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Women's History Month


In honor of Women's History Month, each March, NYPL librarians 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 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."


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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

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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.

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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 

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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 

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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 

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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 

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Village Landmarks - Diane Arbus and 131 1/2 Charles Street

Today marks the 86th anniversary of the birth of photographer Diane Arbus.

Diane Nemerov was born in New York City on March 14, 1923. In 1941, at the age of 18 she married Allan Arbus who worked in the advertising department of her family’s store. She received a Graflex 6x9 camera the same year. They started working in fashion, with Allan at the camera and Diane as stylist and art director.

She began to work independently in 1957 and after separating from her husband in 1959 (he later went on to become an actor) she moved to a rear carriage house at

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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 

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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.” —

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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 

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