The Historians magazine, edition two; The forgotten women of History

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WHAT’S INSIDE? 10-11 Anne Boleyn, a Tudor Feminist? By Rebecca Wilson (AKA Tudorghostmammy)


Forgotten Queens: The Consorts of 14th century Scotland. By Beth Reid (AKA Historywithbeth)

Plus stories on;

Ada Lovelace, Una Marson, Girl Museum, Nancy Wake Country music, Eliza Hamilton, Nellie Bly and more ...

MEET THE TEAM This edition has been so much fun to put together! We’ve loved reading the stories of the forgotten women of history. Continue the conversation with us over on instagram @thehistoriansmagazine

Jade - Editorial Assistant

Siobhan - Editorial Assistant

Alex - Editorial Assistant

Rosie - Founder & Editor

Hannah - Sub-editor

Rich - Sub-editor

Chris - Features Coordinator

Lyndsey - Sub-editor

Kelci - Magazine Assistant

Isabella - Editorial Assistant

Shannon - Graphic designer

Eliza Hamilton: The Revolutionary Woman America Forgot By Meg Howe


lizabeth Schuyler Hamilton (nicknamed Eliza by her husband) was the wife of American Founding Father, Alexander Hamilton, and daughter to Revolutionary War general, Philip Schuyler. In LinManuel Miranda’s Broadway adaptation of the life of Alexander Hamilton, Eliza is portrayed as dedicated, yet desirable. However, like many women of the Revolutionary Era, Eliza’s own contributions and legacies tend to be overshadowed by the legacy of the men around her. It is important to recall that without



Eliza’s dedication to protecting the legacy of her husband, modern historians would not be able to research Alexander Hamilton to the extent that they have. Ron Chernow, author of the biography that inspired Miranda’s Broadway hit, claims that his work would not have been possible without Eliza laying the foreground for this research. Eliza married Alexander Hamilton in 1780 and was present throughout his political career. She had her own grasp of politics and was actively aware of the events of the Revolution. Much of her life was spent raising their eight children, in a loving household, following traditional religious ideas. Her dedication and motherly love can be observed as the Hamilton’s opened their home to an orphaned child for roughly ten years. What is so interesting about this woman, who we all know to be so driven and dedicated, is that many of her own correspondence have not survived history; her history is written by the lasting impression she left on others. As dramatized in Hamilton: The Musical, Eliza removed herself from her husband’s narrative after she was humiliated by the affair Alexander had with Maria Reynolds in 1791. Hamilton put himself and his reputation over his loyalty to his family when he published the ‘Reynold’s Pamphlet’ in 1797. Not only was Eliza embarrassed by her husband’s selfish act of adultery, but she was then hounded by the press, describing Miss Maria Reynolds as a “harlot”. Despite the emotional turmoil and mistrust that Eliza experienced as a result of her husband’s reckless acts, she was still driven by the desire to honour him and his legacy. While her husband gains the credit for achievements as the first Secretary of the Treasury, Eliza made many of her own contributions to the United States of America. She spent the fifty years after her husband’s passing dedicated not only to telling his story but to the greater good of America. She is seen as one of the first female philanthropists and socialites, making many valuable contributions to the country after suffering the loss of her sister, eldest son, and father, as well as her husband, within the

space of three years. Putting herself back into the narrative, Eliza was responsible for reforming the nation. In 1806, she co-founded the Orphan Asylum Society and established the first private orphanage. With her help and volunteer work, Eliza helped to care for and educated over sevenhundred children. She referred to these children as “little Alexander’s”, as a further way of honouring her husband’s legacy. The orphanage, in New York City, still stands as a family services agency named Graham Windham. As an extension of Miranda’s musical, The Eliza Project was established in 2015 and was cofounded by Phillipa Soo who played Eliza Hamilton in the Original Broadway Cast for the musical. The aim of this project is to honour Eliza’s legacy the same way that she honoured her husband’s. Working alongside the Graham Windham agency, The Eliza Project allows young people to use the arts as a form of expression. In his final letter to Eliza, Alexander Hamilton described her as the “best of wives and best of women”, and by reflecting on Eliza’s legacy, it is really made clear that she was the best of women. Not only was she proactive in raising and protecting her own family, but she honoured her husband’s narrative despite the suffer she had to endure. She gave back to the nation that she grew up in, through helping orphaned children to grow in a way that would not have been possible in their circumstances. Her legacy is remembered through the work of The Eliza Project, that would not have been possible without the dedication of this forgotten woman of the Revolutionary era.

See more from Meg on Instagram: @megghowee

Nellie Bly: The woman who inspired investigative journalism and the fictional character of Lois Lane By Isabella Boneham


ellie Bly was a remarkable woman, one who formed what we now know as investigative journalism and defied gender stereotypes. She was fearless, determined and tenacious. She was born Elizabeth Jane Cochran on 5th May 1864 in Pennsylvania. Her family owned a lucrative mill but had to move after being unable to keep up the payments of the land and house, following her father’s death at age six. She attended Indiana Teacher’s College and added an “e” to her last name becoming Elizabeth Jane Cochrane to sound more dignified and noble. Due to her family’s financial crisis, she was unable to finish her education. Instead, she helped her mother run a boarding house. During this time, columnist Erasmus Wilson wrote a piece for

the Pittsburgh Dispatch called “What Girls Are Good For” under the name “The Quiet Observer”. 20-year-old Elizabeth Cochrane was infuriated and wrote a letter to the editor of the Pittsburgh Dispatch, pointing out the paper’s negative representation of women. She signed the letter “Lonely Orphan Girl”. In response, the editor placed an advertisement in his paper summoning whoever was behind the “Lonely Orphan Girl” to the Dispatch offices. She went and the editor offered her a job as a columnist, where she took the pen name Nellie Bly – taken from a Stephen Foster song. During her time at the Pittsburgh Dispatch, Nellie was mainly asked to write about women. However, she wanted to write about both genders and so she went looking for more serious work. In 1866 she took the leap and moved to New York City. She found it extremely difficult to find work and decided to create her own opportunities. She went into the offices of Joseph Pulitzer, the publisher of the New York World, and promised him she could deliver a major story. He took a chance and gave her the assignment to go undercover at an asylum. With no guidance given, Nellie seized the opportunity with motivation, passion and intent. In 1887, she leaped into the role, and began practising her ‘insane’ look in front of a mirror, accompanied by her convincing actions and attitudes. She checked herself into a workingclass boarding house with the aim of frightening the other boarders so that they would kick her out. She used the name Nellie Brown, pretended to be Cuban and ranted that she was searching for “missing trunks”. The police were called out and a hearing was formed at New York City court. The judge ordered her to Blackwell Island where a poorhouse, smallpox hospital, prison and insane asylum all used to be. She stayed in the asylum for ten days. The perfectly pieced together article was published following her release and made her one of the most famous journalists in the United States at just 23 years old. During her ten days, Bly spoke to as many women as she could. She found sane women, immigrants who didn’t understand

English and had been mistakenly committed to the asylum and poor women who thought they were going to the poorhouse. She wrote about the awful conditions these women endured and exposed what went on behind closed doors. After ten days, lawyers from New York World arranged for her release and Bly wrote about her covert operation. She published her articles in a six-part series called Ten Days in a Mad-House. Her account shocked the American public and she became known as the “girl detective”. Not long afterwards, Bly inspired by the popular book Around the World in 80 Days, set off on her journey to travel the world. She completed it in 72 days, holding the world record (only for a few days). Soon after she retired from journalism. Both of these accounts are Bly’s most popular works. However, Bly had many other daring stories up her sleeve. Apprehending a serial rapist in Central Park by posing as a potential victim, exposing a white slavery ring selling children, and being chased out of Mexico for exposing government corruption, are more of Bly’s marvellous and hands-on take of journalism. In 1895 she married a millionaire, Robert Seamen. When he died in 1903, Bly was left in control of a massive manufacturing company. She went on to patent several inventions relating to oil manufacturing, many of which are still used today. Bly returned to journalism in 1911, as a reporter for the New York Evening Journal. She covered the events of the Women’s Suffrage Movement, where she argued that women were as capable as men in all things. During World War One, she travelled to Europe, and became the first woman to report from the trenches on the front line. All throughout her life, Nellie made remarkable achievements. There is no surprise therefore, that she was the inspiration for DC Comics’ Lois Lane. She died on 27th January 1922, yet her legacy lives on. Not only through one of the most well-known female fictional characters, but also through the investigative journalism field as a whole and every female journalist. Instagram: @Isabellaboneham THE HISTORIANS MAGAZINE


Ada Lovelace: The forgotten mother of the computer By Yilmaz Kadir


n the autumn of 1843, a hundred years before the first modern computers, the Countess of Lovelace, Augusta Ada King had published the first mechanical instructions for the computing machine in Taylor’s Scientific Memoirs. This machine was developed by the mathematician Charles Babbage. Babbage, also known as the father of the computer,



was Ada Lovelace’s mentor. Ada, encouraged by the father of the computer, suddenly came up with instructions on her own. Ada’s instructions would play a crucial role in calculating the Numbers of Bernoulli, which would eventually generate the first Analytical Engine. Ada Lovelace was born on December 10, 1815, as Augusta Ada Byron. She was the only child of the marriage between the infamous poet Lord George Gordon Byron and mathematician Lady Anne Isabella Milbanke. The marriage was not a happy one, and the two separated when Ada was just a few weeks old. A few weeks after the divorce, Lord Byron left England for Greece and died when Ada was eight years old. Even though growing up with a single parent was not easy during the 19th century, Ada had received an unusual special education. Ada’s mother was a mathematician herself, and Ada was naturally taught mathematics and science at her mother’s insistence. These subjects were not common for women at the time. Her mother taught that these studies would prevent Lovelace to evolve her father’s moody temperament. Ada was also compelled to lie for extended periods because her mother believed it would help her develop self-control. Ada’s journey started in June 1833. In this year, Ada (only 17 years old) and her mother attended a demonstration by Charles Babbage of a Difference Engine prototype. Ada was overwhelmed by the invention and described it as a “thinking machine”. After this experience, Ada studied Babbage’s engineering drawings and paved the way to become the world’s first programmer. Inspired by Babbage and his inventions, Ada decided to study calculus and higher mathematics from 1840-41. After being embedded in mathematics and science, Ada came up in 1843 with a paper of her own. The young woman translated and analysed a paper by Italian mathematician Luigi Menabrea

describing the Analytical Engine’s workings. This paper gave Ada the opportunity to work with Babbage. After analysing Ada’s paper, Babbage encouraged Ada to add her own thoughts, which tripled the original length. Ada discovered that any machine that was capable of manipulating numbers could also run symbols. So, Ada realized that the Analytical Engine could calculate results that had not “been worked out by human head and hands first”. A machine with those skills could create music of “any degree of complexity or extent”. Babbage was astonished by the works of Ada. He was so fond of her works that he referred to her as “that Enchantress who was thrown her magical spell around the most abstract of Sciences and has grasped it with a force which few masculine intellects could have exerted over it”. Nowadays, the essential parts of this machine still constitute our modern computers. Ada Lovelace died from uterine cancer on November 27, 1852, in London; she had three children. Her works got little praise back in the day and were not rediscovered until the 1950s. Today, there are just a few remains of Lovelace’s documents, and we need to learn how to deal with all these unanswered questions and ambiguity. However, these few works have already paved a better understanding of Lovelace’s life and achievements. The achievements of Ada are just one example of the successes of forgotten women from the past. These examples show that women are capable of great success and add not only inspiration, but also the sense that girls and women can have a special place in people’s minds. How many other brilliant women’s successes, who were overshadowed by history, deserve such appraisal? Please send your ideas and suggestions to Hersstoria on Instagram, and we would happily share them with the world! Yilmaz runs the @worldhisstory account on Instagram

Una Marson: Forgotten Herstory By Phoebe Knowles


ow more than ever there have been calls to diversify our schools and university History curriculums. Throughout my academic life, from schoolgirl to university student, I had never noticed the absence of black history or women’s history. Sure, the Civil Rights Movement in America formed part of my education when I was seventeen. Here, individuals such as Rosa Parks were simply mentioned in passing. It was not until relatively recently that I was hit by a thunderbolt of realisation that I did not know much about black British history, especially not Black British women. If someone had said to me a few years ago, ‘name a Black

British feminist off the top of your head’, I am ashamed to admit that my mind would be a void. In 1928, Una Marson spoke the words, ‘what man has done many women may do’. Thus began her journey towards being one of Jamaica’s most significant feminist writers. At just 21-years-old, Marson became the country’s first magazine publisher. This propelled her medley of accomplishments, such as poetry, broadcasting and anti-colonialist, anti-racist and feminist activism. It was after her move to 1930s London, where Marson encountered racism and discrimination, that the tone of her poetry shifted, and her activism was ignited. Initially, her literary works, such as Tropic Reveries and What a Price, were centred on identity and challenging patriarchal norms. The strain of acclimatising to London life is made abundantly clear in Marson’s poem ‘N*****’ (1933), which became her most vehement condemnation of racism in British society. In the poem, she portrays her harrowing rage resulting from being called the racial slur by young white women and the origins of the term through enslavement. During this time, Marson had been staying in Peckham at the house of Jamaican-born Dr Harold Moody, who established the League of Coloured Peoples (LCP) in 1931. In 1933, after unsuccessful attempts to find employment, Marson became a formal member, where she sought to simultaneously challenge international racism and women’s inequality. However, what is highly significant about Marson’s activism was that she emphasised the importance of women in their worldwide campaign for freedom and equality. This encouragement was evermore pertinent in a maledominated sphere, which included individuals such as Haile Selaisse, Amilcar Cabral and Malcolm X. For the first time, white feminists were called upon to acknowledge the discrimination that black women had faced. In 1935, Marson attended

the Congress of International Women in Istanbul. Being the only black woman present, she again galvanised the audience to support African women in their fight for equality. Not only did Marson want to promote solidarity amongst people of African descent, she also championed a sisterhood between women from around the world. One of Marson’s most noteworthy accomplishments was her broadcasting career during the Blitz. She became involved in the BBC radio programme Calling the West Indies, which launched in 1939. Marson then transformed this into Caribbean Voices, which aired from 1944 to 1958. This provided a medium through which Caribbean writing could be unveiled to a wider audience and individuals from various cultures could connect. Una Marson not only pursued an end racial conflict, but also to unify all races and genders. Sadly, she had previously suffered from mental ill health, which had returned. She thereby travelled back to Jamaica in 1946. Marson’s activism continued in the Caribbean, America, and Israel for the next twenty years, until her death in 1965. Throughout history, Black British women have been brushed under the carpet, and even when they are mentioned, they are hastily glossed over. Una Marson is just one example of many black women who have been eclipsed under the Eurocentric lens of British history. It is time that a light is shone on the work of black British women, not for the sake of diversity, but to remember those who have changed the course of history and inspire others to do the same. “Gwine find a beauty shop Cause I ain’t a belle. Gwine find a beauty shop Cause I ain’t a lovely belle. The boys pass me by, They say I’s not so swell.” - From Kinky hair blues by Una Marson See more from Phoebe on Instagram: @missknowleshistory THE HISTORIANS MAGAZINE


Molly the Historian’s guide to Krakow Part two By Molly Anderson Auschwitz I ‘Arbeit macht frei’ - work makes you free. During my stay in the city, I ventured out by minibus to the Auschwitz complex. As Jews, non-Jewish Poles, Roma, Soviet prisoners of war, and other Europeans walked through this gate, under the words ‘Arbeit Macht Frei,’ many believed they were being placed in a labour camp for the duration of the war. But Auschwitz was built for the systematic extermination of those considered ‘undesirable’ by the Nazis. The site was operational from May 1940 until its liberation by Soviet forces in January 1945. During that time, 1.3 million people were sent there. 1.1 million died. The death toll includes 960,000 Jews (865,000 of whom were gassed on arrival), 74,000 nonJewish Poles, 21,000 Roma, 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war, and up to 15,000 other Europeans. Many died of starvation, exhaustion, disease, individual executions, beatings or in medical experiments. An inmate’s first encounter with Auschwitz - if they were registered and not sent straight to the gas chamber - was at the prisoner reception centre, where they were tattooed, shaved, disinfected, and given the now famous striped prison uniform. On this day in 1944, Heinrich Himmler ordered the SS to halt the mass murder by gas at Auschwitz and on 25th November he ordered that the gas chambers and crematoria be destroyed. 8


On 18th January 1945, Engelbert Marketsch, a German criminal, became the last prisoner to be assigned a serial number in Auschwitz - number 202499. The liberation of Auschwitz in 1945 received little attention from the press at the time as the Red Army focused on its advance to Germany and so liberating the camp had not been one of its key aims. Today, the Auschwitz complex is often the key image of the dreadful Holocaust.

When the Third Reich’s ‘undesirables’ were taken from their homes, many believed they were being transported to a new home and so packed some of their most valued possessions. They also packed those everyday objects that a family needs in a new home: a cheese grater, a hand painted China bowl, a razor... all things

they would need as they started their new life somewhere else in a very uncertain world. This was a story told by many Nazi officials in order to keep people calm and thus easier to handle as they were moved closer to being murdered. On arrival at the Auschwitz complex, these people had all their possessions taken away and were left in just the characteristic striped pyjamas. When you visit Auschwitz, you see many of these belongings displayed in glass cases: Kitchenware, glasses, shoes. Each item meant something to a person, a person who was killed in the gas chambers of Auschwitz, or otherwise died of starvation, exhaustion, disease, injury or experiments. This really puts the individuals back into the story of the Holocaust. When you see the brick and concrete structures as a tourist on a weekend break, it’s difficult to imagine the true horrors that took place. And yet seeing these familiar household objects, the faces of the victims on the walls and hearing individual stories, you realise that the unfathomable number of Auschwitz victims was 1.1 million individuals, each with their own story that many never got to tell.

All photos are Molly’s own. Catch part three in the next edition of the magazine! For more history from Molly follow @molly_the_historian on Instagram



verything you know about samurai is a lie! Ok... maybe not everything but a lot. Like how the first samurai was a woman, and the last samurai was not Tom Cruise. My dear reader, I’m here today to reveal the truth about these forgotten women warriors. It all began in 200 C.E. when Emperor Chūai was murdered by a rebel faction, one of many in the fractured country of Wa, pre unified Japan. Okinagatarashi-Hime no Mikoto, a consort of the Emperor, fell into a rage seeing her fallen beloved. She gathered up his army and set off to defeat the rebels. She was successful but didn’t stop there. She set her sights on conquering the Korean Peninsula. Legend has it that she led the battle on horseback and defeated the Korean army without spilling a drop of her people’s blood, but the best of it was… she was heavily pregnant the whole time! Her successful campaign elevated her to more than a consort, she became Empress Jingu, a goddess and the first samurai. But this article is all about truth-telling, so I cannot lie to you. Historians are unsure of how accurate this account is, given that it comes from the pseudohistorical Kiki, the oldest historical text in Japan. Empress Jingu’s very existence is also questionable. But what is certain is her influence on the rest of Japanese history and the history of the samurai. Her warrior prowess would spark a thousandyear-long tradition of the Onna Bugeisha. The warlord men of old can be found pretty quickly with a cursory Google search, but one must dig a little deeper to find the women, the Onna-Bugeisha. Hundreds of years

before the formation of their male counterparts, the Onna Bugeisha were the first and last line of

defense for their families and lands. There was no time to be a damsel in distress when you were the only person for miles trying to defend your home from another clan. They were trained in long-range warfare by using a spear sword called a naginata. They were also skilled in close-range hand-to-hand combat and always carried a long knife to cut the heads off of their enemies. Heads of enemies were kind of a big deal, like a Pokemon situation, you gotta catch all the rival clan warriors to level up. In the 12th century, men and women samurai were equals in every way. They were sometimes separated due to weapon training differences but other than that they were held to the same standards. Both men and women were employed as guards and private armies by the imperial court. However, this gender equality would not last. Between the 15th and very early 16th century, known as the Sengoku Period, the image of the Onna-Bugeisha changed significantly. The status of women in Japan diminished, following Neo-Confucian philosophy. In this period, Onna-Bugeisha were often wives or daughters of noblemen, generals, and warlords. The men who were once samurais now were simple bureaucrats in the hierarchy of the Empire and their female family members suffered heavy restrictions. They were reduced to no more than pawns used to make alliances through marriage. But fear not my dear reader, underground schools and organizations emerged to preserve the Onna-Bugeisha traditions and these warrior women began to fight with their words and actions. Onna-Bugeisha like Hojo Masako the fighting nun, turned to politics. In the 13th century, she made it possible for women to have equal rights of inheritance, allowed women

to control their own money and manage their households, as well as have legal control of their children. And she was not alone in this new political battleground, women like Jukei-ni and Toshoin would become Daimyō (samurai feudal lords) in their own right ruling over their lands. Their status would ebb and flow until their final stand in the 19th century. During this time Japan was split in two: half of the country wanted to modernize and open up to the west and half of the country wanted to keep to the traditional ways. On one side you had a group of special imperial female warriors, and on the other were the last few Onna-Bugeisha who held onto tradition and resisted the west. In the end, modernization would win. These fierce warrior women would hang up their naginata forever. When historians both in and out of Japan examine the history of samurai and Japanese warring culture they often overlook the heroic quests of the onna-bugeisha and instead focus on the exaggerated representations of swaggering male Samurai and subservient Japanese women, clad in kimono and tightly-bound obi. But now you know dear reader that is simply a lie. See more from Tehya on Instagram: @fortheloveof_historypodcast



Anne Boleyn, a Tudor Feminist? By Rebecca Wilson


here are so many mythologies surrounding Anne Boleyn, it is often difficult to separate fact from fiction. When we study a period of history or an historic person, it is often coloured by our own modern interpretation and experience. Calling Anne Boleyn a “Tudor feminist” is of course anachronistic but she did behave unusually for her time, and has therefore come to appeal to us and fascinate us in the 21st century. There was of course no such thing as feminism in the 16th century, at least not in the way we understand it. Women were the property of their fathers until they were “given away” at their wedding to their husbands; the putting of the bride’s hand from the father’s to the husband’s a symbolic transference of authority and power over the woman. She was to be



obedient and serve her husband in whatever means she could. Studying history, we see an increasing number of strong women breaking this subservient mould and they vividly stand out from their counterparts. One such woman was Anne Boleyn. Anne’s first appearance at the English Court was in 1522, at the Chateaux Vert pageant, where she met Henry VIII for the first time. He soon became infatuated with her, despite being a married man. When exactly this happened we do not know, but Henry bombarded Anne with letters, 17 of which still survive today. In those letters he outlines the obstacles that separated them, and his growing affection for her. They are kept in the Vatican Library, as gathered evidence against Henry’s annulment from Catherine. Sadly, none of Anne’s replies have survived but it does give us a tantalising glimpse of their early relationship. What about Anne did he fall in love with? Was it her “black and beautiful” eyes and hair, her dark or sallow skin, her intelligence, or something about her magnetic personality? We will never truly know what drew Henry, and many others, to her. Eric Ives writes that she took the “court and the King by storm” so clearly something about her appealed to the men. Despite Henry’s letters and attention, Anne refused to become his mistress. It would have been very unusual at the time to refuse the King anything, even a woman’s virginity and reputation, if he demanded it. His persistence was so intense that Anne fled Court back to her home of Hever Castle in Kent. When she contracted sweating sickness, Henry’s letters to her were rushed and smudged, perhaps a subtle sign of his concern and fear for her health. The King could have had his choice of mistresses but chose to continue his pursuit of Anne, which could be evidence that he was in love with her by this pointalthough Anne’s refusal shows her strength of character. She was technically betrothed to Henry Percy, Earl of

Northumberland, at the time the King began showing interest in her; the pre-marriage contract was

conveniently ignored by Wolsey and another match was found for the young Earl, leaving Anne free to please the King. Her continued refusal to become Henry’s mistress prompted him to promise her marriage, which led to the “Great Matter” of annulling his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. We don’t know whether Anne reciprocated Henry’s love at this early stage, or possibly thought it was a sign from God that she should do her duty and be Queen. In 1532, Anne was made Marquis of Pembroke, a prestigious role which had previously only been given to men - a crucial detail when considering Anne Boleyn’s role as a non-conformist, and even a trailblazer. She was recognised by Francis I of France as Henry’s consort later that year and returned to London to cohabit with the King. Anne fell pregnant shortly afterwards and faced a lot of criticism from Catholics and supporters of Catherine, who by this point had been demoted to Dowager Princess of Wales. Eustace Chapuys, the Imperial Ambassador, in his correspondence to the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, referred to Anne as “the whore” and never Queen. This shows that for Catholic Europe at least, she was an unpopular choice and could be said to be disliked.Anne was a devout follower of the “new faith”, and was very well read and intelligent. She owned a copy of William Tyndale’s “The Obedience of a Christian Man” and highlighted passages which she thought Henry would find useful. These passages were indeed helpful to him, as they suggested that a King should be answerable to no one except God. Using this text, Henry had the evidence he wanted and proof he did not need Rome’s permission or blessing to annul his first marriage and marry Anne. She was clever enough to encourage the King to read this text, to highlight certain passages that he would find particularly interesting and help him with the “Great Matter”. Henry was reported to have been “delighted” with the book

and remarked that “This book is for me and all Kings to read”.

They married in 1533 but from the moment she was pregnant, Anne began to secure her child’s legitimacy by having their marriage recognised officially. Against all odds, Anne was crowned Queen on the 29th May 1533. It was a stressful marriage to say the least, with pressure to have a son, an unenthusiastic stepdaughter, Mary, and her lack of popularity with the people. Her daughter, the future Elizabeth I, was born on the 7th September 1533 and Anne was very happy, although they had yearned for a boy. She was not allowed to see her daughter a great deal, as Elizabeth was sent to Hatfield House when she was only a few months old, to be looked after by Lady Margaret Bryan. Anne continued to buy clothes and material for her daughter, however after Anne died, Lady Bryan was forced to write to Cromwell to beg for more material and clothes for the little girl. She wrote that the young Elizabeth “hath neither gown, not kirtle, nor petticoat”. Despite Lady Bryan doing her best to shield the young Elizabeth from the horrors that werehappening around her, like her mother, she was incredibly sharp and perceptive. It is said that even at the age of three, she was aware of the change in the way people would refer to her. She is reported to have said “How haps it governor, yesterday my Lady Princess, today but my Lady Elizabeth?” Anne is sometimes unfairly portrayed on TV and in fiction as being a calculating schemer - a portrayal not necessarily backed up by evidence. he The young Boleyn girl simply could not have known her actions would lead to her being Queen. With hindsight, her refusal of the King, and her coyness, are seen by some as “playing hard to get”, although she could not have predicted that this would lead to the break with Rome and her marrying the King. It had never happened before, and would never happen again. Historians cannot fully agree on what brought about Anne’s downfall, but what most agree on is that the charges against her were completely fabricated. The five men she was reported to have “known”

(Mark, Smeaton, Sir Henry Norris, George Boleyn, Sir Francis Weston and Sir William Brereton) were tried and found guilty before The Queen’s Trial, making her guilt a foregone conclusion before it had begun. The dates and times used as ‘evidence’ of the alleged dalliances didn’t tally with either the men or the Queen being in the same place on those days. Only one man, the musician Mark Smeaton, ‘confessed’ to sleeping with the Queen, and this was only after torture by Cromwell’s men. The most scandalous crime she was accused of was having an incestuous relationship with her brother George Boleyn, a successful courtier in his own right. This too was a trumped-up change, the only ‘evidence’ for this heinous act being that George once spent “goodly hours” in the Queen’s chamber. They were close and had a strong relationship, but it’s possible that this “unnatural” charge was added by the King himself. It is a vicious and vindictive charge that would have scandalised the court. Claire Ridgeway suggests that as George was arrested quietly, after Anne, and that “the charge of incest [was] made up later”. It was a move by the King to tarnish the name of Boleyn. It was reported than Anne herself said that she and her brother were “blameless” and that “if he has been in my chamber to speak with me, surely he might do so without suspicion”. When Catherine Howard, Henry’s fifth wife, was arrested for adultery, in 1541, the King withdrew from the public gaze and was rarely seen. This possibly shows that he was truly upset by being made a “cuckold”. However, when Anne was arrested, Henry was seen in the company of ladies and drinking. This might be a sign that Henry knew of Anne’s innocence and that the charges were fabricated. Despite Chapuys having no reason to defend Anne, he does seem to think she is innocent of the terrible charges against her. He commented to Charles V, “You never saw a Prince or husband [Henry] show or wear his ([uckold] horns more patiently or lightly than this one does. I leave you to guess the cause of it”. He is clearly suggesting that Henry had falsified the charges

against Anne and knew she was innocent. It is interesting that even today, when a woman is insulted, it is so often her sexual history, or lack of it, that is targeted, and it was no different for Anne. The easiest way for Henry and Cromwell to bring her down was by sullying her’s and her family’s reputation, throwing incest as a further insult to ruin the family for good. Following Anne’s execution, an attempt was made to erase her from existence. She was buried in St Peter ad Vincular, without a Christian burial or even a proper coffin. Although she was given the courtesy of being beheaded with a sword, her initials were chiselled off the walls of Hampton Court and her likeness painted over. There are no surviving contemporary paintings that can definitely be attributed to be of her, although her memory remains. Anne’s daughter, Elizabeth, grew up in a household with many of the Boleyn family supporting and influencing her. She would go on to rule England as a strong female monarch, with her mother’s blood in her veins. Although Elizabeth died childless, she has left an indelible mark on our culture and our collective history. Anne’s legacy has stretched through the centuries, and even though we cannot call Anne Boleyn a true feminist in today’s terms, she is forever intertwined with the most inspiring historical tales of challenging the patriarchy.. She had the strength of mind to say ‘no’ to the king of England, and wore the crown with grace and dignity even when others were cruel and told vicious lies about her.

Follow Rebecca on Instagram: @TudorGhostMammy THE HISTORIANS MAGAZINE


The Forgotten Women of The Wars of the Roses By Jo Romero


e all know about the likes of Elizabeth Woodville and Margaret of Anjou - but what about the less well-known women who shaped the Wars of the Roses, defending castles and homes and surviving politically despite family scandal, sideswitching and violent bloodshed? Here are the tales of four less wellknown women whose stories reveal a different side to the Wars of the Roses. Alice Knyvet In 1461 Edward IV ordered men to take Buckenham Castle, the home of Lancastrian supporters Alice and John Knyvet. With her husband away, Alice stood firm, refusing to submit and risking arrest. Her bravery is recorded in the Calendar of the Patent Rolls of October that year: “On Tuesday before St. Matthew last they entered the outer ward of the castle to the foot of a brieve called a drawbridge across the water and found it raised so that they could not enter, and Alice, wife of the said John Knyvet, appeared in a little tower over the inner foot of the bridge, keeping the castle with slings… faggots, timber and other armaments of war…” Alice, from her tower and accompanied by fifty armed protesters, urged the king’s men to keep the peace and declared that



she would not surrender the castle. The king’s men trudged back to court and Buckenham remained in Alice and John’s hands. She died at the castle in 1490.

and social survivor, having managed to retain her position and status despite whispers of treason and her husband’s rapid downfall under Henry VI.

Margaret Paston In 1448, in the midst of Henry VI’s unsteady and uncertain reign, Margaret Paston, anticipating an attack on her home in Gresham in Norwich, wrote to her husband requesting crossbows, leather jackets and poleaxes, briefing him on completed fortifications including barred doors and holes drilled for the use of handguns. Before signing off she casually added almonds and sugar to his list and material for their children’s new clothes. Despite Margaret’s efforts, Gresham would later be overcome. While Margaret raised arms over a private rather than political dispute (the official Wars of the Roses wouldn’t start for another seven years although trouble was certainly brewing), it’s clear from her letters that fifteenth-century women were by no means inactive when it came to the threat of conflict. Margaret lived to see in the reigns of Edward IV and Richard III and died in 1484.

Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Stafford The name might be familiar, but this isn’t Margaret Beaufort, Henry VII’s mother. The story of this Margaret underlines the extent of violence and uncertainty in fifteenth-century England and the very real impact of war. Margaret’s date of birth is estimated at around 1437, which makes her about eighteen years of age when she suddenly lost her father Edmund Beaufort, killed commanding Lancastrian troops at the Battle of St Albans in 1455. Shortly afterwards her husband would also die - either from plague or complications from lingering battle wounds. Margaret lost her brothers, too - either killed in battle or executed soon after the fighting, by Yorkists. Before the Wars of the Roses, the Beauforts were an incredibly influential and powerful family, but through ruthless politics and bloody war, they were cut down one by one and this must have had a devastating effect on Margaret. She died in the 1470s, never seeing her son Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham publicly executed in Salisbury for rebelling against Richard III in 1483. Margaret’s story shows that there were families that remained resiliently loyal to their cause during the turmoil of the Wars of the Roses, but this came at a very real and devastating cost - especially if theirs ended up the losing side.

Alice Chaucer Alice Chaucer’s tale sparkles with murder, side-switching and survival. Born around 1405, she married William de la Pole, becoming Duchess of Suffolk. She watched as her husband was forced by the growing political turbulence into exile for his own safety, only to be captured and beheaded by opponents at sea in 1450. His brutal fall from power made Alice’s position uncertain and, dodging a state trial against her in 1451, she eventually switched her allegiance from Lancaster to York. A wealthy landowner, she was a Lady of the Garter and owned a number of castles along with a glittering collection of expensive jewels. Alice died in 1475 and is buried at the church she founded with her husband, St Mary’s, at Ewelme in Oxfordshire. Alice was a political

Follow Jo: @lovebritishhistorypics

Female Husbands: Loving the Fairer Sex in Nineteenth-Century Britain By Indigo



t is a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman, not keen on finding a husband, must instead be in want of a wife. When Anne Lister returned from her pilgrimage to meet the famed Ladies of Llangollen in 1822, she reflected in her diary “I could have mused for hours [and] conjured up many a vision of … hope”. To Anne, Sarah Ponsby and Eleanor Butler were evidence of what could be. They had left their wealthy families in Ireland, set up home together in Wales and had been living as “companions” for fortytwo years by the time Anne visited. Mariana, Anne’s old flame, wrote to her after her visit, curious to discover “if their regard had been platonic”? To this, Anne had replied she would “hesitate to pronounce such attachments uncemented by something more tender still than friendship”. Like Anne and Mariana, all we may do is speculate as to the true nature of their relationship. However, it is clear that the manner in which “the ladies” lived sparked Anne’s interest and in 1834 she asked her own sweetheart, Ann Walker, to move in with her at Shibden Hall. Anne Lister, her girlfriend Ann Walker, her ex Mariana and her visit to Llangollen offer only a glimpse into the network of queer women and transmasc folk, who lived and loved in early nineteenth century Britain. Close female friendships were fashionable and thus encouraged during this period. Women often expressed intimacy through letters and a

closeness that was strictly platonic. However, as the historical record suggests, some of these friendships crept past platonic and were subtly hidden in the folds of these fashonable friendships. In fact, some dared to go even further, subverting not only their sexuality, but their gender as well. They were known as ‘female husbands’. Historian Jen Manion defines this popular early modern term as someone assigned female at birth, who passed as a man and married a woman. Passing as man at this time may have included dressing in men’s clothes, adopting male pronouns and a new name. The women who married these rule breakers were almost always aware of what they were entering into before the wedding day. In fact, the ladies of Llangollen are connected to another queer couple who did just that. Perhaps inspired by her husband’s own visit to “the ladies”, novelist Mary Shelley is known to have personally assisted long time friend Isabella Robinson in marrying her ‘husband’, Walter Shalto Douglas. Mary managed to procure the necessary documents needed to secure the names “Mr and Mrs Douglas” for the couple, upon their arrival in Paris in 1827. Walter, who had been living as a successful poet under the pseudonym David Lyndsay before he met Isabella, took to his new life like a duck to water. Another couple, Mary and James Howe had entered into a similar relationship over half a century earlier. When they were just teens, James agreed to change his gender expression in order to legally marry Mary and over the next thirty years, they lived and worked together as innkeepers in London’s East End. These couples reveal a wellestablished network of women and transmasc folk who dared to take

their friendships beyond what was acceptable. However, finding these connections in the archive can often lead to dead or unconvincing ends. No doubt Anne’s diaries, at a staggering five million words,

are a unique source, but in order to move forward we need to reframe the discussion. We should consider whether it is appropriate to dismiss potentially queer people or relationships, if no explicit sexual evidence is found. It was often only a lucky few who had the independent financial security to test the boundaries, the privilege of white skin to assimilate and the education to be included in the written historical record. Moving forward, we as historians need to commit ourselves to more inclusive and critical research and to move away from the straight-until-proven-gay mind frame, that has held further analysis back for so long.

Indigo with the Anne Lister portrait See more from Indigo; @relearnhistory and @queersofthepast on Instagram THE HISTORIANS MAGAZINE




irl Museum is the first and only museum in the world dedicated to celebrating girlhood. Run entirely online, the Museum creates learning resources, podcasts, blogs and exhibitions relating to girls’ history. I have volunteered for the organisation since 2018 and I am part of the curatorial team working on the brilliant ‘Sites of Girlhood’ exhibition. This large-scale project aims to put girls on the map and showcase stories that have been forgotten or silenced. Through extensive research, Girl Museum have created an interactive map that pinpoints sites such as monuments, museums and temples, plaques, statues and residences celebrate hundreds of brilliant girls that we should all know about.

When I started on the project, I was living in London just when the new statue of Millicent Fawcett was revealed amongst seven statues of men in Parliament Square. I remember thinking about the significance of that, but also that any sites that celebrated women, I already recognised from history lessons – Florence Nightingale, Anne Frank, Emmeline Pankhurst, Queen Victoria. I realised then, the importance of finding stories and sites relating to those which have been forgotten or gone 14


unrecognised throughout history especially girls. Each time we research a girl, we create a research profile which includes key information such as their name, date of birth and why they should be celebrated. This information is then condensed into an ‘entry’ for the map which can be seen by clicking on individual site markers. One of the first entries I researched was for Kalpana Chawla, who had been interested in flying since she was a young girl. In 1997, she became the first female astronaut of Indian heritage, but sadly her career was cut short when in 2003, she died aboard Space Shuttle Columbia. After her death, a statue was erected at the Nehru Science Centre in Mumbai, India to celebrate her brave achievements. Similarly, in Marseille, France, Germaine PoinsoChapuis, the first woman to hold a Cabinet-level post in the French government is remembered with both a plaque and Square named in her honour. Whilst at The StarSpangled Banner Flag House in Baltimore, USA, exhibitions tell the story of Grace Wisher, an enslaved black girl who helped to sew part of the first American flag. Alongside these grand gestures of celebration, ‘Sites of Girlhood’ also pinpoints more modest examples of recognition such as Samina Baig who was 21 when she climbed Mount Everest – making her the first Pakistani woman to do so. Baig doesn’t have a monument or museum dedicated to her achievements, so the map places a marker on her childhood residence in Shimshal, Pakistan. In addition, we mark places on the world map that showcase moments in history connected to forgotten females in history. For example, the discovery of ‘Birka Girl’ in Sweden (1876), The Matchgirls’ 1888 strike action at the Bryant & May match factory, Bow, London and the murders of the Virgins of Galindo just outside Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in 1822. In addition to documenting the lives of girls from the past, the Sites team also work on creating markers for girls doing extraordinary things in the present day: Hillary Yip from China who became a CEO of her own company ‘Minor Mynas’ aged

just 13; Moni Begum who was 16 when she attended the UN General Assembly to campaign against child marriage; Zulaikha Patel only age 13 when she successfully demonstrated against her South African school’s policy regarding black girls’ hair. ‘Sites of Girlhood’ is a fantastic resource documenting the lives of girls and women from all corners of the globe who have been forgotten, unrecognised or overshadowed by others in their field. Alongside the map, interns also create blog posts which offer more information about the girls. By working to highlight sites around the globe that recognise and celebrate their achievements, Girl Museum hopes that people will visit, explore and continue to pay tribute to these fantastic women at the places that honour and represent them.

See more from Emily: Instagram: @museum.musings Twitter: @EmMuseumMusings


Cheryl Araujo: The First Ever Televised Rape Case

By Rachel Lee Perez


n March 6, 1983 in New Bedford, Massachusetts, a twenty-one-year-old woman named Cheryl Araujo was gang-raped by four men. People stood around, watched it happen, and did nothing. She would take her assailants to court and would later become infamous as her trial became the first televised rape case in History.

Araujo had just put her two daughters to bed. She left to buy cigarettes but found that the store she normally went to was closed. She knew that Big Dan’s Tavern, a local bar, sold cigarettes and went there instead. While Araujo was sitting at a table alone, two men came up behind her and began tearing at her clothes. Two other men joined in on the attack and threw her onto the pool table where they pulled off her pants and undergarments and raped her. Araujo kicked and screamed and tried to get away while others stood around and did nothing. In fact, she reported hearing people “laughing, cheering, yelling”. After further investigation, it was determined that there were approximately ten people in the bar at the time of the

six of which included her attackers. Araujo eventually got away and ran into the street where she was picked up by a couple of college students that drove her to the hospital. When they picked her up, one of the students reported that Araujo was wearing only a coat and a single sock. Statistics from the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network indicate that 3 in 4 victims of sexual assault do not report sexual assault. Araujo, thinking of her two daughters, chose to come forward with her story and to fight for justice. And she wasn’t alone. In fact, some 2,500 people of the New Bedford community joined together in protest to have the men involved in this case arrested and charged. And thus, in the weeks following the assault, the six men involved were arrested. All six defendants in this matter were Portuguese Americans. At this time, the Portuguese community made up 60% of New Bedford. Many from the Portuguese community organized protests to question the charges against the six men, feeling as though their community had become the scapegoats. Araujo’s credibility and character were called into question. What she was wearing, why she had left her children at home alone, and the overall narrative that she was “asking for it” permeated throughout the town. As if this case was not already big enough, the presiding judge allowed for it to be the first ever televised rape case. It is widely known amongst courts and journalists across the country that the names of sexual assault victims do not get disclosed. Many States have laws prohibiting the disclosure of this information as confidentiality is vital to the protection of the victims. To ensure her protection, it was decided that Araujo’s face was never to be shown on camera. But, when Araujo later took the stand, all of this changed. Keeping to their agreement with the judge, the media did not show Araujo’s face on camera. Unfortunately, no one (including the judge) had thought about the fact, that the victim would be saying her name and address on the stand. And that this would be filmed and recorded live. When

Araujo took the stand, her name and address became a part of the public record. The trial was sensational with news outlets such as CNN airing it for three hours a day! Everyone across the country, particularly the New Bedford community, knew who Cheryl Araujo was. The four defendants charged with aggravated rape were found guilty. The other two men charged with watching the rape and not stopping it were acquitted. However, of the four men put away for raping her, none of them would serve more than six years. For Araujo, this changed her life forever. She was forced to move out of New Bedford. Just two years after the trial ended - at only twenty-five years old - Araujo tragically died in a car accident. Despite the fact that her trial had been so widely publicized, her death received next to no media attention. The legacy of this case is farreaching. Following this case, there was a significant decline in rape victims willing to come forward. In addition to being criminalized and blamed for her own rape, Araujo’s case also displayed the dangers of televised court proceedings as her confidentiality and safety were lost in the process. Tune into Episode 47 of the Hashtag history podcast (which Rachel cohosts) for a deeper dive into Cheryl Araujo.





ebruary 10, 2019, the room was quiet as Alicia Keys made the announcement that almost all wait for at the Grammy Awards: Album of the Year. “Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves!” was the shocking announcement. A country album being nominated for Album of the Year was shocking enough but winning was a shock to all. What’s even more shocking was that country radio rarely, if ever, played this award-winning album on any of its stations. The numerous wins pushed Musgraves as one of the leading female country artists. Before this album, Musgraves had an avid fan base but hardly ever received the accolades and recognition from the country music industry. In fact, the country music industry hardly recognizes their female performers. As Keith Hill, a leading radio consultant said, “if you want to make ratings in country radio, take females out...Trust me, I play great female records and we’ve got some right now; they’re just not the lettuce in our salad....The tomatoes of our salad are the females’’. He goes on to say that country music can be compared to a salad and the bulk of that salad is made up of male artists and the female artists are like the tomatoes, you sprinkle some tomatoes in there, but you never want more tomatoes to lettuce. As the genre of country music began to take shape and became more than songs from the south, there came a need to start recording the history of country music. Dr. Richard Patterson wrote, “one of the best ways to show that a field exists is to construct its past”. As the Country Music Association worked to create the Country Music Hall of Fame (CMHOF), they included on the induction panel, both historians and



those with a historical perspective on country music, demonstrating a great concern for detail regarding the genre’s past. Induction in the CMHOF is one of the most prestigious honors in the country music industry and only the best artists are inducted. Out of the 60 years that the CMHOF has existed, only 14% of the inductees are women. Women that have had long standing careers, come along once a generation. There was typically room for only one “girl singer” on tours or television programs in the 1960s (though they were never the headliner or host) and record labels rarely released singles by two women at the same time. Country Aircheck publisher Lon Helton stated, “Since the 1960s program directors have been telling people not to play two women back-to-back. It has nothing to do with sexism. It has to do with the fact that through the years, you have had very few hits by women, so you want to spread them out a little bit because there are fewer of them”. Taken from an interview in the 1990’s, Faith Hill shared the story of how she “had one radio guy tell me there were too many female performers coming his way, and that he was going to have to cut some from his hour playlist, I said, ‘How many females do you play an hour right now?’ And he said, ‘One’”. Part of the induction process into the CMHOF, places a third of the criteria on the performers personal and professional reputation. This moves the criteria into a subjective realm that is difficult to measure. Inductions that are based around the character of the musical performer are based on preferences and criteria that the Country Music Association view as most important. Women who remain in the approved boundaries are celebrated and rewarded by the recognition of their work. The CMHOF was established to help create and

affirm a credible history for this genre of music. The subjective nature that goes into inducting musical performers allows the CMHOF, the Country Music Association and others, to craft a specific history. This specific history allows the country music industry to build a reputation that is deemed most important. This allows performers careers to not be accepted by the mainstream media and are not awarded by the award systems in place. Those that fit the narrative, which the country music industry has built, have strong, longlasting careers. With the challenges regarding authenticity, a woman’s personal life and radio airplay, the cards are stacked against women in the country music industry. Even with this information known, in the 2020 CMHOF inductees, 3 men were inducted, and women were again left behind. Understanding the history behind country music allows the audience to see the patterns and then demand change in the country music industry.

See more from Marissa; Instagram: @thecurlyhairacademic Website:



olio is a disease that ravaged the country every summer since the initial outbreak in 1916. This “summer plague” mainly affected children and was so terrifying that people across the nation refrained from doing just about anything aside from necessities. The Salk Vaccine was developed to fight poliovirus, and on April 12, 1955, the Salk Vaccine was announced as being “safe, effective, and potent.” When it came time for Dr. Jonas Salk to speak on behalf of his team’s work, he thanked people who were not involved in the research but had assisted in its development and progress. It was expected that Salk would thank his team at the Virus Research Laboratory (VRL) or at least mention them; however, he did not. Salk’s failure to credit his staff, in and after April 1955, caused a great deal of conflict between him and his staff, as well as resulted in credit not being

given where credit was due. The women who were not recognized actually did not think much of it because their interest was in fighting polio not getting credit for a medical milestone. Those women were unknown then and have remained unknown for 65 years. Dr. Elsie Ward was the only female named by Salk in his attempt to correct his April 1955 mistake. Ward was the only female senior scientist in the VRL. She was a microbiologist and a zoologist who started working in the VRL in 1950 and has been described as being a “gardener” in the way that she tended to her cultures. To test the first human samples during vaccine testing, Ward used a color-titration technique - the solution would turn yellow if the vaccine worked. On a morning in mid-September of 1953, Ward went into work early to check on her “babies.That morning she saw a spectrum of red to yellow and although not all were yellow, some were and that meant the vaccine worked! Ward had two lab assistants - Ethel Bailey and Louise Boccella. E. Bailey worked in the VRL from September 1952 to May 1955. Boccella was hired in 1950 and both women worked together handling monkey testicle tissue. In our personal interview, E. Bailey mentioned using mouth pipettes to inoculate test tubes. Back then, lab staff did not use the same safety equipment that labs are required to use today. The mouth pipettes were similar to normal pipettes except instead of using one’s fingers to squeeze and suck solution into the pipette, a mouth pipette required one to suck up the solution with their mouth. This was dangerous considering they were pipetting live poliovirus and according to E. Bailey, “one suck too hard and you got a mouth full of polio.” Remarkably, no one in Salk’s lab contracted polio. Salk’s main secretary, Lorraine Friedman, is one of the few women known to the public as being associated with the VRL and the Salk Vaccine. She mostly did

administration work and accompanied Salk to almost every school, handing out lollipops and keeping records. She was tasked with sending Salk’s correspondences and her initials can be found at the bottom of some letters. She signed the letters with a lowercase “lf” and the abbreviated “Enc.” However, there are other initials at the bottom of some letters - “avm” accompanied with the full word “Enclosure.” Recently, I uncovered that these are the initials of Anne Marbich, Salk’s unknown second secretary. Marbich was a medical secretary and she mainly forwarded research information to other labs in London and Berlin. Most importantly, there were numerous African American women who played a large role in the VRL, including Lenora Brown, Ruth Hightower, and Doris Finney. While there is hardly any information regarding their roles, I do know that they partook in the science of the VRL, not the kitchen staff who were responsible for cleaning the glassware that was used daily. For example, Finney worked with Dr. Julius Youngner preparing monkey tissue for the lab. The majority of the women from the VRL did not continue their careers in the medical research field. They went home. For approximately 8 years, the members of the VRL had put their lives on hold to conduct this research and complete it at the pace that they did. E. Bailey left to travel with her husband as he completed missionary work around the globe. Marbich chose to return to her farm life and take care of her children. It is clear that women had a large part in the development of the Salk Vaccine. Whether as an assistant, a secretary, a scientist, or on the kitchen staff, women ruled the VRL These unsung heroes deserve to be recognized. These women made the polio vaccine possible and put a huge medical milestone in American history. See more from Julie on Instagram: @currentevents_andcoffee THE HISTORIANS MAGAZINE




ourteenth century Scotland is famous for its warfare and political turbulence. Throughout this period, key figures emerged that have remained popular within Scottish myth and historical study, such as Robert the Bruce and William Wallace. Moreover, the century witnessed the beginning of the royal Stewart dynasty, which would hold the throne for the next 300 years and be central to constitutional changes across the British Isles. For such a dramatic century of foundational change, it is remarkable that the contributions of elite women in this period have been largely forgotten. This article will attempt to rectify this by examining the political influence of the five forgotten queens consort of 14th century Scotland: Elizabeth de Burgh, Joan of the Tower, Margaret Drummond, Euphemia Ross, and Annabella Drummond. The opening queen consort of this century is Elizabeth de Burgh, wife and queen to Scotland’s most famous king – Robert the Bruce. Despite her wellknown husband, there has been little interest in Elizabeth’s role in this period in Scottish history. Elizabeth became Robert’s queen in March 1306 when he controversially seized the Scottish throne. Facing significant opposition in Scotland as well as the impending wrath of Edward I of England, Elizabeth was said to have denounced the whole event by saying “alas, we are but king and queen of the May”. She was not wrong - by June she and her husband were on the run from their Scottish and English opponents. While Robert fled west, Elizabeth fled north with Robert’s female supporters but was captured

by the Earl of Ross in late 1306. They were promptly handed into English custody and taken to England, where Elizabeth spent the next eight 18


years under a strict house arrest. Elizabeth was finally released from captivity in September 1314 in a prisoner exchange after the Scots’ victory at the Battle of Bannockburn in June 1314. A year later, Robert invaded her homeland of Ireland in order to pressure Edward II’s English administration there. This invasion may point to Elizabeth’s role as a potential political advisor for her husband. Born c.1289 to Richard de Burgh, Earl of Ulster, Elizabeth’s Anglo--Irish upbringing means that she was likely familiar with the families and politics of the Irish Sea world. This invasion was a direct attack on Elizabeth’s father – a key adherent of the English crown – who was defeated by the Bruce forces in 1315 and was only able to claw his power back after the major Bruce defeat at Foughart in 1318. Elizabeth, as the daughter of the Earl of Ulster, must have shared some part in her husband’s invasion. It is interesting to consider where her potential motives to support the invasion came from: did her father abandon her during her years of imprisonment, making this a personal event for Elizabeth? Elizabeth died in 1327 at the age of thirty-eight, having fallen from her horse at Cullen in the north-east of Scotland. Since she was to be buried at Dunfermline Abbey in Fife, the parishioners of Cullen took great care to prepare her body for the long journey south and held Masses to pray for her soul. Grateful for the treatment of his late queen, Robert established a chaplaincy at Cullen and annually paid in perpetuity for prayers for Elizabeth’s soul. Still to this day (besides a brief interlude from 19752011) this sum is paid to the church at Cullen, and a prayer is said in Elizabeth’s honour at an annual memorial service for those in the community who have passed. This is a sure testament of Elizabeth’s legacy as queen and is a fitting practise to remember the trials and triumphs of the life of a woman

who was key in shaping Scotland’s history. Scotland’s next queen consort, Joan Plantagenet, faced significant challenges during her marriage to David II of Scotland, which muted her potential political role. Seven-year-old Joan married four-year-old David in July 1328 as a condition of the Treaty the life of a woman who was key in

of Edinburgh-Northampton, which sought peace between Scotland and England. Less than a year later in June 1329, David became king at the death of his father, Robert I, but he and Joan were not crowned until November 1331 due to the unsteady political situation in Scotland in the wake of Robert’s death. With warfare soon erupting during the second stage of the Scottish Wars of Independence, Joan and David fled to France for safety. There they were welcomed by Philip VI, spending the next eight years at Château Gaillard. Upon their return to Scotland in 1341, David took control of his government and began to operate a staunchly anti-English approach to ruling. While this was likely a form of pressure from Philip VI after sheltering the couple for so long, it cannot have been popular with Joan and points to her place as an English outsider in the world of AngloScottish warfare. In October 1346, David was captured at the disastrous Battle of Neville’s Cross; he would remain in English captivity for the next 11 years. This left Joan without political or financial protection in Scotland, and she quickly became reliant on her mother for financial support and security. Even her brother, Edward III of England, appears to have shown little interest in the struggles of his youngest sibling. Despite growing up together, Joan and David did not have a successful marriage. This may be evident through their lack of children, although it is thought that David may have been infertile considering that he produced no legitimate or illegitimate children. During his captivity in England, Joan only visited David a handful of times, and only in order to carry out political queenly duties. When David was was finally released in 1357,

he returned to Scotland with his mistress, Katherine Mortimer, by his side. At this point, it is clear that Joan became estranged from her husband, choosing to remain in England with her mother. Joan died on the 7th September 1362 aged 41 years old, possibly from the Black Death. Her life was fraught with political pressure and difficulties, but it is nevertheless key that her experience be acknowledged and

understood. By comparison to Joan, David’s second queen consort – Margaret Drummond – was an impressive and politically active queen with considerable influence over her husband. Her ability to effectively exercise her own authority is likely a result of her being a Scottish noblewoman prior to marrying David, meaning that she had a preexisting foundational role in Scottish politics – she was not an outsider. Born c.1330, Margaret was a member of the Perthshire family, the Drummonds. During her time as mistress to David, he began to favour the Drummond kindred, upsetting an already tense political situation in Perthshire with his rivals, the Stewarts. When it became clear that David and Margaret were to wed, a brief unsuccessful rebellion was led by the Stewarts and the Douglases. David accepted their submission at a lavish ceremony in May 1363 that also included he and Margaret’s marriage. While this has been interpreted as a defiant message from the king towards his nobles, it may actually have been Margaret’s own doing as a powerful member of the Drummond family. During her time as queen consort Margaret considerably expanded her and her family’s lands and title, and formed her own political alliances with nobles, independently of the king. She also orchestrated the marriage of her niece, Annabella Drummond, to the man second in line to David’s throne – the future Robert III. Moreover, Margaret even influenced David to remove the Earl of Ross from power in a hugely controversial move, and was also complicit in the arrest of Robert Stewart and his son in 1368. By this point, David and Margaret’s marriage was crumbling and the king was already planning to divorce her in order to marry his new mistress. His plan was completely foiled when Margaret herself travelled to Avignon to appeal to the papacy, who supported her claim and blocked the divorce. Even after David’s unexpected death in 1371, Margaret continued to lay claim to her fortune from her queenship until her own death near Marseille c.1375. Margaret’s actions have been criticised by medieval chroniclers and modern-day historians alike for being controlling and demanding. However, this reflects both prejudice and a lack of understanding of the realistic authority of medieval elite women. Queenly political influence was not uncommon, as shall be seen with Margaret’s successors. Overall, Margaret is an underrated example of a medieval noblewoman exercising her own ambition and influence effectively. Robert II became king in March 1371, ushering in the royal Stewart dynasty.

However, his wife – Euphemia Ross – was not crowned queen consort for another two years, and the reason why is key in understanding her political contribution to this period. Thought to have been born in the 1320s, Euphemia hailed from the powerful Earls of Ross, a major family of northern Scotland. After 10 years as a widow, Euphemia married Robert Stewart in 1355 and together they went on to have four children, adding to Robert’s 10 legitimate children by his first partner. Robert’s multitude of sons became a problem when he became king in 1371; question over his line of succession came from his first ‘marriage’ with Elizabeth Mure only being declared legitimate in 1354, long after his eldest sons were born. This cast doubt over the legitimate claims that these sons had to his royal inheritance. This was a situation that Euphemia sought to exploit for the benefit of her own two sons by Robert. The delay to Euphemia’s coronation was likely a result of her challenging the legitimacy of the sons of Robert’s earlier marriage. This was no meagre feat - Robert’s three eldest sons were incredibly ambitious and powerful, and Euphemia’s delayed coronation confirms the gravity of this

situation. In April 1373, Parliament passed legislation that confirmed Robert’s sons of his first ‘marriage’ as his heirs over he and Euphemia’s two sons. It was only after this legislation passed that she was finally crowned Queen Consort, demonstrating the strength of her political authority and the genuine threat that she posed to her three authoritative stepsons. Clearly no wallflower, Euphemia was a representative of a powerful northern dynasty, and prioritised the ambitions of her children over her passivity to her husband. Such authority is comparable to the independent actions of Margaret Drummond. Robert II’s long-awaited death in 1390 saw Annabella Drummond become Queen Consort to Robert III of Scotland. Born c.1350, Annabella achieved a royal marriage thanks to the political orchestrating of her kinswoman, Margaret Drummond. Married to John Stewart (the future Robert III) in 1367, the couple would be heirs for nearly twenty years before finally ascending the throne. John and

Annabella spent their years as future king and queen struggling with John’s ambitious younger brother, Robert Stewart, Earl of Fife. This included a legal challenge to their inheritance in 1373, and Fife’s appointment as replacement Lieutenant in 1388 after John sustained a serious injury. Despite inheriting the throne in 1390, John’s continuing poor health allowed Fife to hold the reins of power. To challenge this, John (now Robert III) and Annabella worked hard to promote the authority of their heir, David. Annabella was particularly involved with David’s growing position, organising tournaments and political agreements to enable her son’s authority, including his elevation to Duke of Rothesay in 1398. In July 1394, Annabella gave birth to another son, the future James I of Scotland, and in the same year personally conversed with Richard II of England regarding potential marriages for her daughters. Her capability as queen is praised by chroniclers, and her death in 1401 lamented for the effect it had on Scottish politics. Within months of her passing, David was dead, allegedly at the hands of the uncle who had plagued his parents. This shows the extent and importance of Annabella’s role as queen in maintaining political stability and withstanding the ambitions of her husband’s brother. Annabella’s active involvement in politics has been argued to have been a benchmark for her 15th century queenly successors. However, nearly all of the Scottish queens consort of the 14th century wielded some form of political influence. Are we underestimating these women by assuming that they were on the sidelines of this iconic period in Scottish history? It is high time that their status as ‘forgotten’ be elevated to one of importance and inclusion in the modern-day interest of 14th century Scotland.

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first thought about the concept of forgotten women in history about eleven years ago. I was undertaking an internship at Lamport Hall and as an intern I had access to the rooms of the Hall at any time of day without having to negotiate ropes, and other visitors. I had the opportunity to really study the space in a level of detail that general visitors do not have. I noticed that each room was presented in a particular way – dining rooms, libraries and bedrooms were all furnished in the way you’d expect. However all of these rooms had something in common - paintings of unknown people on their walls. A portrait is not a photograph and so we do know that some portraits were studies of the human form by artists and their students, meaning they were imagined men or women. However in a county house setting, portraits usually represented former owners. It was common practice for aristocratic families to commission portraits of themselves - indeed the finished portraits were signs of wealth, influence and lineage. So, who were the people in the unnamed portraits? What had happened to create a disconnect in the story from the time of painting to the time that I was viewing it? I have tried a number of times to research unnamed portraits, in particular at Lamport Hall, but the archives rarely yield results, especially as I was focusing more on the portraits of women. Most commonly, it is the portraits of women which go nameless as they tend to be sold or given away a number of times. Paintings of men however were more likely to be retained by a family, due to the prestige associated



with hanging a portrait of an ‘historically significant’ figure, in this case a previous owner. Through my books, I aim to uncover women’s stories like those in unnamed portraits and share them with readers and history enthusiasts. I do this for two reasons: to ensure they don’t get forgotten, or to rediscover them and share them again. It’s easy to assume that women of the country house lived lives of luxury, having governesses to look after the children, housekeepers to look after the house, and cooks to make the meals. There is a misconception that many women of the country house spent their time attending parties, gambling, and ignoring the poor. To some extent that was true - wealth did protect them from issues such as poverty and disease, but it did not mean they lived a life without struggle and tragedy. In my first book Lady of the House I tell the story of Mary Isham from Lamport Hall, one of the women whose portrait I’d looked at many times during my internship. Born in 1788, Mary was an Irish heiress who came to live in Northamptonshire with her husband. A force to be reckoned with, her husband was nicknamed ‘the silent baronet’ because it was Mary who managed most aspects of the estate, including vast rebuilding schemes throughout the 19th century. However, she lost her daughter age 14 to smallpox, her husband died in 1845, and a year later her eldest son died by suicide, after being thrust into the role of baronet and head of the family much earlier than expected. Lady Elizabeth Manners, 5th Duchess of Belvoir Castle gave birth to ten children, only 7 of whom survived into adulthood, and a fire at Belvoir in 1816 not only risked the lives of 5 of her children, but also destroyed almost twenty years of building and development work which she had been undertaking.

Repairs cost around £120,000, which translates to over £11.7 million today. Elizabeth Isham of Lamport Hall, featured in my second book Unmarried Women of the Country Estate, lived throughout the English Civil War in the mid-17th century. She was a devoutly religious woman who chose not to marry and instead dedicated her life to the service of God. Despite living almost four hundred years ago, she suffered with many of the same issues that women today face. She often battled against low mental health, had thoughts of suicide following the death of her sister, and fought against the judgement of others when she chose not to marry. She wrote an autobiography of her life - one of the most remarkable 17th century texts written by a woman today - and yet only a handful of women know her name. Through my writing I want to share the stories of women throughout history, so that they don’t become nameless portraits on a wall. The women of the country house lived just as complex, complicated and emotionally challenging lives as we do today and I look forward to spending more time exploring more stories to share with readers in the future.

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nne of Bohemia was the first wife of Richard II, making her a queen of England until her death in 1394 which is conventionally said to have been because of plague. Anne was a member of the house of Luxembourg, members of which were often elected to be the Holy Roman Emperor. In fact, Anne’s father was Emperor Charles IV, and she was his eldest (surviving) daughter. Despite being an Imperial Princess and her husband’s complicated reputation, Anne herself, does not get discussed as often, nor in particularly great detail by historians and writers of historical fiction. Especially in comparison to the ‘She Wolf’ Isabella of France (wife of Edward II) and the women of the War of the Roses. Why is this? It could be that historians and writers believe that Anne is simply…boring. And on the surface that could be true. She never helped overthrow her husband like Isabella of France did, and she was never accused of witchcraft or murder like Elizabeth Woodville or Margaret Beaufort were. Another reason could be that previous historians have described Anne as a failure because her and Richard never had children. Giving birth to an heir to the throne is considered by those looking back to the medieval period, to be the most important aspect of the queen’s role. And as such, the lack of a Prince of Wales makes people assume that Anne wasn’t a good queen. Much of the blame for the lack of children is



also placed on Richard II. Historians did once suggest that the real reason that the royal couple never had children was because Richard was actually gay, or that he preferred for them to have a chaste marriage like Edward the Confessor and his queen Edith. Proof for the first suggestion has no clear evidence, but what evidence there is, often comes from Richard’s political enemies. For the second suggestion, however, people look to Richard and Anne’s shared tomb. The tomb emphasises the idea of a chaste marriage, as if to give Anne some protection from any type of bad press because they didn’t have any children. However, a queen consort’s role was not limited to just having children. A pre-modern queen often took part in affairs of the kingdom, including the justice system. A queen was expected to be the compassionate one of the royal couple, the intercessor between the king and the criminal in question. In this elaborate theatre of justice, a queen would beg for the king to show mercy and lessen the punishment. Anne took part in this, the most famous example coming from when she reconciled her husband with the city of London, after Richard had argued with them, asking them to show them mercy. Chronicles also mention Anne begging for mercy on behalf of Simon Burley (Richard’s old tutor). The Lords Appellant were executing anyone they considered ‘treasonous’ but were actually just supporting Richard. Unfortunately, Anne was not successful, and Simon Burley was executed. In addition to this, Anne came from the Imperial court in Prague, a centre of culture at this time in Europe. In marrying Richard, Anne brought with her cultural influences which enabled works like

The Canterbury Tales to be created. Why then, is Anne always cast as a good wife who was apolitical, when the role of a medieval queen was in itself a political role? The surprising (although in hindsight quite obvious) answer is the Victorians. Despite the fact that they were being ruled by a queen, and that the Suffrage Movement was in its infancy, Victorian men wanted their wives to be submissive and apolitical. As such, Anne of Bohemia and her ambivalent legacy, which mostly consists of her ‘calming influence’ on Richard (who has been retrospectively diagnosed with a ‘personality disorder’, evident throughout the 19th & 20th centuries) and very little else, seemed to be a perfect example of what a good wife ‘should’ be. A ‘good queen’ who did not challenge her husband and always supported him. It’s true that the chronicles and her tomb present an image of Anne which to modern eyes can make her appear to be a bit of a wet blanket. But that doesn’t mean that we in the modern day, can treat Anne like she’s less important than any other medieval queen, just because she was what people expected her to be. It’s not fair to disregard her just because of that. Anne should be treated with the same amount of respect as other historical figures. If Anne and Richard had managed to have children, maybe her reputation would be different than just ‘Good Queen Anne’. Sadly, that hasn’t been the case. Anne should not be disregarded in the way that she has been, but rather viewed as someone who positively influenced English culture. See more from Ellie:



merican women have been voting since 1920. August 26, 1920 was a monumental day: the day the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was certified. While this was an important step in the right direction, it wasn’t as if some magical switch flipped overnight. Women continued to fight for the right to vote for many decades to come. More than 60 years elapsed before the final state (Mississippi) ratified the amendment. In addition, immigrants, indigenous women, and women of color were not explicitly included or protected in this amendment. Their fight for suffrage continued for decades. Activists in the BIPOC community are often overlooked in conversations about the women’s suffrage movement. They played crucial roles in this era and deserve to be honored for their diligent efforts. Mabel Ping-Hua Lee, a Chinese immigrant, helped lead a women’s suffrage march in New York City

in 1912 (at just 16 years old). While attending college, she wrote articles and gave speeches about the importance and value of extending the right to vote to women. After finishing her master’s degree, she became the first Chinese woman to earn a PhD in economics. When the 19th Amendment was certified, Chinese immigrants were not permitted to obtain U.S. citizenship, and they therefore could not vote. Mabel continued to be a voice for women’s rights. The New York Times regarded her as “the symbol of the new era, when all women will be free and unhampered.” While it is unknown if Mabel was able to vote before she passed away in 1966, it is certain that her efforts contributed towards many, many other women exercising their right to do so. Racism was a difficult roadblock for women’s suffrage. Many Black women created their own organizations after being weeded out of mainstream (read: white) groups. Frances Ellen Watkins Harper wasn’t afraid to call white suffragists out for their racism. She was one of the first AfricanAmerican women to become a published author. She was a prominent orator and author, and she donated many proceeds from her books to the Underground Railroad. At the 1866 National Women’s Right Convention, she confronted the white women for their lack of solidarity for women of color. Frances is a strong example of someone who is brave enough to hold leaders accountable. Zitkala-Ša was born on the Yankton Indian Reservation in South Dakota in 1876. When she was eight years old, she went to Indiana with Quaker missionaries to attend school. While there, she learned to play the violin. She later became a music teacher and wrote “The Sun Dance Opera” (the first American Indian Opera). Zitkala-Ša was a prominent member of the Society of American Indians. This group fought for the preservation of indigenous traditions as well as Natives’ right

to become U.S. citizens. In 1924, the federal Indian Citizenship Act was passed. It granted Native Americans citizenship but did not guarantee their right to vote. In 1926, ZitkalaŠa and her husband founded the National Council of American Indians. She worked as president, founder and speaker of this organization until her death twelve years later. The Council worked to unite tribes across the country to gain suffrage for all Native Americans. Zitkala-Ša worked diligently to promote and secure rights and improvements for Native American communities throughout the entire country. Mabel Ping-Hua Lee, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, and Zitkala-Ša came from three different cultures. They led completely different lives, but they all valued and fought for the same cause. Despite their differences, they all knew that every American, regardless of sex or race, is entitled to exercise their right to vote. These three women represent many other overlooked suffragists in the BIPOC community. The United States would not be where it is today without the sacrifices of women like them. We surely owe them a great deal of respect, recognition, and gratitude.

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Polish Women of the Second World War By Caitlin Paterson


uring the Second World War, Poland found itself in an impossible situation. On September 1st, 1939, Nazi forces invaded from the West, and sixteen days later, Soviet forces attacked from the East. With the promise of help from Allied forces never coming to fruition, Poland fell. The Nazi’s soon began their mass persecution of the Jewish community, constructing ghettos and concentration camps throughout their newly occupied land. The largest ghetto was in Warsaw, where the entire jewish population in that region was forced to relocate. At its peak, the ghetto housed around 460,000 people of Jewish descent, 85,000 of which were children. One woman, whose partner found himself in this ghetto, could not stand idly by. Irena Sendler was a Polish social worker and nurse, who with the help of Zegota (the underground Polish Council to Aid Jews), rescued 2,500 Jewish children throughout the war. Being a nurse, Sendler found herself in the unique position of being able to obtain a permit, gaining access to the ghetto. Using the codename Jolanta, and under the pretense of being a a social worker from the Contagious Disease Department, Sendler was able to smuggle children out of the ghetto to smuggle children out of the ghetto. Not only did she forge documents for these children, but she also taught older



children Catholic prayers in order to blend in and keep their true identities hidden. Sendler used many methods to smuggle children from the ghetto. Babies and smaller children were often lightly drugged and hidden in burlap sacks and toolboxes, whilst older children escaped through the sewers and underground network as well as being smuggled out in suitcases. Once the Nazi’s brought in plans to clear the ghetto and send the remaining Jews to Treblinka extermination camp, Sendler’s efforts intensified and she was eventually captured. To put the amount of children she saved into perspective, of the 1,000,000 Jewish children in Poland, only 5,000 survived. Sendler’s selflessness accounted for half of those children. To preserve their identities, Sendler made sure to write the names and addresses of all the children she saved on cigarette papers which she buried in her garden. This was to ensure that the children she rescued had the chance to reconnect with their heritage and potentially find their families, if they survived. Even under torture, Sendler never gave up information that would lead the Nazi’s to these children. Sendler was recognised by Yad Vashem, received a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize and a letter from the Pope. However, despite all she did, Sendler remained modest about her achievement stating that she felt she was not a hero like many claimed and often had ‘pangs of conscience that [she] did so little’.

As Poland was becoming increasingly unsafe, those who could fled. One of these people was Jadwiga Pilsudska, the daughter of Marshal Jozef Pilsudski, a revered Polish statesman and general, who helped Poland regain independence in 1918. His political influence made his surviving family a political threat to Nazis. Pilsudska found herself in the UK where she joined the Air Transport Auxiliary to aid in the war effort. From the age of seventeen, Pilsudska trained to fly gliders, obtaining her pilot’s license and later her aircraft pilot’s license. Pilsudska and her colleagues, classed as ferry pilots, flew unarmed aircraft through the wartime British skies. These pilots flew blind with no radios, maps or way of defending themselves should they encounter the enemy. Despite these dangers, Pilsudska continued to risk everything to transport aircraft to and from their destinations. After the war, Pilsudska had to remain in the UK as Poland had fallen to communism. Her links to her father still made her a political threat to the new communist regime. Pilsudska never took British citizenship, travelling under a Nansen passport for political refugees, however when communism fell in 1989, she returned to Poland with her family for the first time in fifty years.

Thanks to these two women risking their lives during the war, many were saved. Sendler put her life on the line to save thousands of Jewish lives, whilst indirectly Pilsudska risked hers and saved thousands by providing the aircraft and supplies needed to defeat Nazi forces. See more from Caitlin on instagram: @historicallyinclined

The Trauma of Chinese Comfort Women By Jade Connell Carroll


uring the Second SinoJapanese war (1932 - 1945), many women and young girls living in China, as well as other areas such as Korea, Taiwan and Indonesia were forced to become sex slaves for Japanese soldiers. They were held captive in their own homes or forced to work in brothels called “comfort stations’’, operated by the imperial Japanese army. The first formal comfort station is known to have been established in Shanghai in 1932, but Japanese forces also kidnapped local women to be their sex slaves in northern China around the same time. As the war progressed, smaller makeshift comfort stations appeared alongside these official stations wherever troops appeared. According to Japanese military leaders, this official system was put in place to prevent the rape of local women and prevent the spread of venereal disease. However, as an officially authorized institution, it not only failed to prevent rape and disease (many women were not given contraception) but also normalized and fostered sexual

violence both inside and outside the stations. Comfort women lived in unspeakable conditions. They were given the minimum amount of food necessary and were subjected to continual abuse. Those that tried to escape would be tortured or killed along with their families and it is estimated that up to 90% of these women did not survive through the war. Thousands of women including girls of “tender years” were raped, tortured and killed during what has become known as the Nanjing Massacre. The massacre began on the 13 December 1937 and lasted around six weeks. It is considered the defining incident of the war and one of the “longest running historical controversies in East Asia”. Due to the difficulties in documenting the incident the true number of women abused will never be known. According to foreign residents that were in Nanjing in the early days of occupation, there were over a thousand rape cases a night and many women were killed after being raped. A professor at the university of Nanjing wrote to his wife at the time that there was “no distinction of person, only that the prettier ones were preferred”. The International Military Tribunal for the Far East estimates that there were approximately twenty thousand cases of rape within the city during the first month of occupation. After surviving the brutality of occupation and the comfort system, survivors were then subjected to discrimination and poverty due to the traditional attitudes toward female chastity which added to the shame and pain they felt. Due to this trauma many of their stories have only come to light in recent years, and many will never be known. This gendered violence against women has become a defining feature of the war, and even though it has been nearly a century since this sexual slavery started, the comfort women system is still difficult to discuss due to the historical and political debates surrounding it. One key debate is

whether women were forced into these stations. The Japanese government denied any involvement until Japan’s official war documents came to light in 1922. Since then, progressive scholars and legal experts have played an important role in supporting the comfort women redress movement. In recent years, other efforts have been made to acknowledge these women. There have been statues to commemorate them, especially in areas where there is a large overseas Chinese community such as San Francisco and Sydney. According to The Straits Times, Japan and South Korea made an agreement in 2015, which outlined how the Japanese government would donate 1 billion Yen, to set up a compensation fund to help victims. However, many South Korean’s opposed this because the victims were not consulted about this decision. In 2017, South Korea said it would shut down the fund. According to The New York Times, a new agreement was made in January 2021. This agreement consisted of the Japanese government paying $91,000 to 12 Korean women involved. For many, this still isn’t enough, but it is a step in the right direction. Some of these women are still alive today and their oral histories have been documented in books and documentaries. The best thing I think we can do to honour these women, is to elevate their voices and ensure that they do not become forgotten.

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any thought Ellen and William were the lucky ones. While most slaves had to work in the fields in the savage Georgia sun, Ellen worked as a ladies maid; a personal gift from father to daughter. Meanwhile, William had been apprenticed out to a carpenter, a skilled trade which made him valuable to his owner. They had met in the dying days of 1840 but didn’t marry for a number of years. It ruffled feathers at the time, Ellen being as pale as she was. She was the result of the rape of her mother by their old master and was frequently mistaken for part of the family. This slave owner’s solution to this problem was to give her away as a wedding present to his daughter. His plan had limited success, as even though she was out of his house, she became a trusted assistant and frequent presence. But that wasn’t enough for them. They wanted to start a family but couldn’t bear the idea of having children that would be at the mercy of the slave owners. William remembered the trauma of watching his entire family being separated. They couldn’t allow that to happen to their own children. They made a plan to escape. It was simple, but ingenious. Rather than trying to slip away with the help of abolitionists, they would hide in plain sight. Ellen’s paleness could be used to their advantage; since she worked inside, she was essentially white passing. They would dress her up as a white slave owner, with William as ‘his’ personal attendant. But there was one major stick in the mud: Ellen couldn’t read or write. There was no doubt she would be



expected to sign her name on a number of occasions throughout the journey, on passenger lists and tickets to confirm her identity (or not to, in this case). They came up with a brilliantly simple solution. They bandaged up her hand and put it in a sling. They couldn’t possibly demand ‘he’ sign his name with such an injury, surely? Their eventual destination was Philadelphia, the centre for modern medicine in America at that time. Of course, a young rich white man would travel that distance for treatment and take his attentive servant with him! It was under this pretence that they got on their first train, after leaving their owners. They had got permission for a few days leave just before Christmas, and as they were valued slaves, this in itself wasn’t too difficult for them. It gave them a buffer of a few days before anyone started looking for them. They hit a snag almost immediately. The local station seemed to be chock full of people they knew, putting them in danger of being recognised. When a friend of Ellen’s mistress sat right next to her (when I bet there were loads of other seats), she immediately pretended to be Deaf; a handy tactic they reused whenever convenient to stop any conversation in its tracks. They encountered a number of people on their journey north who hilariously warned them that abolitionists would try to convince William to run away, but people were impressed at how well he cared for his sickly young master. Ellen made friends with steamer captains, rich men and guards, being invited to dinners and drinks and offered the nicest bedrooms. Her ‘disabilities’ allowed them to

pass through areas quickly, avoid raising suspicion and prompted kindness from many. While there were some hairy occasions on their journey (at one point they were briefly detained) their plan worked. Ellen and William lived anxiously but happily there, becoming high profile advocates for abolition. Less than two years later the Fugitive Slave Act was made law and slave hunters were sent to capture them. They had hoped to use the couple as an example. No matter how far you run, how famous you are, we will find you and we will catch you. And so, yet again, they bundled up their lives and escaped into the unknown.

“It was not until we stepped ashore at Liverpool that we were free from every slavish fear.” -William Craft They lived in Britain for nineteen years- many of them spent in London- speaking and campaigning for abolition, universal suffrage and telling the story of their escape. In those years, they learned to read and write, built up a wide social circle and were frequently invited to posh dinner parties, where Ellen gained a reputation for arguing with racists who had unwittingly been sat next to her. But most importantly for them, they had 5 children and finally, the freedom and the family they had always wanted. See more from Daisy on Instagram: @DisabilityHistorySnapshots Website:



f you were to google search “Who was the first woman MP in the UK”, it would bring up the Wikipedia page of Nancy Astor, who was elected into parliament in 1919. In 2019 Theresa May unveiled a statue of Nancy Astor in her Plymouth constituency. May’s praise for Nancy Aston is understandable, after all, she was a conservative MP, but Nancy Astor being the first female MP is not entirely accurate. Sinn Féin politician, activist, socialist, feminist and revolutionary, Constance Markievicz was the first women elected to parliament, and her name and legacy has been forgotten. Constance Markievicz was born at Buckingham Gate in London in 1868. Her father was Arctic explorer and adventurer Sir Henry Gore-Booth. She was brought up on her father’s estate at Lissadell House in County Sligo. During the famine in 1879, her father provided free food for tenants on his estate. Their father’s example inspired her and her sister, Eva Gore-Booth, to have a deep concern for working people and the poor. The Markievicz sisters were both childhood friends with poet W. B. Yeats, later in life Yeats describes his childhood friends in a poem “Two girls in silk kimonos, both / beautiful, one a gazelle.” I have always wondered what Markievicz would have thought to be compared to a gazelle, but this is Yeats unique way of flattery. At four minutes past noon on Monday 24th April 1916, Patrick Pearse read the Proclamation of the Irish Republic outside the General Post Office in Dublin, a document that was ahead of its time. It stated

“religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens”. The idea was progressive for its time as most women in European countries did not have the right to vote. This would become known as the start of the Easter Rising, an attempt to establish Irish independence. Constance Markievicz was a member of the Irish Citizen Army and took part in the 1916 Easter Rising. During the Rising, Markievicz fought in St Stephen’s Green. Markievicz supervised the setting up of barricades and was in the middle of the fighting all around Stephen’s Green, wounding a British army sniper. She was one of 300 women who fought in the rising, names including Margaret Skinnider, Winifred Carney, Kathleen Clarke and Helena Molony, like Markievicz’s were forgotten. Stephen’s Green garrison held out for six days, and they were arrested and transported to Kilmainham Gaol. Markievicz was sentenced to death but was later shown mercy “solely and only on account of her sex” and was commuted to life in prison. When told of this, she was reported to say “I do wish your lot had the decency to shoot me.” After the government in London granted a general amnesty for those who participated, Markievicz was released from prison in 1917. During the 1918 general election, Markievicz was elected to serve Dublin St Patrick’s constituency and became one of the 73 Sinn Féin MPs and the first woman elected to the House of Commons. However, in line with Sinn Féin abstentionist policy, she never took her seat. She did take her seat in the First Dáil and served as Minister for Labour from April 1919 to January 1922, becoming the first Irish female Cabinet Minister and only the second female

government minister in Europe. During the War of Independence, Markievicz took an active role in the fighting and was jailed twice by the British. In January 1922, she left the government alongside others in opposition to the Anglo Irish Treaty, and when Ireland fell into civil war, Markievicz fought for the Republicans cause. She was elected in the 1923 general election, but she did not take her seat in the Dáil alongside other Republican candidates. She was arrested again in November 1923 for Republican activities and went on a hunger strike as a protest alongside other civil war prisoners. Within a month, she and other prisoners were released. Markievicz died aged 59 of complications related to appendicitis. She had given away all of her wealth and died in a public ward “among the poor where she wanted to be”. She fought for her beloved Ireland until the end. After Markievicz’s death, everything changed in Ireland, and by the 1930s, De Valera’s Conservative government passed legislation that eliminated women’s right to serve on juries or work after marriage, contraception was made illegal, and divorce was banned. Markievicz was the last woman cabinet minister in Ireland until 1979. Nancy Astor was the first women to take her seat in the UK parliament in 1919 and has her own fascinating story, but it would be a shame to forget about Constance Markievicz inspiring story and the first elected women in parliament.

See more from Callum: Website: Instagram: @the_travel_cult Twitter: @TheTravelCult Facebook: The.Travel.Cult.1 THE HISTORIANS MAGAZINE




BY CATHERINE JOHNSON n July of 1940, the Second World War was already well under way. Following the signing of the 22 June 1940 Armistice leading to French surrender, the Allies redoubled their efforts to combat German advance in Europe. In the midst of the Battle of Britain, and with the aim of “setting Europe ablaze”, Churchill put into place a volunteer fighting force: the Special Operations Executive, also known as the SOE. The thoroughly trained agents were mostly deployed in France with the goal of assisting local networks of resistance in acts of sabotage and subversion.

Amongst the 470 agents that were parachuted into France from 1940 to 1944, 39 were women. Although that number seems small, the female spies of the SOE served as a symbolic example of how women were a crucial part of the war effort. Not only were they able to fight enemies and lead missions to the same standard as men, but gender stereotypes could surprisingly be used as a distinctive advantage on the field. As a matter of fact, the women of the SOE were the only ones permitted a combat role during the war, mostly due to their capacity to blend in with the crowd. This reinforced the feeling that women had no place on the battlefield, making their disguise systematically less questionable. In a time during which most of the work force was male, seeing a woman roaming in the streets during the day arose far less suspicion. This would allow the female agents to lead successful 28


missions and complete tasks that were riskier than those of their male counterparts. A successful SOE spy that serves as an impressive example of these social observations is Nancy Wake. Born in New Zealand and raised in Australia, Wake moved to France at the age of 20 to work as a European correspondent for a British newspaper. The year was 1932 and the world was slowly starting to feel the shadow of Nazism spread through Europe. A visit to Vienna in 1933 served as a brutal way for her to realize the horrors of Hitler’s regime. During the trip, Wake witnessed firsthand the cruelty of the stormtroopers towards Jews, which profoundly shocked her. Upon her return to France, Nancy promised herself that she would do anything to stop the Nazi movement. Nancy Wake was living in Marseille with her husband when France surrendered in 1940. She rapidly got involved in the Resistance by working as an ambulance driver while also actively participating in a successful network which helped Allied serviceman and Jews to reach security in Spain. Her feminine charm and innocent image were useful, especially when came the time to accomplish certain tasks that required proximity with German soldiers, for example when crossing checkpoints. In 1942, when the network was betrayed, the missions became too risky. Encouraged by her husband, Nancy begun a solo three-month journey to reach England. She overcame many obstacles on her way, including a four-day imprisonment and interrogation period. Wake eventually reached London in June 1943 and almost immediately started her eight-month training period with the SOE. Like many other women that were recruited, Nancy was driven by her deep desire to free France from the invaders. The senior agents overlooking the training process were impressed by her persistence and determination as well as her talent in combat training. Nancy succeeded in every part of the training process and was eventually parachuted in France in April of 1944, a few months before D-Day. Under the alias of “Madame Andrée”

Nancy worked closely with a local network of Resistance workers in preparation for the Allied invasion. The missions included, among others, destructing bridges and roads, gathering ammunition, and establishing a clear line of communication via radio transmission between Resistance members on the ground and British authorities. In a very critical moment, members of her network had been betrayed and murdered and their only radio, which was necessary to reach London, had been destroyed. Nancy volunteered to bike more than 200 kilometers back and forth to reach the nearest radio. In this crucial moment, Wake’s womanhood was decisive for her success since it made the journey far less dangerous than if a man had attempted it. In the days surrounding D-Day, even the least suspicious men risked being arrested. Throughout the war, Nancy Wake earned the reputation of a strong feminine figure, symbolic of the many heroic women that participated in the war effort, most of which remain in the shadows of history today. She has said herself that she has “never been afraid in [her] life”. Her bravery should be remembered and admired for generations to come.

See more from Catherine on Instagram: @cathjohnsonn



orking-class women played a central part in the campaign for the right to vote in Britain. Some people may know Annie Kenney, but there was an army full of women from different work forces that helped to organise and protest against the government. But not all these women are remembered. They didn’t have time to write about their lives. They didn’t have the platform that traditional middle-class suffragettes had. It is up to us as historians to reconstruct these narratives so that workingclass women are remembered. Born in 1879 to a large family of 8, Cissy Foley was the eldest daughter. Her father was an unreliable breadwinner and an Irish radical, who frequently drank, gambled and lost his job. This meant, at the age of 15 Cissy entered the mill as a ‘setter on’. Cissy hated working in the mill, but the wages meant her family

were able to move into a better home. Alice, Cissy’s younger sister, described Cissy as acting as a “little mother” who would look after the children with “brown eyes (more tragic than mothers)” that looked as “if exploring worlds other than our humble kitchen”. Cissy was a keen reader, as many were in her family, and she was keen to see Alice stay in school for as long as possible. The turning point in Cissy’s life, when I believe she realised the importance of women having a voice was the death of her brother. At 16 years old, Jimmy Foley had come home from work early with severe stomach pains. After a doctor’s exam, he was told he needed urgent surgery in hospital. Cissy’s father refused to allow him to go. Jimmy died later that day, with Cissy “weeping bitterly… refusing to be comforted”. Cissy blamed her father for Jimmy’s death, and no longer accepted his authority within the household. In 1905 Cissy joined her local suffrage society. It is unknown exactly what society this was, but I believe it to be a suffragist society linked to the Lancashire and Cheshire Women Textile and Other Workers’ Representation Committee. Cissy was focussed on self-improvement. She became a ‘jack frame tenner in the cardroom’, earning significant wages, that she spent supporting her family and sometimes buying new clothes. The next conflict between Cissy and her father was following this wage increase. Cissy had taken to saving some of her wages. However, her father stole her savings spending them on drink. Alice notes that Cissy never forgave him for this and saw her mother as “a fool”. In her efforts for self-improvement, Cissy had the family shop at the Co-Operative stores. She was also noted for her “active and reforming influence in her particular section of the textiles trade union and had tenaciously elbowed her way into the male precincts of that executive”. Cissy would invite her friends over for tea and discuss politics. She attended socialist talks and lectures as well as starting to take cold baths in the morning (believed to have significant health benefits).

Upon her father’s death Cissy was unsympathetic. When the First World War broke out, she trained as a nurse. By the end of the war, she ran the town’s first voluntary child’s clinic. Cissy would later marry before her death from a battle with cancer. By looking at the accounts of working-class women historians can gain an insight into what pushed working class women to join the campaign. Often working-class women were victims of a failing male dominated breadwinner system. This alongside the connections felt between each other in the form of sisterhood and class, plus the benefits of opportunities for self-help and education, pushed working-class women into the suffrage campaign. They had voices and narratives that needed to be heard. They could not survive much longer in a system where men had power and they were left voiceless. Women like Cissy Foley gave all they could to the fight to give women the vote. They had a lot to risk, but also such little time. Exhausted from factory life and then domestic chores, these women’s commitment showed just how important having the vote was. It is important for history to be representative of all aspects of society, and this includes different classes. These women are not remembered in the history textbook, but their commitment and their demands to be heard were just as central to the women’s suffrage campaign as any other group of people.

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made Grey very miserable, she put in writing that the cruelty from her mother & father made her feel that she was in hell. Although Lady Jane’s mother was acknowledged to be an abusive mother to Jane, the only suggestion that was found by writers is Jane complaining about her parents, so these writers should not rely on the “pinches, nips, bobs and other ways” as reliable evidence of this abuse.

Lady Jane Grey: ‘The Nine Days Queen’ By Kelci Woolley


ady Jane Grey was a Tudor noblewoman in her teenage years, she was said to have been born in October 1536 or 1537 in either London or Bradgate Park. By the time Jane was born, her parents were not public figures, so Jane was not actually intended to be Queen, therefore her early years were never documented. ‘The House of Grey!’ Jane had a gigantic family, but she is recognized to belong to the ‘Grey’ household, her father was Henry Grey, her mother was Lady Frances Brandon who is the daughter of Mary Tudor, Henry VIII’s younger sister. Jane also had two younger sisters Katherine & Mary Grey. Historians believe that Jane’s parents were unkind towards her and this



‘A Smart Lady!’ Some of you might like to know that Jane was fairly articulate for a Lady. She was one of the only ‘Ladies’ in her day to get an excellent education with terrific tutors who taught her, French, Italian, Latin, Greek & Hebrew. Grey also loved to read books, in fact you would most likely find her reading Plato instead of doing sports and family hunts. She was once questioned by the visiting scholar Roger Ascham why she wasn’t hunting with her family, her response to his query was “their sport in the Parke is but a shadoe to the pleasure I find in Plato. Alas! Good folke, they never felt what trewe pleasurement”. ‘A Triple Wedding!’ Grey ultimately got married to Lord Guildford Dudley on the 25th May 1553. Notably, her two younger sisters Katherine and Mary got married on the exact same day. ‘The Downfall of the Lady’ As King Edward was able to choose his successor when he died Lady Jane’s father-in-law swooped in and tried to persuade the King to make Jane his successor, and upon Edwards’s death Lady Jane Grey became the Queen of England. This angered the Catholics and of course Edward VI’s half sister Mary, she fled to East Anglia before she could be imprisoned to raise herself an army. Her army soon returned to London and began protesting in favour of putting Mary Tudor on the throne. Mary was victorious and on the ninth day of Jane being Queen, herself, her husband, her father and

father-in-law were all imprisoned in the Tower of London and Mary became Queen of England in July 1553. “When Jane Grey Met Her Fate!’ When Jane was still in the tower, she wrote a letter to her second cousin (Mary I) struggling to explain herself but the new Queen would not change her judgment. Mary made Jane and her family take a trial. They were all found guilty and were convicted of high treason, Mary punished them to death and on 12th February 1554 before she met her fate, Jane addressed the public with her final words. Lady Jane Grey famously placed a handkerchief across her eyes, she laid her head on the stool, she breathed the last words of Jesus on the cross and that was when her short life of 17 years was over.

Lady Jane Grey’s execution

Lady Jane Grey by Andries Scheerboom See more from Kelci on Instagram: @Kelcielizabethx

Empress Dowager Cixi By James Weatherly


mpress Dowager Cixi was born on the 29th of November 1835 and was called Xiaoqin. She was born to a minor Manchu, noble family. Being part of a family of lesser Qing nobility, she was eligible to become a concubine the Harem system. In 1851 when she was 16, she participated in the concubine selection system which resulted in her becoming Noble Lady Lan in 1852, a rank that was low but not the lowest. After she became Noble Lady Lan, the Emperor paid little attention to he as she started to form a close relationship with Empress Ci’an, the Emperor Xianfeng was forced to acknowledge her more. Her situation continued to improve, as on the 27th April 1857, she gave birth she gave birth to the Emperor’s only son and thus the heir to the throne – Zaichun. During the second Opium War, Beijing was ransacked by foreign powers when the Qing royalty were in exile. The Emperor refused to return to Beijing and honour his position as Emperor, dying a year later from substance abuses. Following his death, Cixi and the Empress quickly gathered support, launching a coup against the 8 appointed officials. Officials were charged with fraudulent claims, which allowed Cixi and Empress Dowager Ci’an (the former emperor’s wife) to take overpower of ruling as regents for the young emperor. In addition, the Qing government code had to be significantly rewritten in parts in order to allow both Cixi and Ci’an to rule as it did not allow female rulers. Zaichun became Emperor Tongzhi after the death of his father. The relationship between Tongzhi and his mother, Cixi, was not without conflict

When he was 16 years old he refused the concubine Cixi had selected to be his wife. However, he mostly obeyed her according to Confucian values as in 1873 when Cixi stepped down, she still had unofficial powers. However, this did not last long as in 1874 Tongzhi got ill and soon died which led to the regent taking over again. Succession was an issue as Tongzhi died without a son. To solve this Cixi suggested that there should be a child emperor, which enabled Cixi to remain in power even longer. Cixi played a significant role in her nephew, Zaitian, becoming emperor. In 1881 Cixi’s fortunes were improved as Empress Dowager Zhen died of a brain haemorrhage, leaving her as the sole leader of the Qing Empire. In 1884, Cixi began to consolidate her power through firing Yixin, a former ally turned rival. This allowed the position of Head of the Grand Council and Zongli Yamen (the Chinese Foreign affairs department) to be filled with her allies, such as Yixuan Prince Chun, who was the father of Zaitian. Cixi was aware that her rule could not last forever, so she began to build a palace for herself where she would retire to. It became financial burden and demanded lots of money for maintenance and running costs, as well as being very expensive to build. In 1887 she was meant to retire when Emperor Guangxu became old enough to rule on his own but still remained in power in an unofficial way as many top officials she hired encouraged her to do so. Due to China losing the First Sino-Japanese War in 1895, she came back from retirement to be involved in politics again as she was dissatisfied with how Emperor Guangxu ruled. Dissatisfaction with Emperor Guangxu reached a head in 1898 when she participated in the Wuxu coup to overthrow the Emperor and his reforms. The coup was successful for Cixi as she gained power

again. However, this was not successful in the long term as the reforms could have changed the Qing dynasty’s fortunes for the better. In 1900, the Boxer Rebellion started where people rebelled against both the Qing Empire and foreign powers in the area. Cixi decided to back this rebellion against the foreign powers, which was not successful as the Eight Nation alliance not only managed to quell the rebellion but ended up raiding Beijing as well. This is significant as not only did it deplete the Qing dynasty of yet more resources but meant that the Qing dynasty lost popularity. The Boxer rebellion was significant as Cixi decided to be more cautious and peaceful after the calamitous defeat. For example, in 1905 she did not get involved in the RussoJapanese War despite it being fought over Manchuria, an area that used to be part of China. In 1908, Emperor Guangxu died after being poisoned. It has been speculated that Cixi was responsible, as she would be the sole ruler of China as a result. However, these powers did not last long as she died a day after him.

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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” 32


eauty is in the eye of the beholder… If only someone had time travelled back to the Edwardian period and explained this to the women of the era, it could have saved some women from pursuing the very dangerous beauty regimes they religiously followed. It could be suggested that the 21st century woman would go to any length to look good; Botox injections, sun beds, waxing and painful hair extensions to name a few, but would you risk your health or even your life for beauty? During the early 1900’s new beauty products became available. Lip stains, powders, eyelash dye and various creams were emerging as mass production began. Little did the women of the early 20th century know was that they were poisoning their skin daily in the hope to become beautiful. Substances such as arsenic were formed in to ‘edible wafers’ which women ate to rectify poor skin conditions, in addition arsenic soap was used for scrubbing pimples... yes…we are all pulling the same face reading this! But what did a regular daily makeup routine look like for an Edwardian woman? Firstly, women applied ‘moth and freckle’ lotion to achieve a lily white, paler than pale complexion. Why? It was a symbol of your wealth. If you had ruddy or tanned skin it was assumed you worked the land and were therefore from the lower ranking classes of society. Ingredients in ‘moth and freckle’ lotion included bleach and ammonia which were intended to blanch the skin and get rid of any blemishes. Next, women would add a powder to the face to set it. The powder of the time was composed using led, but perhaps even more shocking, the rouge applied to the cheek bones contained an ingredient called vermillion, a scarlet pigment found in mercury. The effects of these substances were devastating, causing madness or fatally- organ

failure. Finally, the ladies of the Edwardian era dyed their eyelashes. To achieve the finished look the eyelashes would be smothered in a highly toxic dye which seeped in to the eye, causing the cornea to fall off! But fear not, Eugene Rimmel was soon to the rescue with his invention of a much kinder ‘mascara’ made of coal dust and petroleum jelly, a much safer option! The scariest aspect of all of this was that there was no legal obligation for companies to list ingredients on the bottles of the products, as a consequence women paid the price, at least women have the option to research their products in the 21st century today in a way that Edwardian women could only have wished to do. See more from Lyndsey on Instagram: @theunlikelyhistorian

In Solidarity, Anna The Woman Who Caused a Mass Strike in Poland By Denise Nestler


nna Walentynowicz has always been inconvenient, challenging and upfront. She didn’t shy away from demanding what is just and stood up for solidarity just like Poland did for her. Solidarność, Polish for Solidarity, was the first free union of the then communist country and became a symbol of hope and freedom, and Walentynowicz was one of the founding figures of the movement. Born in 1929 in rural Równe, Walentynowicz later worked as a maidservant on a farm where she was mistreated. She managed to defend herself and left to Gdansk to become a welding operator. In 1950 she went to the Lenin shipyard where she stayed – with brief intermissions – until 1991. Walentynowicz was a model worker: she got involved with the community, met all goals at work, received honours. But her involvement in labour protection organisations also got her in trouble. While she believed in fair and equal treatment, she knew it’s nothing that comes for free. She learned early on that her government and organisations aren’t as praiseworthy as she hoped, which led to her doing more to stand up for justice. In the 1960s she’s been almost dismissed from her workplace. Only through her workmates’ efforts she got to keep her job. They signed a letter of defense – a first protest so to say. Walentynowicz kept her job but

had to switch positions, she became a crane operator. She didn’t lay down though. In the mass protests of 1970 Walentynowicz got involved as well as in 1978 where she got active in the opposition. Her flat even got turned into the place for their political gatherings. Anna Walentynowicz is only to an extent known for her fights and actions, she is mostly portrayed as the woman next to a man, Lech Wałęsa. The chairman of Solidarność. Walentynowicz’s disciplinary dismissal on 7 August 1980 got her workmates, and eventually hundreds of thousands throughout Poland, to strike. There’re more reasons for the strike, all accumulating this summer: massive price increases for everyday goods, the demand for remembrance of fallen labourers during the 1970 revolts and better working conditions as well as fewer working hours. After three days she got her job back, but she didn’t want the masses to stop protesting there was more at stake: getting a free union. So the strike and demonstrations continued. 31 August marked the end of the strikes. The government signed the Gdansk Agreement which led to Solidarność. Now Polish workers got more rights, less severe censorship, workers were rehired, they got more salary and some political prisoners has been freed. Additionally, the victims of the 1970 revolt got recognised by the government. Eventually even the President resigned. Walentynowicz didn’t want to lead the strike movement which might be in hindsight her first step to the sideline. While she co-signed the Gdansk Agreement Walentynowicz’s role in Solidarność was minor. She was treasurer since people solidarised with Solidarność and send quite an amount of money from all over the world. Here she witnessed that Wałęsa enriched himself through borrowing money but never paying it back. .Anna initially preferred someone else

else as chairman of Solidarność, because she found Wałęsa was too authoritarian and Poland didn’t need another power hungry man. Wałęsa seemed to have a problem with Anna’s prominent role in Solidarność, because to him women should focus on representative functions. He didn’t even want her to meet the Pope Johannes II. who invited some members of Solidarność to the Vatican. She went anyway and has been greeted with open arms. Later she has been elbowed out of the board and not allowed to interfere, she kept observing and pursuing what was to her real justice from the sidelines. Wałęsa knew about Walentynowicz popularity and saw a need to get rid of her before she crosses his way to more influence. From there, she continued being uncomfortable. Walentynowicz got arrested in 1981. After release she wasn’t allowed to work at the shipyard and was left without any pension. Upon reentering work life, she organised more strikes and demanded more rights. All her life she fought against the misuse of power, saw herself as part of the resistance, as one who doesn’t need privileges and she didn’t get tired of challenging politics. She died in 2010 after a plane crash. Today, Walentynowicz is honoured with a stamp, but that doesn’t give her the adequate recognition. There are only very few Polish women who are talked about like what they’re: heroes. Women like Anna are Matka Polka, Mother Polish, they are no heroes, they fulfil a traditional role of strong women, but oh no, not as strong as men. See more from Denise @nenireads


33 Instagram: @thehistoriansmagazine All illustrations by Shannon (AKA @PRINTcessroyal_etsy)