Women's History

“People always liked and admired Colette, but after [World War I], with this need to consolidate French identity, Colette really becomes a classique,” says Kathleen Antonioli. 

Colette Revolutionized French Literature With Her Depictions of Female Desire

Born 150 years ago this week, the author was known for her incisive portrayals of women's everyday lives

Gloria Estefan performing at the 22nd Annual Latin Grammy Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2021

Gloria Estefan Will Be the First Hispanic Woman in the Songwriters Hall of Fame

The Cuban-American artist will be inducted alongside Sade, Snoop Dogg, Jeff Lynne and others

David Byrne, Ganda Suthivarakom and Joan Almedilla performing songs from Here Lies Love at Carnegie Hall in 2007

David Byrne’s Disco Musical About Imelda Marcos Comes to Broadway

'Here Lies Love' is an immersive stage production about the Philippines’ former first lady

Portrait of a Woman, painted by Italian Renaissance master Giovanni Battista Moroni, is joining the Frick’s permanent collection.

The Frick Adds Its First Renaissance Portrait of a Woman to Permanent Collection

The stunning 16th-century painting by Giovanni Battista Moroni is now on display

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The Misunderstood Roman Empress Who Willed Her Way to the Top

A fresh view of Galla Placidia, who married a barbarian and ruled when the world power fell into chaos

Ethel Payne wore this plush, wide-brimmed hat in the early 1960s, during her pioneering civil rights journalism for the Chicago Defender.

Pioneering Journalist Ethel Payne Wasn’t Afraid to Stand Out

Her hats turned heads, but it was her work as a reporter that changed the nation

A photo of the necklace discovered in England, alongside a depiction of what it may have once looked like

Cool Finds

Necklace Unearthed in Medieval Woman’s Grave Is a 'Once-in-a-Lifetime Discovery'

Researchers say the woman may have been an early Christian leader with a large fortune

Researchers made the find while studying the MS Selden Supra 30, a version of the New Testament’s Acts of the Apostles written in Latin.

Cool Finds

Woman’s Name and Doodles Found Hidden in 1,200-Year-Old Religious Manuscript

The name may point to an abbess who lived in Kent at a time when few women could read or write

Jeanne Dielman is the first film directed by a woman to rank in the number one spot in the Sight and Sound poll.

These Are the 100 Greatest Films of All Time, According to 1,600 Critics

Chantal Akerman’s bleak drama "Jeanne Dielman" tops the prestigious Sight and Sound poll

Dora Maar or Lee Miller, Dora Maar sur fond végétal, circa 1936

The Strange Surrealist Magic of Dora Maar

More than simply Picasso's muse, the French artist won renown for her striking paintings and photographs

Celia Cruz (above in 2001 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.) was "a phenomenon," says the Smithsonian's Ashley Mayor, one of the organizers of the new exhibition "Entertainment Nation," opening in December at the National Museum of American History.

The Stars Are Aligned at the National Museum of American History

The Enduring Legacy of Celia Cruz, the 'Queen of Salsa'

The performer's vivacious life takes the stage as part of the new Smithsonian exhibition, "Entertainment Nation"

Felton advocated lynching Black men accused of raping white women—“a thousand times a week if necessary,” as she said in an infamous 1897 speech.

The Nation's First Woman Senator Was a Virulent White Supremacist

In 1922, Rebecca Latimer Felton, a Georgia women's rights activist and lynching proponent, temporarily filled a dead man's Senate seat

Richard Nixon and his daughter Tricia on her wedding day in June 1971

A Brief History of White House Weddings

Naomi Biden's nuptials will mark the 19th wedding held at the presidential seat of power

Actor Charlotte Cushman defied gender norms, often dressing in a masculine style represented in this 1853 portrait from the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. She managed her own career and demanded equal pay with male actors.

The Stars Are Aligned at the National Museum of American History

The Rise and Fall, and Rise Again, of America’s First Celebrity—a Woman Who Loved Other Women

The world-famous actor Charlotte Cushman returns to the limelight, with her costumes going on view in a new Smithsonian exhibition

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The Father-Daughter Team Who Reformed America

Meet the duo who helped achieve the most important labor and civil rights victories of their age

Pro-choice protesters in 1972

Women Who Shaped History

The Underground Abortion Network That Inspired 'Call Jane'

A new film offers a fictionalized look at the Janes, activists who provided illegal abortions in Chicago before Roe v. Wade

Frances F. Denny (b. 1984). Shine, (New York, New York), 2017, from Major Arcana: Portraits of Witches in America series. Archival pigment print.

What Does It Mean to Be a Witch Today?

A new exhibition on the Salem witch trials explores how the meaning of the word "witch" has evolved through the centuries

Photos of Beverly Williams from her teenage years

Texas School Renovations Reveal a Teenager’s 1950s Purse Frozen in Time

Filled with photos, notes about crushes and a handkerchief, the late Beverly Williams' pink clutch is like a time capsule

French writer Annie Ernaux

Annie Ernaux Wins Nobel Prize in Literature for Her Unabashed Autobiographical Writing

The French author is the 17th woman to win the prize

A butte in Gem County, Idaho, is now named Sehewoki’I Newenee’an Katete.

Hundreds of Federal Sites Officially Drop Racial Slur From Their Names

The Interior Department is renaming locations across the country to remove the derogatory word for Native American women

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