A civil rights protest often invokes the vivid images of sit-ins, boycotts, and marches, but the fight for racial equality took many...
"They're swingin' everything else—why not nursery rhymes?" stated Ella Fitzgerald while dancing around the room showcasing some new dance...
Smithsonian Jazz Intern Jake Huss shares the stories behind the selections heard at the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra's holiday...

Blog Posts in "Women's History"

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...
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...
A woman with styled hair leans out a window.
In my first week as a curator at the National Museum of American History, I made a list of women I wished were present in the museum's...
A sepia tone portrait of Madam CJ Walker
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 blue vase with art nouveau style flowers around the lip.
I didn't drool on the objects, but exploring the ceramics storage room as an intern at the National Museum of American History was pretty...
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...
A statue of Lucretia Mott
January 3, 2018, would have been Lucretia Coffin Mott’s 225th birthday. When it came to birthdays, Mott had a particular way of celebrating...
A grey skirt suit, with a bolero jacket and a black belt.
What was life like for women in the workforce over the past 150 years? To help answer that question, I turned to the museum’s...
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...
An image of a violet fraternal collar--opulently decorated with golden embroidery and a hand painted eye
Artists have long been major players in American philanthropy. If that surprises you to learn, you might be further surprised to learn that...
Jean Stapleton stands at a podium addressing the crowd wearing a banner that says "Honored." A sign behind her reads: "ERA Yes"
February 2018 marks the 70th Anniversary of  the professional debut of Jean Stapleton (1923 to 2013) at the Equity Library Theater in...
Natalia Flores’s pink quinceañera gown
Light pink and very full, the organza and tulle gown took up a major portion of the sofa. Beside it, Natalia had placed her glittery high...
Poster with "You can help" and "American Red Cross." Imagine in pencil line drawing of a woman knitting. She sits in a chair, looking at her work.
Today, I spend spare time between classes working at my college's library or hanging out with friends. Had I been an American college...
A green three piece suit, white tights, and black buckle shoes.
Lin-Manuel Miranda's award-winning Broadway hit Hamilton: An American Musical turned international attention to the story of founding...
Selena laughs and holds a Coke. She wears a silver vest, white t-shirt, and black pants.
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Photo of white gown in front of black background. It's off-the-shoulder with a cross-body sash in front along with red/maroon tie at waist. Narrow silhouette and slit cascading on one side. Glossy and matte fabric in subtle layers.
Have you heard? We have a new dress on exhibition. It's true. There has been an addition to the First Ladies exhibition. First Lady Melania...
Gold locket with black onyx stones along its border and brown hair embedded in the center under glass.
Just in time for Halloween, your favorite collections managers from the Division of Political History bring you a new blog series: "Death...
An open brown box. The top of the box has a label reading "via air mail" and a stamp that says refrigerate, but no other markings. Insides the open box, there is a pipette and other components of the pregnancy test.
Antibodies are always looking out for us, and this week we're taking a closer look at them. Antibody-based tests, vaccines, and drugs have...
An elaborate outfit comprising a crimson robe with matching skirt with gold lace overlay. There is a sloping sash placed around the shoulders and a hat with four points.
In reflecting on National Coming Out Day, Curator Kenneth Cohen was reminded of the fascinating story of Charlotte Cushman that we've...
A dark-haired woman in a gold hat and top holds up a bottle of Coca Cola and smiles. There is a dark border created by the visible film strip around the photograph.
From the 1950s to 1970s, U.S. advertising started to shift from mass marketing to recognizing and defining distinct target markets. A...
(Zoom/Detail) Black and white photo of a woman on a stage. On stage are six fridges, two lamps, and a big banner that says "REA." On a table on the floor in front of the stage, a lamp. There are decorative tassels.
Before Alton Brown, Rachael Ray, and Giada De Laurentiis, there was Louisan Mamer (1910–2005). An early employee of the Rural...
Color photo of two women in a kitchen surrounded by cookbooks, rosemary plants, dishes, plates, and more. One is holding a pan or pot and peering into it, while the other, by her side, does something that is hard to see due to a rosemary plant.
On the 105th anniversary of Julia Child's birth (August 15, 1912), the museum's food history team is thinking anew about Julia's life and...
In a black and white photograph a woman in a white collared shirt and hair sticking up in every direction is laughing
Phyllis Diller, the groundbreaking stand-up comic, would have been celebrating her 100th birthday on July 17, 2017. The Smithsonian honored...
A loaf of bread on a wooden surface. It is light wheat colored and the surface is rough
I do not bake. My cookies burn, my pie crust is either too dry or too sticky, and my pies turn out watery. So how did I find myself lead...
A photograph that is awash in tones of gray. A woman sits in a moor-like environment with a white dress and black shawl or robe. Her face is lifted up and her eyes are closed. Her hands are clasped together as if in prayer
Confession: This month, we celebrate Mother's Day and I'm jealous of you if you still have your mom. I lost mine to breast cancer when I...
A coin made of grayish metal that is not polished. On it, a head in profile wears a classical war helmet. On it, there is a sprig of some sort of plant
Hillery York is the Collections Manager for the National Numismatic Collection. The objects discussed below are featured in the Women...
Piece or ribbons showing two pink flowers that may be roses or peonies, with abundant petals. Green leaves surround them. One is lighter pink, the other darker. Both are hazy in appearance.
"Spring is pre-eminently the season for ribbons," proclaimed The American Silk Journal in February 1900. As the official trade...
A dark-colored cape laid out on a white surface. It has a red lining. One can see what may be a cloche hat next to it.
"The early morning whistles blew, the water craft sounded their signals in passing, an auto truck went thumping by, and the sun shot into...
A white china teacup and saucer sit against a black background. The saucer and the cup have different European flags and the US flag on them, and all of the edges are lined with gold
"When our country entered the Great War I decided to have this chapter in our history commemorated by a patriotic china, to be made by a...
a photograph of Ella Fitzgerald. She looks up and away from the camera. She is smiling and rests on a number of records spread out on the table in front of her.
In the Archives Center, jazz always seems to be a topic of discussion, whether it be a researcher looking for the Duke Ellington Collection...
A work of art portraying a face in the fore and a red and black design in the back.
Did you ever cut a linoleum block in art class? While rolls of linoleum were used for floor covering from the 1860s, artists only began to...
A mannequin wears a blonde, spiky wig and a lacquered shift dress with green and gold daisies. The bottom hem, neckline, and sleeves are ruffled with teal, wrist-length gloves and a cigarette holder. Her shoes are green ankle-high booties with low heels and gold details.
Phyllis Diller is widely considered the first female stand-up comic to perform as a solo act. While she is mainly known for her career in...
Young woman with curly red hair and a blue button-down shirt smiles, posing beside a filing cabinet, which is beige with white labels and metal handles.
This is the second post in the series. If you missed the previous post introducing the large file in which comedian Phyllis Diller...
Black and white posed photo of women, each with their hair piled on top of their head and high-collared blouses.
On February 13, women everywhere (we hope!) will be gathering together to celebrate Galentine's Day. First introduced in 2010 by character...
Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald sit in front of a microphone
Within the Ella Fitzgerald Papers collection, a hidden gem reveals a surprising connection between Fitzgerald and President John F. Kennedy...
Old photograph of a group of people. Several women are dressed up and one is very, very tall
Irene Siewert was born in a small town in Alberta, Canada, in 1925. Siewert looked just like any other little girl until she hit 13, when...

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