Women's History

Mary Shelley was just 20 years old when she published the first edition of her Gothic novel Frankenstein. Pictured: Richard Rothwell's portrait of Shelley, circa 1840

First Edition of Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein' Sells for Record-Breaking $1.17 Million

A rare copy of the iconic Gothic novel is now the most expensive printed work by a woman sold at auction

In October 2020, authorities in Mexico City set up metal fences (pictured here) to protect a statue of Christopher Columbus from protesters. Officials later removed the sculpture, ostensibly for restoration.

Monument to Indigenous Women Will Replace Columbus Statue in Mexico City

Named after the Nahuatl word for "water," the sculpture will depict a member of the Mesoamerican Olmec civilization

Clockwise from top left: Charity Adams Earley, Harriet Tubman, Edith Nourse Rogers, Lori Piestewa and Mary E. Clarke

Women Who Shaped History

Five Women Veterans Who Deserve to Have Army Bases Named After Them

The U.S. Army has 10 installations named after Confederate generals. Zero are named after women

Mickalene Thomas,  Jet Blue #25 (detail), 2021

Mickalene Thomas' Dazzling Collages Reclaim Black Women's Bodies

A four-part exhibition premiering this fall showcases the contemporary artist's multimedia portrayals of Black femininity

Through the Freedmen's Bureau, formerly enslaved people were able to obtain formal legal recognition of their marriages.

Innovation for Good

Newly Digitized Freedmen's Bureau Records Help Black Americans Trace Their Ancestry

Genealogists, historians and researchers can now peruse more than 3.5 million documents from the Reconstruction-era agency

Johnson is the only convicted Salem "witch" who has not yet received an official pardon.

History of Now

This Eighth-Grade Class Wants to Clear the Name of an Accused Salem 'Witch'

Elizabeth Johnson Jr. was sentenced to death in 1693 but escaped execution after receiving a reprieve from Massachusetts' governor

Shaped mostly like a diamond, Washington, D.C. is organized by geographical divides centered on the U.S. Capitol and the White House, using mathematical principles employed by the original designer, Pierre Charles L’Enfant.

Track the Hidden Histories Lurking in the Street Names of Washington, D.C.

A new exhibition highlights the people behind some of the capital city’s roadways, plazas and parks

Anne Frank pictured at school in Amsterdam in 1940

New Education Center Dedicated to Anne Frank Debuts in South Carolina

The space is the Amsterdam-based Anne Frank House's only official outpost in North America

The bold, brilliant Mary Wroth with a string instrument called a theorbo, circa 1620.

The Secret Codes of Lady Wroth, the First Female English Novelist

The Renaissance noblewoman is little known today, but in her time she was a notorious celebrity

In the Southwest, Morris documented what she described as a “treasure trove”—a “topography rich in large dry caves, neatly adapted to ancient dwellings and graveyards.”

Women Who Shaped History

Groundbreaking Archaeologist Ann Axtell Morris Finally Gets the Cinematic Treatment

Nearly a century after Morris excavated ancestral Native lands, filmmakers return with an inclusive approach that brings Navajo Nation onto the big screen

Rea Ann Silva with an oversized version of the Beautyblender sponge

Smithsonian Voices

Rea Ann Silva Invented the 'Beautyblender' and Changed Makeup Forever

Silva’s work as a makeup artist on "Girlfriends" unexpectedly thrust her into the beauty products industry as an innovator and entrepreneur

A recently discovered portrait believed to be of Jane Strachey, English School, c.1788

What an Englishwoman's Letters Reveal About Life in Britain During the American Revolution

A new book highlights the writings of Jane Strachey, a middle-class woman whose husband worked for the famed Howe family

Three Covers from Drawn to Art: Ten Tales of Inspiring Women Artists

Smithsonian Voices

Ten Emerging Illustrators Tell the Stories of Ten Powerhouse Women Artists

A new graphic art series, "Drawn to Art," brings to light the visionary, but unheralded, work of ten rule-breaking females

Helina Metaferia, Crowning Care 1, 2021

Innovation for Good

Pioneering Project Explores Motherhood Through the Lens of Design

A new exhibition and book series offers an intimate view of reproductive history

Rebecca Lukens

Smithsonian Voices

How Rebecca Lukens Became the Nation's First Woman Industrialist

A sudden tragedy thrust this pioneer into the family business and into history, making her the first woman to run an iron mill in the United States

The sign states, “The use of enslaved labor to build the home of the President of the United States—often seen as a symbol of democracy—illuminates our country’s conflicted relationship with the institution of slavery and the ideals of freedom and equality promised in America’s founding documents.”

New Plaque Tells Story of Enslaved People Who Helped Build the White House

A marker in Lafayette Square is the first public work to acknowledge these individuals' roles in constructing the presidential mansion

Researchers found the remains of a high-ranking woman (left) and her two twin fetuses (right) in a Bronze Age urn in central Hungary.

Cool Finds

Remains of High-Born Woman and Twin Fetuses Found in 4,000-Year-Old Urn

A new chemical analysis suggests the wealthy mother left her homeland to marry an elite member of the mysterious Vatya culture

Del Martin, left, and Phyllis Lyon were officially wed June 16, 2008 in the first same-sex wedding to take place in San Francisco after legalization.

The Incredible Story of Lesbian Activists Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon

After first meeting in 1950, the couple was instrumental in founding the nation’s first organization for gay women

Alfredo Ramos Martínez, La Malinche (Young Girl of Yalala, Oaxaca), 1940

Was La Malinche, Indigenous Interpreter for Conquistador Hernán Cortés, a Traitor, Survivor or Icon?

A new exhibition at the Denver Art Museum explores the legacy of an enslaved woman who aided Spain's conquest of the Americas

Interest in gymnastics soared during the Cold War, when the Olympics emerged as a cultural battleground for Western and Eastern nations.

The Tokyo Olympics

A History of Gymnastics, From Ancient Greece to Tokyo 2020

The beloved Olympic sport has evolved drastically over the past 2,000 years

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