavel
Museums are full of “firsts”—objects that represent the first person to complete a task, to win an award, to hold a position, to achieve a...
Two Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders uniforms, complete with blue and white tops and shorts, decorated with stars
In 1976, I was an 11-year-old girl who had always wanted to be a cheerleader, and the only part of Super Bowl X that caught my attention...
Photograph of exhibition section under label, "Incorporating Western Lands"
This group portrait of Del Valle family members is on display in “Many Voices, One Nation.” This photo of the Del Valle family and...
Two outdoor graves and urns sit side by side, shaded by trees
The trauma of losing its first leader, George Washington, was greatly felt by a new nation. Ezra Stiles, a pastor of the Second...

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