Click to search the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library Skip Navigation

Book Fund

Blog Posts by Subject: Women's Studies

Finnikin of the Rock: A Review

A long time ago, before the five days of the unspeakable, Finnikin of the Rock dreamed he was to sacrifice a pound of flesh to save the royal house of Lumatere. Though only nine, Finnikin knew the dream was not to be ignored.

Frightened for his kingdom, Finnikin convinced his friends Prince Balthazar and Lucian of the Mont to make a pledge with him. They climbed to the rock of three wonders and sacrificed flesh from their bodies and a hair from the head of a weeping princess Isaboe. Balthazar swore to die defending his royal house of Lumatere. Finnikin swore to 

... Read More ›

Re-Joyce: NYPL Preserves "Joyce at 34"

This spring, the Reserve Film and Video Collection is preserving Joyce Chopra and Claudia Weill’s 1973 documentary Joyce at 34.   One can question whether or not discourses on family planning, reproductive politics and gender roles have advanced since the film’s release; what is certain is that Joyce at 34 remains potent and relevant as a document of the conflict endured by working mothers.

The film’s 

... Read More ›

Lady Drivers!

For symbols of the freedom of the road, you can't beat the wind in your hair, piles of crinkly state road maps at your side, and a whole continent of asphalt spilling out underneath your wheels. The devil-may-care excitement that goes with exploring the American continent has lured many a traveler since the invention of the automobile.

But would one ever call taking a road trip a feminist activity? I don’t mean Thelma and Louise on a tear in a Ford Thunderbird, shooting criminals and running from the law. 

... Read More ›

'You have not known misfortunes such as mine!': Storytelling and Trauma in Candide

Jessica AlpertCandide is a story composed of other stories, as the hero spends much of his world travels listening to others. Few stories are as long and involved as the old woman's in chapters 11 and 12, and she even spurs other characters to tell their stories of misfortune and tragedy at the end of her tale: "I advise you to divert yourself, and prevail upon each passenger to tell his story."

Jessica 

... Read More ›

Women Making History in the Second Half of Life

To celebrate Women’s History Month last year, I wrote about some women from the past who made history by doing amazing things in later life. This year I’d like to take a look at some superwomen over 50 who are making history right now.   First, let’s look at some of the women who have won the Purpose Prize, a prize awarded to several individuals over 60 each year for making extraordinary contributions in their encore careers.  Note: these Read More ›

Forced to bend my soul to a sordid role: women and violence in Candide

Mahlon Blaine illustration for 'Candide', 1930 (click for larger view)Our interactive reading of Candide continues with chapters 7-12. Here's a roundup of recent discussions...

"The diligence with which these gentlemen strip people!" American illustrator Mahlon Blaine chose the old woman's story as one of the full-page drawings for his 1930 edition of Candide. The exotic nude woman

... Read More ›

21st-Century Women on Film

Global women's issues are the focus of Jefferson Market Branch's Monday night film series in March, which is National Women's History Month. The series, titled 21st-Century Women on Film, includes five movies made in the first decade of the 2000s, and examines contemporary challenges facing women across four continents.

Read More ›

Feminism's First Wave: Lillian Wald and the Henry Street Settlement

“Men! Give Women Votes to Protect the Children!”

This sentiment, originating during WWI, is an example of the many tools first wave feminists used in their efforts to obtain the right to vote. Women of the first wave argued that the vote would allow them to fix social ills such as poverty, child labor, alcoholism, and the war, and they used these issues as political levers to achieve their suffrage goal. This was not a cynical calculation, however: these early feminists and suffragists believed in their causes and would go far to fight for them. Numerous activists were put on 

... Read More ›

Yards of Fabric

How did women fare in the 1830s? European society was growing more conservative, and the lusty days of the Regency were now looked back on with a shudder. Popular culture might admire the dash of a Count d’Orsay, but, for women, only courtesans and actresses were permitted the same license.

As one consequence, a trend was building for a greater envelopment of the feminine form in fabric. A new age was coming—one with powerful consequences for the future.

It began on the morning of June 20, 1837, when an 

Read More ›

The Queens of Finance

Who exactly were the Queens of Finance? The New York Herald reserved this title for Victoria Claflin Woodhull and her sister Tennessee Claflin (or Tennie C Claflin). These sisters surmounted incredible odds by establishing a highly lucrative brokerage business on Wall Street in 1869. Born in Homer, Ohio they were not privy to the comforts and education afforded by wealth or high social stature. In fact, their childhood was quite tumultuous. Born to an alcoholic father, the sisters took charge of providing for the family while 

... Read More ›

Women over 50 Making a Difference

A while ago I had the delightful experience of hearing Dr. Gene Cohen, gerontologist, psychologist, and author, speak about the developmental stages of later adult life, as he sees them. Rather than thinking of life after 50--until death--as a single phase as others have proposed, he views the years between one’s 40s and 80s+ as encompassing several stages: Midlife Re-Evaluation; Liberation; Summing-Up; and Encore. 

His conclusion: not only can you teach an old dog new 

... Read More ›

Is Feminism Dead?

Working as an archivist I often come across collection items that change the way I see the world around me. I had such an experience recently when processing a manuscript collection. As I sorted through the papers of a woman who had donated her papers to the library, an article title caught my eye, “Is Feminism Dead?”

Those who are interested in the Feminist movement will remember the Time magazine cover from 1998 that asked this question, featuring the images of four women across a stark black 

... Read More ›

Noteworthy American Irish Women Writers

Saint Patrick's Day is tomorrow and March is usually the time when I reflect upon my heritage and honor my ancestors' history. Since March is also Women's History Month, I thought I would highlight some of my favorite female American Irish writers who inspire others to write and love great literature.

Born in 1851, Kate Chopin was the daughter of Thomas O'Flaherty, an Irish immigrant and a founder of the Pacific Railroad. Chopin was attuned 

Read More ›

Unexpected Lives of Women Authors

If you enjoyed my earlier post on the Unexpected Lives of Women, here are some authors who did or wrote about things that were different from the status quo at the time.

George Eliot, wrote under pen name of a man so that she would not be seen as, what 

... Read More ›

Unexpected Lives of Women

“Revolution is but thought carried into action.” —Emma Goldman

“All creative people want to do the unexpected.” —Hedy Lamarr

“If the career you have chosen has some unexpected inconvenience, console yourself by reflecting that no career is without them.” —

Read More ›

March is Women's History Month

In honor of Women's History, librarians blogging @ NYPL will present a monthlong series of posts highlighting the many amazing women they've discovered through the print and online resources of The New York Public Library.

You can expect to hear from library staff covering a range of areas of expertise: Irish-American writers, women over fifty who have made a difference in the world, the three waves of 

Read More ›

Pants and the Feminist

I have to admit to being a little dismayed by the fact that feminism seems to be out of fashion. I’ve noticed this backlash of sorts in the last ten years or so, and realize that some of this may also be generational. Young women who didn’t live through the turbulent 60s and 70s may feel that feminism is either beside the point or irrelevant. Yet they grew up in a period when many battles had already been fought and won for them.

But when searching for the reason why Hilary Clinton’s pantsuits 

Read More ›

A Change of Clothes

Back in 1993, the Library held an exhibition called “A Change of Clothes: Femininity, Fashion and Feminism.” I was looking at the brochure the other day, and found something written there that piqued my curiosity.

“Three important concepts—femininity, fashion, and feminism—can help us understand the origins of modern dress. First, there is a historical relationship between a woman’s outward appearance and her essential femininity. Second, western society promotes fashion as a worthy pursuit for women, drawing them into a 

Read More ›

Modern Equals Streamlined

I discovered the illustration below in our Picture Collection. It’s actually a compelling piece of evidence for the point I’ve made previously about feminine body types and the start of the modern era.

This advertisement for dress patterns from the early 1930s boldly states: “Look Slim.” The elongated line that appeared in the 1920s is carried to new lengths here, even as the hemlines remain decorously modest. These garments are an early version of the shirtwaist dress with its clinched 

Read More ›

Kitty Marion, Birth Control Advocate

Kitty Marion, from the Kitty Marion Papers,Manuscripts and Archives DivisionResidents of New York City, members of a metropolis that somehow simultaneously operates as a small village, are all familiar with certain “characters” who frequent public spaces. Today it is the “Naked Cowboy” one can find entertaining the tourists in Times Square, the affable gentleman selling vegetable peelers in Union Square, or even the kids who perform gravity-defying acrobatics on the A train. A similar character who was surely familiar to many in the streets of NYC during the nineteen-teens through 

... Read More ›
Previous Page 3 of 4 Next

Chat with a librarian now