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Women's History Episodes

19TH Century Reproductive Justice History Women's History

Madame Restell, "The Wickedest Woman in New York"

March 20, 2023

In 19th Century New York, everyone knew who to go to to end an unwanted pregnancy: the French-trained, sophisticated Madame Restell, who lived in a posh mansion on 5th Avenue. In reality, Madame Restell was English immigrant…

20TH Century Political History Women's History

The National Women's Conference of 1977

March 13, 2023

In her 2015 book, Gloria Steinem described the National Women’s Conference of 1977 as “the most important event nobody knows about.” The four-day event in Houston, Texas, which brought together 2,000 delegates and another 15…

19TH Century Biographical History Women's History

Lydia Maria Child

March 6, 2023

By 1833, Lydia Maria Child was a popular author, having published both fiction and nonfiction, including the wildly successful advice book The Frugal Housewife: Dedicated to those who are not ashamed of Economy. And she had …

Guest: Lydia Moland
19TH Century Biographical History Women's History

American Women Writers in Italy in the 19th Century

Jan. 23, 2023

The second half of the nineteenth century was a momentous time in Italian history, marked by the unification of the peninsula and the formation of the Kingdom of Italy. Three American women writers had a front-seat view of t…

Guest: Etta Madden
20TH Century Biographical History Black History Political History Women's History

Shirley Chisholm

Jan. 9, 2023

Throughout her life, Shirley Chisholm fought for coalitional change. She was the first Black woman elected to the United States Congress in 1968, the first Black woman to run for President of the United States in 1972, co-fo…

20TH Century Women's History

The Aerobics Craze of the 1980s

Jan. 2, 2023

In the late 1960s, Air Force surgeon Dr. Kenneth Cooper was evaluating military fitness plans when he realized that aerobic activities, what we now call cardio, like running and cycling, was the key to overall physical healt…

19TH Century Immigration Women's History

Single Irish Women & Domestic Service in late 19th Century New York City

Nov. 28, 2022

As many as two million Irish people relocated to North America during the Great Hunger in the mid-19th Century. Even after the famine had ended, Irish families continued to send their teenaged and 20-something children to th…

Guest: Vona Groarke
20TH Century Biographical History Women's History

Elsie Robinson

Nov. 7, 2022

As a girl born in 1883 to a family who couldn’t afford to send her to college, Elsie Robinson had limited options. To escape the drudgery of small-town life and then a stifling marriage, Elsie wrote. And wrote. And wrote. Wh…

20TH Century Political History Reproductive Justice History Women's History

The Politics of Reproductive Rights in 1960s & 1970s New York

Oct. 31, 2022

Prior to the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, much of the focus of reproductive rights organizing in the US was done in the states, and nowhere was that more effective than in New York, where leftist feminists in groups like Re…

20TH Century Reproductive Justice History Women's History

The Pacific Coast Abortion Ring

Sept. 26, 2022

In mid-1930s, pregnant women in cities in California, Oregon, and Washington could obtain safe surgical abortions in clean facilities from professionals trained in the latest technique. The only catch? The abortions were ill…

20TH Century Biographical History Reproductive Justice History Women's History

Mary Ware Dennett & the Birth Control Movement

Sept. 19, 2022

For birth control advocate Mary Ware Dennett, the personal was political. After a difficult labor and delivery with her third child, a physician told Mary Ware Dennett she should not have any more children, but he told her n…

18TH Century History Of Science & Medicine Legal History Reproductive Justice History Women's History

Abortion in 18th Century New England

Sept. 12, 2022

In 1742, in Pomfret, Connecticut, 19-year-old Sarah Grosvenor discovered she was pregnant, the result of a liaison with 27-year-old Amasa Sessions. Instead of marrying Sarah, Amasa provided her with a physician-prescribed ab…

20TH Century Biographical History British History Women's History

Agatha Christie

Sept. 5, 2022

Agatha Christie is the best-selling novelist of all time, whose books have been outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. You can probably name several of her books and recurring characters, but how much do you know about A…

Guest: Lucy Worsley
19TH Century Atlantic World History Biographical History Black History British History Women's History

Mary Seacole

Aug. 29, 2022

When the United Kingdom joined forces with Turkey and France to declare war on Russia in March 1854, Jamaican-Scottish nurse Mary Seacole decided her help was needed. When the British War Office declined her repeated offers …

17TH Century Biographical History British History Women's History

Henrietta Maria

Aug. 22, 2022

Henrietta Maria, the French Catholic wife of King Charles I of England, Scotland, and Ireland in the 17th Century, was called a “Popish brat of France” by her British subjects, blamed for the English Civil War, and seen as a…