Women

The role and input of women is undeniably central to human existence and to the story of human society. They are generally 50% of the population but rarely the centre of a story; women have often been pushed to the side lines for historical content. The role of women through history and the pressures and behaviours that have pushed their input aside are all explored within this theme. Powerful, influential and significant female characters are explored in detail across the time periods, including queens, and campaigners, while the stories of ordinary women are also explored through themes such as social change, war and religion.

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  • 100 years of the 19th Amendment

    30th September 2020

    When the Founding Fathers of the US created their Constitution in 1787 (formally starting in 1789) they were keen to make the US a modern and fair place to live, a new start away from the restrictions of the Old World and its antiquated forms of rule. However, they also...

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  • A woman of masculine bravery: the life of Brilliana, Lady Harley

    Article

    Sara Read introduces us to a woman who challenged expectations during the turbulent years of the early seventeenth century. In 1622 a pious young woman with a highly unusual first name, Brilliana Conway, sat at her desk doodling her signature on her commonplace book. She had lofty ambitions for her self-development...

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  • Anglo-Saxon women and power

    Article

    Elite Anglo-Saxon women played a powerful role in the religious affairs and politics of their day and were important patrons of learning and culture.

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  • Anne Herbert: A life in the Wars of the Roses

    Article

    May I introduce you to Anne Herbert, Countess of Pembroke? I'm very fond of this modern imagined portrait by Graham Turner, partly because of the colour and detail but chiefly because it conveys a respect for the people who lived in the past and especially for Anne herself. My interest...

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  • At home with Amanda Ira Aldridge

    Article

    Stephen Bourne examines the life of Amanda Ira Aldridge, the multi-talented singer, composer and voice teacher. Amanda Ira Aldridge may have lived a quiet life but she was a trailblazer in the world of music. After a career as a concert singer, she became a composer in a male-dominated profession, for which she adopted a male pseudonym, Montague Ring. In her...

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  • British Women in the Nineteenth Century

    Article

    A short pamphlet surveying the historical record of rather more than half the population of Britain over a period of a hundred years must of necessity be sketchy and incomplete. The great interest in history of women which has arisen in the last few decades has produced a great deal...

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  • British-Army camp followers in the Peninsular War

    Article

    Charles J. Esdaile throws light on a vital part of a field army that receives little study, the ‘baggage train’. The subject of the involvement of women’s involvement in warfare is one that over the past 20 years has become increasingly fashionable, and there is, therefore, a growing literature on...

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  • Cinderella dreams: young love in post-war Britain

    Article

    In a lecture given to the Cambridge branch, Carol Dyhouse explains changing attitudes to marriage in the 1950s and 60s. Women teachers in the 1950s and 1960s regularly complained about how hard it was to keep girls’ attention on their schoolwork. Educationist Kathleen Ollerenshaw pointed out that the prospects of marriage,...

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  • Dangerous Women of the Scottish Wars of Independence

    Article

    Kate Ash-Irisarri shows how three redoubtable women had significant roles in the difficult and dangerous period of the Scottish Wars of Independence.

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  • Exploring the witch craze

    30th October 2020

    This weekend the spectre of Halloween has been in the air; traditionally a celebration of the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows' Day. Whilst we're all used to the macabre symbols of ghouls and witches, particularly at this time of year, what is the history of these supernatural figures? We've drawn...

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  • Fighting a different war

    Article

    2012 Annual Conference LectureFighting a different war: contesting the place of the queer soldier in the mythology of the Second World WarEmma Vickers: Lecturer in Modern British History University of Reading In the mid-1990s, the queer soldier finally became visible. On the streets, gay rights campaigners led by Peter Tatchell...

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  • Film: Elizabeth I and Tudor Royal Authority

    Article

    In this film, Professor Sue Doran, Jesus College, University of Oxford, looks at the two main challenges to Elizabeth I's authority: gender and religion. Professor Doran looks at the power of Elizabeth's personality, her relationship with her advisers plus the significance of religion and domestics politics to shaping her reign and...

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  • Film: Mary I and Tudor Royal Authority

    Article

    In this film Dr Anna Whitelock from Royal Holloway, University of London, discusses the life of Mary I, the first crowned Queen of England. Dr Whitelock looks at Mary's difficult early life, her submission to Henry VIII and the rise of a warrior princess. Dr Whitelock explores Mary as a courageous...

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  • Filmed Interview: The Women of Bletchley Park

    Multipage Article

    Bletchley Park was the most important of the top secret intelligence sites during the Second World War. The quiet Buckinghamshire village hosted 10,000 people dedicated to defeating the Nazis, 75% of those were women. In this podcast we are lucky enough to have some of those women talking about their...

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  • Florence Nightingale and epidemics

    Article

    Richard Bates reveals how the expertise of Florence Nightingale is just as relevant now as it was in her own life-time. Late in 2020, the Merriam-Webster dictionary chose ‘pandemic’ as its word of the year, writing that, ‘it’s probably the word by which we’ll refer to this period [i.e. Covid-19...

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  • George Eliot and Warwickshire history

    Article

    David Paterson explains how George Eliot’s vivid memory of her childhood in north Warwickshire is revealed through her novels. George Eliot, born 200 years ago this year, is one of our greatest novelists, born and brought up in Warwickshire, a county in which she spent the first 30 years of...

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  • Gone with the Wind: a great book?

    Article

    HA President Tony Badger examines the historical context which shapes our understanding of Margaret Mitchell’s enduring novel. I had been a historian of the American South for 50 years and like Ringbaum, I had a secret. I had never read Gone with the Wind. As I came up to retirement...

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  • Harriet Kettle, Victorian rebel

    Article

    Harriet Kettle had a remarkable life. She was on the receiving end of everything that the institutions of social control in Victorian England could throw at her, but resisted, survived and fought back. Harriet’s defiance earned her references in the records of a workhouse, two prisons, two asylums and, in...

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  • Lecture: Suffrage lives, 1866 to 1914

    Article

    When, as a researcher, I was asked to take part in the Historical Association’s Suffrage Resources project and to populate the database for it, I jumped at the chance. Who wouldn’t? It offered the opportunity to delve into the archives, reaching back in time to the symbolic beginnings of the organised...

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  • Lucy Hughes-Hallett on telling an HA branch about a book

    Article

    Dave Martin interviews the author of Cleopatra: histories, dreams and distortions, winner of the Fawcett Prize and the Emily Toth Award.

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