Christmas, Written by Women

From a former slave to two Nobel laureates, a selection of women writers in modern history and their often-overlooked narratives of Christmas.

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Faces of Diversity in American First-Wave Feminism

Six little-known women from around the world – starting with a Russian-Jewish immigrant and ending with a French former chambermaid – who contributed to first-wave feminism in the United States.

LaGuardia’s Sister, Eichmann’s Prisoner, Ravensbrück’s “Mother”

A major New York City airport is named in honor of her brother, but Gemma La Guardia Gluck’s story of surviving Ravensbrück concentration camp as the political prisoner of Adolf Eichmann unjustly exists in the shadows of history.

Marauchie Van Orden: Soldier of the American Revolution

Women played significant and important roles in the American Revolution. Many broke traditional gender roles and suffered as much as the men they served beside. Marauchie Van Orden’s bravery at the Battles of Saratoga in 1777 earned her the rank of soldier and the respect of George Washington.

The Unusual Union That Led to the World’s First Feminist Government

Sweden’s history provides insight into how it has quietly established itself as one of the most gender equal countries in the world, while the United States continues to loudly squabble over legislation guaranteeing equal legal rights regardless of gender.

Forget About Jack, You Don’t Know Matilda (but you should)

Matilda Joslyn Gage, who wrote about how cumulative advantage (a principle not named until a century later) erased women and their achievements from history, was herself erased from history because of cumulative advantage. The reason why You Don’t Know Matilda involves the Bible and science.

A President’s Son-in-Law, Nepotism and Treason

When the son-in-law of POTUS 2 John Adams used the valuable government position he had gained through nepotism to help a Venezuelan friend start a revolution against Spain, he threatened a precarious peace between America and Spain, and endangered the lives of unsuspecting American citizens. Two centuries later, it’s a salient reminder of how nepotism and politics can be a disastrous combination.

Gilded Age New York’s “King of Diamonds”

In an episode that predated the Watergate break-in by 100 years, thieves broke into the New York City Comptroller’s office on September 10, 1871, and stole records that threatened to end the corrupt reign of Boss Tweed over the Tammany Hall political machine. Fittingly, the thieves used a symbol of the Tweed Ring – a diamond – to cut a hole in the glass office door. This is the story of Boss Tweed and the diamonds of Tammany Hall.

Beyond Inspiring: History’s Female PhD Pioneers

While the stories of history’s first female doctors of philosophy are inspiring, they also highlight the galling realities of women’s centuries-long struggle to obtain equal educational opportunities and professional and intellectual respect. Seen as a whole, they have the power to light a fire beneath armchair inspiration and provoke similarly bold and progressive action.