Women's History

In the show, the promises and tensions of emerging modern life can be seen most vividly through the eyes of two invented characters: Marian Brook (Louisa Jacobson), Agnes’ poor niece who has come to stay with the van Rhijns, and Peggy (Denée Benton), Agnes’ Black secretary.

Based on a True Story

The True History Behind HBO's 'The Gilded Age'

Julian Fellowes' new series dramatizes the late 19th-century clash between New York City's old and new monied elite

Maya Angelou, pictured here in 2008, became the first Black woman to feature on a U.S. quarter this week. The celebrated poet and author died in 2014. 

Women Who Shaped History

Newly Minted Maya Angelou Quarters Enter Circulation and Make History

Here’s how to find one of the new U.S. quarters—the first to feature a Black woman

An illustration from Newes From Scotland (1591), a pamphlet that publicized ongoing witch trials in North Berwick, Scotland, across Europe. Groups of accused women are depicted brewing spells to thwart James VI's ship (upper left), and a local schoolmaster is shown taking notes from the devil. 

Scotland Considers Pardon for Thousands of Accused 'Witches'

Advocates are calling on leaders to exonerate the thousands of women and men targeted in witch hunts during the 16th through 18th centuries

This commemorative Edmonia Lewis "forever" stamp will go on sale January 26, as the 45th installment of the USPS's Black Heritage series. 

U.S. Postage Stamp Will Honor Edmonia Lewis, a Sculptor Who Broke the Mold

As a Native American, Black and Roman Catholic woman, Lewis overcame prejudice to become a sought-after sculptor in late 19th-century Europe

Brunhild and Fredegund were two lesser-known but long-reigning and influential Frankish queens.

The Medieval Queens Whose Daring, Murderous Reigns Were Quickly Forgotten

Over the centuries, Brunhild and Fredegund were dismissed and even parodied. But a new book shows how they outwitted their enemies like few in history

Actress and comedian Betty White, pictured here in 2015, died last week at the age of 99.

Women Who Shaped History

How Betty White Broke Barriers for Women in Television

A Smithsonian curator reflects on the legacy of the beloved “Golden Girls” actress

The face of a genius.

Five Things to Know About French Enlightenment Genius Émilie du Châtelet

She was brilliant and unconventional, but her life had a tragic end

bell hooks, pictured in 1999

Women Who Shaped History

Groundbreaking Feminist Scholar bell hooks Dies at 69

The prolific American writer shaped a generation of discourse around Black feminism and intersectionality

The author of a penetrating new book, documenting the multi-layered complexities of the Miss America pageant (above: 1921, Atlantic City), writes about the contest's ongoing battle to remain relevant over its century of historic highs and lows.

How the Swimsuit Showdown Shaped the Miss America Contest

A new behind-the-scenes book, “There She Was,” and a Smithsonian collecting initiative celebrate the pageant’s centennial

On Brooklyn's Hegeman Avenue, one of the centers with a rooftop playground spans an entire city block.

New York City's Unsung Monuments to Working Moms

Across the five boroughs, dozens of daycare centers stand as survivors of a massive effort in the 1970s to quickly grow a publicly funded childcare system

Dozens of Smithsonian Institution professionals share their favorite reads from this year.

The Best Books of 2021

Smithsonian Scholars Pick Their Favorite Books of 2021

The writings of many fine authors support the research and ambitious undertakings of an Institution rising to the challenges ahead

Travel by way of these ten titles.

The Best Books of 2021

The Ten Best Books About Travel of 2021

With many of our wings still clipped by Covid-19 this year, we needed to travel vicariously through these adventurous reads

Kabance joined the Women's Army Corps in 1943.

Women Who Shaped History

Julia Kabance, Oldest Known Woman Veteran of World War II, Dies at 111

She was also the oldest living member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation

David Allan, Edinburgh Milkmaid With Butter Churn, circa 1780–90

See a Rare Watercolor of a Black Woman Living in Edinburgh in the Late 18th Century

Staff at the National Galleries of Scotland, which recently acquired the David Allan painting, hope to uncover more information about the sitter's identity

The fact that Osgood’s collection survives intact—or at all—is notable and perhaps inseparable from her lifelong friendship with a famous writer.

Women Who Shaped History

In 19th-Century New England, This Amateur Geologist Created Her Own Cabinet of Curiosities

A friend of Henry David Thoreau, Ellen Sewall Osgood's pursuit of her scientific passion illuminates the limits and possibilities placed on the era's women

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Women Who Shaped History

Clara Barton Epitomized the Heroism of Nurses

Two hundred years after her birth, her pioneering commitment to public health has only become more salient

Attributed to Mary Way or Elizabeth Way Champlain, A Lady Holding a Bouquet, circa 1790–1800

Women Who Shaped History

These Sisters' Innovative Portrait Miniatures Immortalized 19th-Century Connecticut's Elite

An exhibition at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum is the first to showcase Mary and Elizabeth Way's unique creations, which went unrecognized for decades

A woman smiles as she reaches for a container of Betty Crocker pizza dough mix, in the dairy section of a grocery store.

The Real Betty Crocker May Never Have Existed, but She Still Became a Symbol for American Women

Created as a customer service tool 100 years ago, the fictional character marks the evolution of domesticity in the United States

In October, the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History displayed this vandalized, bullet-ridden marker—one of three placed at the Mississippi site where, in 1955, police found the body of 14-year-old Emmett Till.

Why Museums Are Primed to Address Racism, Inequality in the U.S.

Smithsonian leaders discuss how the Institution can be a powerful place for investigating and addressing society’s most difficult issues

Tompkins Harrison Matteson, Examination of a Witch, 1853

History of Now

Reckoning With—and Reclaiming—the Salem Witch Trials

A new exhibition unites 17th-century artifacts with contemporary artists' responses to the mass hysteria event

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