Free Soil, Free Labor, Free… Women?

A page from the notebook of Eliza Smith, JFA '1847, with detailed class notes from a lecture on

Evidence of women thinking: a page from the notebook of Eliza Smith, JFA ‘1847, with detailed class notes from a lecture on “Moral Philosophy.” From the Khalaf Al Habtoor Archives.

I’ve been doing a bit of reading on the development of the political and economic thought of nineteenth century Illinois residents, where diverse peoples from New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and the upcountry South came together with very different ways of thinking about family, work, agriculture, land use, and politics. For all the usefulness of these books, however, I keep wondering, “Where are the women?” Continue reading

Historic Ginger Snaps

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Rachel standing next to the poster advertising Recipes and Remedies. Pre-order your copy today for just $15! Orders should arrive in time for the holidays. Place your order on-line here.

Meet Rachel, our Illinois College intern, who is pre-selling copies of her summer project: a cookbook shared across three generations of women between 1810 and 1890 – Hannah Odgen, her daughter Elizabeth Duncan, and her granddaughter Julia Kirby. Order yours today by clicking here! Continue reading

Finding Rural Women

Caroline and Charles Ingalls at the time of their marriage in 1860. "Ma" may not have fully recognized the character in her daughter's books.

Caroline and Charles Ingalls at the time of their marriage in 1860. “Ma” may not have fully recognized the character in her daughter’s books.

As historian Joan Jensen likes to point out, until quite recently most American women were rural women living on farms and in small towns. Yet somehow, historians of American women have chosen to either focus more on urban areas or remove geography from the equation all together. Continue reading